Letters to Spiritual Children, Part X

My dearest M!
You are already despairing and becoming flustered from a small temptation. The Lord is allowing it so that you would know your weakness and understand how much is lurking in the soul of man, and what kind of toil you have to bear in order to cleanse yourself from passions, become a church of the Living God, and obtain salvation. When all of the human weaknesses are revealed, then you will fall down before the Lord where from the depths of your heart you will cry out to Him as the drowning Apostle Peter. You will then receive help from the Lord and understand that He is truly close to the one who calls on His name with all his heart; now with thanksgiving you will fall down before his feet and mourn for all your sins by which you have injured the Lord. Then your heart will be humbled, you will stop judging others, begin to work so that the Lord would forgive all your past sins, and guard you so that you don’t offend Him by breaking His commandments.

And you will also understand how vain all things earthly are, that your attachment to the world, arguments, grief because of belongings, business, and words is all nothing, how these things are not worth getting upset, arguing, and losing, for their sake, spiritual peace, and maybe even salvation. So you have understood what the name “mother” means, what melancholy, jealousy and such is. And maybe if the Lord revealed your soul completely then you would despair. But all foolishness, all the passions, all devilish machinations, all grief and suffering are defeated by humility. And humility reveals itself when we, with all our heart, as the wise thief, say to the Lord, “we receive the due reward of our deeds, remember us, Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.” [Luke 23:41-42]

If we can say this in every situation of our life and do not murmur against the Lord or people then it will be immediately easy for us and we will be on the correct spiritual path. And if we murmur against someone then we need to humble ourselves more and say, “Lord, in truth I am not worth anything, only You can save me.” “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean,” [Matthew 8:2] said the leaper who had no other hope for healing. And then he heard from the Lord, “I will, be thou clean,” and the Lord, touching him, healed him. So it is with us, accepting our powerlessness and spiritual poverty in the depths of our soul, let us turn to the Lord, to our only Savior, with a broken and contrite heart and say, “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst heal and save me,” and we will receive an answer from the Crucified for us Lord, “I will, be thou clean.” This answer will be clear to hear for our soul and with it we will receive strength with thanksgiving to carry all of our earthly grief as the thief without murmuring hung on the cross until evening in terrible torment. May the Lord help you, dear M.; understand this, humble yourself, and surrender yourself into the hands of God. Repeat constantly, “Lord, let your holy will be done; Lord, do with me what You please, just don’t let me murmur against You, just save me.”

Up to now you have only read and heard about the spiritual battle, about weeping, about the suffering of the heart. The Lord is allowing you by experience to know and define yourself: can you tolerate without murmuring and thank the Lord or will you fall into murmuring and then, worse, despair? Decide for yourself. Give blood and receive spirit. The time of childish things has passed, it is time to take up the affairs of adults. A humble and contrite heart God will not despise; “the devil’s traps do not touch the humbleminded” (Vision of St. Anthony the Great about traps). If you give yourself over to murmuring and begin to blame other people and circumstances then from that you will start to murmur against God and you can fall into despair; may the Lord save you from this. May the Lord give you spiritual peace, humility and spiritual reason. May the Lord give you patience and the strength to bear both the burdens of your own passions, and of the passions of those you come into contact with. Forgive me if I have upset you with anything. Live peacefully with K., put all your effort into this.

N.[ikon]
1958

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