15 July 1947
I received the herring; you even took the trouble to take out the bones. Thank you very, very much. I went to the hospital in Kuopio to see the Father Superior. They are giving him radiation. I went by boat, in second class, and sat in the dining-room. It was interesting to observe how people live, and I recalled the words of John the Theologian: 'For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life' [I John 2:16] and this saying proves true at every step. Everywhere one sees only vanity and pride, and in this maelstrom the whole stormy world whirls round with its deceitful fascination. St Isaac the Syrian said: 'The world is a flatterer and a deceiver and will understand its own state only when it passes into eternity'. By the grace of God I am well. I did receive all your letters, you can rest assured, and I remember the content of each letter, but I confess that I do not keep them.
Warm thanks to you again, my spiritual child, for all your deeds and good wishes. Write, and I will answer as far as I am able."
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The ability to see the world as does Father John here is a gift I believe. He is, in a sense, out of the world, being a monastic. The influx of the world's "artificial" communications, television, radio, newspapers and the such are not an everyday part of his life. Coupled with this is the active spiritual life and the seeking of union with God, to the degree Father John was able by Grace to attain, through the Life of the Church, Christ Himself as He manifests Himself in her Mysteries.
This process, over time, brings a man to change, to "see" and experience reality in a way wholly other than a man "in the world", bombarded by the fallen world's lusts and raisons d'etre. As a man becomes purified, becoming Christ from glory to glory, the old sway "the world" held begins to lose hold until eyes are formed able to perceive that other world. "The world" reveals itself to be dominated by a quasi reality, an imposition upon itself from itself of that which it loves, darkness and shadow and the things done in darkness and shadow; the lusts, the plots, the intrigues, the posturing for more power and prestige, all the vanities under the sun.
I believe it wise that we ask that eyes be given us that we may see the world in its true fallen form.
I believe it wise to take seriously the Holy Scriptures that pronounce that this world is under the sway of a malevolent being with real existence, not simply an abstract concept.
I believe it wise to identify with the world, to see in it ourselves, ourselves creating the darkness and tolerating it and reveling within it.
I believe it wise to learn that no cure may be enacted apart from the identification of an illness.
The infection of this illness is universal and in Mystery holds the entire created cosmos in corruption until the revealing of the sons of God who will be found and unveiled in Him.