10 January 1951
Christ is in our midst!
Most God-loving mother. Your interesting letter came in due time. You write of your experiences. After your good state there was confusion and depression again. It cannot be otherwise in this vale of tears: even God's well-pleasing saints were not free from changes like that. Read the forty-sixth [72nd] chapter in Isaac the Syrian.
You also write that an acquaintance has fallen into a sect. It is a great pity that our Orthodox have very little knowledge of their own teaching and easily turn to various sects. For all the sects, heresies and schisms are based on pride and self-suggestion. In Orthodoxy the authorities are the Ecumenical Councils and the teaching of the Holy Fathers. The Lord said: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God' [Matt. 5:8]. And the Holy Fathers with God's help purified their hearts of passions. They rightly knew the will of God revealed in Holy Scripture, but those who have not purified their hearts of passions cannot rightly understand the Scripture, and such people stumble over it, turn away from the right path and go in different directions. One could say that they leave the big ship and sit down in a frail boat and want to sail across the sea of life, and they are perishing in the waves of vain sophistries. They dig out texts to justify their error.
I have not enough time to carry on a correspondence with your acquaintance. Let her read Bishop Theophan's book, The Way to Salvation. She will find in it solutions to her problems. May the Lord give her wisdom. "
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