Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Christ is in our Midst XXXV(letter 50)

" 50


I received your letter in due time. I am fully aware of your heavy sorrow, and I feel it with you. What should you do? You see, these things do not come to us against the will of God; if there were no sorrows there would be no salvation either. In any case they are very humbling for us; they pursue all of us everywhere, but in different forms. The Lord's dispensations are impossible for us sinners to understand and no mind can determine why the Lord sends different sorrows, very heavy ones to some and light ones to others. There is only one remedy for sorrows: patience and prayer, said St Mark the Ascetic.

Our great mistake is that we hardly think about our passing into the other world. Our life in this vale of tears is after all nothing but a path to eternity and a preparation for it.

Oh, eternity, thou eternity unending!

Although it is painful here and life is sometimes very hard, and heavy sorrows and cruel diseases strike, still there is a comforting thought: I shall die and all this will end. But what awaits us over there?

Lord! by those dispensations which thou knowest, save us
sinners. Amen!

You wrote: 'You know my grief, from which I am saved only in prayerful trust in God's mercy, submitting to his good will to arrange everything providentially for our good'. It is well expressed, it even brings tears. Just this is the only way to relieve sorrow and abolish confusion. You are reading St Barsanuphius the Great. It is a very instructive book. I have been reading it all my life and can never have my fill of it.

Holy Scripture can be understood rightly only by the pure in heart, for they comprehend the will and purpose of God in the Scripture, but for people with hearts unpurified of passions it is a stumbling-block.

It was not for me to answer your letter, but I forgot my lack of learning and wrote what was in my heart. "


The fact of eternity is meant to inform our living now, in the present, in the sense of the Judgement of Mankind.

We are told that of a certainty this Day comes. Approaches it does; each and every moment inexorably toward its unveiling.

What kind of people ought we to be? At the moment of our deaths, when we enter through the veil between the worlds, what thoughts will we be thinking? In what activity or preocupation will we be found? Should we not shudder, knowing what sinners we are?

He who sees all, knows all, who has given all, is He to be taken lightly?

O how unworthy I truly am! Of a truth the moment of my death hardly captures my attention. I continue to think my petty thoughts and engage in the lusts of this world, in the pride of life.


Father John also tells here how Holy Scripture may truly be understood - as it is lived it unfolds itself and the pure in heart, those in the struggle to cleanse their hearts of the passions, Father John tells his spiritual child that to such God reveals His will and purpose.

Read the previous post in this series:

No comments: