questions

If a person’s purpose is fixed in God with all humility and he patiently endures the trials that come upon him, God will resolve for him any question that perplexes him and perhaps even leads him into delusion. then, Greatly ashamed but full of joy, he turns back, seeking the path of the fathers. For, as John Klimakos states, we should regard what happens according to God’s will, and nothing else, as coming from grace for our good, even though in itself it is not very good. Without such patience and humility a person will suffer what many have suffered, perishing in their stupidity, trusting to their own opinions and thinking they can get along very well without either a guide or the experience that comes from patience and humility. For experience transcends tribulation, trials and even active warfare. Should a person of experience be subject to some slight attack on the part of the demons, this trial will be a source of great joy and profit to him; for it is permitted by God so that he may gain yet further experience and courage in facing his enemies.

The signs that he has done this are tears, contrition of soul before God, flight into stillness, and patient recourse to God, a diligent inquiry into the Scriptures and a desire, base on faith, to accomplish God’s purpose. When, on the other hand, a person lacks patience and humility, the signs of this are doubt with regard to God’s help, being ashamed to ask questions humbly, avoidance of stillness and the reading of Scripture, a love of distraction and of human company, with the idea–entirely misguided–that one will attain a state of repose in this way. On the contrary, it is now that the passions find an opportunity to put down roots, and that trials and temptations grow stronger, while one’s own pusillanimity, ingratitude and listlessness wax because of one’s abounding ignorance.

–Peter of Damaskos

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