Christ is Risen!
I got your despondent letter. You know full-well the spiritual truth: With many sorrows shall we enter the Kingdom of Heaven; Thou shalt have many sorrows in the world; Set your soul in patience of grief and sorrow. This every true believer needs to remember at all times. Christ endured spitting, beating and other insults, not to mention the horrible cross and death. The Mother of God’s heart was stricken with a kind of “steel weapon” when Her Son was suffering on the cross. And what did the apostles, martyrs, confessors, and other saints, followers of Christ have to endure?
“If one wants to follow Me, he has to reject oneself, take his cross and then follow Me.”
If you really want to follow Jesus Christ, there is no other way aside from the way He showed: that of external suffering, illness, constant battle with one’s passions, which come out in very different ways. There are obvious passions: gluttony, different types of fornication, greed, sadness and despondency, anger, vanity, pride, disbelief and weak faith, envy, lying, condemnation of other people, etc. Every person who tries to follow Christ has to battle these passions – to conquer and to be conquered – and this calls for patience and exertion. Often this is a real cross to bear and you can’t escape it. There are two options here: either the person gives in to these passions without battle and betrays Christ, choosing the world and its life, or he battles with all his might and suffers and through this grows spiritually.
Your current state, which you hint at, is also a passion, a characteristic of the “old person”, not yet mature in Christ. But the enemy masks and hides this very well with his own ways of making it confusing and mixing it up to seem like nothing of the sort. Even though demons were darkened by their fall, they retained the sharp angelic mind and some other capabilities. They have studied very well people’s physiology and psychology; they have connections to people’s bodies, nerves, minds. They can also, of course, feel our spiritual bodies and what is going on there and they always use this to harm us and make us fall. The obvious passions and the harm they do, a person can most often see, so demons try to mix and confuse everything. They attribute special meanings to our suffering, exaggerate some things, tone down others in order to mislead and deceive us. Often, they make the passions seem beautiful and enjoyable. The demons’ cunning and guile is constant, never-waning and all of it for the purpose of destruction.
We neophytes, lacking experience and serious spiritual guidance, have to remember one thing: on our own we cannot do anything in the battle against passions and demons, but instead we have to be diligent in battling them, calling every moment of the way to Christ for help. “They passed me and I battled them with the Name of Christ”. Neither you, on your own, nor any other person, can win the battle, but only Christ. Thus it follows that we absolutely need to pray more, with reverence and heartfelt feelings, telling Christ about all of our sins, passions, inabilities and infirmities and asking for forgiveness and help. From these confessions you will feel calmness and spiritual peace, humility and determination to have patience for God and for our salvation.
I will say a few words about your current state, which you feel is almost exclusive to you: your feelings of loneliness and forsakenness.
I have not met one woman who did not suffer from this at one point or another. Obviously this is a part of the woman’s nature. God said to Eve at the point of the Fall: “thou shalt be attracted to your husband” This attraction (not really physical, but mostly psychological) acts in all lonely people, but is always a little bit different, is “decorated” and individualized. Taken from the rib of Adam, she searches for her spot to become complete once more. Please don’t take offence at my words, but rather look closely at what you are feeling. They are truly part of the “old person” and you need to not become despondent in your suffering, but instead battle with prayer, lent, reading a little the Fathers of the Church, physical work, and a little bit of fatigue sometimes. I end on this not for now. May God Bring you to reason, Bless you, and help you find the right way (for you) to His Kingdom.
17/ IV –58 г.