(The new St. Seraphim, of Viritsa was born in 1866. He
married and had three children. In 1920, at the age of 54, he and his wife
quietly separated and each entered monastic life. Eventually he became the
spiritual father of the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg, where, as
a clairvoyant staretz, he also confessed thousands of laity. He said, “I am the
storage room where people’s afflictions gather.” In imitation of his patron
saint, he prayed for a thousand nights on a rock before an icon of St. Seraphim
of Sarov. He reposed in the Lord in 1949 and the Church of Russia glorified him
in August of 2000.)
The following is (slightly abridged) from a letter
sent by St. Seraphim to a spiritual child of his, a hierarch who was at that
time in a Soviet prison. It is in the form of consolation given by God to a
troubled man’s soul.
Have you ever thought that everything that
concerns you, concerns Me, also? You are precious in my eyes and I love you; for
his reason, it is a special joy for Me to train you. When temptations and the
opponent [the Evil One] come upon you like a river, I want you to know that
This was from Me.
I want you to know that your weakness has
need of My strength, and your safety lies in allowing Me to protect you. I want
you to know that when you are in difficult conditions, among people who do not
understand you, and cast you away, This was from Me.
I am your
God, the circumstances of your life are in My hands; you did not end up in your
position by chance; this is precisely the position I have appointed for you.
Weren’t you asking Me to teach you humility? And there – I placed you precisely
in the “school” where they teach this lesson. Your environment, and those who
are around you, are performing My will. Do you have financial difficulties and
can just barely survive? Know that This was from Me.
I want you
to know that I dispose of your money, so take refuge in Me and depend upon Me. I
want you to know that My storehouses are inexhaustible, and I am faithful in My
promises. Let it never happen that they tell you in your need, “Do not believe
in your Lord and God.” Have you ever spent the night in suffering? Are you
separated from your relatives, from those you love? I allowed this that you
would turn to Me, and in Me find consolation and comfort. Did your friend or
someone to whom you opened your heart, deceive you? This was from
I allowed this frustration to touch you so that you would
learn that your best friend is the Lord. I want you to bring everything to Me
and tell Me everything. Did someone slander you? Leave it to Me; be attached to
Me so that you can hide from the “contradiction of the nations.” I will make
your righteousness shine like light and your life like midday noon. Your plans
were destroyed? Your soul yielded and you are exhausted? This was from
You made plans and have your own goals; you brought them to Me
to bless them. But I want you to leave it all to Me, to direct and guide the
circumstances of your life by My hand, because you are the orphan, not the
protagonist. Unexpected failures found you and despair overcame your heart, but
know That this was from Me.
With tiredness and anxiety I am
testing how strong your faith is in My promises and your boldness in prayer for
your relatives. Why is it not you who entrusted their cares to My providential
love? You must leave them to the protection of My All Pure Mother. Serious
illness found you, which may be healed or may be incurable, and has nailed you
to your bed. This was from Me.
Because I want you to know Me
more deeply, through physical ailment, do not murmur against this trial I have
sent you. And do not try to understand My plans for the salvation of people’s
souls, but unmurmuringly and humbly bow your head before My goodness. You were
dreaming about doing something special for Me and, instead of doing it, you fell
into a bed of pain. This was from Me.
Because then you were
sunk in your own works and plans and I wouldn’t have been able to draw your
thoughts to Me. But I want to teach you the most deep thoughts and My lessons,
so that you may serve Me. I want to teach you that you are nothing without Me.
Some of my best children are those who, cut off from an active life, learn to
use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. You were called unexpectedly to undertake a
difficult and responsible position, supported by Me. I have given you these
difficulties and as the Lord God I will bless all your works, in all your paths.
In everything I, your Lord, will be your guide and teacher. Remember always that
every difficulty you come across, every offensive word, every slander and
criticism, every obstacle to your works, which could cause frustration and
disappointment, This is from Me.
Know and remember always, no
matter where you are, That whatsoever hurts will be dulled as soon as you learn
In all things, to look at Me. Everything has been sent to you by Me, for the
perfection of your soul.
All these things were from Me.