Letter to a Spiritual Daughter (Continued) by Igumen Nikon (Vorobiev)
We continue this week with another letter written by Igumen Nikon (Vorobiev), a Russian spiritual father, to a spiritual daughter in the last century. His words are bright gems for all of us who struggle with physical, psychological and spiritual pain.
Thank you for your letter. I have started to worry about you. Unfortunately, the pressure of the past has been very heavy for you. I am glad that you understand this and do not accuse you. Man is very weak, and sin is very strong in his soul and body, and demons are so spiteful regarding those who want to slip away from their power, that falls and some returns to the past sinful life are inevitable. Don’t be distressed and lose heart about it. It takes time and effort even to weave a bast shoe. The way to the Kingdom of God lies through many hardships, struggle and efforts.
You must have read in the Gospel, that the Kingdom of God is like leaven that is put into flour till the whole was leavened. The same is true with human soul: it cannot be leavened with Good News leaven all at once. Sometimes the process of leavening may go fast, but sometimes it may slowdown. You will know what I am talking about. One thing is necessary: try to live according to the commandments of the Gospel, counteract every sin whether it was committed in deed, in word, or in thought, and do not give in to bad inclinations. If you fail, repent before God and ask forgiveness, and then go on fighting - until death.
Remember, that you will achieve nothing by yourself; so appeal to the Lord Jesus Christ for help at every temptation. Then, your good intention will be strengthened by God, capable of doing away with any sin and any demonic intrigue. If you succeed in fighting a sinful inclination, do not attribute the victory to yourself, but to God thanking Him for the assistance in overcoming the temptation of sin. If you attribute it to yourself, you will fall again into the same sins.
Appeal to the name of God as often as possible. Now that have got some understanding of good and evil, the Lord expects you to stick to Him, to stick to His sacred commandments and be guided by them in life, instead of being misled by the inculcations of demons and by your own fallen nature, contaminated by sin. The choice is yours. The Lord is watching you to see your inclinations. The earthly life is given to man to make his free choice to be with God or with the devil. So, the future life depends on the present life: those working for the devil committing sins will stay with him forever; while those who have been striving for God all their life, though having falls from time to time, will after death stay with God, enjoying everlasting blissfulness.
The Lord has not sent you your disease for no purpose or just to punish you (though, according to spiritual law every sin is to be followed by grief); He has sent it out of His love for you – to tear you off the sinful life and put you on the way towards salvation. Thank God for His care for you and do not offend Him by sinning. Do the utmost to fight every temptation of sin; otherwise, you might encounter sufferings that would be even worse than before.
Forgive me, if I offended you. May the Lord bless you and help you to save your soul from losing it in favor of meager and sly worldly interests.