Elder Barsanuphius: Are You Running the Way that Is Prepared for You?

Feast of St Myron the Martyr of Cyzicus

Barsanuphius_and_John_Square_2.jpegRESPONSE FROM the Great Old Man to the same person, when a stone fell on his foot and caused him much pain and disheartenment.

To our beloved brother John, convey greetings in the Lord. According to your bodily labor for our sake, and the crushing of your spirit for the sake of God, may the Master God fill your soul, my beloved one, one hundredfold with heavenly blessings. Understand what I am writing to you, brother, and conceal it within you. I shall make you hear a heavenly joy from our divine Master. In the name of the Holy Trinity, I find that you are a co-heir of the gifts that I have been given by God. And I expect that step-by-step you will quickly achieve them. For it is possible for a person to reach the point of rest quickly as a result of ascetic labor. Again it is possible for another person to reach this on account of humility. And I hope that you will have both of these, as wrath dies in you when anger is choked from your heart. Then the written word will be fulfilled in you: “Look upon my humility and my labor, and forgive all my sins” (Ps. 24.18).

And since I said that you will achieve these gifts step by step, look at the Gospels, how—and how often—Christ gave gifts to the disciples, whether for healing or for casting out demons, telling them of the final perfection in regard to the forgiveness of sins: “Whosesoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven” (Jn. 20.23). Therefore, if on account of your labor for the sake of God, your sins are forgiven, this is precisely the measure that I want you to attain. If you read in this letter any words that are difficult to understand, ask Seridos, who is at one with your soul and my beloved son, and he will explain to you the difficult passages through the grace of God. For I have prayed to God for him about this matter.

You then, as a man of God, should unceasingly run the way that is prepared for you, so that you may reach with joy the harbor of Christ that we have reached, and hear the voice that is full of joy, light, life, and gladness, saying to you: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things; enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matt. 25.21). Rejoice in the Lord; rejoice in the Lord; rejoice in the Lord. May the Lord guard your soul and body from every evil, and from every opposition of the devil and every troubling imagination. The Lord will be your light, your protection, your way, your strength, your crown of gladness and eternal help. Pay attention to yourself. For, it is written: “Even what goes out from my lips, I will not put aside” (Ps. 88.35).

—Elder Barsanuphius, Letters from the Desert

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