Philokalia

Philokalia

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Letters from a Russian Monk: On Consulting the Like-Minded When Lacking a Spiritual Guide


It is a great good fortune for us to have the books of the Holy Fathers, for they speak in detail about the spiritual life.  Of course it would be good to lead a spiritual life under the guidance of a spiritual director,  but holy men have become fewer, and without a director it is very dangerous to be guided only by books, just in the way a person who has not studied medicine can go to the pharmacy and choose something poisonous instead of useful medicines.  However, we must not despair.  Let us make the publican’s humility our foundation and the Lord in his goodness will help us sinners and deliver us from disasters on the spiritual path.  And let us repent of our weaknesses, for all the wrestlers for piety have held to humility and penitence.

The great staretz Paissy Velichokovsky also grieved that there were no guides, but on the basis of his experience in the spiritual life he advised simply consulting with likeminded people, discussing and reading together the books of the Holy Fathers.  So your group is very useful, for you exchange ideas there.  You need not be worried when there are differences of opinion: this happens even among the spiritual wrestlers.  God is one, and people come to Him from different directions.  So it is very precious and useful to have a like-minded person to talk with.

The Lord keep you!