Sunday, November 30, 2014

Do we understand the worth of our souls?

If we understood the value of our souls and could see the preciousness of the gifts that God has given us we would labor to deepen and preserve them.  No amount of ascetic labor would, so long as suited to our station in life, seem excessive or beyond our strength.  Sorsky exhorts us not to make asceticism and the spiritual disciplines something of the past and not necessary for ourselves.  We have received the same call to holiness.  The only thing that makes it impossible is the lack of a serious desire to repent. 

We can at least be conscious of the folly that engrosses us, of how we throw away our talents in the pursuit of material things as we give ourselves over to cares and anxieties that are harmful for our souls.  And we regard all such pursuit as good and praiseworthy!  But woe to us!  We do not understand the worth of our souls.  We do not understand that we have not been called to live such an evil life, as St. Isaac says.  Woe to us if we think our life in this world - its sufferings, its joys, its rest - have importance for us!  Woe to us if by the life of our soul, so weighted down by laziness, worldly curiosity, and lack of concern, we should be convinced that the style of life that was proper to that lived by the ancient saints is no longer necessary for us nor is it possible for us to live such ascetical exploits.  No, this cannot be so, in no way!  Such practices are not possible only for those who are immersed by self-indulging passions because of their own free will who do not seriously desire to repent, namely, to truly come under the guidance of the divine Holy Spirit, but who are given over to useless, worldly cares.

Nil Sorsky