Monday, July 18, 2011

Earthly Problems

"I received two despairing little letters from you. You write to me: 'I have perished, for my horses have been stolen from my homestead.' Come to your senses—what are you saying? That your horses have been stolen is not some sort of mortal sin for which you must perish. Furthermore, you would not be able to take those horses with you to the other world. We take there only our deeds—good or evil. If we do not possess any virtues, then we will try at any rate to be delivered from our sins through repentance and endurance of the sorrows that God's Providence has sent us to cleanse our souls from sins, vices, and all impure dross. I know that you have many sorrows and much domestic unpleasantness. But tell yourself, enlighten yourself with the remembrance that in hell it is much worse, more wearying and doleful, and there is no hope of deliverance from it. If a person endures sorrows with submission to God's will, confessing his sins, then he will, through this, be delivered from eternal torments. Therefore we had better endure troubles here, no matter how difficult they are, turning our grief over to God and praying to Him with humility that He deliver us from faintheartedness and despair, which are the worst of all sins."

- Elder Ambrose of Optina