“Like a babbling baby, a man asks God for His holy will. As the Most Gracious Father, God gives him grace, but He also gives him temptations. If the man endures temptations without complaint, he receives additional grace. The more grace he receives, the more temptations follow”.
“Temptations… The less patience a person has, the greater they seem. But they also decrease as he learns to endure them; then he overcomes them without difficulty, becoming steady like a rock.
So be patient. As the years go by, things that seem difficult for you to achieve will come into your hands by themselves and become your own, so that you will not understand how it happened.
So, work now, while you are still young, without discouragement or wondering “Why?” When you grow old, you will reap the harvest of dispassion, wondering why you are gathering such beautiful crops without cultivating land at all. You will be perplexed how an unworthy person like you has become rich, and how all your lamentation, violation and despondency have grown such fruits and fragrant flowers!
Therefore, constrain yourself”.
“Never try to prove your right, for then you will be wrong. Instead, learn to endure temptations courageously, no matter what the Lord allows to happen. Without making excuses, say, “As you bless” and confess that you were mistaken even if you were not. Condemn yourself sincerely; mean it with the consciousness of your soul, and not superficially, for the sake of praise”.
“Do not ask people to comfort you in your sorrows, so that you may be comforted by God.
Forgiving the guilty is a bridge that we all have to cross. If you do not forgive a guilty person, you destroy this bridge for yourself. So, become a good model and example for others in your kind and God-pleasing deeds. Do not wish to conquer everyone with your tongue.
Don’t be dreaming of comfort, if your words demand to prove your right. Rightness lies in courageously enduring the coming temptations in order to emerge victorious, whether you are guilty or not. If you are saying, “But why?” then you are resisting God, Who sends you sorrows for the sake of your own passionate state. God punishes us so that we become dispassionate. If you cannot withstand it, then you are truly at war with Him”.
“All temptations and sorrows take patience, for it alone helps prevail over them”.
“I will tell you and all the brothers that there is no other, shorter way than enduring the coming temptations, no matter how they come. The spiritual state of a person and the grace that he has are evidenced by patience. How does your elder tolerate all of you? Because he has patience. This testifies that he has grace and that he has righteousness.
Righteousness has no bell for us to ring and learn about it. The bell of righteousness is tolerance, longsuffering and endurance. All these are adornments for any monk and every Christian”.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Source: Joseph of Athos, elder. Exposition of the Monastic Experience. – M .: Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra, 1998