St. Diadochos on Communion with God


SAINT DIADOCHOS OF PHOTIKI

“When God recedes in order to educate us, this brings great sadness, humility and even some measure of despair to the soul. The purpose of this is to humble the soul’s tendency to vanity and self-glory, for the heart at once is filled with fear of God, tears of thankfulness, and great longing for the beauty of silence. But the receding due to God’s complete withdrawl fills the soul with despair, unbelief, anger and pride. We who have experienced both kinds of receding should approach God in each case in the appropriate way. In the first case we should offer Him thanks as we plead in our own defence, understanding that He is disciplining our unruly character by concealing His presence, so as to teach us, like a good father, the difference between virtue and vice. In the second case, we should offer Him ceaseless confession of our sins and incessant tears, and practise a greater seclusion from the world, so that by adding to our labours we may eventually induce Him to reveal His presence in our hearts as before. Yet we must realize that when there is a direct struggle between Satan and the soul- and I am speaking here of the struggle that takes place when God recedes in order to educate us- then grace conceals itself a little, as I have said, but nevertheless supports the soul in a hidden way, so that in the eyes of its enemies the victory appears to be due to the soul alone.” On Spiritual Knowledge and Discernment (AD 451)

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