On Contemporary Asceticism

St. Seraphim of Sarov 1759-1833

A certain brother, seeing his [St. Seraphim of Sarov] ascetic life, asked him for his own edification: “Why don’t we, Father, lead a strict life as the ancient ascetics did?”

“Because,” replied the saint, “we have no determination to do so. If we had the determination, we should live as those Fathers did who, in olden times, shone with labours and piety; because God gives His grace and help to the faithful and to those who seek the Lord with all their heart now just as He did before. For according to the word of God, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (Heb. 13:8). (St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore pg. 427)