A Holy Father on a Founding Father

Elder Barsanuphius of Optina 1845-1913

The life of any Christian person can be depicted graphically in the form of an uninterruptedly ascending line. But the Lord does not allow a man to see this ascent; He conceals it, knowing human weakness, knowing that by observing his own improvement it would not take a man long to become prideful, and where there is pride, there too is a fall into the abyss. [Benjamin] Franklin thought up a horrible thing, proposing that people, on special little boards, make note of their successes of the day, of the week, and so on. In this way one can reach a state of terrible prelest, and tumble down into the abyss of destruction.

No, ours is a different path. We must all strive towards God, towards heaven, towards the East; but we must see our sins and weaknesses, confessing ourselves to be the first among sinners, seeing ourselves as beneath all, and all others as above us. However, this is a difficult thing; we all try to take notice of others—he’s weak in this, but I’m not; I’m a good boy, better than him. One must struggle against this trait. This is a tough struggle, but without it it’s impossible to see God. (Letter: April 11, 1911)

Source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/elderbars_talks1.aspx