The more a man advances in spiritual knowledge and in purification of the heart, the more it appears to him that depth in which he finds himself is even lower than he had previously thought, and that the height to which he strives is even higher.
When one spiritual giant, who was on his deathbed, heard that his companions were praising him because of his great asceticism, he began to weep, and said: "My children, I have not even begun my spiritual life."
When St. Ignatius the God-bearer lay chained in the dungeon, he wrote to the Ephesians: "I do not command you as though I were someone significant. Even though I am in chains for the name of Jesus Christ, nevertheless, I still have not perfected myself in Him. Now I am beginning to be His disciple, and I speak to you as to an assembly of my teachers."
On perfection through the fulfilling of the will of God
"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work." (Jn. 4:34)
Here is a saving example given to us by our Savior! He Who had such power, authority and wisdom says that He came into the world to do not His own will but the will of the Father, and to do not His own work but the work of His Father - but we, even though we are as weak as a cobweb, continuously emphasize our will and, some of us, even our work!
The Son is equal to the Father, as He says in another place: "I and My Father are one." (Jn. 10:30) Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus says that He came into the world to do His Father's will and to accomplish His Father's will. He is not saying this in order to show the smallness of His being before the Father's being - Their being is one - but, rather, to show the greatness of His love toward the Father, and in order to motivate us, out of love toward God, to totally adopt His will.
All of our misery in this life comes from the fact that we do not implement the will of Him Who sent us into this world. We do not implement His will because we do not have love toward Him. For whoever loves someone acts according to his will. The Lord Himself said: "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15) By what means could the Lord proclaim His love toward the Father, if not by fulfilling the will of the Father? And by what means can we proclaim our love toward the Lord Jesus, crucified for us on the Cross, if not by fulfilling His will?
Our will, O my brethren, is a deceitful as a shadow. Let us not follow it, that we may not perish. Rather, let us follow the will of the Lover of mankind, the Lord, Who alone knows what is best for us.
O humble and man-loving Lord, teach us to do Thy will.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1
29 January, Reflection & Homily