St. Barsanuphius, who for fifty years lived secluded in a cell and did not allow himself to be seen by any living person, attained exceptional purity and perceptiveness through divine contemplation and prayer. Here are a few thoughts from his "Book of Answers":
"Every thought which is not preceded by the silence of humility does not proceed from God. All that is from the devil occurs with confusion and disturbance."
"When you pray and God delays fulfilling your request, He does this for your benefit, in order to teach you forbearance."
"Visible thieves are servants of invisible, noetic thieves."
"The Lord Jesus Christ endured all things and finally ascended the Cross, which signifies the deadening of the body and the passions and a holy and perfect rest."
"Our Lord wants you to honor every man more than yourself."
When they asked the elder whether they should hire an advocate regarding a dispute between the monastery and certain men, the elder replied: "If you purchase the defense of men, then God will not defend you."
On the mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son
"I know Him: for I am from Him, and He hath sent Me." (Jn 7:29)
No one has ever dared to say that he knows God. Many have merely said that they believe in God. Only our Lord Jesus Christ spoke the words "I know Him." And immediately He explained from where He knows Him, saying: "For I am from Him, and He hath sent Me." The first reason, "I am from Him," testifies to the eternal being of the Son; and the second reason, "and He hath sent Me," testifies to the manifestation of the Son in time, in the physical world, as an emissary of the Holy Trinity.
For us who are Christ-believing, it is not given to know the Father as His Only-begotten Son knows Him. To us it is given and commanded that we believe. Our merit is in believing and not in knowing. If all of us knew God by seeing, no one would have any merit. For what kind of merit is there in seeing and recognizing? However, not to see and yet to believe - in this there is merit, in this there is virtue, in this is our salvation.
We are not worthy to see God and by seeing Him to know Him, for we are weakened by sin and alienated from God. But the mercy of God gives us faith while in this life, which is able to bring us closer to God and lead us into the Eternal Kingdom of seeing and knowing in the life to come. O my brethren, let us believe in Christ the Lord, for He knows. He does not speak by faith but by knowing.
O Merciful Lord, strengthen our faith. Extend the hem of Thy garment that we may hold onto it to the end of our lives.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. I
6 February, Reflection & Homily