Ijov’s Blog

November 30, 2007

Letters of St Ambrose of Optina

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Letters of St Ambrose

Saint Ambrosius of Optina

Saint Ambrosius of Optina

From letters of St Ambrose of Optina to different persons, translation from Russian (Prepodobnyj Amvrosiy Optinskiy. Umudryaysya is Smiryaysia. Pisma o dukhovnoy zhizni. M.: Sretenskiy monastery publ. house, 2006). More on Saint Ambrose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Ambrose_of_Optina

“I can see from your letters, that you are getting suspectful, saying that no one can convince you. This is not good. After all you will say: and it is not needed that soomeone would reconvince me. This means that you are very much sure in infallability of your views and conclusions. And this is not good trait, this is sign of big pride. You always ask that God would grant you humility. But Lord does not give it out for free. Lord is ready to help man in acquiring humility as in all good but it is needed that man himself took care for himself. Holy Fathers say: “give blood and receive spirit”. This means work hard til shedding of blood and you will receive spiritual gift. But you are looking for spiritual gifts and ask for that; but to shed blood you regret, that is you want that nobody would touch you, not worry you. And in peaceful life how is it possible to acquire humility? Since humility consists in that when human sees himself worst of all, not only of people, but of mute animals, and even the spirits of evil themselves. And so when people disturb you, you see, that you can not stand this, and you get angry at people, so after all you will view yourself as bad. Or for example: to judge, to suspect others, again after all you will consider yourself as bad. And if you will regret about your badness and wrongness and repremand yourself in uncorrectness, then only you are on the path of humility. One thing seems here not good: what is painful and troubleful is unpleasant. This is true, but it is useful for the soul. And I will say you, waht seems to us: and for soul it is useless. Everything this happens to you eacuse you do not understand spiritual life. But God called the way to Heavenly Kingdom the narrow way. And if none will disturb you and you would be in peace, how would you would be able to get conscious of your shortcomings? You wuld not be able to consider yourself wrong, but sooner you would consider yourself as righteous and perhaps, you would come to the point of going out of your mind, as there were many similar cases even on our eyes. You are sad after you noticed that all try to humiliate you. If they try to humiliate you they want to humble you and you yourself are praying to God for humility. Why then do you get sad at people? You complain about unjustice of people that surround you in relation to you. But if you aiming at to be in Kingdom with Christ Lord, look at Him, how he dealed with enemies surrounded Him: Judas, Annah, Caiaphas, bookers and pharisees, that demanded His death. It seems He did not complain to anyone that His enemies dela with Him unjustly, but in all the horrible sorrows that he received from His enemies, He saw only the will of His Heavenly Father, which He determined Himself to follow and followed until His last breath, despite the fact that those who were the instruments of fulfilling Father´s will were the most iniquitous people. He saw, that they acted blind, in ignorance, and that is why He did not hate them but prayed: Father, forgive them: because they do not know waht they do”.

Do not step in consideration of deeds of people, do not judge, do not say: why is it so, why this? Better say yourself: “What is my business to them? I will not answer for them at the Frightening Judgement of God”. Detract your thought as much as you can from judgements of human deeds, but pray with heart to Lord so that He Himself help you in that; because without God´s help we can not do anything good, as Lord Himself said: Without Me you can not do anything (John 15:5). Stay away from suspectfullness as from fire, because the enemy of human race catches by this humans in his net, that tries to present everything in perverted view: white as black and black as white, same way he dealt with our protofathers Adam and Eve in paradise.”

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