Spiritual life is in active conflict with earthly reason falsely so-called, which has become the guide of modern man. Having heard their pastors’ simple and, it would seem, accessible words of instruction, having heard the Word of God, people can only accept an assimilation and understanding of these truths when they are fulfilling them in their own lives; otherwise the Word would be distorted and profaned.

Then comes another stumbling block. The word they have heard does not reach fulfillment in their lives. Fulfillment requires much labor and effort over oneself. When the Word of God has penetrated the heart and taken root there, it gives courage, strength, and power to the self-sacrificing soul for the endurance of temptations. The spiritual father’s word is a spiritual sword empowered to cut off impurity – it causes pain and torment in the spiritual child’s heart, and requires humble self-denial and much patience of him.

All of these difficulties – the need to labor, endure, and to humble one’s egotism – become an obstacle to progress in spiritual life for many who are used to seeking only joy and pleasure in life.

The salvific cross which every person should consciously take up and carry with love – the cross which is the only means by which we can tear ourselves away from earthly attachments and passions – is cast off as an unbearable yoke.

Outwardly bowing down before the great Cross of Christ and His Passion, singing the praises of the weapon of our salvation, one skillfully and inventively side-steps one’s own personal saving cross.

Then what often occurs is a horrendous pseudo-spiritual life – a playing with spiritual life. This game, by giving birth to a false understanding of spirituality, has begun to swamp the world with false spirituality. It is becoming ever harder for the Church to stand up against this modern catastrophe which, by responding to people’s inner inclinations, leads them away from the saving way of the cross’ following after God, and toward a search for one’s “self,” which has already grown out of control in the soul and now directs one away from God.

– Letter on the Work of a Pastor