Elder Joseph+ of Vatopaidi on Cycles of Grace
From now on, he who has tasted this sweetness let him be prepared to also taste the corresponding bitterness which is the result of the changes. Mother grace, which has so affectionately consoled and fortified the repenting soul and has saved it from the effects of temptations and ignorance; which has raised it to perceive so many mysteries, suddenly becomes merciless and hides her presence. The repenting soul knocks at the door of repentance in vain; it knocks at the same door which had immediately being opened in the past. Everything everywhere looks gloomy and there is no help from anyone. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Matthew 27, 46) There is no Simon Canaanite to lift our cross. Even if we thrice or many times cry out we are not able to clearly perceive the response. There is only one secret consolation: hope has not been extinguished but it silently encourages the fighter: “Do not be afraid. Just believe”. Let me rather cite the words of our great Father, the most Holy Elder Silouan: “Keep your mind in hell and do not despair”.
The saying : “I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting” ( Psalm 35,13) becomes our daily duty as well as this one: “my tears have been my food day and night” ( Psalm 42,3). Then again we remember our Lord’s encouraging words: “I will see you again and you will rejoice” (John 16, 22). Serenity follows brainstorming and calm seas follow stormy waters.
– ‘Practical Repentance and its Fruits’