Saints Barsanuphius the Great and John the Prophet. "Letters".
A brother asked the Great Old Man: “Tell me, father, whether the compunction that I think I possess is genuine, and whether I should live here on my own. Also, pray for me because I am troubled by bodily warfare.” Response by Barsanuphius.
Brother, your weeping and compunction are not genuine at this time; rather, they come and go. For genuine weeping, which comes with compunction, becomes like a servant submitted to us without separation; and a person who possesses this does not experience warfare. It even wipes away one’s former faults and washes away all spots. Moreover, in the name of God, it continually protects the person who has acquired it. It also expels laughter and distraction, while at the same time unceasingly maintaining one’s mourning. For weeping is a large shield that deflects all of the fiery arrows of the devil. The person who possesses it experiences absolutely no combat, whether that person is with others or even with prostitutes! [Such a gift] is always with us and fights for us.
So I have demonstrated for you the sign of weakness and of courage. Do not think that God could not relieve you from the battle; for he could indeed have relieved you, especially for the sake of the saints who were praying for you. Nevertheless, because he loves you, God wants you to be trained through many battles and exercises in order to reach the measure of good repute. And you cannot reach this point unless you keep all that I have commanded you through my letters, vainglorious teacher that I am. As for staying by yourself, this is a very special gift. When it comes to you, I shall inform you about this myself. Apply yourself now, child, as I have told you, and I believe that you will find progress in Christ. Do not be afraid. May the Lord be with you. Amen.