Letters of hegumen Nikon (Vorobyov) to spiritual children.
Dear ... ,
Peace and mercy from God be with you and S. I have received your letter. You have not written about your condition for a long time. I am glad of what you write about, if you really experience what you describe. Often, people describe only their dreams or something they have read or heard from somebody. What is described by you necessarily happens with every person properly going the spiritual way. Save you soul, work, pray, maintain peace with everybody, judge nobody, but have pity for everybody, do not judge those who sin openly, but sigh about them to God, so that He absolves them and instructs them for salvation.
Humility of the man is a measure of his spiritual growth. The higher is the man in his spirit, the humbler he is. And vice versa, the humbler is the man, the higher he is. Not prayer rules, not bows, not fasting, not reading of God's Word, but humility makes the man closer to God. Without humility, all, even the greatest, labours do not make good, and can even ruin the man. And nowadays one can see that if a person prays a little more, reads Psalms sometimes, observes fasting – and already he considers himself to be higher than others, disapproves his neighbours, begins to teach, when nobody asks for it etc., and so he demonstrates his spiritual emptiness and departure from God “into a far country”. Fear a high opinion or yourself.
Jesus Christ said that even if you have done all those things which are commanded you (i. e. fulfilled everything according to the commandments), believe you to be unprofitable servants that have done that which was their duty to do. And salvation is a gift of God to the humble and the people with a broken heart. Thus, we should ask God for humility. Humility cannot be combined with judgment of our neighbours and sensitivity to offense. If we judge others or take offence, when others somehow offend us, we have no humility. Saint ascetics sincerely thanked those who offended and insulted them. Because they learnt humility by way of tolerating offences. Our Lady said that God had chosen Her for Her humility. The Saviour Himself calls everybody to learn humility from Him; not fasting, not prayer, even not loving neighbours, but humility. Only through humility the man becomes one in God, who humbled himself to spits, buffets and the death on the Cross. Needless to say that we should do our best to fulfill all the commandments as well, but I repeat once again that they do no good or do harm without humility. Understand me correctly.
Let God instruct you! Let God deliver you from cunning of visible and invisible enemies. They have become too cunning. Regards to S. God's blessings upon you.