Monday, August 27, 2018

Do not be afraid of anything; have all your hope in God. ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Do not grieve because of your warfare. Do not fear, but take courage. The demons do not have the authority to harm you. It is from the hand of God; through it the eyes of your soul will be opened, and it will set you on the right path. It takes extremely bitter medicines to heal difficult passions. Entreat God: “Lead us not into temptation” (Mt. 6:13 ). This warfare, as St. Isaac the Syrian says, is due to pride, conceit, and hardness of heart. The remedy is humility, the recognition of one’s incorrect judgment, and obedience and trust in one’s spiritual father. 
Humble yourself, my child; only this medicine will save you. God has sent these temptations to you out of love to frighten you, so that you pull yourself together, come to your senses, humble yourself, and ask for forgiveness. The demons get angry when you pray, because these evil ones see that you are beginning to break their nets, and they are afraid that you might escape from them. They want to make you despair or lose heart. Therefore, arm yourself with trust and hope in God and with the conviction that they are not allowed to do anything without the higher command of God. 
Know that if you are patient in this warfare and humble yourself before God and your brethren, God will give you much grace and enlightenment; the eyes of your soul will be opened, and you will see in what great darkness you were. The courage you have is due to the grace of God which helps you in these temptations. For without courage and hope and faith, there is grave danger in such temptations. 
Do not be afraid of anything; have all your hope in God. Cry out the prayer without stopping and you will see how much help you will receive. Fear God—not the demons. Fear God and His judgments, for when He decides to punish us with some kind of penance for our pride, who is able to stop Him? Therefore, when the evil is still small, let us take care to remedy it. For once it has grown worse, you will not be able to be delivered even if others help you. So love God more, since He has sent you the medicine for your illness—that is, patience, humility, and courage—and see to it that you take it.
Elder Ephraim of Arizona