Saint Silouan the Athonite
How do you know whether you are living according to the will of God? Here is a sign: if you long for some thing, then you have not submitted to the will of God, even though you may think that you live according to His will. Whoever lives according to the will of God does not concern himself with anything. And if he needs some thing, then he submits himself and that thing to God; and if he does not receive it, then he remains content as though he had received it. The soul which has submitted to the will of God, fears nothing: neither storm nor bandits; nothing. And whatever should happen, it says, “It is God’s will.” If the body is ill, the soul thinks, “Then I am in need of this illness, otherwise God would not have given it to me.” And so the body and the soul remain at peace.
Any soul that feels burdened by doubt must appeal to the Lord, and the Lord shall answer it. But in general, this should only be done in an hour of crisis and confusion; ordinarily, one should appeal to a confessor, for this is an expression of humility. The Lord has provided for the Holy Spirit to be present on earth, and those in whom He lives feel Heaven in their hearts. Perhaps you ask, why do I not feel such grace? Because you have not submitted to the will of God, but live according to your own.
We must always pray, so that the Lord will tell us what we must do, and the Lord will not leave us in confusion. Adam was unwise not to ask the Lord about the fruit brought to him by Eve, and so lost Eden. David did not ask the Lord, “will it be good if I take for myself the wife of Uriah?” and so fell into the sins of murder and adultery. And so all the saints who have sinned, sinned because they did not call upon God for help and spiritual guidance. Saint Serafim of Sarov once said, “When I spoke of my own mind, I made mistakes.”
If you speak or write of God, then pray and ask the Lord for help and guidance, and the Lord will aid and teach you. And if you are bewildered, bow three times and say, “Merciful Lord, You see that my soul is confused, and I fear falling into sin, guide me, oh Lord.” And the Lord will certainly direct you because He is very close to you. If you doubt this, then you will not receive that for which you ask. Thus the Lord said to Peter, “Why did you doubt, you of little faith” (Matthew 14:31), when Peter began to drown in the water. It is the same with the soul that begins to drown in evil thoughts when it enters into doubt.
And so, only the Lord knows all; as for us, whoever we are, we must pray to God for enlightenment and turn to our spiritual confessors, so as not to make mistakes.
Saintly Father Siluan,
Pray God for us!
The Father is my hope, the Son my refuge, the Holy Spirit my protection: All-Holy Trinity, glory to You!
Apolytikion The Ascension of our Lord (Fourth Tone)
O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.