Grace means, to say it more clearly, the small or big gift coming out of the endless and plentiful divine giving which He divides in His endless kindness. And we receive the things we give as thankfulness, as the knowledge of God-from which comes out wonder – love, adoration, praise, doxology. Receiving all these the good Giver rewards us with the same from the same: these gifts from Your own gifts in all and for all.`
He divides the same richness and we, the poor, the blind and the crippled we enrich from it and the same richness remains at Him. It doesn`t decrease or increase. O unimaginable greatness! It enriches all. Thousands and millions got enriched and became saints and at God the richness remains the same.
Therefore know my son first of all that all good originates in God. There is no other good thought except for that one coming out from God, nor any cunning thought except for the one coming from the devil.
Any good thing comes into your mind or do are all gifts from God. `As all perfect gifts are descending from heaven.` All are God`s gifts, there is nothing which is ours.
Thus whoever wants and asks to receive the Grace to get it as a gift from God, first of all must know his own self, his own existence. This is the truth. For anything has a beginning. If you don`t find the beginning you won`t find any good end.
The beginning and the truth is when someone acknowledges the fact that he is nothing, a 0 and from nothingness were all created. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. He spoke and the earth was created. He took earth and created the man, without soul or mind, a man of clay. This is exactly your existence. This is what we all are. Only dust and mud.
This is the first lesson for that one who wants to receive grace and keep it for ever at him. From this knowledge comes out and also humbleness. One should not humble himself by some poor words, but he should say the truth from a solid foundation: I am dust, clay, mud. This is our first mother.
Thus, if the soil is trampled by feet, then you, as a piece of earth, should be trampled down. You are mud and have no value, therefore you are thrown from a place to another to build yourself. You are thrown from one to another like a useless material.
But see that the Creator breathed over you and gave you spirit of life. And you became a rational man. You speak, work, write and learn. You became a machine of God. But don`t forget that your roots are in the earth. If God Who gave you the spirit will take it away from you, you shall be again built among walls. Thus remember your last days and you shall sin no more.
This is the first reason which not only draws the grace, but multiplies and keeps it. This raises the mind at its first contemplation of nature.
Beside this beginning he finds out a little but after a while he loses it because he doesn`t build on a solid foundation but tries various methods and techniques.
For example you say, I am a sinner, but inside yourself you believe you`re righteous. In this way it is impossible to avoid deceit. The grace seeks to stay on a solid ground but as you didn`t find the truth by deed, it is forced to leave. This happens because you will believe your thought that you are what you are not and in this way you will be deceived. For this reason Grace doesn`t stay.
(from Testimonies of the monachal experience` Pious Joseph the Hesychast)