We hear very often from the laymen:
„What kind of salvation is in the world, only vanity of vanities, there are only follies and the temptations are found at every step. The monastery is something different. There is peace, there is no trouble, no unrest and non worry.
That is why it happens that people with a passionate nature who are easily attracted by any call at the first disappointment in their worldly life very often are ready to leave the world immediately and go to the monastery taking their occasional elan as a special call from God. But it is known that where we are not present is good.
The holy recluse never approved those who solved superficially this important matter trying at least for a time to stop those who were tempted in such a thoughtless way by the monastery life. In his letters regarding this matter he tells everyone and to each one in part that salvation is not found only in the monastery and first of all the laymen have no adequate view about the monachal life.
„You ask me to tell you where is better for you to find salvation. Not even God can tell you this thing. If He doesn`t tell it to you it means He leaves you understand that it is useless to pray for this…
Even in the actual situation there is nothing to impede your salvation. Everything consists in good will and in the salvatory state of the heart. Towards this should be turned your concern. Meaning to guard the good ones, as it is easily understood and add those which are missing…According to which program? According to the blessings…Everything is written in the blessings you must have in your heart and you see heaven…
If you have a vivid faith, if don`t have sins to separate you of God and take from you His Grace, if your union with the Holy Church and the fulfillment of all the church commandments are steady, sure and full of zeal then your state is salvatory and what it remains is to keep this rule of life…
With this state you find salvation both in the monastery and outside it…
Salvation doesn`t depend on place but on the spiritual state. In any place you can find salvation and in any place you can perish. The first among angels perished. The Apostle (to understand, Judas) among Apostles perished in the presence of the Lord in person. The robber – being on the cross saved his soul. Remember Athens and the sermon of Saint Paul the Apostle…Dionysius believed but the others said: `What does this speaker in vain means?`
Spiritual life without any doubt is not influenced by the exterior environment and may bloom in any place and any situation: as it is found in its entirety in the inner structure and it is not ruled by the exterior environment, on the contrary it rules over it and guides it…The opinion that in the world it is impossible for you to save your soul is true if you live a worldly kind of life.
But if you don`t live a worldly life in the world, then there is no danger for salvation from this point of view. How many people who found salvation in the world did exist and still exist? Why not entering their line?
Family and social life are not worldly in themselves but they are this way when in the rules of these lives enter the passions and their satisfaction. For the family and social life there are commandments. If you live this kind of life in such a way that they are ruled by commandments and expelled all passions then the family and social life won`t be worldly, they will be holy and blessed by God…
There are so many ways of salvation that we can`t count. All of them are found in the soul not in the exterior environment. Someone assumed the guilt of someone else and was deported. There he toiled in mines humbly until the end of his life. After death it was revealed that he had pleased God…And what is life!
Yes salvation is not related to the place. In any place it is possible and in any place is accomplished in reality. In the monastery of course it is accomplished in a better way. But even there you find shortcomings.
For those who find salvation the path is narrow and painful. Nobody has found yet the means to sprinkle it with flowers.
All the work consists in being with the Lord. Be like that! He is everywhere anywhere you are. Whenever the soul cries and heads towards Him He comes towards the soul or within it. And here it is the church or the monastery!
Excerpt from We find salvation at home or in the monastery – Saint Teophanus the Recluse.