Why do we fast? For grace! Why do we fulfill all the commandments? For grace! Why do we pray? For grace! Why do we go to the church? For grace! Why do we chant psalms? For grace! Why do we accomplish everything appertaining to the Christian? For grace! We do everything for acquiring grace. The essence of the Christian life is the acquirement and maintenance of the Holy Spirit!
What is grace? Grace is the personal uncreated energy of God which is shared with the creature – it is the grace of the Holy Spirit which deifies us, helps us to grow in resembling God!
How to maintain grace? We maintain grace when we don`t receive any thought of arrogance towards our neighbor. Whenever we receive a thought of arrogance, of superiority, of judgment regarding our neighbor the grace withdraws in a certain measure. The essence of the withdrawal of grace is the pride in relation with our neighbor. We keep the grace when we don`t receive any sinful thoughts, when we live ascetically.
Humbleness attracts grace. The essence of receiving and maintaining grace is humbleness, our humbleness regarding our neighbor, our self blame. The ascetic struggler avoids the analytical rational ways of our mind-judgment in order to avoid the fall in the darkness of selfishness of the fallen man`s mind (archimandrite Sophrony) This is the synthesis of the dogmatic conscience: how to gain and maintain grace. Grace always comes with peace.
`Gain peace and thousands of people will find their salvation around you.` (Saint Seraphim of Sarov) The spiritual man who has a mature dogmatic conscience knows why the grace of God comes and go.
When he loses his peace, he humbles himself and the grace comes back. Even if the grace without a known visible reason, the man humbles himself, for the grace goes wherever desires, is absolutely free.
According to the great personal experience of Saint Silouan – for whom the spiritual life had no more secrets: `The grace comes from all good things, but especially from the brotherly love, from our benevolence towards our brother.`
(Saint Silouan the Athonite)
Excerpt from In the cell on the corridor of Christ`s humbleness` – The mystery of the person in the teaching of Saint Silouan the Athonite and of pious Sophrony from Essex” by Vasile Călin Drăgan