In what regards the prayer you are writing to me about, my son, there is no danger for you to be wrong, as your elder knows those regarding it. Do what your elder tells you and if the Grace comes and goes do not get upset because in this way it tests the man to think humbly and not to be proud.
At the beginning this is what the baby does. `Woe to you city whose king is young!` says the Holy Scripture. `Woe to you, soul whose mind is a beginner in such matters!`
The mind, my son, can`t remain in a single state, especially the mind of the one who is weak in the spiritual matters. The mind wants in certain moments to read in others to chant psalms and in others to keep quiet. When the man is quiet the mind finds the opportunity to occupy itself with the different meanings of the Holy Scriptures about which it read before. When you give it all the good it enjoys, it receives power as the body gets when it receives good nourishment. But when you give it what you have at hand then instead of being enlightened, it darkens itself. In the same way when it gets tired it needs rest.
In this way it learns how to distinguish the good from the evil. Thus our mind becomes entirely light, entirely transparent. It sees the purity of the soul. It sees the snipes. It endures the temptations. The grace is multiplied. The body purifies itself of passions. The soul calms itself. And in the end they come one after another like in a chain linked tightly and without much toil as all of them are brought by the flawless obedience.
And see : The mind of the one who is perfectly obedient is free of all worries. The mind is the treasurer of the soul which carries further the nourishment you give it. When the mind has peace and you give it the good it desires, it takes it down to the heart. First the mind purifies itself of all prejudices it had in the world then frees itself of the worries of life and by a ceaseless saying of the Jesus prayer it stops forever to be dissipated. Then you realize it got purified as it doesn`t incline anymore towards the sly and impure things it saw or heard in the world. Further on, by prayer, the mind entering and going out of the heart purifies the path and takes out all the shamelessness, cunning and impurity from the heart. The mind struggles against the passions and demons that generate all these and which had found shelter in it for so many years which nobody found or see. But now when the mind received purity – its former attire – sees them and it barks like a dog and fights with them as a master and guardian of the intelligent part of the soul. Holding as a weapon the name of Jesus it slashes the warrior until it takes them all out of the heart where they bark like some wild dogs. Now the mind begins to cleanse the dirt and impurity with which the demons defiled it by the consents the man had made to any bad thing which brings sin. It continues to fight with the demons taking them out and drawing them away completely for not bothering it anymore. It tries hard to throw away the dirtiness these demons throw inside it. Then like a good treasurer it brings adequate nourishment for the enlightenment and health of the soul. The purifying Grace participates at this. The one who prays is shadowed by the cover of obedience, being protected by this grace which received his soul to guard before God.
And little by little it is accomplished the change of the Most High. After the demons are completely drawn away and the inner side of the heart will be purified, the defiling will stop. The mind is enthroned as a king in the heart and it rejoices like the bridegroom of his bride in the nuptial chamber.
It brings a holy quiet pure peace. It says the prayers without effort and then the Grace works freely and it shows to the mind the promises it will receive as rewards if it accomplishes its duties flawlessly. From that moment on, the man peaceful and quiet is elevated by the Grace to contemplation according to the capacity it affords the foundation it has
Therefore first it comes the fear of God, the faith, the perfect obedience, the self renunciation which bring all these. The man reaches the perfect love and the peak of dispassion, when the evil doesn`t move anymore in his mind and cries out from the depths: `
`My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?`
It waits for death as for a great joy when these eyes will close up and those eyes will open with which he will see everything and will rejoice forever.
Thus, strive my son. Try to have a perfect obedience where all these good things are found and live like a soul in more bodies. Thus the elder gets rest and time to pray with all his heart in a perfect joy and merriment. When you don`t listen and deprive yourself of all these then the soul feels burdened all the time and gets sick because of sadness heading slowly towards death.
I have tried all these and ate their fruit which is very sweet. I haven`t found any other greater rest like that one of perfect obedience. We buried our kind elder and we found peace with his prayers.
Therefore work now when you are young to harvest the fruit of dispassion at old age. You shall see what I am telling you not only at a deep old age but even at twenty years of age. But if you don`t endeavour your best, even if you live like Methuselah, you won`t enjoy these charismas.
Endeavour and wish all of you to please the elder and the other one for good. And you will see this stillness of passion and peace of the soul as if you were in the middle of heaven.
Excerpt from Testimonies of the monachal experience– Pious Joseph the Hesychast, Evanghelismos Publishing.