What do we understand when we say spiritual strife?

Saint Naktarios of Pentapolis, the wonder worker, represents for our days of the 21st century a gift from God for our world. His writings are the result of his pious life.

From „The Voice of the Elders” of the Holy Monastery Paraklitou we present you the following text written by saint Nektarios:

`The purpose of our life is to reach perfection and holiness. To prove ourselves as sons of God and inheritors of the Kingdom of God. Let us take heed so that we won’t miss the immortal life for the sake of the mortal one, so that we won’t neglect the purpose of our life because of the worries and concerns.

Fasting, vigils and prayer don’t bear the desired fruits out of themselves, because they are not the purpose of our life, they only represent some means we use to accomplish that purpose.

Adorn your torches with virtues. Strive to get rid of the spiritual passions. Cleanse your heart of any dirt and keep it pure, so that God comes to dwell inside it and the Holy Spirit overflows yourself with the divine gifts.

My beloved sons, this should be your pursuit and care. This should be your endless aim and desire. For this you should pray to God.

Seek God every day, but inside your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear before Him, like the cherubims and seraphims, because your heart has become throne of God. But for finding God, humble yourself till the earth, because God abhors the proud ones and loves and searches the humble. If you strive with the good strife, God will strengthen you. In strife we shall find our weaknesses, deficiencies and mistakes. Strife is the mirror of our spiritual condition. That one who hasn’t strived, hasn’t known himself.

Take heed even about the smallest mistakes. If it happened to commit a sin out of negligence, do not despair, but raise quickly and kneel before God who has the power to lift you up.

Inside ourselves we have weaknesses, passions and sins which are deeply rooted and many are inherited. These are not accomplished with a spasmodic movement, with anxiety and a profound sorrow, but with patience and perseverance, with courage, care and attention.

Exaggerate sadness hides pride inside it. That is why it is harmful and dangerous and many times is aroused by the devil, to interrupt the journey of the struggler.

The path that leads to perfection is a long one. Pray to God to strengthen you. Bear with patience your falls and after you raise back on your feet again, run, don’t remain like some children in the place where you have fallen, crying and lamenting inconsolably.

Watch and pray, so that you don’t fall into temptation. Do not despair if you always fall into old sins. Many of them are powerful by nature and they receive more power from the force of habit. But over time and with diligence, they are defeated. Nothing should throw you into despair.