SAINT THEOPHANIS THE ECLIST – You complain about the changeability of your inner state – sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. No other way.
“I have experienced and continue to experience unpleasant mental states in various forms.” We have only to endure them with humility and bravery, without relaxing our spiritual struggle, without neglecting the fulfillment of the divine commands – which is exactly what you are doing..
A good mental state comes. He leaves. A bad one is coming. She leaves too. Their rotation is continuous and unavoidable. All you can and must do is always desire and pursue the good.
If we never faced any difficulty, then we would have fallen into a spiritual minefield.
Mental transitions happen to everyone. All you have to do, therefore, is to endure them calmly, leaving yourself in the hands of God. Do not worry about anything else, but only this: Always be with the Lord. Whatever happens to you, take refuge in Him, reveal your soul to Him, lay your burdens on Him, tell Him your pain… And pray, asking Him to deliver you from temptations and sorrows, if it is His will..
Mental euphoria and cheerfulness, recreation and consolation are not always characteristics of a good spiritual state, which has three other basic characteristics: a) zeal for God’s pleasure, b) humble mind and broken heart, c) surrender to the divine will . Do you have these in you? If so, you’re on the right track.
The spiritual consolations in the godly life.
You were sad, because you lost very quickly that comforting inner state, in which you were after the divine Ascension. But you must know that a spiritual consolation, a “request”, in whatever form it visits us – as infinite mental peace, as indescribable joy, as holy excitement, as sweet rapture or as anything else – is not the main thing required in God’s life. Our primary pursuit and primary concern is not consolations, but the determined and vigorous preservation of ourselves, internally and externally, in a good state, pleasing to the Lord. Any comfort given by God as a “bait”, challenge and exhortation.
“Here’s what you’ll enjoy! Fight, then!’ Therefore, when we lack it, we should not despair, but with greater zeal, with stability and perseverance to fight “the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12).
Spiritual pleasures are not always beneficial.
You like to immerse yourself in spiritual pleasures, always feeling contentment and joy from your prayer and communion with the Lord. This, however, is both impossible and useless. Impossible, because every form of spiritual recreation is not the fruit of our trial and effort, but a gift of God’s mercy, a gift that is offered to whom, whenever and for as long as He wants. It is also impossible, because as long as the passions live and act within us, no spiritual pleasure can remain constant in the soul.
After all, the untimely and unreasonable pursuit of such pleasures is, as I said, also unprofitable, because it leads to mental paralysis and softness. We only have to fight in a way pleasing to the Lord, with zeal and courage, with discipline and self-control, with humility and brokenness. For God, two feelings must dominate our hearts: love and fear… The angels stand before Him with fear and terror… Live, I repeat, with awe, with spiritual vigilance, with a humble attitude…