Friday, January 17, 2014

Feats ( St. Seraphim of Sarov )

Blessed Seraphim told those followers who strove to take excessive feats upon themselves that not complaining and humbly bearing insults are our "verigi" and our hair shirt. (The word verigi in Russian means iron chains and various weights. A hair shirt is clothing made of thick, very coarse wool; some ascetics wore these things to burden their body.)

It is not necessary to undertake feats beyond one’s strength. Instead, one must try to keep our friend — our body — right and capable of performing virtues. One must follow the middle route, turning neither to the right hand nor the left (Prov. 4:27), giving the spirit the spiritual, and the body the physical things necessary for maintaining temporal life. One should also not refuse that which society legally demands, according to the words of the Gospel: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s" (Mt. 22:21).

One should condescend to one’s soul in its infirmities and imperfections, endure one’s deficiencies as we bear the failings of others, not become lazy, and continually urge oneself to be better.

If you have eaten too much food or done anything else related to human weakness, do not be upset. Do not add injury to injury, but, urging yourself to correction, courageously try to keep spiritual peace according to the words of the Apostle: "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth" (Rom. 14:22). This same meaning is contained in the words of the Saviour: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 18:3).

Any success in any area we must assign to the Lord and say with the prophet: "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory" (Ps. 115:1).

St. Seraphim of Sarov
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