Instructions to a brother who has asked him about insensitivity and the growing cold of love.
When your soul becomes insensitive, brother, it is useful to read the Holy Scriptures and the heart-touching words of the Holy and God-bearing Fathers, to remember God’s Last Judgment, the departure of the soul from the body, and the terrible powers that can greet it, and with whose cooperation the soul committed evil acts in this brief and tormented life. It is also useful to remember how we shall appear before the terrible and righteous judgment seat of Christ, and not only for our deeds, but for words and thoughts shall we give an answer before God, before all His angels, and in general before all creation.
Remember just as often also that sentence which the terrible and righteous Judge shall pronounce against those who stand at His left side: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41). It is good also to remember the great sorrows of mankind in order that the cruel and insensitive soul might be thereby if only involuntarily softened, and come to a recognition of its sinfulness.
You are failing in brotherly love because you accept suspicious thoughts against your neighbor, and trust your own heart; this happens to you also because you do not want to endure anything that goes against your will. Thus; before anything else you should, with God’s help, under no circumstances believe your own opinions, and strive with all your might to humble yourself before your brothers, and with all your soul cut off your will before them. If one of them injures you, or causes you sorrow in any way, then you should pray for him, according to the words of the Fathers, as for one who has given you great benefit and has healed your love of pleasure. Through this your irritability will decrease, for in the words of the Holy Fathers, love is the reigns on irritability. And before all, pray to God to give you attentiveness and understanding, so that you might know what is that good, perfect and acceptable will of God (Rom. 12:2); also pray for the strength to be ready for every good work. For to Him belongs all glory, honor and worship unto the ages of ages. Amen.
To a certain very sick brother who had various bad thoughts as to who will take care of his needs.
In the name of Jesus Christ, my brother, let us not have anything against our neighbor, for we should overcome and cover this with love. No one says to his neighbor, “Why don’t you love me?” But he himself, making himself worthy of love, attracts also his neighbor to love. And concerning the needs of the body, I will say that if someone is worthy of comfort, then God will instruct the heart of a Saracen to show him mercy according to his need; if he is not worthy, or if for his instruction it is not useful for him to be consoled, then even if he were to create an new heaven and a new earth, he would not find repose. And what you said about burdening your brother is apparently a self-justification; for no one, in helping his neighbor who desires salvation, in order to fulfill the commandment of God, will say to him, “I burden you.” He who hates those who upset him hates meekness, and he who flees from those who offend him, flees from repose in Christ. May the man-loving God cover us, my son, by His grace, through the prayers of all the saints. Amen.