Pray. Pray. Pray.

…you speak openly of your weaknesses and sins – laziness and disobedience.  If you’ve begun to notice these in yourself, it means you’re becoming attentive to yourself, and this is a great mercy from God.  You feel that you won’t be saved – and that’s an important thought to have!  It’s bad  ‘not’ to have it, for without it you can fall into self-esteem and false pride, and so perish in spite of your good deeds.  On the other hand, it’s also bad to indulge in this thought too much, because you can fall into despair.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.  That’s all I can tell you in this regard, and the Lord will make you understand.  Fight your laziness at least.  Don’t give in to it….Your whole struggle consists in fighting your passions.  Fight!

~From a letter of Bishop Innocent, in 1854 to his daughter Paraskovia (Polyxenia in Monasticism), “The Veniaminovs,” in Paul D. Garrett, Saint Innocent: Apostle to America, Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 1979, pp. 220-221.

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