The Great Fast, also known as Great Lent, is just around the corner. During this time, many Orthodox will begin eating a vegan diet. Many of us will also make an effort to say a few more prayers each day and eliminate some distractions such as social media, television, and internet usage in order to create more time for prayer and spiritual reading.
These things of themselves do not save us. Rather, they are the method which we use to open ourselves to the grace of the Holy Spirit. Those who are taking their spiritual struggle seriously during the Great Fast will likely find that the amount of demonic warfare increases. This manifests itself in different ways: new distractions when we pull away from old ones, a barrage of thoughts that come during prayer and spiritual reading, and other temptations that wish to test our resolve.
Many of us wonder: why do I have to face these spiritual struggles? Wouldn’t it be so much better if God could just wave a magical wand over us and make temptations go away? Why do we have trials?
In answer to those questions, I will post the insights and stories of a God-bearing elder whose own elder was St Joseph the Hesychast. He is from Mt Athos and currently is the elder of a monastery in Arizona. His name is Elder Ephraim and this is from his book The Art of Salvation. Continue reading