In 1990, a great holy elder in Romania named Paisius, fell asleep in the Lord. Recently, a wonderful collection of his stories and teachings was published by St. Herman Press entitled A Little Corner of Paradise, and, I must confess, reading this beautiful collection brings me to a Paradisaical corner.
In one section, he is counseling some women who have come to him, one of whom is struggling with despondency and blasphemous thoughts. He says to her:
What is this about despair and despondency? Despondency, despair — this is the greatest sin. Don’t say, “I won’t be saved, I’m praying in vain.” No — say, “Where are these thoughts coming from? Oh, no. With the help of our dear Mother of God, I will be saved.” The door of Paradise is open, my dear, if we want to enter; God does not force anyone. He may sometimes drag someone in — by sending an illness or a difficulty, but God loves him who gives willingly. Continue reading Rejecting Blasphemous Thoughts, Part 2