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Insufficiency of Human Strength.

The Holy Fathers say with one voice. The first thing to keep in mind is never in any respect to rely on yourself.

Tito Colliander - "The Way of the Ascetics"

The warfare that now lies before you is extraordinarily hard, and your own human powers are altogether insufficient to carry it on. If you rely on them you will immediately be felled to the ground and have no desire to continue the battle.

Only God can give you the victory you wish.

This decision not to rely on self is for most people a severe obstacle at the very outset. It must be overcome, otherwise we have no prospect of going further. For how can a human being receive advice, instruction and help if he believes that he knows and can do everything and needs no directions? Through such a wall of self-satisfaction no gleam of light can penetrate. Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own right, cries the prophet Isaiah 5:21, and the apostle St. Paul utters the warning: Be not wise in your own conceits Romans 12:16.

The Kingdom of Heaven has been revealed unto babes, but remains hidden from the wise and the prudent.

We must empty ourselves, therefore, of the immoderately high faith we have in ourselves. Often it is so deeply rooted in us that we do not see how it rules over our heart. It is precisely our egoism, our self-centeredness, and self-love that cause all our difficulties, our lack of freedom in suffering, our disappointments and our anguish of soul and body.

Take a look at yourself, therefore and see how bound you are by your desire to humor yourself and only yourself.

Your freedom is curbed by the restraining bonds of self-love, and thus you wander, a captive corpse, from morning till eve. "Now I will drink," "now I will get up", "now I will read the paper." Thus you are led from moment to moment in your halter of preoccupation with self, and kindled instantly to displeasure, impatience or anger if an obstacle intervenes.

If you look into the depths of your consciousness you meet the same sight. Your recognize it readily by the unpleasant feeling you have when someone contradicts you. Thus we live in thraldom. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 2 Corinthians 3:17.

How can any good come out of such an orbiting around the ego?

Has not our Lord bidden us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to love God above all? But do we? Are we not our thoughts instead always occupied with our own welfare?

No, be convinced that nothing good can come from yourself.

And should, by chance an unselfish thought arise in you, you may be sure that it does not come from you, but is scooped up from the wellspring of goodness and bestowed upon you: it is a gift from the Giver of Life. Similarly the power to put the good thought into practice is not your own, but is given to you by the Holy Trinity.

Glory to Thee our God.

+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +

Tito Colliander - was born in St Petersburg, Russia, but lived most of his life in Helsinki, Finland, where he was an Orthodox layman and the author of several books in both the religious and secular fields.


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