Our soul is, so to say, a reflection of God’s countenance, and the brighter this reflection is, the clearer and calmer is the soul; and the less bright this reflection is, the darker, the more disturbed is the soul.
And as our soul is our heart it is necessary that every truth of God should be reflected in it through feeling, through gratitude, and that there should be no reflection in it of any lie.
Feel God’s love in the most pure mysteries, feel the truth of all prayers. Our heart is a mirror; as the objects of the outer world are reflected in an ordinary mirror, so ought the truth to be reflected with all exactitude in our hearts.
It is good, very good indeed, to be virtuous; the virtuous man is at peace himself, is pleasing to God and agreeable to other people.
The virtuous man involuntarily attracts everyone’s attention. Why is it so? Because fragrance involuntarily attracts attention and makes everyone wish to breathe it.
[...] Pay attention to his speech; from it there comes still greater fragrance: here you are as if face to face with his soul, and are enraptured with his sweet converse.
Love calms and agreeably expands the heart and vivifies it, whilst hatred painfully contracts and disturbs it.
Those who hate others torture and tyrannise over themselves; therefore they are the most foolish of the foolish ones.
[...] There are innumerable and various ways by means of which the Devil enters into our soul and removes it from God, pressing upon it with all his being, dark, hateful, and destroying.
[...] Likewise there are innumerable and various ways for the Holy Ghost to enter it: the way of sincere faith, of true humility, of love to God and to our neighbour, and so on.
But, to our misfortune, the destroyer of men from time immemorial makes every effort to obstruct, by all possible means, all these ways for the Holy Ghost to enter the soul.
The most usual way to God for us sinners, who have strayed from Him into a far-away land, is the way of painful suffering and bitter tears.
Both the Holy Scriptures and actual experience testify that, in order to draw near to God, it is necessary for the sinner to suffer, weep, shed tears, and to amend his deceitful heart: “Draw nigh to God …. be afflicted, and mourn, and weep.”
Tears have power to cleanse the wickedness of our heart, and sufferings and affliction are necessary, because through suffering the sinful expansion of the heart is salutarily contracted, and when the heart is thus contracted, tears more easily flow.
John of Kronstadt (1829-1908; Russian Orthodox): My Life in Christ.