Seraphim_SarovskyAt the present time…, owing to our almost universal coldness to our holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and our inattention to the working of His Divine Providence in us, and to the communion of man with God, we have gone so far that, one may say, we have almost abandoned the true Christian life.

The testimonies of Holy Scripture now seem strange to us; when, for instance, by the lips of Moses the Holy Spirit says: “And Adam saw the Lord walking in Paradise” (cf. Gen. 3:10);

or when we read the words of the Apostle Paul: “We went to Achaia, and the Spirit of God went not with us; we returned to Macedonia, and the Spirit of God came with us.”

More than once in other passages of Holy Scripture the appearance of God to men is mentioned. That is why some people say: “These passages are incomprehensible. Is it really possible for people to see God so openly?”

But there is nothing incomprehensible here. This failure to understand has come about because we have departed from the simplicity of the original Christian knowledge.

Under the pretext of education, we have reached such a darkness of ignorance, that the things the ancients understood so clearly, seem to us almost inconceivable.

Even in ordinary conversation, the idea of God’s appearance among men did not seem strange to them.

Thus, when his friends rebuked him for blaspheming God, Job answered them: “How can that be when I feel the Spirit of God in my nostrils?” (cf. Job 27:3).

[…] It is said that Abraham and Jacob saw the Lord and conversed with Him in exactly the same way, and that Jacob even wrestled with Him.

Moses and all the people with him saw God, when he received the tablets of the law on Mount Sinai from God.

A pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire, or in other words, the evident grace of the Holy Spirit, served as guides to God’s people in the desert.

People saw God and the grace of His Holy Spirit not during sleep, in dreams, or in the excitement of a disordered imagination, but truly and openly.

We have become so inattentive to the work of our salvation, that we misinterpret many other words in Holy Scripture as well, all because we do not seek the grace of God and in the pride of our minds, do not allow it to dwell in our souls.

That is why we are without true enlightenment from the Lord, which He sends into the hearts of men who hunger and thirst wholeheartedly for God’s righteousness or holiness.

Seraphim of Sarov (Orthodox Church; 1759-1833): On the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit.

Advertisements