“When the times are fulfilled and the end is at hand, when the world’s autumn comes and God sends His angels to reap the harvest — what will they find in the barren fields of our hearts? And yet, the time is nearly accomplished and the end close by for each of us, the time which we shall each face even before the common harvest.
“But let us not be downhearted. See how the sower goes on sowing among the rocks and thorns and by the roadside. This means that he places some hope even in such fields as these.
“And we know from the lives of the saints how often a soul which had seemed irreclaimably stifled by sin, blinded by passion, hardened in evil, became good ground, fertile and productive, purified of poisonous mixtures and alien seeds.”
-Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, Diary of a Russian Priest
“The opinion of others about us – this is the mirror before which we all, almost without exception, pose. A man moulds himself in order to be such as he wishes to appear to others. But the real man, as he actually is, remains unknown to all, often himself included, while what acts and lives is a figure invented and dressed up by his own imagination. This tendency to deceive is so great that, distorting his very nature, man will sacrifice his own self – the unique and inimitable element present in every human personality.
“But how great is the attraction we feel whenever we meet a person free of this cancer, and how much we love the complete simplicity and directness of children, who have not as yet entered the realm of self consciousness! Yet we have the alternative of struggling consciously to return from this evil complexity to simplicity. In any case, when we become aware of the presence of this evil in us, the task is already half accomplished.”
-Father Alexander Elchaninov, Diary of a Russian Priest
From Father Alexander Elchaninov:
Our continual mistake is that we do not concentrate upon the present day, the actual hour, of our life; we live in the past or in the future; we are continually expecting the coming of some special moment when our life will unfold itself in its full significance. And we do not notice that life is flowing like water through our fingers, sifting like precious grain from a loosely fastened bag.
Constantly, each day, each hour God is sending us people, circumstances, tasks, which should mark the beginning of our renewal; yet we pay them no attention, and thus continually we resist God’s will for us. Indeed, how can God help us? Only by sending us in our daily life certain people, and certain coincidences of circumstance. If we accepted every hour of our life as the hour of God’s will for us, as the decisive, most important, unique hour of our life – what sources of joy, love, strength, as yet hidden from us, would spring from the depths of our soul!
Let us then be serious in our attitude towards each person we meet in our life, towards every opportunity of performing a good deed; be sure that you will then fulfill God’s will for you in these very circumstances, on that very day, in that very hour.