Orthodox River

Aquisition of the Holy Spirit Part 1

This is a small excerpt taking from the Orthodox Word published 1966 Sep-Oct. source


The Teaching of St. Seraphim of Sarov on The Aquisition of the Holy Spirit

MY JOY, I BEG YOU, acquire the Spirit of Peace,” said Father Seraphim to the monk, and at once he began to explain what it means to acquire the Spirit of Peace. That means to bring oneself to such a state that our spirit will not be disturbed by anything. One must be like a dead man or absolutely deaf or blind during any sorrow, calumny, accusations and persecutions, which inevitably come to all those who wish to follow the saving path of Christ. For one must go through many sorrows to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

St. Seraphim of Sarov This is the way all righteous men were saved and inherited the Heavenly Kingdom. And before this all the glory of this world is nothing; all the enjoyments of this world are not even a shadow of that which is prepared in the heavenly abodes for those who love God: there, is eternal joy and triumph. So that our spirit will have freedom to uplift itself there and be nourished from sweetest conversation with the Lord, one must humble oneself with constant vigils, prayer, and remembrance of the Lord.

“And I, humble Seraphim,” said the starets, “for this reason go through the Gospel daily. On Monday I read St. Matthew, from beginning to end; on Tuesday, St. Mark; on Wednesday, St. Luke; on Thursday, St. John; the other days I divide between the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the Apostles. And I do not for a single day neglect to read the daily Epistle and Gospel, and also the Readings to the saints. Through this not only my soul, but even my body rejoices and is vivified, because I converse with the Lord, I hold in my mind His Life and Suffering, and day and night I glorify and give thanks to my Redeemer for all His mercies that are shed upon mankind and upon me, the unworthy one.”1

In indescribable joy, he uttered: “Here, I’ll tell you about humble Seraphim! I took a special liking to the words of my Lord Jesus Christ: In My Father’s house are many mansions (that is, for those who serve Him and glorify His Holy Name) On these words I, humble Seraphim, paused and wished to see these heavenly abodes, and I prayed my Lord Jesus Christ to show them to me; and the Lord did not deprive me, the humble one, of His mercy. He fulfilled my desire and request; and so I was transported to these heavenly abodes, only I do not know whether in the body or without the body, God knows; it is inconceivable. And about that joy and heavenly sweetness of which I there partook, it is impossible to tell you.”

With these words Father Seraphim became silent…

He stooped his head, quietly patting his heart with his hand; his face began gradually to change and finally became so glowing that it was impossible to look at him. During his sacred silence he was as if contemplating something with humility.

Then Father Seraphim once more began to talk. “Oh, if only you could know, said the Starets to the monk, “what joy, what sweetness await the souls of the righteous in heaven, then you would be determined in this temporal life to endure any sorrow, persecution, and calumny with gratitude. If this very cell of ours” (at this he pointed to his cell) “were full of worms, and if these worms were to eat our flesh throughout our whole temporal life, then with utmost desire we should consent to it, only not to be deprived of that heavenly joy which God has prepared for those who love Him. There, there is no sickness, no sorrow, no lamentation; there is sweetness and rejoicing unutterable; there the righteous will shine like the sun. But if the holy Apostle Paul himself (II Cor. 12:2-4) could not explain that heavenly glory and joy, then what other human tongue could describe the beauty of the high dwelling in which the souls of the righteous shall dwell?”

At the conclusion of his talk the Starets spoke about how it is necessary to take attentive care of one’s salvation – now, before the favorable time for this has passed.

  1. from the Diviyevo Convent Chronicles, compiled by Archimandrite Seraphim, St. Petersburg, 1903, pp. 360-362. ↩︎