2nd Friday of Great Lent
Step 7: On mourning which causes joy (day 2 of 2 on this step)
7:32. Many of the Fathers say that the question of tears, especially in the case of beginners, is an obscure matter and hard to ascertain, as tears are born in many different ways. For instance, there are tears from nature, from God, from adverse suffering, from praise worthy suffering, from vainglory, from licentiousness, from love, from the remembrance of death, and from many other causes.
7:37. He who wends his way in constant mourning according to God does not cease to feast daily; but eternal weeping awaits him who does not cease to feast bodily.
7:38. Convicts in prison have no joy or delight, and true monks have no feast on earth. Perhaps that is why that excellent mourner, sighing, said: ‘Bring my soul out of prison that it may rejoice henceforward in Thy ineffable light.’
7:45. My friends, God does not ask or desire that man should mourn from sorrow of heart, but rather that out of love for Him he should rejoice with spiritual laughter. Remove sin, and the tear of sorrow is superfluous for your eyes of sense. What is the use of a bandage when there is no wound? Before his transgression, Adam had no tears, just as there will be none after the resurrection when sin will be abolished; for pain, sorrow and sighing will then have fled away.
7:49. When I consider the actual nature of compunction I am amazed at how that which is called mourning and grief should contain joy and gladness interwoven within it like honey in the comb. What then are we to learn from this? That such compunction is in a special sense a gift of the Lord. There is then in the soul no pleasureless pleasure, for God consoles those who are contrite in heart in a secret way…
7:62. Drive away the hell-dog that comes at the time of your deepest mourning, and suggests that God is not merciful or compassionate. For if you watch it, you will find that before the sin he calls God loving, compassionate and forgiving.
7:63. Practice3 produces habit, and perseverance grows into a feeling of the heart; and what is done with an ingrained feeling of the heart is not easily eradicated.
7:70. When our soul leaves this world we shall not be blamed for not having worked miracles, or for not having been theologians or contemplatives. But we shall certainly have to give an account to God of why we have not unceasingly mourned.
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[Quotations from: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405033), which is based on Archimandrite Lazarus Moore’s translation]