Pray, my child, because everything depends on prayer —especially the salvation of our souls. When we pray with pain and humility, God hears our prayer and responds according to what is beneficial to us. Often it happens that after we pray for something, the will of God is expressed in a way that is completely different from what we had prayed for. This often grieves us, because our own will was not done. We do not understand the depth of the divine judgments and that, despite all the disparity between the expression of the divine will and our own will, the omniscient God is working things out for our benefit in many different ways. Therefore, my child, let us muster all the strength of our soul to persevere and implement that great virtue which is called Patience.
My children, work diligently at the spiritual fragrance —I am speaking of prayer— this holy conversation with Jesus, which abundantly provides His blessings. Yes, children of the Spirit, love prayer with your whole heart so that all of you become a fragrance of grace, and that you smell sweet to those near you and make them say, “Truly, monasticism makes monks give off an angelic fragrance through spiritual grace.” So, let the filthy passions be far from you, for they cause a foul smell and make a bad impression.
Let us compel ourselves, children, in the prayer of our sweetest Jesus, so that He may grant us His mercy, so that we may be united with His grace in order to carry out His divine commandments and acquire His love. And when we acquire it, it makes us gods by grace and by participation—and then the path of our Christ will not be harsh and steep for us, but sweet and pleasant. And then we shall carry out His commandments with great ease.
Selection of passages from the book by Silviu Podariu
From the book
Councels from the Holy mountain
Selected from the letters and homilies of Elder Efraim of Arizona
subm. no. 3
paragraphs: from pages 303-312