“A human being who does not endure courageously the unpleasant burdens of temptations, will never produce fruit worthy of the divine wine-press and eternal harvest, not even if one possesses all other virtues. For one is only perfected through zealously enduring both all the voluntary and involuntary afflictions.” +Gregory Palamas
Up on the Holy Mount Athos, the spiritual fathers tell this story, which likely came from the sayings of the Desert Fathers:
“For nine years a brother was tempted in thought to the point of despairing of his salvation, and being scrupulous, he condemned himself, saying, “I have lost my soul, and since I am lost, I shall go back to the world.” But while he was on the way, a voice came to him on the road, which said, “These nine years during which you have been tempted have been crowns for you; go back to your place, and I will allay these thoughts.” Understand that it is not good for someone to despair of himself because of his temptations; rather temptations procure crowns for us if we use them well.”
A great story. Thank you.