St. AMvrossy Letters 54 & 60
I apologize to my readers for taking such a long time to continue the letters of St. Amvrossy, but being pulled by various responsibilities the blog has needed to wait. At this point in the collection of letters by St. Amvrossy, there is a change from festal greetings to an exhortation in personal letters. Some are very short, and in a single post there may be more than one letter as it is in this one. Now, let us turn to the letters:
The last time when I congratulated you on your birthday, as I recall, I wished for you spiritual rebirth. And now,congratulating you with this*, I sincerely wish for you the spiritual ascent with proper and lawful steps, of which the first and foremost is the acknowledgement of our profound spiritual and bodily weaknesses. The second lawful step is self-reproach; that is, in every unpleasant and grievous situation to blame one’s self and not others. The third step is patience with thankfulness when we meet up with any of the grievous temptations that overtake us. From these three steps a fourth is brought forth–the beginning of humility. However this happens only if the first three were sown by faith and a turning to the Lord in prayer, as prescribed by the regulations of the Holy Orthodox Church and the instructions of the holy fathers who pointed out the way of salvation. However, I will express myself more simply: when we ascend over the steps–whether on a smooth or rough surface–we simply must strive to do so in humility, in accordance with the commandments of the Lord. Lord help us! Lord strengthen our
weakness and turn away our eyes from vanity and all that is unprofitable
Concerning the meaning of the words “child” and “little child”–you wish to know
the difference of the meaning of the words “child” and “little child”. The apostle calls “little children” those in whom Christ is not yet formed, He Who endured spitting and beating on the face and all sorts of disparagement. One who wants to be called a “child” of Christ, must patiently and without murmuring endure everything that Christ endured. He must also pray sincerely for those who offend him, just as He prayed for those who crucified Him. Peace be to you!