When we unite these two centres – the heart and the mind -, they become a spiritual unit and then man is whole, as God made him: a full man. Through the prayer of the heart, one achieves this holy ideal of our earthly life.
However, before we reach this ultimate goal of ennoblement, of inner sanctification, of elevating this passion-torn thing which is our human being, we need to work severely to eliminate our passions – which is not easy at all – in order to chase away the evil in our minds and hearts and gather our mind together, which keeps scattering off during prayer, as I mentioned before.
If we were not helped from Above in these efforts, our battle with ourselves would be almost in vain. Yet much to our comfort and strengthening, we can seek help in our Holy Fathers’ experience and advice, which one can find in the Lives of the Saints and in all the patristic literature.
Archimandrite Sofian BOGHIU (Oct. 7 1912 – Sept. 14 2002)
– Father, what does it mean when they say that God tempts us through humility and charity, when we are humble and charitable?
– It is not God who does that; but the enemy, the enemy is the one who tempts us. If we are charitable, well, after we have done anything virtuous, the enemy’s voice will follow, whispering into our hears: “Good…! you’ve done good!” That is what the psalm says: “Let them be ashamed and confounded… Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.”*.
St. Silouan says that it is very hard for man to learn how to keep the Grace, because as soon as one receives it, the tempter says: “Oh, wow…! you have received the Grace…! But why have you received it?… I think it’s because you are charitable and because you have fasted…!” – and so on and so forth. That is what goes on in one’s soul in such situations. Therefore, it is not God that does that. God allows the enemy to tempt us; therefore, after every little good deed that we have done, we’d better be sure that we will be tempted.