Elder Sophrony(Sakharov) of Essex
“At last he rose up from his stool , intending to bow down and worship, when he saw a gigantic devil standing in front of the ikon, waiting to be worshipped. Meanwhile, the cell filled with other evil spirits.” (ibid. p.42)
St. Silouan prayed,
‘Lord, Thou seest that I desire to pray to Thee with a pure mind but the devils will not let me. Instruct me, what must I do to stop them hindering me?
And in his soul he heard,
‘The proud always suffer from devils.’
‘Lord,’ said Silouan, ‘teach me what I must do that my soul may become humble.’
Once more he heard in his heart God’s answer,
‘Keep thy mind in hell and despair not.’ (Ibid).
St. Silouan’s biographer, Archimandrite Sophrony comments: What was the essence of God’s prescription to Father Silouan?
…the root of all sin, the seed of death is pride: that God is humility, and therefore the man who would ‘put on’ (cf. Rom.13:14; Gal. 3:27) God must learn to be humble. (ibid. 43)
Elder Sophrony(Sakharov) instructs us:
There are two kinds of humility: human and divine.
The first finds expression in the ascetic’s conviction, ‘I am worse than all other men,’ and lies at the root of our prayer-life in the Name of Christ. Without this humility the second kind, that of Christ and proper to God, will remain forever out of reach. Of this divine humility Staretz Silouan writes: