The path of our life is like unto a voyage across a broad sea. It is sometimes calm on that sea, and sometimes a favorable wind blows; but most often there are storms on it. Seeing the approach of a storm, seeing the storm itself, we must not become disturbed, or fall into despondency or despair; we must fight against the waves and the opposing winds.

Otherwise the ship of our soul might undergo shipwreck, and might even sink. If during a storm something breaks or is damaged in the ship of our soul—again, we must not despond, we must not be troubled. We must spy out a dependable harbor, enter into it, fix and repair that which was damaged, and then continue our voyage with hope in Almighty God.

And Almighty God will not abandon one who hopes in Him! The storms themselves serve for the benefit of the true servant of Christ: they make him an experienced sailor.

The harbor in which the ship of the soul is repaired is prayer in a contrite spirit, the reading of the Holy Scriptures and Patristic books, and the counsel of one’s neighbor, if that neighbor is capable of giving counsel in the Lord. Calm down—blessed is the man, says the Scriptures, who endures temptations. Contrary to this, he who is untried is unskilled.

May the storm that has passed serve for you as a preparation in advance, as a learning experience for the endurance of future storms. Consider in advance what your conduct should be during them—prepare in advance, study it. Storms will follow without fail.

The Collected Letters of St. Ignatuis Brianchaninov