Slave of God N.!
Fr. Hierodeacon is alive and well, and continues to carry his obedience on the holy hill. (This is a hill in the Pskov-Cave Monastery, located over the Holy Caves, where the reposed fathers are buried [trans.]) What do you have to be afraid of in the monastery? Be obedient to Matushka Abbess and save yourself. Render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Christ went through the census from the moment He entered the world … and you worry.
Sickness is a telegram
Dear Fr. G.!
We have only one way out, the one we all know about—through the mortal gates into Eternity. Sickness is a telegram informing us not to forget about the most important thing in life. So now God’s mercy is informing you of the necessity to be stricter with yourself no matter where you may be—in the hospital, the monastery, or at the metochion. This does not mean that you should go around with a feeling of fatality. It is rather a commandment that you live vibrantly and responsibly with respect to the time. You should confess, receive Unction, take Communion, and go with God, committing yourself into God’s hands and the doctors’ hands without falling into various cogitations and human calculations. My dear, the Lord’s plans also change sometimes, but this also always depends on us. Go to your operation with the prayer, “Lord! Thou knowest all things; do with me as Thou willest. Amen!”
For us monks, it should be like this: To live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). Whether I live or die, I am the Lord’s. This is the main thing for us.
We will pray for you.
Have a look
Your desire is good, but do not rush to fulfill it. First come to the monastery during your vacation break as a pilgrim, without changing anything at home or work. Live in the monastery and have a look at monastery life as it really is, and not the life you read about in books. After all, everything changes—people change, and their morals. Do this several different times. The monastery will have a look at you, and you will have a look at the monastery. By age twenty-five you can then fix your choice of a path in life. Meanwhile pray, and we will pray for you. You must also have your parents’ blessing on either monasticism or family life. Therefore, pray for you family, that the Lord would give them wisdom.
God’s blessing to you!