Photo: Wikipedia Hiero-schemamonk Seraphim (Muraviev) was bom in 1865 in Yaroslavi Province. He reposed ill 1949 in the village of Vyriysa, Leningrad District. One could say that he was one of our contemporaries, but one who in lived to see and experience far more than we: the Monarchy, the Revolution, the years of Soviet power, and devastating wars...
He was a peasant boy who was to become a retail salesman, then a successful furrier, and later the spiritual director of a large Russian monastery, and an elder who prayed for the Russian land. He was a kind family man who later became a zealous monastic, a worker of miracles, and a prophet. Above all else, he was always and in every circumstance one who dedicated his life to God, and who practiced obedience to the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind ... [and] thou shalt love try neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:37-39). While living in the world and undertaking a multitude of cares and concerns, St. Seraphim of Vyritsa not only was able to keep himself from the temptations if the age, but he was made worthy to attain great spiritual gifts. Unquestionably, his life is a lesson for all of us. Now just as it did during his earthly life, his prayerful intercession continues to save, edify, and turn toward repentance those who revere his holy memory. After St. Seraphim of Vyritsa’s repose, the following document, his spiritual testament,” was published:
“That Was From Me”
Did you ever stop to think that everything that affects you affects Me as well? For everything that has to do with you also has to do with apple of My eye. You are precious in My sight, very precious, and I love you. It therefore brings me special joy to educate you.
I want you to know that whenever a flood of the enemy’s temptations enemy has descended upon you, it came from Me.
I want you to know that in your weakness, you need My strength, and that your safety lies in giving Me the opportunity to defend you. Did you ever find yourself in difficult straits, among people who did not understand you, who did not consider what you liked, from whom kept aloof? Know that this was from Me.
I am your God, Who orders circumstances. It was no accident that you found yourself in that specific place; it was the very place I had appointed for you. Did you not ask that I teach you humility? Thus, I set you into that specific milieu, in the school in which that lesson could be learned. Those around you, those living with you, are merely acting according to My will. If you were ever in financial difficulties, if it was hard for you to make ends meet—that came from Me.
For I manage your resources, and I want you to run to Me, to know that you depend upon Me, that my store of resources is inexhaustible. I want you to become convinced that I faithfully keep My promises, so that in your time of need, others might not be able to say to you, “Don’t believe your Lord God.” Did you ever spend the night in sorrow? If you were estranged from loved ones and neighbors, I sent you that. I am the Man of sorrows, who knows the meaning of sickness. I allowed it so that you might turn to Me and in Me find eternal comfort. If a friend, someone to whom you had opened your heart, disappointed you, that also came from Me.
I allowed you to be touched by that disappointment, so that you might recognize that the Lord is your truest friend. I want you to bring Me everything, and to talk to Me. If someone slandered you, present it to Me, and with your shoulder lean closer to Me, your refuge, so that you might be sheltered from wagging tongues. I will bring out your truth like a bright light and your fate like noonday. When your plans fell through and you felt downhearted and exhausted, that was from Me.
You had made your own plans, you had your own intentions, and you brought them to Me for My blessing. However, I wanted you to allow Me to decide and order the circumstances of your life, for you are merely an instrument and not an active participant. When in your secular life you encountered unexpected misfortunes, when your heart was seized by despair, know that it came from Me.
For I want your heart and soul to always be ablaze in My sight, to defeat with My name any faint-heartedness. If, because those dear to you infrequently get in touch with you, your faint-heartedness and weakness of faith cause you to fall into discontented grumbling and despair, know that that also came from Me.
It is through this troubling of your soul that I test the strength of your faith, the immutability of your promises, and the daring of your prayers for those who are dear to you. Was it not you who entrusted your cares for them to My providential love? Was it not you who still entrusts them to the Protection of My Most-pure Mother? If you were struck by a serious illness, whether temporary or incurable, and you became bedridden—that came from Me.
I wanted you to come to know me even more, even better through your bodily ills, so that you would not complain about all of these trials sent to you, so that you would not strive by various means to discern my plans of salvation of human souls, so that instead you would obediently and without complaint, would bow your head before My grace for you. If you ever dreamed of doing some special work for Me, and instead lay down on your bed of illness and weakness, that was from Me.
For you would have been burdened with your own affairs, and I would have been unable to attract your mind to thoughts about Me. Yet I want to teach you My most profound thoughts and lessons, so that you might be in My service. I want you to comprehend that you are nothing without Me. Some of My best children are those who are cut off from active work, so that they might learn to use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. If, unexpectedly, you are called to take on this difficult and responsible position, put your trust in Me. I entrust you with these difficulties, and for them, your Lord God will bless you in everything you do wherever you go; in everything, your Lord will be your Director and Teacher. On this day, My child, I have placed in your hands that container of Holy Oil. Make free use of it. Always remember that every difficulty that arises, every word that offends you, every wrongful accusation or condemnation, every obstacle to doing your job that could evoke disappointment, disillusion, disenchantment, every manifestation of weakness and impotence will be anointed with this oil. That came from Me.
Remember that every false accusation is an instruction from God. Therefore, instill in your heart those words I have told you today: It came from Me.
Keep them, know them and always remember them, wherever you might go. The pain of every sting you endure will be blunted if you will but learn to see Me in everything. I sent everything to perfect your soul. It all came from Me.
A Monthly Publication of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Washington, DC