All who have firm hope in God are raised up to Him and are enlightened by the radiance of the Eternal Light. If a man has no care what-so-ever for himself because of love for God and virtuous deeds -knowing that God will take care of him- such hope is true and wise. But if a man takes care for is own affairs and turns with prayer to God only when unavoidable misfortunes overtake him and he sees no way of averting them by his own power (only then beginning to hope in God’s help), then such hope is vain and false. True hope seeks God’s Kingdom alone and is convinced that everything earthly (that is necessary for this transitional life) will be given without fail.
The heart cannot have peace until it acquires this hope. It gives peace to the heart and brings joy to it. Concerning this hope, the most venerable and holy lips of the Savior have said, “come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). That is, “have hope in Me, and you will have relief from your labor and fear”.
In the Gospel of Saint Luke, it is said of Symeon: “and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). And, he did not kill his hope, but awaited the desired Savior of the world- and joyfully taking Him into his arms, said, “Lord, now let Thou Thy servant depart into Thy Kingdom, which I have desired, for I have obtained my hope: Christ the Lord”.
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O God, save me by Your name;
by Your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.
For the proud have risen against me,
ruthless foes seek my life.
They have no regard for God.
But, I have God for my help.
The Lord upholds my life.
Let the evil recoil upon my foes;
You who are faithful, destroy them.
I will sacrifice to You with willing heart
and praise Your name for it is good;
for You have rescued me from all distress
and my eyes have seen the downfall of my foes.
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Thus, it is clear that our whole fight is against the passions within. Once these have been removed from our heart by the grace and help of God, we will readily be able to live not simply with other men, but even with wild beasts. Job confirms this when he says, “and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you” (Job 5:23).
But first, we must struggle with the demon of despondency who casts the soul into despair. We must drive him from our hearts. It was this demon that did not allow Cain to repent after he had killed his own brother, or Judas after he had betrayed his Master. The only form of grief we should cultivate is that which goes with repentance for sin and is accompanies by hope in God. It was of this form of sorrow that the apostle said, “Godly grief produces a saving repentance [that leads to salvation] and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). This “Godly grief” nourishes the soul through the hope engendered by repentance, and it is mingled with joy. That is why it makes us obedient and eager for every good work- accessible, humble, gentle, forbearing and patient in enduring all the suffering or tribulation that God may send us. Possession of these qualities shows that a man enjoys the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, and self-control (cf. of Galatians 5:11). But from the other kind of grief we come to know the fruits of the evil spirit: listlessness, impatience, anger, hatred, contentiousness, despair, and sluggishness in praying. So, we should shun this second form of grief (despondency) as we would being unchaste, avarice, anger, and the rest of the passions. It can be healed by prayer, hope in God, meditation on Holy Scripture, and by living amoung godly people.