Saint Seraphim was great in his Ascetic struggle. One day he was asked why he often carried a knapsack filled with stones. He humbly replied, “I am troubling him who troubles me.”

“A certain brother, seeing his Ascetic life, asked him for his own edification: “Why don’t we , Father, lead a strict life as the ancient Ascetics did?” “Because,” replied the Saint “we have no determination to do so. If we had the determination, we should live as those Fathers did who, in olden times, shone with labours and piety; because God gives His Grace and help to the faithful and to those who seek the Lord with all their heart now just as He did before. For according to the Word of God, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).”

“When he was asked one day, in what does a perishing sinner differ from a righteous man who is saving his Soul, a Saint, Saint Seraphim answered: “Only in his resolve… Our Salvation is in our will, in our firmness, in the steadfastness of our resolve to be Godly to the end. The Lord does not give His Spirit by measure, nor does He give His Grace by measure; He gives everything, and He gives Himself. But we receive Grace and make use of God’s gifts to the measure of our readiness to receive what He gives – and that means what He gives, and not what we want – and bring forth the fruit that He expects from us.””

“Of course, every good deed done for Christ’s sake gives us the Grace of the Holy Spirit, but Prayer gives us this Grace most of all, for it is always at hand, as an instrument for acquiring the Grace of the Spirit. For instance, you would like to go to Church, but there is no Church or the Service is over; you would like to give alms to a beggar, but there isn’t one, or you have nothing to give; you would like to preserve your virginity, but you have not the strength to do so because of your temperament, or because of the violence of the wiles of the enemy which because of your human weakness you cannot withstand; you would like to do some other good deed for Christ’s sake, but either you have not the strength or the opportunity is lacking. This certainly does not apply to Prayer. Prayer is always possible for everyone, rich and poor, noble and humble, strong and weak, healthy and sick, righteous and sinful.”

“We do well if we don’t comply with sinful thoughts, which come from the devil. Because the evil spirit is able to exercise effective influence only over impassioned people. If you’re without passions, he can try to get at you only from afar.”

“The devil is like a lion, hiding in ambush. He secretly sets out nets of unclean and unHoly thoughts. So, it is necessary to break them off as soon as we notice them, by means of pious reflection and Prayer.”