Amma Syncletica said, ‘In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: “Our God is a consuming fire” [Heb. 12.24]): so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.’

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. The Alphabetical Collection. Translated by Benedicta Ward, SLG (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1975 [1984]) 230-231.

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