Pursue the small consolation that is acquired in time from toil, that you may be accounted worthy of that great consolation which dispels the troubles of this life of sorrows for those who find it. Do not despise small things, lest you be deprived of great ones. Has no one ever seen an infant who, when he puts flesh in his mouth, sucks milk? By means of small things the door is opened to great ones. You dishonour God, O my brother, in that you desire Him to govern you without a definite order. For no man has been entrusted with great things without first having been tried in small ones. Set this firmly in your heart, my brother, and bring me to mind at the appropriate time: you will find that every lodging place which you will reach tomorrow on this path of virtue and knowledge of the truth will be more glorious and excellent than those wherein you previously passed the night. You set off, and you are struck with awe at the beauty of the lodging that you enter today. Yet its beauty is swallowed up by the beauty of what you will come upon tomorrow. Who can perceive all the delightful changes of the mind? Only pray, that the door be opened before you.

The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian (I, 25), translated by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, 1984. 126-27.

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