GUIDANCE TOWARD SPIRITUAL LIFE: ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS OF DISCIPLES
With the practical aim of guiding the brothers at his monastery in the wilderness of northern California, Fr. Seraphim Rose set out to select and translate these counsels of Saints Barsanuphius the Great and John the Prophet, Desert Fathers of 6th-century Palestine. He found that many of the questions posed to Saints Barsanuphius and John were not unlike those asked by Christian strugglers of today. The answers of the saints expose the nature of the vices, and show how to overcome them and acquire virtue.
Brother! He who desires to be saved and to become a son of God must acquire great humility, obedience, submission and meekness. Behold: you asked what you should do. I told you this, and I vouch for it, that neither the enemy nor passion will take possession of you. For they are consumed by humility as by fire, and the heart finds repose, being enlightened by Christ, to Whom may there be glory. Amen.St. Barsanuphius the Great, Answer no. 244
It is clear from these counsels that the Elders do not care to exert personal power over those under them: with divine vision they see the eternal souls of their disciples, and the salvation of these souls is their one and only concern in offering guidance.
We must come to the Holy Fathers with the humble intention of `beginning spiritual life at the lowest step,` and not even dreaming of ourselves attaining those exalted spiritual states which are totally beyond us.Fr. Seraphim Rose
Guidance Toward Spiritual Life also includes the Life of Saints Barsanuphius and John by Saint Nicodemus of Mount Athos, as well as selected passages from the Spiritual Homilies of St. Macarius the Great of Egypt.