A Good and Faithful Guide

The reader will find below more of my translation work from Russian of St. Dimitry of Rostov’s writings. In this segment we are reminded of our utter need for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. At the end the reader will find a beautiful pray by St. Dimitry to the Holy Spirit. I hope and pray that you, the reader, will indeed continue to be filled and renewed by the abiding grace of the Holy Spirit.

Begin Translation –

Thy good Spirit shall lead me into the land of righteousness.”

Ps. 142:10

Our Lord and Savior has sent to us in this life a good and faithful guide. For without the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the human spirit could not even come onto the right path. The human spirit is vain, inconsistent, fallible, and infirm. Much of the time we do not even know “what manner of spirit” we “are of” (Lk. 9:55). At times we are captivated by the spirit of vanity, at times the spirit of impatience, at times the spirit of pride, and at times the love of money. At all such times, we do not even comprehend that we are under the guidance and rule of the evil one. Therefore, we dearly need the Holy Spirit. He sets us upon the eternal path and helps us by various means.

The Spirit of God helps us in our weaknesses and arranges it thus: that we receive from the hand of God all the sorrows of soul and body with thankfulness and praise, moreover giving glory to our God for them. Furthermore, the Spirit aids our minds in the setting aside of ignorance, instructing us to do that which is beneficial and to flee from every destructive work. He strengthens our will in love for everlasting and eternal blessings and to disdain corruptible blessings, which allure only the feelings but fail to give true contentment to the soul. He aids us in holding within ourselves the remembrance of all the goodness of God, and He keeps us in remembrance of the commandments of God so that we do not violate them. He keeps us in remembrance of our sins and gives brokenness of heart because of them, while always holding in view the righteous and awesome Judgment of God.

The Spirit gives a helping hand to our weak spirit against fleshly lusts; He strengthens within us resolve to enter upon good works and to continue in the service of God. The Holy Spirit aids us in every condition that we find ourselves – whether grace-filled or sinful. He turns us from sin and makes us firm in the blessed, so that we do not fall away, and that we would ascend from one good work to another. To the one who abides in sin, He renders help to stand, so that the sinner would not perish, according to the words of the Psalmist, “If the Lord had not helped me, my soul had almost dwelt in hell” (Ps. 93:17).

The Holy Spirit was sent down upon the Apostles and other believers to guide them through the slippery path of this world; to bring comfort in sadness, to illumine the darkness, to set free the oppressed, to bring good counsel to those in doubt, to sweeten those in bitterness, to correct those who are lost, and to instruct the ignorant. All these things are possible by the Holy Spirit, and He does not cease to work all these things even to this day, only we must strive to cleanse, with a fountain of tears, the vessel of our soul from the impurity of sins.

Of old the divine Apostles were unlettered but when illumined by the grace of the Spirit they enlightened the whole world, filling it with eloquence and wisdom. Before the coming of the Spirit, they were fainthearted, but, then He clothed them in power from on high and gave them firm steadfastness in every calamity. They were unknown and disparaged by the world, yet the Holy Spirit gave them the power of miracles and made them wonders in all the earth. Formerly they lacked in ardor and zeal, but the Holy Spirit inflamed them with love and fervor, and their fiery words began to permeate stony hearts. It is not without reason that the Apostle Peter would address one sermon to between three to five thousand people. The power of the Holy Spirit so strengthened all the Apostles that neither tortures nor even the very power of hell could crush their hearts. They destroyed idols and drew all of creation to Christ. Such is the power of the Holy Spirit, the sure guide of the Apostles and helper to us in our infirmities.

This very same Holy Spirit strengthened the martyrs in their sufferings. A vast multitude of children and virginal youth endured fearful tortures – broken bones, burning on every side, the cutting off of breasts, various instruments of torture were prepared, large pots of boiling pitch, and red-hot grills. This multitude of young martyrs counted all these things as comforts for themselves, and they put to shame their torturers who foolishly mocked them. The Good Spirit confirmed and guided the martyrs to the land of the righteous where there is no temptation, no sin, no misfortune, no sickness, and no weeping or sighing, but rather rejoicing, joy, health, grace, and glory.

The grace of the Holy Spirit is for each of us an illuminating fire. He guides us with His foreknowing grace; this companion of grace, together with the gift of patience, leads us to the crowning of perfect grace. Thus, no one can enter into the land of righteousness except through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A sailing ship, even if fully outfitted for its journey and completely ready, without a good traveling wind cannot travel the path of the sea successfully. And so it is with us who traverse the sea of this present life to eternity: we must have the wind of the Most-Holy Spirit without Whom all our efforts and gatherings will be fruitless.

It is vital that we offer heart-felt and ardent prayer to God the Holy Spirit, unceasingly saying, together with our Mother the Church, the prayer, O Heavenly King. “Cleanse us, O Holy Spirit, as fire purifies silver and gold! Thou art fire immaterial which burns to perfection but never crushes the soul; Thou art fire which transforms mankind, not to dust but into the likeness of God. Thou art fire which consumes our sins and enlightens our souls; Thou art fire which drives away the cold of lawlessness and blazes with the warmth of love. Inflame our souls and bodies that we may rightly burn, not unto destruction, but unto our deliverance from the wrathful burning and the eternal flames of Gehenna. Grant, by Thine aid, that the lamp of our souls be a flame, so that we together with the wise virgins may enter into the bridal chamber of our Heavenly Bridegroom. O Thou Holy and Life-Creating Spirit, with the Divine flame burn away the thorns and tares of our sins, eradicate from our hearts every evil seed, and let nothing be left within us as fodder for the eternal fire.”

“O Holy Spirit, consubstantial with the Father and the Son, sanctify us by Thy grace. Expand the Orthodox Faith, guard Thy Church against all heresy, confirm the God-fearing king, strengthen our civil authorities, and multiply Thy people. Grant abundance of the fruits of the earth, send down upon us the longed-for peace, propagate throughout the world reverence for Thee, strengthen in our hearts firm hope and ignite in our hearts the flame of Thy love, cultivate within us good desires, and at the end of this temporal life grant unto us Life Eternal!”

St. Dimitry of Rostov

2 thoughts on “A Good and Faithful Guide

  1. Maxim

    It is impossible to speak an edifying word outside the guidance of the Holy Spirit; a word may be absolutely true, yet be a poison for the one who hears it, an unbearable burden which sinks their soul. Only by the power of the Spirit is the right word received by the right ear; only by this power can these seeds take root and grow.

    Liked by 1 person

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