From the treatise On Spiritual Perfection by Diadochus

via divineoffice.org

From the treatise On Spiritual Perfection by Diadochus of Photice, bishop
The mind has a spiritual sense which teaches us to distinguish between good and evil
The light of true knowledge makes it possible to discern without error the difference between good and evil. Then the path of justice, which leads to the Sun of Justice, brings the mind into the limitless light of knowledge, since it never fails to seek the love of God with all confidence.
Therefore, we must maintain great stillness of mind, even in the midst of our struggles. We shall then be able to distinguish between the different types of thoughts that come to us: those that are good, those sent by God, we will treasure in our memory; those that are evil and inspired by the devil we will reject. A comparison with the sea may help us. A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to its depths. No fish can hide there and escape his sight. The stormy sea, however, becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds. The very depths that it revealed in its placidness, the sea now hides. The skills of the fisherman are useless.
Only the Holy Spirit can purify the mind: unless the strong man enters and robs the thief, the booty will not be recovered. So by every means, but especially by peace of soul, we must try to provide the Holy Spirit with a resting place. Then we shall have the light of knowledge shining within us at all times, and it will show up for what they are all the dark and hateful temptations that come from demons, and not only will it show them up: exposure to this holy and glorious light will also greatly diminish their power.
This is why the Apostle says: Do not stifle the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of goodness: do not grieve him by your evil actions and thoughts, and so deprive yourself of the defense his light affords you. In his own being, which is eternal and life-giving, he is not stifled, but when he is grieved he turns away and leaves the mind in darkness, deprived of the light of knowledge.
The mind is capable of tasting and distinguishing accurately whatever is presented to it. Just as when our health is good we can tell the difference between good and bad food by our bodily sense of taste and reach for what is wholesome, so when our mind is strong and free from all anxiety, it is able to taste the riches of divine consolation and to preserve, through love, the memory of this taste. This teaches us what is best with absolute certainty. As Saint Paul says: My prayer is that your love may increase more and more in knowledge and insight, and so enable you to choose what is best.

Constant Refrain

I lift my hands
Stretching my arms heavenward,
In search of my God
I spread my apron
Awaiting Your bounty,
Mysteriously in steady supply.

You are hidden in a cloud
Veiled from my eyes
And yet I hear Your constant strains
Plucking my heart strings,
Playing to my delight,
Reviving my hope,
And refilling my cup
That it might be forever full.

I can almost taste You
As I recall our times of intimacy and joy
I see myself clinging to Your pillar
Singing with the crowds gathered about Your throne.

In Heaven’s anti-chamber,
Knowing and yet not seeing,
Spirit supplying for sight,
Unseen and still perceived,
Your assurances are as rain
Upon my planted fields.
How am I at once empty and full,
Sated by Your Presence,
Yet full of desire.

You are mystery to me,
A sweet mystery,
And yes, a constant refrain.

©2013 Joann Nelander

The Problem of Evil

These verses from Chapter 51 of Imitation of Christ speak to my prayer vs world experiences and fluctuations:

“My Son, thou art not always able to continue in very fervent desire after virtues, nor to stand fast in the loftier region of contemplation; but thou must of necessity sometimes descend to lower things because of thine original corruption, and bear about the burden of corruptible life, though unwillingly and with weariness. So long as thou wear a mortal body, thou shalt feel weariness and heaviness of heart. Therefore thou ought to groan often in the flesh because of the burden of the flesh, inasmuch as thou canst not give thyself to spiritual studies and divine contemplation unceasingly.”

“At such a time it is expedient for thee to flee to humble and external works, and to renew thyself with good actions; to wait for My coming and heavenly visitation with sure confidence; to bear thy exile and drought of mind with patience, until thou be visited by Me again, and be freed from all anxieties. For I will cause thee to forget thy labors, and altogether to enjoy eternal peace. I will spread open before thee the pleasant pastures of the Scriptures, that with enlarged heart thou may begin to run in the way of My commandments. And thou shalt say, ‘The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.‘”