Q: When I do something good, how should I humble my thoughts? And how does one reproach oneself after doing something good?
A: For humility of thoughts, even though you might have performed all good deeds and kept all the commandments, remember Him Who said: "When you have done all this, say that we are unprofitable slaves, for we were obliged to do what we have done" (Luke 17:10) – and all the more when we have not even attained as yet to the fulfilling of a single commandment.
Thus one should always think and reproach oneself at every good deed and say to oneself: I do not know whether it is pleasing to God. It is a great work to do according to God’s Will, and yet greater to fulfill the Will of God: this is the joining of all the commandments; for to do something according to God’s Will is a private matter and is less than fulfilling the Will of God.
Therefore the Apostle said: "Forgetting what is behind, and stretching forth to what is ahead" (Philemon 3:13). And no matter how much he stretched out to what was ahead, he did not stop and always saw himself as insufficient, and he advanced; for he said: "whatever is perfect, think on this"(Philemon 3:15), that is, so as to advance. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)
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