This Was From Me

The Spiritual Testament of St Seraphim of Vyritsa (1866-1949)

“This was from me” is a famous letter written by Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa that he sent to his spiritual child, a bishop who was in a Soviet prison at that time; this homily “This was from me” is written as a consolation and counsel to the bishop to let him know that God the Creator addresses to the soul of man.

Hiero-schemamonk Seraphim (Muraviev) was born in 1865 in Yaroslavl Province. He reposed in 1949 in the village of Vyritsa, Leningrad District. One could say that he was one of our contemporaries, but one who lived to see and experience far more than we: the Monarchy, the Revolution, the years of Soviet power, and devastating wars…He was a peasant boy who was to become a retail salesman, then a successful furrier, and later the spiritual director of a large Russian monastery, and an elder who prayed for the Russian land. He was a kind family man who later became a zealous monastic, a worker of miracles, and a prophet. Above all else, he was always and in every circumstance one who dedicated his life to God, and who practiced obedience to the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind… [and] thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22: 37-39). While living in the world and undertaking a multitude of cares and concerns, St. Seraphim of Vyritsa not only was able to keep himself from the temptations of the age, but he was made worthy to attain great spiritual gifts.

Unquestionably, his life is a lesson for all of us. Now just as it did during his earthly life, his prayerful intercession continues to save, edify, and turn toward repentance those who revere his holy memory.

After St. Seraphim of Vyritsa’s repose, the following document, his “spiritual testament,” was published:

Have you ever thought that all what concerns you, concerns Me too?
For what concerns you, concerns the apple of My eye.
You are precious in My sight, of great value, and I have loved you,
and so it is a great joy for Me to educate you.
When temptations rise up against you,
when the enemy surges against you like the rough sea, I want you to know that –
This was from Me.

I want you to know that in your weakness,
you need My strength, and that your safety lies in allowing Me to defend you.
Have you ever found yourself in difficult straits,
among people who did not understand you, who did not care about what you liked, who alienated you? –
This was for Me.

I am your God, your entire life is in My hands.
It was no accident that you found yourself in that specific place;
it was the very place I had appointed for you.
Did you not ask that I teach you humility?
Thus, I set you into that very place,
in the school where that lesson could be learned.
Those around you, those living with you,
are merely acting according to My will.
Do you struggle with money, is it difficult for you to make ends meet,
then know that –
This was from Me.

For I put money at your disposal, and I want you to run to Me,
and to know that you depend upon Me.
Bear in mind that My reserves are inexhaustible
and rest assure that I faithfully keep My promises.
May you never be told these words in your time of need:
«Do not believe in your Lord God».
Have you ever spent one night in sorrow?
Are you parted from those who are close and dear to your heart?
I allowed it so that you may turn to Me to find eternal comfort.
Have you been betrayed by your friend, or by someone you opened your heart to –
This was from Me.

I allowed that you be touched by that disappointment,
so that you may recognize that the Lord is your truest friend.
I want you to bring all your cares to Me and talk to Me about everything.
Have you ever been slandered, then leave it to Me and allow your soul to cling closer to Me,
your refuge, your shelter from disputing tongues.
I will bring out your truth like a bright light and your fate like noonday.
Have your plans come to naught, is your heart weary and grown tired –
This was from Me.

You had made your own plans, you had your own intentions,
and you brought them before Me seeking for My blessing.
However, I want you to allow Me to decide and order the circumstances of your life,
for you are merely an instrument and not an active participant.
Unexpected failures in life have come to you and despondency has taken hold of your heart, know –
This was from Me.

For it is through this weariness of your spirit
that I am testing the strength of your faith to My promises
and the fervency of your prayer for those close to you.
Was it not you who entrusted your cares for them to My providential love?
Was it not you who still entrusts them to the Protection of My Most-pure Mother?
Has a serious illness befallen you, either passing or incurable, and have you been bedridden –
This was from Me.

For I want you to know Me even more deeply through your bodily infirmities
and not to grouch because of this trial sent down to you,
and not to strive to comprehend My plans for the salvation of human souls in diverse ways,
but to bow your head without complaining and submit to My goodness for you.
If you have ever dreamed of doing some special work for Me,
and instead of that you found yourself lied down on the bed of illness and weakness –
This was from Me.

For then you would have been preoccupied with your affairs,
and I would not have been able to draw your thoughts to Me,
but I want to teach you My deepest thoughts and lessons, so that you may be in My service.
I want you to comprehend that you are nothing without Me.
Some of My best children are those who are cut off from active work,
so that they may learn to use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. –
This was from Me.

If, unexpectedly, you are called to take on a difficult and responsible position,
put your trust in Me.
I entrust you with these difficulties, and for them,
your Lord God will bless you in everything you do,
wherever you go; in everything, your Lord will be your Director and Instructor.
On this day, My child, I placed the container of The Holy Oil. Make free use of it.
Always remember that every difficulty that arises, every word that offends you,
every vanity and condemnation,
every obstacle in doing your job that could evoke disappointment, disillusion, disenchantment,
every manifestation of weakness and impotence will be anointed with this oil. –
This was from Me.

Remember that every obstacle is a Divine instruction, and therefore,
instil in your heart the words I have told you today –
This was from Me.
Keep these words in your mind and always remember them,
wherever you may go.
The pain of every sting you endure will be blunted if you will learn to see Me in everything.
Everything has been sent to you by Me for the perfection of your soul –
All these were from Me.

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