St Paisios: Spiritual Progress

– “Elder , it seems to me that I am getting worse and worse every day, what will happen to me?”
– “In the spiritual life there are three stages. At the first stage, God gives a person sweets and chocolates because he sees the weakness of the soul and its need for consolation.

In the second, little by little, He takes His grace for educational purposes, so that a person realizes that without God’s help he cannot do even the smallest. 
Thus humility is born in man and he feels the need to resort to God in everything.

The third stage is a constant even good spiritual state. 
You are between the second and third stages: you go forward a little, then you forget your weakness, Christ takes away the grace, you are left with nothing, again you begin to feel your weakness and come to your senses.

If you told me that the further you advance, the better you become, then it would scare me – it means there is pride in you. But now, when you say that you yourself seem worse and worse, then I rejoice, because I see that you are fine. 
Do not be afraid: the further a person moves forward, the more clearly he sees his shortcomings and imperfections, and this is progress. ”

– St. Paisios the Athonite