We all understand that it is very important to have an inner life, but sometimes this inner life can be rather poor, and then, to my mind, even external efforts produce results. When in difficult times a person constrains himself for Christ's sake (he restricts himself to something, comes to the church service not fully understanding its meaning, but he is there for Christ), even then, I think, God will definitely comfort him. I want to share with you an experience I once had. Together with other brothers and sisters of our sisterhood, I used to go to a boarding home to help. We visited the wards where were people in need of help. We would come to them, pray with them, give them some holy water, or take them to Divine services. Once, it being my turn to go to the ward, I was in no mood for that. I had to really drag myself there. It was a bleak, unpleasant day, and the only thought I had in my head was, "Why am I doing this?" At that moment I felt completely helpless and powerless, it seemed that even if I came there, I would still be of no use. That thought was so convincing that I had nothing to oppose it. But I continued walking anyway because it was impossible not to go. I felt that I had to go. I went to the door of the ward. About fifty people, all in absolutely different states, were sitting in the corridor behind it. Among them were those willingly responding to prayer. It was for their sake that we would try and do something ...Having pressed the call button, I stood outside the door waiting to be let in. There was a resident in that ward who got particularly happy about our coming there (usually at the same hour), so he would always exclaim, God has come! Now I was standing there, completely ruined by my weakness, and I heard the same voice shouting to the orderly, Open the door! God has come! and the orderly replying angrily, Far from it! There's no God there. What are you talking about? Then this resident came up to the door and asked, God, is that you? I felt a shiver down my spine. I did not know what to answer, so a few moments later I replied, Yes, it's me. The resident walked away from the door and happily said, Well, I told you, it is God who has come! They answered the door, and coming inside I felt God also coming with me to the ward. He came not only to those in the ward - a tiny part of Him came to touch me, too. So I thought to myself that we should always continue doing what we do, even if we do not have much talent for that. The Lord will definitely come and touch our lives.
Father Sergius Nezhbort
More likely than not, we will not see our situation in the same way as the Prodigal Son did. Perhaps our path towards holiness should start with an exercise in introspection.