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160. St. Michael of Pelotius? July 11/24, 1974

Dear Sister in Christ, Nina,
Rejoice in the Lord!

Forgive our silence. Things have been very busy. How did you know we were in San Francisco? Actually, it was just Tommy and myself, and we did nothing but pick up the printing press which some Russians gave us (mysterious people, some kind of private detective), seeing no one. As it turned out, transporting it was more difficult than I had thought, and it took the whole afternoon just to load it, and then the Hertz truck had a flat tire on the road (fortunately the back tires were double, but we still had to saw off the tire with a hacksaw to get it out of the way, with the help of a friendly service-station attendant). We got back at 6 a.m. after sleeping for a while in a rest stop (the best invention of highway science!). The press is still in pieces and we are still building the wing to house it.

About carnal warfare when bodily labors are impossible or difficult, St. Abba Barsanuphius says: “Flee quickly to the Prayer of Jesus, and you will find repose”; “pray ceaselessly, saying: Lord Jesus Christ, deliver me from shameful passions.”

Brother Gregory is probably leaving today. He couldn’t take it here for the same reason he couldn’t stay in Boston: he wants to trust himself, and he can’t accept obedience as anything more than outward. I fear he is a classical case of prelest, and I don’t know how he will survive. He received his income tax refund and now will go on the road: either to Monterey or Jerusalem, or wherever the next day’s thought leads him. He helped us much by transcribing most of the remainder of Abba Dorotheus, and we will soon be ready to undertake a new book.

Last Saturday arrived the last of the expected novices of the summer: Christopher, from Hawaii, 20 years old, not yet baptized. Too early to say how he will be; he needs lots of milk before getting spiritual hard food (he’s never been away from his parents before!) Pray for him.

One other candidate didn’t show up (just as well!) — decided to “save the world” by staying in it instead of “becoming a hermit.”

Were finally getting hot weather and suffering a little, 90 degrees (probably 110 or more in Redding) — but the tomato blossoms are producing tiny fruits, and we rejoice! Blackberry season is on, and we’ve picked several gallons, but eat them before we can make jam of them!

Pray for us all.

With love in Christ,
Seraphim, monk

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