Step 2 On detachment Leaving the World behind to follow Christ: 1. The man who really loves the Lord, who has made a real effort to find the coming Kingdom, who has really begun to be troubled by his sins, who is really mindful of eternal torment and judgment, who really lives in fear of his own departure, will not love, care or worry about money, or possessions, or parents, or worldly glory, or friends, or brothers, or anything at all on earth. But having shaken off all ties with earthly things…, he will follow Christ without anxiety or hesitation, always looking heavenward and expecting help from there, according to the word of the holy man: My soul sticks close behind Thee, and according to the ever-memorable author who said: I have not wearied of following Thee, nor have I desired the day (or rest) of man, O Lord. 2. After our call, which comes from God and not man, we have left all that is mentioned above, and it is a great disgrace for us to worry about anything that cannot help us in the hour of our need—that is to say, the hour of our death. For as the Lord said, this means looking back and not being fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. ‘Suffer me first to go and bury my father,’ our Lord replied, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. 3. I have seen how in the world they planted many different plants of the virtues, which were watered by vainglory as by an underground sewage pipe... For water- loving plants are not such as to produce fruit in hard and arid training fields. The man who has come to hate the world has escaped sorrow. But he who has an attachment to anything visible is not yet delivered from grief. 4. The following will show you what the narrow way means: mortification of the stomach, allnight standing, water in moderation, short rations of bread, the purifying draught of dishonour, sneers, derision, insults, the cutting out of one’s own will, patience in annoyances, unmurmuring endurance of scorn, disregard of insults, and the habit, when wronged, of bearing it sturdily; when slandered, of not being indignant; when humiliated, not to be angry; when condemned, to be humble. Blessed are they who follow the way we have just described, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 5. Let those who run the race imitate not Lot’s wife but Lot himself, and flee. Step 3 On exile or pilgrimage 1. Exile means that we leave forever everything in our own country that prevents us from reaching the goal of the religious life. Exile means modest manners, wisdom which remains unknown, prudence not recognized as such by most, a hidden life, an invisible intention, unseen meditation, desire for humiliation, longing for hardship, constant determination to love God, abundance of charity, renunciation of vainglory, depth of silence. 2. In hastening to solitude and exile, do not wait for world-loving souls, because the thief comes unexpectedly. In trying to save the careless and indolent along with themselves, many perish with them, because in course of time the fire goes out. As soon as the flame is burning within you, run; for you do not know when it will go out and leave you in darkness. 3. Have you become an exile from the world? Do not touch the world anymore; because the passions desire nothing better than to return. Run from places of sin as from the plague. For when fruit is not present, we have no frequent desire to eat it. we should have no ties of affection at all lest we seem to be roving in order to gratify our passions. 4. When men or devils praise us for our exile, as for some great success, then let us think of Him who for our sake was exiled from heaven to earth, and we shall find that throughout all eternity it is impossible for us to make return for this. 5. By much labour and effort a good and firm disposition is developed in us. But what is achieved with great labour can be lost in an instant. ‘For evil company doth corrupt good manners’6, being at once worldly and disorderly. The man who associates with people of the world or approaches them after his renunciation will certainly either fall into their traps or will defile his heart by thinking about them; or if he is not defiled himself yet by condemning those who are defiled, he too will himself be defiled.