His father was a merchant, but business did not interest the devout boy. According to Orthodox Church tradition, a wonderworking icon of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), Our Lady of Kursk healed the young boy. Seraphim later experienced a number of visions.
He died while kneeling before an
icon of the Theotokos which he called
"Joy of all Joys". This icon is kept currently in the chapel of the residence of the Patriarch of Moscow.
Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in
the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.
As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every
good deed done for Christ's sake,
they are only
means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God.
But mark, my son, only the good deed done for Christ's sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ's sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said:
He who gathers not with Me scatters
…To the question once put to him about what distinguishes a perishing sinner from a saving righteous man or from a saint, the Monk Seraphim answered: only determination… Our salvation is in our will, in our firmness, in our unshakable determination to be God's to the end. The Lord gives His Spirit without measure, He gives His grace without measure — He gives everything, including Himself.
But we accept the grace and use the gifts of God to the extent of our willingness to accept what He gives — and exactly what He gives, and not what we want, and to bear the fruit that God expects from us.
Metropolitan Sourozhsky Anthony
в день обретения мощей прп. Серафима Саровского. 1982 г.
Our task is the acquisition of divine Grace.
Even if your heart is grieved because you do not follow its lead and do not do what it loves, you do not need to obey him, because, having obeyed him, you will experience worldly joy first, and then worldly anxiety. If you do not obey your heart and it is upset that you did not follow its lead, and you rejoice in this, then divine Grace comes. And
the acquisition of divine Grace is our task.
That is, in order to acquire divine Grace, desires, even good ones, must be cut off, self-will must be cut off. Then the person calms down. And
when he humbles himself, divine Grace comes.
Having cooled to worldly things, the heart will rejoice spiritually. It is necessary, as far as possible, to learn to avoid worldly consolation, to engage in inner spiritual work in order to acquire divine consolation.
Repeatedly, — writes Motovilov, — I heard from the lips of the great saint of God, the elder Fr. Seraphim, that he will not lie with his flesh in Sarov. And then one day I dared to ask him: — Here you are, father, please keep saying that you will not lie in Sarov with your flesh. So the Sarovskiys will give you up somehow?
To this, the priest, smiling pleasantly and looking at me, deigned to answer me like this:
— Oh, your love of God, your love of God, how are you!
For what Tsar Peter was the king of kings, and wished for the relics of to transfer the blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky from Vladimir to Petersburg, but
the holy relics did not want to,
and they are not in Petersburg.
— How did not want?
I dared to object to the great old man. — How did not feel like it when they rest in St. Petersburg in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra?
— In the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, you say?
How is it so?
In Vladimir, they rested at the autopsy, and in the Lavra under a bushel — why is that?
And because, — said the priest, — that they are not there.
— And having spread a lot on this occasion with his bogi-speaking lips, Father Seraphim told me the following:
— I, a wretched Seraphim, from the Lord God is supposed to live much more than a hundred years. But since by that time the Russian bishops have become so impious that they will surpass the Greek bishops in the time of Theodosius the Younger in their wickedness, so that they will no longer even believe in the most important dogma of Christ's faith — the Resurrection of Christ and the general resurrection, then it is pleasing to the Lord God to take me, the wretched Seraphim, until the time of temporary life, and therefore, in affirmation of the dogma of the resurrection, resurrect me, and my resurrection will be like the resurrection of the seven youths in the cave of Okhlonskaya during the time of Theodosius the Youngest.
Having revealed this great and fearsome secret, the great elder told that after his resurrection he would move from Sarov to Diveevo and there he would open the sermon of universal repentance. For that sermon, and even more so for the miracle of the resurrection, a great multitude will gather to the people from all over the earth… And then the end of everything will soon come.
Such is the great Diveevo piety secret, discovered by me (S.A. Nilus, - ed.)
in the handwritten notes of the Simbirsk conscientious judge Nikolai Alexandrovich Motovilov, the companion of the great seer of the prophetic rank — the reverend and God-bearing father of our Seraphim of Sarov and all Russia wonderworker.
On the banks of God's river. Notes of the Orthodox. — San Francisco, USA, 1969. — V.2. — pp. 192-194;
Russian Pilgrim, №2, 1990. — Chico, California, USA. — pp.93-96;
Literary studies. — Bk.1, 1991. — pp.132-133;
Russia before the second coming. — М.: Edition of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, 1993. — pp.335-339;
Saint of God Seraphim /
Composition А. N. Strizhev.
— М., 1993. — V.1. — pp.175-192)