A letter from Aiud (29 January 1946), Valeriu sent to his family.

“Life is something other than what people imagine. Man himself is something other than what he imagines himself to be. The Truth is something other than what the human mind imagines. I want to be sincere and open, down to the deepest fibers of my soul. From the very moment in which I first set foot in prison, I wondered why I was locked up. In the realm of social life, regarding my relations with the world in which I lived, I was always considered to be someone very good, an example of moral conduct. If I entered into conflict with anyone, it was only for the sake of Truth. After much struggle and unrest, after much pain, when the cup of suffering had filled up, there came a holy day, in June 1943, when I fell to the ground, on my knees, my forehead to the floor, my heart crushed, in an outburst of tears. I asked God to grant me light. On that day, I had lost all confidence in Man. I realized perfectly well that I was in truth, so why then was I suffering? In all my soul full of spirited self-assurance there had remained only love. No one understood me.

In my prolonged weeping I started to do prostrations. And suddenly – O, Lord! How great art Thou, O Lord! – I saw my entire soul filled with sins. I found within myself the root of all human sins. Oh, so many sins, and the eyes of my soul hardened by pride had not seen them! How great is God! Seeing all my sins, I felt the need to shout them out loud, to cast them away from me. And a deep peace, a deep wave of light and love poured into my heart. As soon as the door opened, I left my cell and I went to those whom I knew loved me the most and to those who hated me and had sinned the most against me and I confessed to them openly and plainly, “I am the most sinful man. I don’t deserve the trust of even the lowliest of men. I am blessed!” Everyone was dumbfounded. Some of them looked at me with contempt, others with indifference, and some looked at me with a love that they themselves would not have been able to explain. Only one single person said to me, “You deserve to be kissed!” But I fled back quickly to my cell, buried my head in my pillow and continued weeping while thanking and glorifying God.

On that day, I began a conscientious struggle with sin. If you could only know how difficult the war with sin is! I want you to know that I struggled very much with sin not only here, but also when I was free. [Here he testifies that, although he was tempted physically, he did not fall, but remained pure.] In prison, I examined my soul and I realized that, even though I had not sinned in deed, I had sinned in word and especially in thought. After a deep examination of conscience, I went to a priest and confessed. My confession unburdened me. And I carry on a continuous struggle. The struggle does not cease with death. Without repentance no one can take even one step forward. Anyone who flees from the reality of his own soul is a liar. What is life? It is a gift from God that is given to us in order to purify our souls from sin and to prepare ourselves, through Christ, to receive eternal life. What is Man? A being created through the limitless love of God and to whom God gave the choice between holiness and death. Be very careful! In social life, people regard each other and judge each other not according to what they are in essence, but according to what they seem to be in form. Have no illusions about Man – anyone who does will suffer bitterly – but love Him. Only one is perfect, only one is good, only one is pure: Christ-God! And now: What is the Truth? The Truth is Christ, the Word of God. Seek to draw near to Christ sincerely and leave the world and its sins in peace!”

From the book “The Saint of the Prison”

Source: http://orthodoxword.wordpress.com 



A Letter of Saint Valeriu Gafencu To His Mother.

7 March 1946

My beloved mom, I saw you in the heart of Norika [his sister], when she visited. You were good, gentle, very understanding. I remained silent and looked within myself. There I found love ... Today I'm so happy! I look calmly at my life and life around the world and see God's intervention in everything. I look at our lives and see the miracle of God.

My dear mom, I feel you so much! Tell me mom that you feel my love! Tell me mom that you always feel me by your side! Tell me mom you're happy! I have so much to tell you, mom! At night I wake up from sleep and pray. I send my thoughts to my mom and then there is so much peace within me! And I feel my dad, I feel the endless love. And I often think of the love you had for my father. What a beautiful family you have created! And what beautiful love!

Mom, remember the summer days when I was a student in high school and we were walking together in our garden, among the trees. I remember what thoughts you had and you told me about my future.

My primary thoughts then were that I would become a man of great value. I meant by this to become a man who played a great role in history and bring many good things to the nation. I wanted to do much good in the world, but man plans and God decides. Life has followed its rapid and imposing journey. I arrived by myself to the University in Iasi. There I saw that truly there is opened for me a great future. I lived a normal life, I was one of the most gifted students, a friend of all, with an unusual thirst for the ideals of a new world, in which govern love and justice, the perfect harmony.

Well, I arrived in prison. I knew that my prison life would bring, through suffering and isolation from the world, many problems. I do believe that I suffer for the truth. This circumstance has brought to my soul a deep peace. I was satisfactorily fulfilling the course of my ideal.

And, my beloved mother, I want you to know that I have suffered much. The first winter I would wake up at night from my sleep, and the loneliness of my incarceration, cold and hungry, I would look into the darkness and whispering low, so that I only heard myself, but loud enough for God to hear: "Mom, I'm cold, hungry!"

At first it was very difficult. But God was always with me. He did not forsake me even a moment. I began to confront my bodily sufferings, and slowly began to savor new joys. I saw that I am a sinful man. I am appalled by my sins and my weaknesses. I realized then that I, who wished with all my heart for an ideal world, was a sinner. Therefore, I first had to become a pure new man. And so I began to war with the evil that was inside me.

Slowly there descended upon me the light of truth. I began to live the happiness in pain. And the hole in my heart was overfilled by Christ, my great love. And I realized then that truly great is he who has this great love, though he seems small. Today I am happy. Through Christ I love everyone. It is a difficult journey for these things to be accepted and known by the people! But I am very convinced that it is the only path that leads to happiness.
Translated by John Sanidopoulos


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