Saint Seraphim wanted to increase his asceticism so he remained on a large rock in the forest, alternating with a smaller one in his cell, and Prayed here, standing and kneeling with his arms raised in Prayer, entreating “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Saint Seraphim Prayed in this way for 1000 days and nights, only resting for a short time.
“It is up to us to add labours in order to ‘go from strength to strength’ (Psalm 83:7), and to come ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13), so that the words of the Lord may be fulfilled in us: ‘But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall grow wings like eagles; and they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40:31). Only then will our present joy (which now visits us little and briefly) appear in all its fullness; and no one will take it from us, for we shall be filled to overflowing with inexplicable Heavenly delights.”
Saint Seraphim was great in his Ascetic struggle. One day he was asked why he often carried a knapsack filled with stones. He humbly replied, “I am troubling him who troubles me.”
A certain brother, seeing his Ascetic life, asked him for his own edification: “Why don’t we , Father, lead a strict life as the ancient Ascetics did?” “Because,” replied the Saint “we have no determination to do so. If we had the determination, we should live as those Fathers did who, in olden times, shone with labours and piety; because God gives His Grace and help to the faithful and to those who seek the Lord with all their heart now just as He did before. For according to the Word of God, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (Heb. 13:8).
“During the time that the body of one fasting becomes thin and light, the Spiritual life attains to perfection and reveals itself through Miraculous manifestations. The spirit then performs its actions as if in a bodiless body. External feelings are as shut out, and the mind, renouncing the worldly, ascends to the Heavenly and becomes completely immersed in the contemplation of the Spiritual world. Yet not everyone can take upon himself strict rules of abstinence from everything, nor deprive himself completely of all that serves to relieve infirmities: “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matthew 19:12).”