"I sit in a fairly dark room with no external windows. Outside is one of the most beautiful views on Athos. Yet I prefer to be here for the moment. Perhaps it reflects more my own reality. All that beauty does tell something of God. Yet, in fact, God is nothing like it. In the darkness of my soul he dwells, and I wait for the dark ray of that resplendent Divine Light so to possess my mind that nothing else will be able to take me from his Presence. Being here as a lonely wayfarer, far away from community and friends and home, among people who speak a foreign language and see me as one more of a horde of not-too-welcome visitors (I paint the picture rather black), leaves me more truly in face of what life is. Settled at home in familiar surroundings, among loved ones' care, it is too easy to forget we are strangers and exiles on earth. We tend to feather our nests too comfortably and forget that we are meant to be constantly flying toward the heights. Maybe this is one of the reasons why our Fathers so stressed a spartan simplicity in our monasteries — the bare, impersonal accommodation that the traveler finds in a one-night stand, with no reserves in the closet to keep him grounded there. We must be constantly seeking, searching, longing for, wanting, pressing on to full possession and revelation of that which can only be possessed in this life in darkness and desire — painful but sweet and much to be desired. This darkness is more beautiful than all the glory of soaring Athos. And we can find it by simply doing as the Lord said and closing the door and being with the Father in secret. It is something we can do even in a crowded bus or in any other place that life's pilgrimage takes us, if we want. The quiet of our monastery, our monastic cell, our own room, is a blessing, but of no use unless we want to and do close the door of the inner cell, too."