A necessity of progress

The Logos justifiably rebukes the tardiness of those who drag out their time in the practice of the virtues and do not wish to advance beyond this and to rise to the higher state of contemplation. “Fools and slow of heart” He calls them—slow to place their trust in Him who can reveal the meaning of the contemplation of the inner principles of the created world to all who spiritually explore the depths of the Spirit. For not to wish to progress from the initial struggles to those that are more advanced, and to pass from the “exterior” or literal meaning of Holy Scripture to its inner or spiritual meaning, is a sign of the sluggish soul, one with no taste for spiritual profit and extremely resentful about its own advancement. Such a soul, since its lamp has gone out, will not only be told to go and buy oil from those that sell it; but, finding the bridal chamber closed to it, it will also hear the words, “Go away, I do not know you or whence you come.”

Nikitas Stithatos (c 1020-1100), On the Inner Nature of Things, 97. Philokalia 4.136.