HERE IS A WONDERFUL BIT OF LIGHT FOR OUR SPIRITUAL PATHS
(Another quote from Fr. Zacharias' book, "Remember Thy First Love") :
"Elder Sophrony sometimes likened the spiritual life to a sphere: whatever point of it we touch puts us into contact with the whole. Just as a connection to the main supply will release a full flow of electric power, so correct practice of the virtues (the points on the surface of the sphere) brings us into contact with the fullness of God's life-giving grace. Similarly, a single particle of His Holy Body and Blood communicates to us the whole Person of Christ. Or again, a single word of God can illuminate our heart, bringing us into contact with all the fulness of the life-giving grace of God".
This nice quote affirms the belief that a Catholic needs to be a doer of the words of Christ, and at the same time explains why people are at such varied places in their faith. Harsh judgment of those who are not where you are (by the grace of God, by the way!) can lead them to think they will never succeed at being a good Catholic, and just stop trying - at least for a while. Love can, over time, bring them along to touch the sphere, and St. John of the Cross, knowing this, said: "Of love be more careful than of anything". For example, East and West differ on which comes first, fear of God or faith. In the West we generally emphasize fear of God comes first, and faith comes as a result of fear - to escape hell. The East flips this over and says faith comes first, and then deep reverential awe of God begins to grow - as the soul is healed by practice of the faith. That is not to say there are not exceptions to the usual order. Bottom line? Treat souls very gently, like good shepherds who gently bring them home. As one of the Fathers says, attack the wolves, not the sheep. We could say ,help them touch the sphere so grace can do its work.