Today on the Orthodox calendar, we honor the memory of St Syncletica, a female monastic whose wisdom sayings are included in the collection of sayings of the desert fathers and mothers. She taught:
There is struggling and great toil at first
for all those advancing toward God; but afterward,
inexpressible joy. Indeed, just as those seeking
to light a fire at first or engulfed in smoke and
teary-eyed, thus they obtain what they desire.
As it is said, Our God is a consuming fire.
So, we ought to kindle the divine fire in ourselves
with tears and toil.
(V.K. McCarty, FROM THEIR LIPS: VOICES OF EARLY CHRISTIAN WOMEN, p 103)