"It is similar with the tears of many people. Some people's tears arise at times due to the debasement of the inclinations of nature, at other times due to worldly distress and the fear of hell.
"Such people's tears are muddy and stinking, for they do not come from the love of God. Those tears are sweet to me that arise from considering God's kindnesses as well as one's own sins and from love for God. Tears such as these raise the soul up from earthly things to Heaven and bring about her new birth for eternal life.
"There are two kinds of birth, physical and spiritual.
"Physical birth means a person is born from impurity to impurity. It bewails physical damage; it gladly puts up with worldly toils. The child of such a birth is not the child of such tears by which eternal life is gained.
"That other birth begets rather a child of tears and bewails the loss of souls and takes utmost care that its child should not offend God. Such a mother is closer to the child than the one who begets it physically, for blessed life is gained through a birth like this.
"Second, in regard to his giving alms to the poor, I answer you: If you bought a cloak for your son with your servant's money, would not the cloak rightly belong to the one who owned the money? Of course it would.
"It is similar in spiritual matters. A man who oppresses his subjects or neighbors in order to help the souls of his loved ones with their money rather provokes Me to wrath than placates Me, because unjustly expropriated possessions benefit their previous legitimate owner and not those persons for whom they are given.
"However, because this man has been kind to you, kindness will be done to him, both spiritually and physically - spiritually by the offering of prayers to God for his sake. You cannot believe how much the prayers of the humble please God.
"I will show you it through a comparison. If someone were to offer a great amount of silver to a king, any bystanders there would say: 'What a great present!' However if the same person were to pray one 'Our Father' for the king, they would laugh at him. It is the opposite with God. If anyone offers one 'Our Father' for another's soul, it is more acceptable to God than a great amount of gold, as could be seen in the case of good Gregory, who raised up even a pagan emperor to a higher station through his prayers.
"Again, tell him this: 'Because you have shown me kindness, I pray to God, the rewarder of all, to repay you in his graciousness.'
"Tell him this as well: 'My dear friend, I give you one counsel and I make one request of you. I counsel you to open the eyes of your heart through the consideration of the instability and vanity of the world. Think about how the love of God has grown cold in your heart and about how heavy the penalty will be and how horrible the future judgment. Attract God's love to your heart by making use of all your time, temporal goods and works, affections, and thoughts for the glory of God, and entrust your sons to God's plan and dispensation without letting your love of God grow any less for their sake.
Second, I ask you to pray earnestly to God, who can do all things, that he may grant you patience and fill your heart with His blessed love."