Amma Syncletica said, “In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first, they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: ‘Our God is a consuming fire’ [Heb. 12.24]): so, we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.” She also said, “Just as the most bitter medicine drives out poisonous creatures so prayer joined to fasting drives evil thoughts away.”