If you search among the sayings of the desert fathers and other saints of the first few centuries of the Church you will find these two following stories which I will tell as best as I remember them.
1). A holy elder had a vision once of an angel and the Lord. Between the angel and the Lord flowed a river wide and swift. The angel was very beautiful with great spreading wings of many wondrous colors. The Lord raised His hand and called to the angel, saying "Come!" And the angel lifted up his wings and leapt into the air and soared with ease to stand by the side of his Lord and Master.
Another angel appeared almost the equal of the first in glory, and also with great and spreading wings of wondrous colors. Likewise, the Lord called to this angel and said, "Come!" The angel lifted up his wings, leapt into the air soared with ease to stand beside his brother angel with the Lord, their Master.
After this appeared a third angel, also very beautiful and glorious, but with small wings not like the greatness of the wings of the other angels at all except in their wondrous color. To this angel the Lord called, "Come!" The third angle spread his wings as wide as he was able and leapt into the air. But he did not soar. It was only with furious beating of his wings that he stayed in the air at all, and every inch, every foot he made towards the Lord was slow and unsteady. Many times his feet began to drag the water. Sometimes he sang nearly too his knees in the flood, but each time he began to falter, he wept, and cried out to the Lord for mercy and for help. "Come!" The Lord replied, and the angel redoubled his efforts and struggled that much the harder to rise up once more above the raging waters, again and again. Finally after a long while, great labors, and many tears he too took his place beside the the Lord, His Master and His God.
The guardian angel of the elder asked him if he understood the vision he had just witnessed. The elder replied that he did not. So, the elder's angel answered and said, there will be two great ages of monastics who will do great things and work many wonders, that is the Lord's gift to them; but the monastics of the third age will hardly do any wonders at all, and it will be all they can do to keep from perishing in the river. To them the Lord will give mainly tears and repentance and this later angel will be the greatest of them all.
2) One somewhat younger but still accomplished monk asked his elder about how that in times past it seemed the holy ascetics did many great wonders, yet in their own times these seemed much diminished, and he wonder if this continued what would it be like for those who followed them. The elder replied that the first generations of Christians did twice as much compared to more recent generations, and those generations that are to follow their own will do half as much again as the present generations, and those generations who come at the very end will struggle just to keep their garments clean; they will know weeping and sorrow for their sins, yet they will be the greatest generation of all.
Between these two stories, I think a useful answer may be found.