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Hardships are Necessary.

We must be prepared to accept the will of God. The Lord permits all sorts of things to happen to us contrary to our will, for if we always have it our way, we will not be prepared for the Kingdom of heaven.

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Neither heaven nor earth will receive those who are self-willed. God has a Divine plan for each one of us, and we must submit to His plan. We must accept life as it is give to us without asking, "Why me?" We must know that nothing on earth or in heaven ever happens without the will of God or His permission. We must not become too engrossed with our hardships but concentrate on preserving our inner peace. Even when we are praying for something, we are trying to force our will instead of accepting God's. All hardships and sorrows that God sends us are necessary for us, but we do not understand this when we are young. When we are older, then we understand that this is the way God shows His love for us.

Even when we are praying for something, we are trying to force our will instead of accepting God's.

I have had many falls, sorrows and travails throughout my life, but it could not have been otherwise. The Holy Fathers say, "How will we know that God truly loves us, if He does not take us through much suffering and sorrow?" There are times when people become depressed and despondent, which is a type of pride in its own way.

If a person loves the things of this world, this will invariably lead to despondency, for he will not find God in them.

Each human being feels lonely at times, even when he is among people, until the moment he becomes free from the things of this world. At that point, God comes to comfort him. The soul feels lonesome because the power of Grace diminishes in it due to its interest in the things of this world. One cannot go both ways! Unless it is humbled, the soul cannot receivce the fullness of God's Grace, for if it received Grace in its proud state it would surely result in great evil, and was the case with the fallen angels.

Our life on earth is like an epitimia*. Don't be surprised that bad things happen all the time.

+ Glory to God for All Things +

*a penance give to bring a soul to repentance and return it to health.

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica Elder Tadej of Vitovnica was one of the most renowned spiritual guides of Serbia in the twentieth century. As a novice he lived in obedience to Elder Ambrose of Miljkovo Monastery, a disciple of the Optina Elders. From him Fr. Thaddeus learned the Prayer of the Heart and the selfless love that came to characterize his whole ministry to the suffering Serbian people.

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