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Suffering as Gift.

But suffering, as the crowning of a man bearing his cross, gives birth in his heart to great Divine joy. As a mother grieves during the travails of birth-giving but then rejoices because a man has been born into the world (cf. Jn. 16:21), so does a Christian.

Archimandrite Ioanichie (Balan)

During his trials, in the flames of sickness, in the storm of temptation, he does not experience any particular joy; but when the sorrow passes he rejoices in spirit, for he was able to bear the Cross of Christ. Great was the joy of the holy apostles and martyrs who suffered for Christ, and great should be our joy when God visits us with afflictions. For he who does not suffer here for a short time will suffer there eternally.

Pleasure and satiety bring every sin into the home, but suffering brings Christ. Pleasure drives Christ from the heart, but sorrow makes Him our friend. Pleasure fertilizes the weeds of sin, but suffering brings forth the lily of salvation. Beloved faithful, let us love suffering, for it makes us friends of Christ. Let us hate pleasure, inasmuch as it deprives us of His love. Let us go where our Pastor is. And if He punishes us and convicts us, let us endure all for the sake of our salvation. He will never tempt us beyond our strength, but rather He will give us the gift of patience and the crown of salvation according to the measure of our sorrow. If someone has troubles beyond his strength, it means he has the heaviest of sins and he is deprived of His mercy. But let us be bold, for the Lord will not permit the rod of sinners upon the lot of the righteous (Ps. 124:4). Above all, we, Christians, are given not only to believe in Christ, but to suffer for Him (cf. Phil. 1:29).

Pleasure and satiety bring every sin into the home, but suffering brings Christ.

Thus, we Christians suffer because we want to follow Christ.

We suffer because through suffering our multitude of sins is forgiven. We suffer because suffering teaches us to pray, to unite with each other, and to place our hope in God alone.

We suffer because we want to be an example for others in salvation.

We suffer because sorrow brings joy to our souls.

We suffer because it is the sole path leading to Heaven. All other paths lead to destruction.

Let each bear his cross that he himself chose or that the Lord assigned him. But whoever seeks for another cross, a lighter one, is like Judas the betrayer, the forsaken of the Lord. Let us remain there were Christ is: at our children’s cradle, at the bedside of the sick, in the fire of temptation, in the podvig (struggle) of good works. There we will see the scourged face of the Lord, His pierced hands and rib, His brow, bloodied for our sake. For the furnace of temptation purified the saints, but the wounds of the Cross have begotten for us the spirit of salvation.

The holy Gospels were written in blood.

So many of the holy Epistles were written in chains. The Church was founded in persecutions, passing through earthly abysses and attacks until our times. Let us, Her children, walk this same path. We Christians are not born of fornication, but we are sons of the Light, redeemed at the price of innocent blood. Neither are we orphans abandoned by our parents.

Our Father is God, and our Mother is the Church; let us listen to our Father and Mother.

Neither are we lost sheep, not finding any meaning in this life—we are the sheep of the flock of Christ, and He is our Good Shepherd Who surrendered His soul for us. We are God’s, and we need no hirelings. We have the Archpastor, Who, out of love, desired to suffer for us (Heb. 4:15). Let us endure any sorrow for the sake of His love, that His sheep might be there with their Pastor!

+ Glory to God for All Things +


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