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The Arena.

I spent my entire life in sickness and sorrows, but without sorrows, how can one be saved? Illness is sent by God in place of and to make up for the deficiency of our struggles. I see that my ill health is a gift of God -His epitimia: His mercy. - Bishop Ignatius

Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov

"What is death?" The age with which our true life begins. A man should not despair, no matter how great his sins, for a man is not saved by his good deeds, but by his faith in Christ the Savior; only his deeds should manifest his faith. Just think that the great Apostle Peter himself wept bitterly…"

"Prayer chases away foul thoughts and fills us with jubilation… One mustn't give way to despondency. On the contrary, one must thank God for sorrows as a Sign of being chosen for eternal blessedness. Not only does gratitude deaden the sharp sting of grief, it fills the heart of one who is thankful with a heavenly, spiritual solace. Nowhere can one find such solace as in patience which is born of humility. Humility consists in considering ourselves worthy of sorrows which God's Providence allows to visit us.

Sorrows are always the lot of those on the path to salvation.

"Nothing and no one can snatch out of God's hands a soul dedicated to His service. For God gives to such a soul for the time of its earthly pilgrimage a narrow path paved with diverse sorrows and deprivations, because it is impossible to come to God along a broad way…"

The world lies in a state of spiritual deception and manifests an affinity for those in the same state. But it despises and rejects those who serve Truth.

"Knowing the Savior and thus acquiring eternal blessedness is man's primary happiness on earth, and his only treasure.."

"Faster and faster time passes, and the hour of our entrance into eternity draws nigh. Make use of your days on earth to prepare for this. Such preparation dispels temporal sorrows and brings consolation, thereby indicating that this preparation is indeed a preparation for blessedness…"

"One must never, for any reason, become despondent, for we are carried in the hands of God's Providence. Our concern is to be true to the Lord. And the Lord purposely reveals the weaknesses of him to whom He wishes to grant His gift of discernment. For the beginning of a soul's enlightenment is the perception of its own sins and its insignificance…"

"May the Lord teach you humility. the source of all calm. From humility, peace and quiet flow into the heart. If we are handed the cup of suffering, let us accept it as the cup of salvation, as a pledge of eternal joy. He who refuses sorrows, rejects also salvation God allows the devil to strike us for the sake of our salvation and humility."

"My sincere desire is to end my days somewhere in solitude and anonymity, in spiritual vigilance and repentance. One should not deceive oneself with false expectations of a long earthly life. Everything passes, both the good and the bad, and neither humans nor demons can overcome that which God does not allow."

Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhe and Melitopol

Through the lips of the Apostle Paul we are taught about the purifying fire, through which the human soul must pass. We may encounter this fire not only when we pass over the border of earthly life. We experience it already here and now, because our life’s circumstances are that fire, which burns all impurity out of the soul.

The Apostle Paul compares this with the process of cleansing of precious metals from various impurities. In antiquity the purification of gold and silver was only carried out with the help of fire. So also, our soul cannot, without sorrows, deprivations, troubles, and sicknesses be able to reach that state, which gives it the opportunity to enter into eternal life.

Therefore we must not be afraid of sorrows, but thank God that He sends us such circumstances.

We ourselves would never have the resolve to take on these sorrows, but God’s love and mercy give them to us by His Providence for the salvation of our souls.

Unfortunately, by far not everyone understands this. There are those who are ready to pay any price just to live in peace - a false peace. They agree to even sell their souls to the devil, if only they might receive pleasure from material comforts and physical health. There are no few among such people who call themselves Orthodox Christians and even servants of God. If we look at them closely then we will see that these people are motivated by fear—the fear of being shamed and persecuted. There are also some among them who simply have the banal fear of having their sins exposed before people. But they do not understand that it would be better for them endure exposure, contempt, and reproach than to have eternal shame. Such people are now rocking the ship of the Church, playing the role that their manipulators are forcing upon them.

But we need to understand that righteousness in the eyes of people is worth nothing. It is not important what other people think of us—it’s important how God sees us.

Glory to Thee our God.

+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +

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