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"You Don't Want to Suffer?"

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Then don't expect to ascend. Whoever does not endure sufferings should not expect grace from Him.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast

When can someone understand human suffering? When he also suffers. When he goes through the same, he learns and understands the other person's suffering. Otherwise, he is callous and is not grieved, unless he happens to have a good nature. But all natural attributes merit neither honor nor dishonor, achievements and falls depend on our own free will. So then, how shall we learn this science of all knowledge if the tempter does not sift us life wheat? Since, when grace leaves, not only you and I , but even the holy apostles would not have been apostles!

How can pottery hold water if it has not been baked in the fire?

This is how God wants to make us - like a wrestler in the theater, or like a ball they kick around. He raises you to the heavens. He shows you what the eye of passionate man has not seen nor the ear of a man with materialistic cares heard. Then without your being at all at fault. He turns the page and throws you into the infernal depths. And He rejoices to see you wrestling like an athlete against all the demonic battalions. Don't take my word for it, but take Paul for example. After he ascended to the third heaven and saw and heard unspeakable words, he still cried out, "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh!" This is what the Lord Who is mighty in strength does, until He establishes a person. He makes him ascend and experience theoria, descend and suffer, teaching him to regard both the one and the other as something commonplace, without either transformation effecting him. "Both of these," he says, "are for me."

So, you don't want to suffer? Then don't expect to ascend.

Whoever does not endure sufferings should not expect grace from Him. He removed grace from you so that you may become wise. But it will come again. It does not abandon you. This is a law of God. But it will leave again. Yet once more will it come. As long as you don't stop seeking it, it will keep coming and going until it renders you perfect. So then, bear the chain of your Christ. Close your mouth tightly and don't let a single word escape. Give yourself courage, saying, "Why are you sad, my soul, and why are you disheartened?" Nothing bad happened to you. Christ has left for a little while, but He will come back again. He delays a little to teach you patience and humility. The saints endured so much, are you unable to withstand this dispensation of grace? You should say such things to your soul and not be fainthearted. For this is what gives joy to the temptations: when they see that you grieve and lose heart.

When grace comes and goes, and comes and goes again, you learn the art of warfare.

Then vacillation makes not impression on you, but you rejoice and say, "Test me, my dear Christ, and try me like silver in a furnace." Then your roots grow deep like the trees whose roots go deeper the more the wind blows. God is my witness that it was during my greatest temptations that I found the greatest consolation. So be brave and strong in the Lord. Endure temptations and grace will come again.

+ Glory to God For All Things +

Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph

Saint Joseph the Hesychast was a Greek Orthodox monk and elder who led a small group of monks at Mount Athos. He was canonized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Consantinople in 2020. His annual feast is celebrated on August 16.

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2 comentarios

03 oct 2022

Glory forever!

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03 oct 2022

I found these truthful words especially difficult to hear, for I knew I myself have selfishly prayed for all difficulties and travails to pass me by and when they did not, have cried and moaned to God. How much more appropriate if I instead took a right approach and recognized God's mercy and desire for me to grow in and through Christ.... truly something I must learn to work on. I am so grateful God gives us the wisdom of the Saints and Elders.

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