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Sorrows and Godís Providence.


24. When we suffer something unpleasant from our best friend, we know that he did not do it intentionally and that he loves us. We must think likewise of God, Who created us, for our sake incarnated, and died for our sake having endured enormous suffering. We must remind ourselves that He does everything from His goodness and from His love for us. We may think that while our friend loves us, in not having sufficient good sense in order to do everything correctly, he therefore involuntarily hurt us. This cannot be said of God because He is the highest wisdom. He knows what is good for us and accordingly, directs everything for our benefit, even in the smallest things. It can also be said that although our friend loves us and is sufficiently sensible, he is powerless to help us. But this certainly cannot be said of God, because to Him everything is possible and nothing is difficult for Him. Consequently, we know that God loves us and shows clemency toward us, that He is eternally wise and omnipotent. Everything that He does, He does for our benefit, and we should accept it with gratitude as from a Benefactor, even though it may appear to be grievous.

28. When a person ó crushed with grief ó sins, then what benefit does he receive from this grief? The point is that the reason why we sin is because we are impatient and do not want to endure anything that goes against our will. However, God would never send us anything beyond our strength, just as the Apostle says: "God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able" (1 Cor. 10:13). But we do not have patience, do not want to endure even a little, do not attempt to accept everything with humility and therefore become overburdened. And the more we attempt to avoid these attacks, the more we suffer from them, get exhausted and are unable to rid ourselves of them. Does this section refer to sailors or swimmers, or does it matter? Something similar occurs with temptation. When a person endures temptation with patience and humility, it passes by without harming him. If he starts to be fainthearted, agitated and begins to blame others, then he will be burdened needlessly, inflicting upon himself even greater temptations without receiving any benefit.

28. Temptation is beneficial only to those that endure it without agitation. For example, when some type of temptation disturbs us, donít be agitated, because agitation arises from senselessness and pride, and from the fact that by not knowing our spiritual composition, we avoid the ordeal of self-denial. Thatís why we donít succeed in our spiritual life, because we donít know our spiritual dimension and have insufficient patience, yet want to become creators of good deeds without effort.

28. You human ó why are you disturbed when a passion disturbs you? After all, you yourself formed it! It is better to endure, struggle and entreat God to help you, because it is impossible to satisfy your passions and then not suffer from them.

28. Believe that dishonor and censure from people are medicines that remedy your pride, and pray for those who censure you as genuine doctors of your soul. Be assured that he who hates dishonor also hates humility, and he who avoids those who distress him, shuns meekness.

28. There are people that are so worn out from sicknesses and assaults of life that they prefer to die, just so that they can be rid of their sorrows. This occurs through their faintheartedness and great lack of reason, because they do not think about the great need that will overtake them when the soul leaves the body. This is what the book "Paterikon" has to say: One zealous novice asked his Elder: "Why do I want to die?" The Elder replied: "Because you wish to avoid sorrows and do not realize that the forthcoming sorrows are much heavier than the present ones." Another novice asked: "Why do I fall into apathy and despondency when I am in my cell?" The Elder responded: "Because you have not yet realized the anticipated peace or the future suffering. For if you genuinely knew about this, then even though your cell was full of worms so that they came up to your very neck, you would endure this without weakening even slightly." But succumbing to laziness ó yet wanting to be saved ówe exhaust ourselves from sorrows, whereas at the same time, we should have been thanking God and count ourselves blessed for being able to grieve a little over here, so that we could discover peace over there.

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