Spiritual Insight: On Sorrows

Spiritual Insight: On Sorrows

If you want to serve God, prepare your heart not for food, not for drink, not for rest, not for ease, but for suffering, so that you may endure all temptations, trouble and sorrow. Prepare for severities, fasts, spiritual struggles and many afflictions, for “by many afflictions is it appointed to us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Acts 14,22); “The Heavenly Kingdom is taken by force, and the who use force seize it”. (Matt 11:12)
(St. Sergius of Radonezh, Life, 10)

It is impossible to draw near to God without sorrows, without which human righteousness cannot remain unchanged… If you desire virtue, than give yourself to every affliction, for afflictions produce humility. If someone abides in virtue without afflictions, the door of pride is opened to him.
(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies, 34)

Sin is a sickness which has been introduced into human nature. A sinful impression and perverse pleasure leaves a trace in the soul and body, which becomes deeper with the repetition of sinful actions and which forms a propensity for sinful action and a certain thirst for sin. Therefore, as a bodily doctor sometimes painful burns out the ulcers that have infected the body, or separates them with iron, in the same way the Doctor of souls and bodies uses instruments of affliction is order to wrest out the roots and erase the traces of sins, and with the fire of suffering burns out the contagion of propensity to sinful pleasures. (St. Philaret of Moscow, Homily on July 5th, 1848)

A man of discernment, meditating on the healing Divine Providence, bears with thanksgiving the misfortunes that come to him. He sees their causes in his own sins, and not in anyone else. But a mindless man, when he sins and receives the punishment for it, considers the cause of his misfortune to be God, or people, not understanding God’s care for him. (St. Maximus the Confessor, Chapters on Love, 2.46)

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