Saturday, August 1, 2015

Concerning Trials

They are Blessings
   Events which now seem like misfortunes, later on, prove to be God's blessings.
Trial and Reward
   Let us not reconcile the unreconcilable to avoid the cross and to secure our ease. Let us not seek little pillows on which to rest our guilty conscience. Because then, God will allow us both to suffer harsh trials and also not have a reward in heaven.

The Purpose of Afflictions
   If afflictions did not exist, we would not seek Paradise.

Just Like Operations!.
   We should accept afflictions just as we accept the hardship of a surgical operation in order to secure our health. Pain humbles man. And the more he is humbled, the more he approaches God.

The Only Consoler
   In great afflictions only God can console. For this reason, the best thing is prayer and not so much words of consolation.
   In times of affliction, look at the "Crucified One".

God Does Not Make Mistakes
   A certain, spiritual daughter recalls:
   "Years ago, in the city where we dwell, something rare happened to one family: The wife, in the space of only four or five years, buried her husband and her three children. And her one daughter had gotten married a few months prior to her death.
   As much as I knew that, the question which arose in me "Why, my God?" was blasphemous, nevertheless at first I cultivated this thought. So, I confessed this thought of mine. The Elder's response was so simple and simultaneously so wise:
   "Know just one thing," he told me. "God does not make mistakes!".

Facing Death
   This is how the Elder faced the announcement of the death by a car accident, of a beloved person, a spiritual child of his:
   "Glory to thee, O God!" he said three times, and subsequently asked about details of the accident and he consoled the mourning person.
   Behold, furthermore, how the Elder announced the sudden death of a father of a spiritual child of his, then a student:
   "My child, your father is first a child of God and then your own father. So the Lord, to whom he belonged, called him close to Himself."

The Afflictions of the Righteous
   "Elder, why does God allow righteous and virtuous people to suffer from dreadful illnesses?".
   "In order to be cleansed even from the least traces of their passions and to gain a greater crown in heaven. Furthermore, since He allowed His beloved Son to suffer and to die upon the Cross, what can we say for the people, who, no matter how holy they are, have filth and spots from sins?".

Exchanging Position
   A certain youth who was being trained in a school of reserve officers persistently asked the Elder to intercede so he could leave the school and become a simple soldier, because in the school he faced great difficulties. After urging him in vain to be patient, Father finally told him:
   "My child, why don't you go to the Asylum for Incurable People, approach a bedridden person and say to him: "Friend, let's change positions. You go to the school of officers and I will go to your bed." Then you would see that, if he had such a possibility, he would jump up like a spring and run joyfully to take your position or even a more difficult one. Oh, my child! We have our health and we are full of complaints and grumbling!".
   And the youth left, changed and encouraged.

   Father Nicolas Palis (1995), Counsels for life: From the life and teachings of Father Epiphanios Theodoroupolos, Studion Press, Inc.