When it is God’s Pleasure…

When it is God’s pleasure to subject a man to even greater afflictions, He permits him to fall into the hands of faint-heartedness. This begets in him a mighty force of despondency, wherein he feels his soul to be suffocated. This is a foretaste of Gehenna. From this there is unleashed upon him: the spirit of aberration (from which ten thousand trials gush forth); confusion; wrath; blasphemy; protesting and bewailing one’s lot; perverted thoughts; wandering from place to place; and the like. And if you should ask what the cause of these things is, I answer that it is you yourself, for the reason that you have not taken pains to find the remedy for them. The remedy for them all is one, and therein, in its very hand, a man can find immediate consolation for his soul. And what is it? Humility of heart. Without this no man can destroy the barrier of these evils, nay rather, he will see them triumph over him.
St. Isaak the Syrian

Advertisements

God has done all things for our benefit

“God has done all things for our benefit. We are guarded and taught by the angels; we are tempted by the demons so that we may be humbled and have recourse to God, thus being saved from self-elation and delivered from negligence . . . Thus God in His unutterable goodness has arranged all things in a marvellous way for us; and if you want to understand this and to be as you should, you must struggle to acquire the virtues, to be able to accept with gratitude everything that comes, whether it is good or whether it appears to be bad, and to remain undisturbed in all things.”
St. Peter of Damascus, The Philokalia, Vol. 1

The Works of God

The works of God are wondrous and unfathomable for our darkened minds, but as much as possible, we see from Scripture and our personal experience that the Lord sends sicknesses, sorrows, deprivation, droughts, wars, and revolutions either as punishment for our sins; or in anticipation, so that we do not fall into sins; or sometimes to test our faith. And so, we must bow in reverence before His all-wise Providence and give thanks for His ineffable mercy towards us.

Saint Macarius of Optina

The Lord is Everything!

From St. John of Kronstadt’s “My Life in Christ”

When praying, endeavour by every means to feel in your heart the truth and the power of the words of the prayer; feed yourself upon them as upon an imperishable food; water your heart with them as with a dew; and warm yourself by them as by means of a beneficial fire.

The Lord is everything to me: He is the strength of my heart and the light of my intellect. He inclines my heart to everything good; He strengthens it; He also gives me good thoughts; He is my rest and my joy; He is my faith, hope and love; He is my food and drink, my raiment, my dwelling place. .As a mother is everything to her infant—its mind, will, sight, hearing, taste, smelling and feeling, as well as its food and drink, its clothing, hands and feet—so, likewise, the Lord is everything to me, when I yield myself wholly unto Him. But, alas! when I fall away from the Lord, then the Devil enters into me, and if I did not turn my heart’s gaze towards the Lord, did I not, amidst the enemy’s oppression, call upon the Lord for help, then the Devil would have been, as he sometimes is, very evil to me: malice, despondency, perfect feebleness towards everything good, despair, hatred, envy, avarice, blasphemous, wicked and impure thoughts, contempt for everything—in short, he would have been, and sometimes is, my intellect, my will, sight, hearing, taste, smell, feeling, my hands and feet. Therefore, put your trust in the Lord. He is that which is, infinite in holiness, omnipotence, grace, mercy, bountifulness, and wisdom.