“…on the third day, when all this torture and pain ended, I experienced a joy inside me, like enlightenment from God, who revealed His great and immeasurable love towards me by giving me this ulcer on my leg. I could not stop thanking Him, praising, glorifying and showing appreciation to Him for giving me this wound. For He indeed gave me this wound on my leg out of His great love for me. I could not get enough; night and day I was filled with joy and praise: ‘Your great love was revealed in this. How could I ever praise You, how could I ever thank You, how could I glorify You enough? O Lord, without beginning, Eternal, without end, You love me, a pitiful and filthy being? What did You see in me? I praise the Glory, I praise the Mercy, the Compassion,’ I kept saying at the time. I cannot say such words now the way I used to then. This went on for three days. After that it stopped.

Thus, good are the sorrows, good are the troubles, good are the afflictions; God knows very well why He grants us these things. For through these we approach God. ‘O Lord, in distress we sought you’ (Is. 26:16). With them we draw nearer to Him. And what happens when God takes the sorrow from us? ‘He who runsfrom temptation which is for his profit, runs from eternal life,’ it says in the patristic texts. And this is exactly how it is.

This is the reason why man should never be in despair, should never become despondent because of a disappointment. For you do not know what God’s will is. When you recognize God’s will you are patient. But God’s will might not always be sweet; it might be bitter as well, it might well be bitter. ‘Am I not to drink this cup?’ He says.

‘Am I not to drink this cup, Peter?’ He asks.

‘I will drink this cup,’ He replied and called him Satan. ‘Away with you, Satan, am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’ (Jn 18:11). This is exactly how it is. But we should never forget that through the Cross came the Resurrection. ‘For behold, through the Cross joy has come to all the world.'”

~Elder Ephraim of Katounakia (d 1998)

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