Saint Theophan the Recluse


On earth, there are more sorrows than joys. And just as the latter are sent by God, so the former are allowed by Him. For a variety of reasons. On occasion so that we bestir ourselves from spiritual hibernation. On another so that we can put a stop to a particular sin. Or be cleansed through repentance. Or for us to show our devotion to the Lord. On our part, however, in all these instances, we have to show boldness and patience, both for the glory of God and also for our own spiritual advancement.

So it was for one of the above reasons that God has allowed sorrows to visit you. Be vigilant and don’t resist the will of God. Rather, have trust in the wise and good judgments of the Lord.

Patience in Sorrows
It isn’t easy for us to bear every sorrow patiently and calmly, especially when it’s onerous. But the burden is so heavy only at the time of the calamity and for a little time thereafter. Then, gradually, it becomes lighter. You see, time’s the best physician. It removes pain, dries tears, allows us to forget, and gives us back the natural rhythm of life. This is what happens with our own behavior as well. Take courage, your grief will be assuaged.

Meanwhile, hold firm within yourself the conviction that everything is allowed by the Lord. He’s interested in only one thing: our salvation. With this in mind, He employs all means available, even, on occasion, the harshest. So whatever God sends, welcome it as efficacious medication. Nothing’s fortuitous, everything’s ordered by divine providence. This is why, when any sorrow befalls you, consider it a visitation, a reminder, a message from God concerning some sin of yours. Thank Him and reform.

Sorrows are sent to the righteous as trials- as was the case with blessed Job in the Old Testament. They’re sent to us sinners, however, as reformatory punishments and an incentive to repent.

Are you bearing onerous sorrows? I’m sorry and feel for you. There’s no help but patience and hope in the mercy of God. Everything comes from God or is allowed by Him. And we must be grateful to Him for everything: not only for the pleasant things, but also for the unpleasant. Because these also are aimed at our benefit: purification, the acquisition and adoption of good habits, the remembrance and invocation of the Lord.

Let’s not grumble, then. Be patient in the dark days. Brighter ones will come.

Sorrows, sorrows, sorrows. One after the other. Accept them with courage and forbearance. They’re the medicine that saves your soul, a sign that God is interested in you. Thank Him. And make sure you get well. Don’t undermine the curative powers of this medication by grumbling.



Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.


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