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St. Paisius Velichkovsky

THAT ONE SHOULD ENDURE SORROWS

From

Little Russian Philokalia, Volume IV

St. Herman Press & St. Paisius Abbey Press, 1994


HE WHO DESIRES TO BE SAVED should not fear to look upon the fierce sorrows which come from demons or men, because in human life there are many changes. Men change from evil to good and loving. One who fears sorrows usually falls into weakness and faint-heartedness. If one becomes used to fleeing or escaping sorrows or goes from place to place, or chooses only a particular time to begin to labor and to struggle, such a one all the days of his life will not find a place and a time for receiving benefit.

One should, on the contrary, look upon and have hope in the mercy of God and remember His glorious miracles from the ages and His help to those who have pleased Him, and chat God will not abandon one in any need or sorrow. And never does He allow a temptation which is above our strength. Therefore, we should manfully bear our cross with thanksgiving for the sake of God and future eternal good things. We should endure everything sorrowful in the present time and place. According to the word of the Apostle, ~ must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). By this narrow, sorrowful path we come to the highest perfection of patience, and no matter in what place we are, we are not deprived of benefit, but we shall receive it by God's mercy. Let us forget everything sorrowful which comes from demons and men, and let us not take care for any sorrow, nor for food. Let our care be only for this, that the present time should not pass vainly, that is, without spiritual struggle and prayer.

And when any kind of sorrow from demons and men comes upon us, or an affliction or disease or misfortune, then especially let us diligently pray to God. Let us cry out with tears without anxiety and concern over how we should be delivered from this need, for there is no sorrow that comes to us without God's Providence. Wherefore let us love the narrow and difficult path of sorrowful life, for this narrow and sorrowful path leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Therefore let us not flee dangers, misfortunes, needs, and sorrows, but let us manfully endure everything sorrowful, difficult, and unpleasant until we receive Divine help. It befits an ascetic, a Saint of God, to be strong in every sorrow, to place his heart, as it were, on a firm ground, and not to be weak like water. This life which turns like a wheel is inconstant and without order. Sometimes there is prosperity for a man, some kind of honor-but do not place your heart on this. Sometimes there is persecution from men-and then do not be sorrowful. Sometimes sorrows and passions attack from demons -do not be sad then. All of this comes to us and is allowed by God for our salvation. And again it departs as His grace ordains, so as to chastise and have mercy upon us. Unto Him may there be glory, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


We live in an era when any problem can be solved almost immediately. If we're cold, we get warm; if we're hungry, we eat; if we need to go somewhere, we go; if we are in pain, we take something for it. With all the societal benefits that have come along with such ease, we've become spiritually and psychologically soft because of it. When we can't seem to immediately fix something in our life, we become depressed and we despair of God's love for us, and even doubt His existence. Much like my commentary on St. Dorotheos' homily on blaming ourselves which was previously published, where I put the question forward of "Who said I have to be offended?", we can read this short homily and ask ourselves "Do I always need to be comfortable? Does there always need to be an answer? Does God maybe have a better reason for what is befalling me at the present time? Does God know better than I?" We know from many other areas in life how adversity makes one stronger, yet it is so difficult for us to actually practice experiencing difficulties with joy. As the monastic saying goes: "May it be blessed!"

May God grant us patient endurance.

- Fr. Photios

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