10 great quotes about the role of suffering/sorrows in the spiritual life (II)

1) St Ignatius Brianchaninov

All the sorrows and sufferings caused us by other people never come to us except with God’s permission for our essential good. If these sorrows and troubles were not absolutely necessary for us, God would never allow them. They are indispensable, in order that we may have occasion to forgive our neighbors and so receive forgiveness for our own sins…. Let us force our heart to accept from our neighbor all kinds of offences and injuries that they may inflict upon us, so as to receive forgiveness for our countless sins.


2) St Nikon of Optina

The kingdom of heaven is not granted to those who lie in bed, but to those who labour and endure sorrows.


3) St John Chrysostom

“Why,” you ask, do we see evil doers thriving and healthy and enjoying great prosperity? Let us weep for them, because their not having to suffer in this world is a guarantee of greater punishment in the next! To show this, St. Paul said, “But when we are judged, we are being chastised by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with this world.” Afflictions here are a form of reproof, while this in the other world are a form of punishment for those who were evil in their lives.


4) Elder Thaddeus

We must suffer much in our hearts until we learn humility. The Lord is ever standing by our side, allowing us to feel pain beneath our left rib so that all the stench can come out. And all we say is, “So-and-so has offended me straight through the heart; this cannot be forgiven!” How can we not forgive, when we are the same as they are? How many times have we offended our fellow men? Well, we must learn to keep our peace. Until you have suffered much in your heart, you cannot learn humility. He will use someone in order to humble us.

Someone will provoke our anger and do it until we learn to remain calm and peaceful when provoked. When we can stay calm when someone attacks us from all sides, when we can keep our inner peace in spite of that person’s rudeness, then our soul will become meek and humble and we will live this life with a full understanding of it. And our neighbors will tell us, “You have changed; you used to have a fiery temperament, but now you have somehow become calm and dispassionate.” But we have not become dispassionate. Rather, this is how the victory over evil manifests itself.


5) St Augustine

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation.


6) St Macarius of Optina

Woe to our times: we now depart from the narrow and sorrowful path leading to eternal life and we seek a happy and peaceful path. But the merciful Lord leads many people from this path, against their will, and places them on the sorrowful one. Through unwanted sorrows and illnesses we draw closer to the Lord, for they humble us by constraint, and humility, when we acquire it, can save us even without works, according to St. Isaac the Syrian


7) St John of Kronstadt

The most usual way to God for us sinners, who have strayed from Him into a far-away land, is the way of painful suffering and bitter tears. Both the Holy Scriptures and actual experience testify that, in order to draw near to God, it is necessary for the sinner to suffer, weep, shed tears, and to amend his deceitful heart: “Draw nigh to God …. be afflicted, and mourn, and weep.” Tears have power to cleanse the wickedness of our heart, and sufferings and affliction are necessary, because through suffering the sinful expansion of the heart is salutarily contracted, and when the heart is thus contracted, tears more easily flow.


8) St Ignatius Brianchaninov

True Christianity is martyrdom. A Christian’s life is a chain of struggles and sufferings that constantly follow one another. The victor is given life eternal and is wedded to the Holy Spirit.


 9) Pope Shenouda III

Pain is the deepest thing in life At the time of lust, man is floating on the surface of life; but at the time of pain he goes to the depth. Pain purifies the heart. Pain purifies man more than 1000 sermons, and more than reading 1000 books. One hour of suffering purifies the heart internally


10) Elder Amphilocios Makris

We are going to suffer, until one day – suddenly – we reach our destination in heaven.