June 8, 2010

Suffering and the Spiritual Man

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Fear in suffering and fear of not suffering - this is one and the same fear and it signifies the fear of a spiritual man as to whether or not God has distanced Himself from him.

When St. Catherine suffered many and difficult tortures, our Lord appeared to her and she asked Him: "Where were You until now, 0 Lord, to comfort me in so many sufferings?" The Lord answered her: "I was here in your heart.'

But as great a fear can come upon a spiritual man when, sufferings do not come his way for a long time. A monk once entered a church in Alexandria and saw a woman kneeling before the icon of the Savior and with tears cried out to the Lord: "You have abandoned me O Lord, O Merciful One, have mercy on me!" Following the prayer the monk asked her: "Who has wronged you that you so bitterly complain to God?" The woman replied: "Up to now, no one has wronged me, that is why I am weeping because God has abandoned me and for three years did not visit me with any sufferings. During this time, I was neither sick, nor my son, nor has any of my household livestock perished."