Life’s Sufferings and Trials

If the whole of your life has passed smoothly and without care,
weep for yourself.
For both the Gospel and human experience
assert with one voice that no one has,
without great sufferings and trials,
left behind any great work on earth
or been glorified in heaven.
If your earthly road has been bathed in sweat and tears
for the attaining of righteousness and truth,
rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will indeed be great in heaven.

Never entertain the foolish thought
that God has forsaken you.
God knows exactly how much you can bear,
and measures your sufferings and trials accordingly.
‘When men know,’ says St. Nil Sorsky,
‘how much weight a horse can carry, or a donkey or a camel,
and load them according to their strength;
when a potter knows how long to leave the clay in the kiln
for it to be neither shattered nor under-cooked,
how could God not know
how much temptation a soul can bear
to make it ready and fitted
for the Kingdom of Heaven?’

— Prologue from Ochrid

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