“God will centrifuge each one of us” (!) Those words by Gerondissa Philothei were repeated rather ‘ominously’ 3 to 4 times at the first (*) homily I attended at the Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery in Panorama. Doesn’t the centrifugal force cause an object to move out and away from the centre of its path? Is God through various afflictions centrifuging me away from the centre of my old self?
“How good it would have been if we did not let the pain go to waste! One way or another we will suffer. But our whole torture and struggle will go down the drain unless we make good use of pain unless we exploit it. …When we suffer, when a pain insists, let us think like that: “God wants something good to come out of this in me, and I act as if I do not get it. And all I do is moan and groan.” ….
“Know this: When pain will have completed the work it is supposed to do, God takes away. It is not difficult at all for God to remove whichever pain. … A Christian is capable of making such good use of every pain so that he can constantly be in paradise. …. Let there be no complaint, no rebellion, no kicking about.
If possible, whichever pain you have, deal with it by saying these words: “Let it be blessed, my God. Whatever You Want.” This way our pain won’t get wasted but will be exploited to the full. We will take advantage of it, and the great good which saves will come to our hearts. When God visits you with sorrows, say: “Thank you, my God. As I had absolutely no intention to embrace a few ugly things, a few pains, and truly follow your path, you caught up with me and gave me a few. How can I thank you enough?” (!) [+S.K]
(*) The first homily, that is after 35 or so years to be precise. Because Elder Symeon Kragiopoulos monastery was my starting point to the Church. The moment I stepped my foot into the narthex, it all came back to me. Literally that “taste” and “fragrance” of life and teachings which I understood so little back then, yet never forgot since. What an encouragement for my ‘new’ obediences! The second ‘word’ which I received soon after was a mission to make pilgrimages and establish contacts with all nearby Thessaloniki monasteries. All nearby monasteries?! Quite bold a list of obediences for such a timid little city hermit. But may it be blessed. Your prayers
[Monastery Diaries 7]
The first thing I thought of in reading this article about pain, is when I was young and when I stubbed my toe and got angry about it – not being a good feeling at all, my mother would say, “Don’t complain; someone just converted!” Now that I am older, I realize there are many kinds of pain and suffering interiorly as well as outwardly. In offering all these pains and trials to God to do with as He desires or needs for salvation, we become aware of how deeply we are at One with Him. It is a calling that brings us closer to God – He is on the front of the Cross and we are on the back and all the while working together for the salvation of our souls and the souls of others. We don’t need to meet or know them – just trust God is taking care and using our pains in love and generosity.
God bless and tks for a lovely article!