Remember the Apostle’s words, “If only you were not baptized…”? Those are scary words that apply to us in many ways. Why is that? Because externally we perform Orthodox rituals, and internally we remain the same as we were before our baptism or conversion: we envy, deceive, hate our neighbors, condemn, and most importantly, our hearts are not yet detached from this world and do not cling to the Lord.
We believe in our greed, not in God; we believe in our lusts, not in the Lord’s commandments. We know things of the flesh that can be touched, seen with natural eyes, and we cannot understand things that are of the Spirit as if we were blind and deaf. Without them, Christianity doesn’t make any sense.
We who are wicked are trying to adapt Christianity to this world, so that our faith may serve our daily life, so that we may feel comfortable and relaxed.
However, spiritual life is a narrow and difficult journey. We need to rip off our skins, figuratively speaking, and more than once, because sin sprouted into our nature, and the Divine became unnatural for us. That is why we need a cross; everyone needs his own Golgotha to die in the anguish of sin and to rise in the joy of the Spirit.
This, of course, does not mean that we need to torture ourselves. You need to accept all sorrows and diseases that come down on you with gratitude, not with grumbling. If life hits you hard it means that the Lord has not forgotten you; it means that you have become like a red-hot piece of iron under the blows of a hammer.
If you dodge the blows, you will remain a shapeless piece of metal, and if you endure them, you will be a wonderful work of God’s Hands.
We think we are the most miserable people on earth. We are both poor and sick, and no one loves us, and we are out of luck in every way, and the whole world is turning on us. Sometimes you listen to a man and you expect to see Job in front of you… but when you look at him, you see that he is handsome, healthy-looking, and well-dressed.
Why do we exaggerate our misfortunes and troubles? Maybe it is because we don’t suffer enough? After all, look: the truly sick people do not show their illness nor do they whine. They carry their cross silently, to the very end.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds