Those who suffer are the special children of God
Blessed Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery,
Holy Mount Athos, Greece (+2019)
If today we ourselves are not suffering, let us not forget that in all likelihood things will be different tomorrow. More importantly, right now, all around us, countless friends, loved ones, relatives and acquaintances are suffering, and they are, and never cease to be, the members of our own body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12). Let us pray for them with the words of this psalm [Psalm 17] and with similar words. And even though some of us may not seem to be suffering today, the deeper truth is that we are always suffering. Our struggle to live virtuously is itself a source of pain. Satan, like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8), like a lion’s whelp that lurks in secret places (Ps 17:12), waits for an opportunity to ensnare us in temptations. Our friendships and our loves can likewise be the cause of much pain and suffering. In the end, we can say that our whole life is a passion play, a history of extended suffering. However, let us not lose sight of the deeper meaning offered to us by the psalmist. Pain, difficulties, misfortunes, and suffering in general are the signs of divine visitation. Those who suffer are the special children of God. And so when our life is untroubled and things seem to be going well, we should stop and ask ourselves if we have not somehow moved away from God, because it is precisely suffering that constitutes our glory, our crown.
A PRIEST OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH