WHY ARE YOU SORROWFUL?
By Geronda [Elder] Ephraim of Arizona
Why are you sorrowful and glum while walking along the way of God? Those who have forgotten God, who have no hope in the living and eternal fountain of God, should grieve. But we, who believe in the Living God and whose hopes depend upon Him, ought to rejoice that we have such a Father in the heavens, Who loves us more than all fathers and mothers and Who takes infinite care to render us worthy to Him.
But, you say, we fall every moment! Yes, I do not deny it--but we know that our nature is from clay and that it desires the earth and seeks what is base, for "the mind of man is inclined to evil from his youth" (cf. Genesis 8:21). And we see within us a law which seeks to capture our free will, to subjugate it and "render it a slave of sin" (cf. Romans 7:23).
In all this, however, our good intention triumphs. God has given us spiritual weapons to fight against every satanic attack: the glorious banner of the Cross of hope--living hope in Him Who said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (cf. Hebrews 13:5)--hope in Christ, Who was hanged on the Cross, and all who look upon Him and hope in Him will not be put to shame. The All-Immaculate Blood which was poured out on the Cross pardoned the sins of mankind and poured forth life. "Blessed is the man who hopes in him" (cf. Psalm 33:8).
Take courage, my child, this grief of your will turn into joy. This grief produces great good for you; it surrounds you as with a breastplate of iron so that the evil darts of attachment to earthly things do not tear your mind away from the concern for heavenly things and for your immortal soul. Grief will succeed joy, and joy, grief, just as night follows day. This is how the Father of Lights has established the path of those who are being saved. Just have patience and hope: engrave these in the depths of your heart--with these, all adversities will be faced. Cling to our sweet Jesus; cry out to him in your afflictions. Entrust to Him the care of grievous things and He will do good to you, as to Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, who out of extreme grief because of her barrenness, fell down before the Lord and poured out her soul as if beside herself. And her petition did not fail. Whoever hoped in God and was put to shame?
Of course, this does not mean blameworthy hope but active hope--that is, hope along with spiritual works according to our strength; otherwise, it is not hope but mockery. Save us from such deceitful hope, O God. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God