Elder Arsenie Papacioc
The ideologies of other religions differ from Christianity in the fact that they want to escape suffering. In Orthodoxy, only through suffering are you delivered from suffering. So, the world can’t be saved except through sacrifice.
I thank God wholeheartedly for giving me a cross. I reasoned like this: “I was hones in my life, but it’s not enough; you have to crucify yourself!” And I said many times: “You should die and rise every day! If you don’t know how to die, don’t hope for resurrection!”
The Christian understanding of salvation is precisely this: suffering – but not in the sense of harnessing ourselves to the cart of persecutors or something similar. However, if we uphold the truth, we will undoubtedly begin to suffer as we defend it. For there is a whole series of individuals, as the history of every era has shown us, who know how to persecute, to make a name for themselves by mercilessly sacrificing others…
Where Christ is not present, there exists false humility. The most vicious thing that we must purge from ourselves is pride. “I want people to speak well of me, not to gossip about me!” This doesn’t matter. We must always ponder on God’s opinion of us, not the world’s; for this has clipped the wings of many great men. People need to understand that salvation is not possible without the cross. Suffering is a gift from God… “I have humbled you, (Romanian) people, so I could raise you!” Man runs from suffering like a coward. We’re not telling you to look for it, but if it has found you, defeat it!
Selections from Orthodox Word No 281