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Even as the violence of the wind, when it rushes upon strong trees and sways them in all directions, does not root them up, but renders them still firmer and stronger by these attacks, so the soul that is holy and lives in a healthy religious state is not damaged by the fierce assailments of tribulation, but rather purified and strengthened by them.

Oh, what does not God give to man in mercy when tribulation itself is sent to him as a blessing. Prosperity is the gift of God who comforts us, tribulation of a God who admonishes us.

Tribulation is a chain indissoluble from the Christian life; thou canst not therefore say he is righteous who is free from tribulation; for things contrary by nature cannot be together without reciprocal strife. Fire and water, so long as they are apart , are altogether at peace; when they meet in one place, the water immediately begins to steam, to bubble and hiss, until either the water is consumed or the fire extinguished.

Many cry to the Lord in tribulation, and are not heard. Paul besought the Lord that the thorn in the flesh might be taken away from him. But the thorn remained, while to him it was divinely said - "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Why this answer? To the end that man may understand that God is a Physician, and that tribulation is a remedy for salvation and sanctification, not a punishment for condemnation. While under treatment, the Christian is cauterized and cut, and therefore cries out; the Physician hears his wish, but He heeds it not for the sake of his soul's health.   

Sts. John Chrysostom and Augustine




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