Monday, December 19, 2016

How Should We Accept Sickness?


Saint Porphyrios gives us an important lesson about illness. His words may be difficult to understand but we must open our soul to receive them so we can follow what the great saint teaches.

When we are in pain we should not think of this as a punishment from God but as a gift. God allows sickness for our benefit. Remember, God is love and is always trying to lead us to become like him so we can enter into His kingdom. Accepting our pain and discomfort as a gift, we must think of it as an opportunity to share in a small way the Passion of Christ.  It is His grace working in us. When we see this in this way we will experience joy that He is with us and allowing us to participate in His passion. It is His Passion that lead to His Resurrection. So we too are being led to our Resurrection by His grace when we experience as pain.

Nor should not fear pain as a sign of death, but think that, if it is our time to die, death is the only door to heaven and eternal life with Him.

Saint Porphyrios says that we should not pray to be relieved of our pain as this can be self-centered. We should instead pray to be forgiven for our sinfulness. Usually our sickness and pain makes us aware of our sinfulness and we feel a need to call on God for help.  We should pray for God to help us become a good person capable of doing His will and follow His commandments.

Sickness humbles us. It makes us realize that we are not in control. It is like the hot fire that purifies gold. The fire heats up the gold metal and the impurities float to the top. Then they are skimmed off leaving pure gold. When we are sick and realize we cannot control the destiny of our life it is like the heat that purifies gold. Our sinfulness comes to the top and with our prayer of forgiveness God can skim off the impurities in our hearts. As we continually sincerely ask for his mercy we find that His grace is given to us in mysterious ways. This faith we have in God's goodness towards us and His saving grace must be pure and unconditional. We must without doubt believe that God is our creator and savior. Based on this faith we must have total love for Him, loving Him more than anyone we know.  With this love we can say like saint Porphyrios says, "Even if you want to put mey in Hell, do so as long as I do not lose your love." For Him God's love had no boundaries.

In sickness Saint Porphyrios teaches us to accept our condition knowing God loves us and that He allows this illness so we can come closer to Him. Remember your sinfulness, continually pray for His mercy and forgiveness, and ask that he make you a good person in His eyes. Do not ask for self-centered things like to make you well but instead ask only that He make you a better person.

Have patience, endurance, and love God with your whole heart.

Reference: Wounded by Love, pp 224 -231

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