Sufferings and Illness – Passport to the Sweetest Heaven Cover Image

Sufferings and Illness – Passport to the Sweetest Heaven
Sufferings and Illness – Passport to the Sweetest Heaven

Author(s): Ioan Cristinel Teşu
Subject(s): Theology and Religion, Eastern Orthodoxy
Published by: Editura Universităţii »Alexandru Ioan Cuza« din Iaşi
Keywords: "Spirituality"; "Spiritual Fathers"; "St. Paisios"; "illness"; "virtues"; "salvation";

Summary/Abstract: St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain, who venerated among saints starting January 2015, is one of the most beloved contemporary Orthodox saints. What made him so loved and cherished were his improved life, his practical and experimental teachings, as well as the many wonderful works he did during his life, among which the most frequent and the highest one was the resurrection of souls from the death of sin. His spiritual words drew attention by their richness and depth, the Athonite Saint giving extremely current advice to the problems and troubles of this world and of the contemporary man, in the Church spirit and conscience. But the same exhortations impressed by their sensitivity, being able to offer answers to the soul, that bring inner peace and give spiritual high meaning. He often used to say he tried to put “sunshine” on the souls troubled by worries and darkened by sins and passions, bringing light and hope and trust in the love, kindness and mercy of the Heavenly Father Who does not enjoy man’s suffering but wishes his salvation, since He created man out of infinite love, and not for sin, chastisement or suffering, but for eternal life and happiness [“I make sunshine” he said and he meant that as the sun is absolutely necessary to open flowers, so a slight pastoral touch helps to open and heal the soul] (cf. Cuviosul Paisie Aghioritul, trans. Nuţescu 2003a: 13). He had to take the cross of suffering in his body because of the colon cancer he asked for, received and bore it spiritually like a real blessing. This was his way to take upon him a part of world sufferings and he made the disease an exceptional way of approaching and uniting with God, by going along with Christ the Saviour through the Golgotha of suffering to His Resurrection. Because his words have the advantage of being uttered by a contemporary saint who suffered himself from this cruel disease and they spring from God’s gift and his own experience, they also have the ability to offer consolation and comfort to the souls “visited” by sickness and suffering. Completely opposite to the general expectations that consider the incidence of cancer or oncologic diseases will decrease, the medical sources tell us they will grow in an alarming and frightening way in the coming years. Therefore, on the following pages, I will try to present some of the rich spiritual meanings that St. Paisios gave to illness in general as well as the ways or means of confronting suffering, as described by the Athonite Father.

  • Issue Year: 23/2018
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 49-70
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: English