Unless a man acquires, through the grace of Christ, knowledge of the truth and fear of God, he is gravely wounded not only by the passions but also by the things that happen to him.

When you want to resolve a complex problem, seek God’s will in the matter, and you will find a constructive solution.

When something accords with God’s will, all creation aids it. But when God rejects something, creation too opposes it.

He who opposes unpleasant events opposes the command of God unwittingly. But when someone accepts them with real knowledge, he ‘waits patiently for the Lord’ (Ps 27:14).

When tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came, but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor.

Another man’s sin does not increase our own, unless we ourselves embrace it by means of evil thoughts.

If it is not easy to find anyone conforming to God’s will who has not been put to the test, we ought to thank God for everything that happens to us.

If Peter had not failed to catch anything during the night’s fishing (cf. Lk 5:5), he would not have caught anything during the day. And if Paul had not suffered physical blindness (cf. Ac 9:8), he would not have been given spiritual sight.

And if Stephen had not been slandered as a blasphemer, he would not have seen the heavens opened and have looked on God (cf. Ac 6:15; 7:56).

As work according to God is called virtue, so unexpected affliction is called a test.

God ‘tested Abraham’ (cf. Gn 22:1-14), that is, God afflicted him for his own benefit, not in order to learn what kind of man Abraham was – for He knew him, since He knows all things before they come into existence – but in order to provide him with opportunities for showing perfect faith.

Every affliction tests our will, showing whether it is inclined to good or evil.

This is why an unforeseen affliction is called a test, because it enables a man to test his hidden desires.

The fear of God compels us to fight against evil; and when we fight against evil, the grace of God destroys it.

Mark the Hermit (5th-6th c.): On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works,194-205, Text from G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware (trans. and eds.) The Philokalia: The Complete Text, vol. I (Faber & Faber, London & Boston: 1979), online version here.

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