My friend, Fr. Silviu Bunta wrote something in an email that I asked his permission to share with everyone.
“I have come to believe that God is the greatest peak of humility, of humble compassion, and that we are most godlike when we sit at the gate hungry, when we are thirsty, when we are strangers, naked, sick, imprisoned, when we suffer, when we are down. We are like our God when we are spat upon, when we don’t have a place where to lay our heads, when we are judged and we don’t defend ourselves, when we make ourselves even lower than animals, when we love everyone dearly, when we are unable to bear any injury suffered by any creature, let alone of a fellow human being, when we take on the others’ injuries. It seems to me that the greatest aspect of godliness hides itself in pain, in suffering. When we are there, at the bottom of hell/life, all else that is needed to be fully in God is lack of despair. These two, pain and lack of despair, generate the most beautiful moments of painful joy.
Paisios the Athonite used to say that prayer gets its power from feeling the pain of the others. There is no true prayer without pain.”