The Theotokos: Trusting in God

“It is impossible to escape affliction in this world but the man who is given over to the will of God bears affliction easily, aware of it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his afflictions pass. When the Mother of God stood at the foot of the Cross, the depth of her grief was inconceivable, for she loved her Son more than anyone can imagine. And we know that the greater the love, the greater the suffering. By the laws of human nature the Mother of God could not possibly have borne her affliction but she had submitted herself to the will of God, and the Holy Spirit sustained her and gave her strength to bear this affliction. And later, after the Ascension of the Lord, she came to be a great comfort to all God’s people in their distress.

The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit on earth, and the man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells feels paradise within him. Perhaps you will say, ‘ Why is it I have not grace like this?’ It is because you have not surrendered yourself to the Divine will but live after your own fashion. Look at the man who likes to have his own way. His soul is never at peace. He is always discontented – this is not right, that is not as it should be. But the man who is entirely given over to the will of God can pray with a pure mind. His soul loves the Lord, and he finds everything pleasant and agreeable.

Thus did the Most Holy Virgin submit herself to God: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And were we to say likewise – ‘Behold the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word’ – then the Lord’s words written in the Gospels by the Holy Spirit would live in our souls, and the whole world would be filled with the love of God, and how beautiful would life be on earth. And although God’s words have been heard the length and breadth of the universe for so many centuries, people do not understand and will not accept them. But the man who lives according to God’s will will be glorified in heaven and on earth.” (St. Silouan the Athonite, pp 338-339)