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ABSTRACT. Being ultimately rooted in the ancestral sin and amplified by personal sins, the “involuntary” sufferings are signs of the Heavenly Father’s merciful love and evidences of His all-wisedom as well as of His desire to redeem the human race from sin and to save the man. The Holy Eastern Fathers teach that from a moral point of view, the health of the soul means cultivating the virtues and good deeds. Many people wish to live a full life and to enjoy every moment, looking for what is pleasant and easy and trying to avoid any form of labour or asceticism. The “involuntary” physical trials and sufferings compensate this absence in the spiritual level, being considered a second form of ascesis, sometimes even more harsh and painful than the first – the Christian ascesis – because this one is absent. In other terms, we can say that if we do not labour when we have the opportunity and it is much easier for us, we will have to do it involuntarily and often when our powers are weaker and impoverished. The way these alternate and the duration and intensity of moments when the divine help “visits” or “withdraws” are a mystery of God’s love for man, whose knowledge and understanding is not always fully accessible to us. Moreover, in such a state, it is not useful for man to question, but to accept his suffering and to seek to improve his spiritual situation in the hope of God’s help and its ceasing. This study will introduce the reader into the teachings of the Holy Fathers about tribulations, pain and suffering as forms of God’s merciful love.

Keywords: tribulations; pain; suffering; pleasure; God’s love; eternal joys

IOAN C. TEȘU
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Dumitru Stăniloae Faculty of Orthodox Theology,
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iași

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