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Cross_domeThe Holy Scriptures describe that the stones used to build the Temple of Solomon were first hewn and chiseled outside of the Temple. Once the stones had been prepared and carved with utmost attention and diligence, they were then transported to the Temple and set in place gently, without being struck by a hammer or other tool again: “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building” (3 Kings 6:7). Similarly, it is necessary for the people who will be placed as precious stones within the framework of the divine manor found in Jerusalem above to be struck here in this present world with the hammer and chisel of discipline and sorrow. This is because in the heavenly manor on high, there is no sorrow, trouble, hunger, thirst, punishment, or pain, as St. John the Evangelist describes in the book of the Revelation (cf. Rev. 21:4). This is why God allows His friends to suffer and face various sorrows here in this present life. Thus, we must be extremely happy when adversities appear: we should receive them as a gift, as a blessing, and as medicine, which our Heavenly Father sends to us with much love.

Our Lord censured the Apostle Peter when he attempted to prevent Him from being apprehended and led to death: “Put thy sword into the sheath! The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” (Jn. 18:11). If the Lord referred to the imminent ridicules, torments, and death itself (that He would endure for our salvation) as a cup sent from His Father, why shouldn’t we repeat the same words, “Shall I not drink it?” and believe that all the sorrows and difficulties that we encounter are a therapeutic cup containing medicine sent to us by the Heavenly Physician with paternal love for our salvation?

Behold, dear reader, how every sorrow (whether it originates from the devil, people, or some other source) is in fact a therapeutic remedy sent to you by your Heavenly Father, in order to purify your soul. Do not become upset if the drink tastes bitter, because this bitterness will help you acquire your cherished health, just as bitter and unpalatable medications prescribed by physicians help us get better. All the sorrows and difficulties we are faced with in this life are spiritual medications sent to us by the Heavenly Physician for the benefit of our soul. According to St. Gregory the Theologian, the gall that Tobit placed on his eyes, through which he regained his sight (cf. Tob. 11:8-14), signified this truth — that every sinful person is delivered from spiritual blindness through bitter sorrows. Indeed, eyes that have been blinded by sin are enlightened and recover their vision through suffering. 

—from the book The Salvation of Sinners