An interview with Archbishop John of Belograd.
– It’s hard not to grumble when we deal with illness or sorrow. But here one can remember what an old woman crying by the church said. When the priest asked her what she was crying about, she answered, “I think God has forgotten about me: this year I have never been taken ill and there has been no sorrow in my life.”
– Sorrow and suffering cleanse a person. By sorrow one becomes stronger; one starts seeing the world and oneself in another light. This is also a manifestation of God’s will when God grants the person something. The person might misunderstand it at first but after such an ordeal, such a cleansing, he or she will see other people differently. He or she will become a different person.
Our common problem is to co-ordinate our will with God’s will. God’s will does not depend on ours. No one can interfere with its realization. I will be frank. A human being, God’s creation, cannot even enter this sphere, cannot intrude upon it. On the other hand. Humans were created by God, so, as any creation, we depend on the Creator and participate in realizing His intention. Being God’s beloved creation, a human being has a unique gift of free will. Quite often there’s a contradiction within us between God’s will and our own. We have a hard time understanding the gift of freedom in choosing. Free will is first and foremost a will free from the burden of sin. And we’d think it means one can do whatever one pleases.
– So free will is God’s gift that we misuse, isn’t it?
– Quite right. It’s given to a person in order to have him realize the truth. Our freedom and free will is always a choice. For a saint it’s a choice between the bigger and the lesser goodness. For a usual person it’s a choice between goodness and sin. But even sinners are not deprived of this gift, of free will. They also have a choice. They can choose the lesser of two evils, of two sins.
Read the rest of the interview here.