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Trial Suffering

Jeremiah, Chapter 9

John, Chapter 18

In the two chapters we read - Jeremiah, Chapter 9 and John, Chapter 18 we see persons having gone through great disappointment. Jeremiah is a person from the Old Testament, a great patriot. He weeps for his people while conveying the Word of God at the same time. He says what will befall his people, what awaits the people. What the prophet was talking about in his time is valid in respect of the present epoch as well.

Jesus is the second man going through great disappointment. John says about him, ‘He came to the world; brought the Truth to humankind, but apart from not being accepted, He was exposed to the attacks of the Roman soldiers. They were telling Him, We don’t need such a person.’ So, what Jeremiah predicted to the Israeli people came true. Also, what Christ prophesied to the Jews, was realised. He told them, ‘Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ For two thousand years now the Jews have been suffering the consequences of their mistake.

You will say perhaps that the Jews were great sinners because they did not know [recognise] Christ and crucified Him. Which person does not crucify Christ even today? People often act like Peter: they see a knife and they defend the truth. Not by knives is the truth defended. At that Peter did not point his knife against any of the chiefs, of the leaders, but struck one of the soldiers with his knife and cut his ear off. What a war is the war where people cut off their ears, their heads, their arms and legs? Christ told Peter, ‘Put up thy sword into its sheathe! He, who pulls out a knife, from a knife shall he die’. Indeed, one knife or many knives do not make a war. Crippling a person is not a war. At that when Peter sheathed his knife, he denied Jesus three times.

Today all the people can go to war with weapons, but they cannot go to war with love. With the old weapon – the language – everybody can go to war. With the new weapon – love – nobody can go to war as yet. You all poke to the right or to the left by your language, the ear of somebody will be cut off, the nose, the arm, the leg of somebody else will be cut off. If you are told to shut up, you sheath your knife and take to your heels. You are wondering what you will be doing when you shut up, when you stop poking with your language [tongue]. This is what good people say, not evil people. As far as the evil are concerned, we shall not dwell on them. Good people are very self-willed. There are no more self-willed people than them. Even the righteous people are also self-willed.

What is to be understood by being self-willed. Which person is self-willed? You meet a person dressed in clean white silky clothes. Inadvertently you spill ink on his clothes. When he sees his clothes stained, he looks at you and his heart immediately changes. He is discontented that his clothes are stained. Externally it may appear that he is calm, composed, that he does not upset, but his heart has already changed. The change of heart speaks [volumes] about human self-will. What was this person supposed to do or how did he have to behave? On looking at his stained clothes, he should have remembered how many times he had stained the clothes of the righteous, of the saint. As long as this is so, on the basis of the same law his clothes would also be stained. Why is he upset then? He is upset because he is uncomfortable with the opinion of the others, not to be exposed before them, so that they do not label him unclean, careless to himself. This is what self-will is. Therefore keep away from evil people, from criminals. Keep away also from the self-willed, whose heart is in a position to change for one only stain on their clothes.

When I talk like this, many will feel hurt, offended. No, I do not condemn anybody, I do not offend anybody; I speak on principle. When Christ turned to the people with the words ‘scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites’, He did not mean prominent people. He was talking on principle. We are not interested in people’s mistakes. Taking out in public people’s mistakes does not benefit us at all. We gain nothing from their mistakes. To take people’s mistakes out in public is just like performing an operation on them as a surgeon doctor. During the operation the doctor will anyhow stain his hands. If you are a surgeon in the world, you will get at least four to five thousand leva per operation and you will be thanked for helping the sick person. If you, as a saint, make an operation of some sinner, not only that you won’t be thanked, not only that you won’t be paid a penny, but on top of all this, you will be reprimanded [shouted at] that you cannot make operations. To me these are the self-willed saints in the world. The present saints that people serve are the self-willed people in the world.

There two types of saints: the ones are self-willed, the others are not self-willed. The former have a very high self-esteem, they want to pass for saints, for pure people, before the others. They keep talking all the time about their hardships and suffering. The second type of saints are those of love. In appearance they are simply dressed, they pass for ordinary people; nobody suspects what wealth [riches] they hide [have] in themselves. Wherever they pass by, they help everybody. These saints can be mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, servants, masters, teachers or students. You can meet these saints everywhere. They are ideal workers in the Divine field. They are a [praise]worthy example to follow: they persevere in their work not commenting on what they are doing.

Contemporary people experience great disappointments; they consider themselves unhappy for not having achieved what they strived after. Trace the stories of the great people and see which one of them achieved what he had expected. In his life-time he was pursued, chased, slandered, but when he dies, a monument is placed on his grave bearing an inscription, ‘Here rests what’s-his-name – a great person!’ When people find his works, they start publishing them and making profit in his name. When Botev was on the earth, he was pursued, chased and in the end he was killed in his early age. After his death books were written about his merits to Bulgaria; and his memory is celebrated even today. How will Botev’s heroism help the Bulgarian people? Or, how did prophet Jeremiah help the Israeli people with his prophecies? They did not. The prophet addressed the Israeli people with the words, ‘The Path you are walking along is not right, no good is in store for you. If you want to save yourselves from the evil that is following you, you have to forsake your sins; you have to lead a good life. And Christ was telling the Jews, ‘You have to leave your father and mother, to renounce your life and only then to follow me.’ This means: you have to abandon your old life and to start living in a new, Divine way. In order to come to this situation, the old way of understanding should change; the entire philosophical thought of humankind should change drastically.

Christ says that a man must abandon his wife; a woman must abandon her husband; a son must abandon his mother; a daughter must abandon her father; a servant must abandon his master; the rich must abandon his property; a judge must abandon his profession, and a professor – his department. What greater contradiction than abandoning everything, renouncing yourself and following Christ? Imagine that some [people] understand these truths literally. What will they do? Everybody will place a big cross on their back and will set out [start] for somewhere. Where to – even one oneself wouldn’t know where to. Many heroes from the war wear one or two crosses for bravery. Many Christians wear crosses on their necks. What will these crosses bring [contribute] to the contemporary people? They will pick up their crosses and will start looking like workers carrying crosses on their back, but not knowing what direction to take. Christ said, ‘Pick up your cross and come follow me!’ However, by these words He meant a completely different truth. Under the word cross Christ meant something else. A cross is a symbol of patience. Those who carry their crosses consciously, they look calmly, patiently upon all that is going on in the world.

Do you have to cry that the egg broke and the chicken got out of its shell? Do you have to cry that the precious stone sacrificed for the human beings? Why will you cry for the daughter saving her father? Why will you cry for the son saving his mother? Why will you cry for the servant scarifying himself for his master? Or why will you cry for the professor scarifying himself for the sake of science? Everything that people cry for is transient. Nothing will remain out of the order and organization that we are living in now. The current life is an introduction to the new life, which is approaching. Contemporary life is similar to the life of the egg. People shall not stay forever in the bags. Some day they will be taken out of the bag and will be placed under the brooding hen. After sitting for some time the brooding hen will hatch them and chickens will come out of the eggs and will enter the new conditions of life. If the brooding hen does not hatch the eggs, the Prince of this world will come, will knock them, will place them in the frying pan and will fry them with a little bit of butter. Serious and beautiful life is. Do not look upon it superficially. All the people before you have passed through hardships/ ordeals, you, too, will. There is no man on the earth who has not passed and who won’t pass through suffering. Everybody will pass through a specific suffering at their right time.

People are afraid to leave the earth because they do not know what will happen to them. What will happen to a brute if it leaves its environment and goes among people? Will the brute lose anything? A brute will lose its horns and hooves, but it will obtain something else in return, better and more valuable. What will man lose if man leaves one’s environment and goes among the angels? Man will lose one’s foul language, but will gain something fine, valuable. About this language Christ says, ‘Put up thy sword into its sheathe!’ You can do nothing with this language. With this language you will rather embitter people than rectify them. Christ also had a knife, but He did not take it out against the Roman soldiers, as Peter did. He asked them, ‘Who are you looking for? If you are looking for me, here I am! I will give you what you want, but let the others free.’

When I talk about Christ, the best of His features stands out in my mind – His patience. People talk about the great sufferings of Christ, but I shall not dwell upon these. To me Christ’s suffering comes second. At the first place, however, I rank the patience with which He withstood [endured] the abuse, profanation, insults that an entire Roman squad delivered to Him. Above all Christ stands quiet, calm, imperturbable as if nothing is going on. Not a single tear dropped from His eyes. Those who saw this were astonished at the great patience and love. This means a rock that cannot be broken. On entering Jerusalem, Christ shed some tears, but when the Roman soldiers tortured Him, He did not shed a single tear, He remained quiet and calm. However, these soldiers became afterwards the best workers for the teaching of Christ.

Now, let’s leave aside the issue about Christ’s sufferings. The important point is what patience is. If in the greatest hardships and suffering, man cannot show total equanimity and self-control and [cannot] endure everything patiently, such a person has no character. Christ carried His cross on His own to a certain place and then He was nailed to the same cross. He had the strength to address His mother and tell her that there was somebody to look after her. Then He turned to one of His disciples whom He told to look after His mother, to take care of her the way He would have taken care [of her]. What greater person will you find than the one crucified to the cross two thousand years ago, Who was watching quietly and calmly everything that was being done to Him? During the whole time He kept silent, but when He had to do good, although crucified, He asked to have His hands un-nailed, to do the good and to have them tied again afterwards. Finally Christ turned to God with the words, ‘God, why have you forsaken me?’ He found himself in contradiction: He came among the people, sent by God to preach the great teaching of life to them, but they did not accept Him. Not only that they did not accept Him, but they subjected Him to the worst profanations and insults and crucified Him afterwards. Then He said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.’ Christ understood that only Love is strong enough to rectify the world. Having understood this, He sighed and commended His spirit into the hands of His Father.

If Christ was slandered, derided, pursued and crucified, do contemporary Christians think that they will go along another path? They think that they will prosper, will live a good life, because Christ came to save the people and sacrificed for them. People can live well, provided they perform God’s Will. And Christ said, ‘I came not to seek my own will, but the will of the One, Who sent me.’ We say that Love will rectify the world. However, before Love comes, Moses’ law will come. People will first pass through great ordeals and suffering; such tortures that they have never thought about will befall them. There will be no suffering that they won’t experience. Afterwards God’s blessing will come. The law of love will come together with it. The ploughman with his plough will come first to plough the land. All useless plants, weeds will be eradicated, the non-noble ones will be ennobled – the old culture will be transformed. When everything is ready, the sowing man will come, will scatter the new seeds over the ploughed, purified land and will smooth it all over and shall wait for the seeds sown to shoot, to grow, to blossom and to yield abundant fruit.

Contemporary people are scared when they hear that the old will be destroyed. The old must be destroyed! If the old is not destroyed, the new cannot come. Life cannot shoot before you pull out the couch-grass [weed] from the field. The couch-grass [weed] must be pulled out. Otherwise, it won’t let the wheat grow. As soon as the couch-grass [weed] is pulled out, the new wheat will grow and some of it will produce a yield of 30, some other – of 60, yet some other – of 100. Apply the same law to yourself. Harness three pairs of oxen in your plough to plough your virgin [new] soil. After you plough the land properly and pull out all the couch-grass, sow then the new seed. This demands patience. You expect the world to improve, but you do not know how and where from this improvement will come about. The world will improve by silence. You will be silent; will endure like Christ on the cross. You will be beaten, you will be slandered, but you will endure. When you pass your exam, love will come and will show to you that it is the only path for the world to improve.

Therefore those who want to acquire love, they have to pass through the greatest hardships and suffering. If they cannot pass through great suffering, they cannot pass through love, either. Nobody can try love unless they try suffering. Suffering precedes love. When a son tells his father that he loves his father, he is beguiling himself. A son truly loves his father only after the father departs for the other world. A woman says she loves her husband. This woman will get to know how much she loves her husband only after he departs for the other world. She will then remember his kindness, will point out at his good qualities [sides], [she] will be thinking of him. The same can be said about a man. As long as his wife is alive, he does not value her, he does not want to know her. As soon as she departs for the other world, he then starts valuing her, starts understanding what he has lost. As long as people are together in a family or in a society, people do not love one another. As soon as one of them departs, everybody starts loving the departed one. When Christ was on the earth, people did not love Him, people wanted to get rid of Him. As soon as He left the earth, they started loving Him, started following His path.

When I talk about a man and a woman, I take them as principles, not as external forms. If you take them as external forms, you will be off on the wrong track [go astray]. Many say that one should not marry. The point is not in the marriage. If one says that one should not marry, then one should not be born either. No, man has to be born in order to try suffering. Being born is a limitation to the human soul. When man dies, he will savour joy. Each soul is an angel leaving Heaven and descending onto the earth to be incarnated, to start living a limited human life. During this limitation man passes through suffering. As long as man passes through suffering, man will pass through love too. Then only the soul will return to heaven to savour absolute joy. You cannot taste [savour] love, unless you taste [savour] suffering.

When people come across great suffering, they find themselves in contradiction and ask why the world is created like this. Isn’t it possible to live without suffering? I never put this question to myself, because I know that suffering precedes love. Love is behind any suffering, standing as a rear. The opposite, however, cannot be said. There is no way we say the suffering is behind love. There is love behind suffering, but there is no suffering behind love. When you first feel love and then suffering, this is no love. The one, experiencing love first and suffering afterwards, is on the wrong path. He has made some mistake when assessing the situation, and subsequently has mistaken suffering for love. When one first experiences suffering and love comes afterwards as a result of the suffering, such a person is on the right pass. The one, who has not experienced any suffering, cannot find love. The one, who has been through suffering, will find love – the greatest wealth in the world. It is worth for a man to pass through sufferings in order to find the greatest wealth in the world. In this wealth does the power of man reside [rest]. On attaining love, man becomes so strong and powerful that he is in a position to withstand any storm, and ordeal and obstacles. If such a person takes out one’s knife, he does not sheathe it back like Peter.

When Peter pulled out his knife, Christ told him, ‘Put up thy sword into its sheathe!’ Peter has not been yet through suffering, has not as yet attained love, but was quick to pull out a knife against his enemy. Only those having attained love may pull out their knives. When such a person pulls out one’s knife, all of his enemies scatter away. Today Christ has pulled out his biggest knife and keeps prodding [poking] to the left and to the right everyone who is not listening to Him. Do not think that Christ is weak and feeble. He stops everybody He meets and asks them, ‘Will you follow God’s path?’ – No, I shall not. – If you won’t, you will see what will happen to you – He prods him with His knife and continues along His way. He meets a second one and asks him as well, ‘Will you follow God’s path?’ – I will. – pull out your knife and follow me. You too, pull out your knives and prod whoever you meet. Do prod, but don’t prod with your language, but with love. When you prod somebody with your new knife – the knife of love, make sure to topple him on the ground without crippling him. This is how you should fight with the knife of love. This means passing from death to life.

What do contemporary people do? When they want to avenge themselves or one another, they cripple, kill one another, they commit suicides etc. We accept only one type of suicide – with the knife of love. After committing a suicide with this knife, one falls onto the ground and passes from death to life. When love prods man, he falls onto the ground like the wheat grain in the field and enters the new life. Christ told Peter, ‘Put up thy sword into the sheath. The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?’ It was with this cup that Christ found love. Therefore, all the people have to find this cup and to enter the law of love. As soon as they find love, each one of them will win a victory over one’s world. When everyone wins a victory over one’s world, a victory will also be won over the external world, i.e. the world will be rectified.

When listening to talks about suffering being a predecessor of love, some say, ‘This is an old philosophy, we have tried it. – No, you don’t know this philosophy yet. Why? – Because you have tasted suffering to a certain extent only, but none of you has tasted love. You know not what love is. When you go through suffering, you will then hear the first word of love. As soon as you hear the voice of love, you will stand up, you will come back to life and will be resurrected. Therefore you all have to go through suffering in order to enter joy, to enter the life of love. You say, ‘Isn’t there any round-about way? Isn’t there any mercy for us? Now that Christ suffered for the salvation of humankind, isn’t it possible for us not to suffer? Can’t the law be a little bit mitigated? No, no mitigation whatsoever, no leniency can be granted. All people, without any exception will go through suffering. We are glad that contemporary people were already given the cup of suffering. They have to drink it up, because love is behind it. If they do not drink up the cup, love shall not come. When the stream of suffering flows out, love will come and open the door of the new life.

How you will understand the new, is your business. When the Spirit of the Truth comes, It will teach you everything. You say, in which direction shall we pray – facing East or facing West? Man can pray in every direction. If somebody comes to beat you and turns your head to the East, in which direction will you pray? You will pray to the East. If he turns your head to the West, to the North or to the South, you will pray in the direction you are facing. You will pray in the direction from which the suffering comes. Be grateful that suffering has come. This is the first token that the blessed hand works upon man to rectify him. For those who understand the laws, suffering is a great blessing. In comparison with what love brings, suffering is short-lived. You say that Apostle Paul penetrated to the seventh sky and on seeing what was there, he said, ‘No eye has seen, and no ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ This means: No eye has seen, and no ear has heard what is prepared for those who have been through suffering and enter love.

Many complain from suffering, get discouraged, lose heart. Why? – Because they haven’t expected anything else. Christ’s disciples also expected Christ to become King and they to be appointed at prominent public offices, but it did not turn out so. On seeing that suffering will come first and blessing afterwards, many of them fled. Today the world needs strong people. Two thousand years ago Christ’s disciples scattered away, but if they flee away today too, shame on them. It is dangerous to run away. Those, who run away, will be wounded at the back. Those, who walk ahead, will be wounded at the breast. If you are wounded at the breasts, you are a hero. If you are wounded at the back, you are a coward. Where was Christ wounded – at the back or at the breasts? Christ was wounded at the breasts, because he walked ahead. A hero was Christ! The Roman soldiers prodded Him with a spear in the ribs in front, and blood and water ran from there. Many of the contemporary Christians are wounded at the back and nevertheless they were awarded [decorated with] St. George’s cross for bravery. No hero is a person wounded at the back. The true hero must be wounded with a spear in front, in the pit of the stomach. I do not wish to meet heroes wounded at the back. These are no heroes. Praise should go to those who are wounded at the breasts. If I see that you are wounded at the back, I will say to you, ‘There is no grief behind love, however, there is no love either. Therefore, if you want to be heroes, you have to be wounded at the breasts, not at the back. Your hearts have to be wounded, not your bodies. Those, exposing their bodies to suffering while sparing [guarding] their hearts, do not understand life. Those, exposing their hearts to suffering while sparing [guarding their bodies, have understood life, they have understood God’s path. This is heroism – to expose your heart and to spare [guard] your body.

So, the hearts of all the people should be wounded. Why? – Because sin is in the heart. If nobody comes to prod a person at the heart, the evil shall not come out. The evil will come out through the wound at the heart and one will free oneself from it. Preachers, scientists, writers, everybody says that the evil rests [exudes] in the human heart. Today man fights for one’s heart, to free it from the evil that has settled in it. In order to free it, one has to go through great ordeals and suffering. Suffering is a path of liberation. Every man should inevitably pass over the borderline of suffering in order to enter love, to understand the Great life. Now that you know this, don’t be afraid of suffering. Suffering is the hand of the Great, Which guides man. This is articulated in the line, ‘Look for me in a grievous day’. To look for God in your grief, this does not mean that you are weak. Strong or weak, man should suffer. The one who suffers is man; the one, who does not, is not. The distinguishing feature of man is suffering. Only man is capable of suffering. Animals are in torments, man suffers. The opposite pole of suffering is joy. When one suffers, another rejoices; when one rejoices, another suffers. Somebody’s suffering is somebody else’s joy; somebody’s joy is somebody else’s suffering.

How long will man suffer? Until man arrives at the true joy that stems [results] from love. No matter how you present joy, no matter how you expect it, you will know that in order to attain it, you have to go through sufferings first. There is no other path. Suffering is a path to joy. Christ was the first to go along the path of suffering and we shall follow Him. He is the first pioneer Who has passed along the path of suffering. Many good people have passed and are passing along the same path. You will say that this path is awful. – No, this path is difficult only in the beginning. The further you go, the more beautiful and easy it becomes.

‘Put up thy sword into the sheath. The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?’ Put in other words, put the fear of suffering aside! Let this fear not stumble you; because through suffering you will find the true path of life, you will understand what it is to serve the Great Love that rectifies everything in the world. This is equally valid for individual persons and for the entire humanity alike.

Great and powerful is the man of love, both in heaven and on the earth. With God’s Love Christ performed miracles on the earth too. When Christ found Himself before the greatest suffering, He said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!’ This shows that in the most fearful moment of his life, He did not lose faith in Love. Afterwards God resurrected Him. Christ attained love, which He said in the line, ‘[He has] Given me all the power both in heaven and on the earth’. He attained this power after drinking the bitter cup.

Everybody can say, ‘[He has] Given me all the power’. When can one say so? Only after one has drunk up the bitter cup that the Father gave him. When this power is given to you, what will you be scared of? Therefore, in order not to be scared, you have to go through great difficulties and ordeals. Only then will salvation come. Then will the resurrection of human soul come.

Now, let each one of you ask yourself what you were during the time of Christ: a disciple or a spectator [onlooker]? Only one of the disciples is said to have pulled out a knife. What were the others doing during this time? All the Disciples of Christ, however, were told, ‘Go and preach the Great teaching of love in the world!’ Love will show to the people the new path along which good people have passed and are passing in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Then the words, ‘First look for the Kingdom of God and His Justice, and everything else will be given to you’ – make sense.

I shall give you the following three sentences:

The only path leading to life is love.

The only path leading to knowledge is wisdom.

The only path leading to freedom is the Truth.

In the path of life will you attain love! In the path of knowledge will you attain wisdom! In the path of freedom will you attain the truth!

These are three paths that you have to follow in order to attain love, wisdom and the truth.

I am telling you now: pull out your knives! Whatever knife you may have, pull it out, get armed! How many knives did Christ’s disciples take with themselves? They took two knives, but they used only one of them. Everybody should take their swords and [should] start prodding, fighting. Through love! Whom [should one fight]? Not oneself, of course, but one’s enemy. Everybody has enemies that one should fight. Be heroes, do not be pusillanimous. Many wish others to fight for them and St. George’s cross for bravery to be awarded to themselves. No, everyone shall fight on one’s own.

Apply what you heard and understood today, each according to one’s strength and abilities.

Let the words I will be with you till the end of the century do not remain hollow [empty]. Have faith in the Great, in His Love. Know that it’s not you who are fighting, but God, Who is within you.

18th August, 5 o’clock in the morning


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