"Every day, everyone around you is undergoing a kind of martyrdom. It's impossible to find someone who is not experiencing some form of affliction. You and I may be close, we may know each other well, yet I may be completely unaware that you are suffering; I may have no idea that every day you undergo a kind of martyrdom. And this works both ways, for neither do you know about my sufferings. Each soul has its mysteries that no one else can ever know.
The truth is that afflictions are not the signs of God's absence or abandonment, but rather of His Presence. Afflictions are like the kneading of the dough in the making of the bread. They are the preparations for the mystical marriage, and without them the soul is left unformed, cold, and alone. It is affliction alone that can tear us away from our isolated, individual existence and transform it into something much more whole and open."
- Elder Aimilianos, Psalms and the Life of Faith, pp. 307-8