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All pondering happens within the reality of our life on earth - On the hard but inescapable reality of the tribulation we will face, when we truly try to follow in His steps - And on discernment +PDF -

ON TRIBULATION, Booklet (PDF) with quotes and commentary:

“In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

+ John 16:33


A few illustrated words, mostly from Holy Scripture, concerning this strange and paradoxical reality in the Christian life - which we still don’t expect, even though every year we receive a clear reminder in the Orthodox Church Services of Holy Week: When we hear all the Gospels, especially concerning the Lord’s suffering, as well as extensive Patristic commentary in a multitude of hymns on the inexpressible mystery of the Cross:

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his LORD. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

+ John 15:20

“It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his Lord.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household...

+ Matthew 10:25

“And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

+ Mark 13:5-13 (KJV)

“Attend to my supplication, for I am brought very low; deliver me from them that persecute me; for they are stronger than I.”

+ Ps.141(142): 6/7

During persecution in recent times, Christians in dire straits have encouraged one another with the following words:

“If you are persecuted, give thanks that you have not been beaten.

If you are beaten, give thanks that you are not in prison.

If you are in prison, give thanks that you have not been killed.

And if you are killed, give thanks that you are in heaven with our Lord!”

“And now, little children, abide in Him,
that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence,

and not be ashamed before Him, at His coming.

+ 1 John 2:28

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

+ 1 John 4:1-6 (KJV)

There never was and never will be a place on earth free from sorrow.

The only sorrow-less place possible is in the heart,

when the Lord is present there.

+ St. Nikon of Optina

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven:

for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

+ Matthew 5:11-12


Ultimately, it is not so much a matter of ‘doing good’ but, rather, of staying close to the Lord, unworthy though we are. It all comes down to one thing: Remaining within His grace, whatever befalls us. This will also give us spiritual discernment. But it requires great vigilance, for we are so easily distracte and (therefore) so easily fooled.

To his closest disciples, the Lord said: “Take heed lest any man deceive you...”

+ Mk.13:5.

And Archimandrite Gabriel (Urgebadze) warns:

“True faith is found in one’s heart, not mind.

People who have faith in their mind will follow the antichrist.

But the ones who have it in their heart will recognize him.

+ + +

Page title & additional keywords:

EN: On the last times
Pondering Holy Scripture

(in English, Engels, EN)
> download PDF for free/gratis

There are many ways in which we can ‘ponder in our heart’ (cf. Lk.2:19) - especially if we are already familiar with His word. But characteristic of them all is the fact, that none of this happens in a vacuum:

On the one hand, we ponder His word in the context of the life of the Church through all the ages - that is, of the Tradition through which we have received this precious inheritance.

Hence, we will refer here not only to the Biblical word itself, but also to words from those that have gone before us, who have shared with us their living witness of the reality of God’s grace - and how to live, in order to find and to keep it.

On the other hand, all our pondering happens within the reality of our life on earth. And that includes the times in which we live: recognized by many, also among the holy Elders of our days, as rushing towards the end, although we know ‘neither the day nor the hour’ (Mt.25:13).

One small fruit of such ponderings is a short, illustrated series, given below, on the hard but inescapable reality of the tribulation we will all face - in one way or another - when we truly try to follow in His steps.

(Also available in PDF: print on A4, double-sided,
and fold in half. Final size: A5)

On this page (EN)
PONDERING HOLY SCRIPTURE - on the last times -

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