Cause of unexpected misfortune
- Cause of unexpected misfortune
St. Nikolai Mostwise Bishop of Zicha and Ochrid
Often unexpected misfortune befalls us, and in vain we ask "why?" The
Church of Christ alone knows how to explain the cause of every misfortune.
The Church basically classifies misfortunes into two groups. Some
misfortunes befall the sinner because of old, unrepented sins. Other
misfortunes assault the righteous and serve, according to the words of St.
John Chrysostom, "as a means of receiving a wreath, as was the case with
Lazarus and Job." The Empress Eudocia secretly agreed with the Eutychian
heresy, having heeded the counsel of the perfidious eunuch Chrysaphius.
But misfortune unexpectedly befell her. One day her husband, Emperor
Theodosius, brought her an apple of unusual size. The empress sent the
apple to the ailing senator Paulinus and he, out of love for the emperor,
sent this same apple to Emperor Theodosius. This gave the emperor reason
to suspect an illicit relationship between his wife and! the senator. The
emperor asked his wife to show him the apple he had given her. The empress
lied and said "I ate it!" This made the emperor's suspicion even stronger,
and he banished Eudocia to Palestine. In time Eudocia cured herself of
heresy, and through the counsels of the great Palestinian spiritual fathers
returned completely to Orthodoxy. The misfortune that befell the empress
did not arise from an illicit relationship with Paulinus - in this, she was
completely innocent - but because of her heretical disposition. A second
but different case: When he was still a military commander, the future
Emperor Marcian was traveling near Philipopolis and saw the corpse of a
murdered man on the road. Out of pure compassion, he got off his horse and
started to bury the corpse. Just then someone came by and saw him burying
the corpse, and reported him to the court as a murderer. Marcian would
have been puni! shed by death, had God not shortly revealed the true
murderer. This kind of misfortune falls into that second category - "for
the receiving of a wreath." Shortly after this, General Marcian was chosen
to be emperor.
The chief cause of all the woes which befall a man and deprive him of peace
and prosperity is his departure from the Single Source of life and
well-being, our Creator, Provider, and Savior, God, and his flouting of the
Divine laws and rules which are man's only salvation.