By: Pope Shenouda III
How astonishing are the persons whom God gives blessing but they turn it into affliction!
Money is a blessing, beauty also is, art, freedom, knowledge, power, discipline are also blessings. But, practically it is so easy to find all these blessings turned into afflictions by different means!
Misusing such blessings may turn them into afflictions. Money buys and sells conscience and beauty becomes a means of enticement. Art turns into entertainment and frivolity and freedom becomes means of rashness and inattentiveness. Power develops into an instrument of tyranny and science is used in destructive and harmful inventions while discipline -- through misuse -- turns into routine and an
implement of delaying!!
These blessings -- due to competition -- may turn into afflictions!
For the sake of competition in the fields of money, science, power or art, it is so easy for a person to be at enmity with his brother, hatred and rumours spread, and fighting occurs -- in which a person loses his humanity and love for others.
Moreover, what else may be said? Even the ministry, God's ministry!! Satan can also penetrate into the sphere of ministry and change it into affliction. If there are differences of opinion, they will turn into disputes, and aspirations for improvement will change to destruction and defamation.
Also, there will rise competition for leadership as it is the case in the worldly affairs...!
And as one invention could be used for good and evil, likewise, all the other potentials could be.
So it all depends on the person himself, on the heart, the mind and the will through which a matter becomes either a blessing or a source of affliction.
At the martyrdom period, persecution seemed to be an affliction, but the saints changed it into a blessing which they received with crowns... The bloods of the martyrs became the seeds of faith. The Church grew in spirituality and became more attached to God and deeply involved in holiness in preparation for eternity.
Also, trials and diseases were accepted by the saints as blessings...
Therefore, do not say, such a thing is a blessing or such, an affliction, but say it can be changed into this or that.
A wise heart can transfer an affliction into a blessing, even sin!! He benefits from it: contrition, humility, keenness and sympathy for sinners.