+ St. Mark the Ascetic, On the Spiritual Law Two Hundred Texts, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1)
God ‘tested Abraham’ (cf. Gen. 22:1-14), that is, God afflicted him for his own benefit, not in order to learn what kind of man Abraham was – for He knew him, since He knows all things before they come into existence – but in order to provide him with opportunities for showing perfect faith.
St. Mark the Ascetic, “On the Spiritual Law: Two Hundred Texts” No. 203, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1)
“If you want to serve God, prepare your heart not for food, not for drink, not for rest, not for ease, but for suffering, so that you may endure all temptations, trouble and sorrow. Prepare for severities, fasts, spiritual struggles and many afflictions, for “by many afflictions is it appointed to us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Acts 14,22); ‘The Heavenly Kingdom is taken by force, and the who use force seize it.’ (Matt 11:12)
+ St. Sergius of Radonezh, Life, 10
“There will come a time when not the persecutions but money and the goods of this world will take people far from God. Then many more souls will be lost than in the time of the persecutions. On the one hand, they will be putting gold on the domes and will put the crosses on them and, on the other hand, everywhere evil and falsehood will reign. The true Church will always be persecuted. They who want to be saved will be saved with illnesses and afflictions. The way in which the persecutions will occur will be very sly and it will be very difficult for one to foresee the persecutions. Dreadful will be that time; I pity those who will be living then.”
+ St. Seraphim of Viritsa, Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Seraphim of Viritsa: The New Saint of Orthodox Russian Church 1866-1949