Afflications, illnesses, ill health and the pains that our bodies experience…are counted for the remission of our trespasses…[They are the] furnace in which we are purified.”
Homily on the Paralytic 2.
Saint Cyprian (200-258)
What makes us different from those who do not know God is that they grumble and complain about their misfortunes, whereas for us tribulation, far from turning us from true courage and authentic faith, fortifies us through suffering. Thus whether we are exhausted from the tearing of our innards, or a violent interior burning consumes us from the stomach to the throat, or our strength is constantly sapped because of vomiting, or our eyses are shot through with blood, or we are eaten by gangrene and forced to amputate a member of our body, or some infirmity suddenly deprives us of the use of our legs, our sight or our hearing: all of these afflictions are just so many opportunities to deepen our faith.
On Death 13-14
Saint Diadochus of Photike (400-486?)
AS long as the athlete in the realm of piety is at the mid-stage of spiritual experience, it is the infirmities of the body that lead him to develop humility.
One Hundred Chapters 95; cf. St. Nicetas Stehatos, Centuries I.87
Saint Nicetas Stethatos (1000-1090)
Illnesses are useful to those who are taking their first steps in the virtuous life. They help them exhaust and humble the burning desires of the flesh. For they weaken the vigor of the flesh and lessen the earthly temptations of the soul.