Elder Aimilianos wrote:
When we began our Christian life, we were full of enthusiasm. Without it, we would have been like an engine without steam, or a rundown clock, and in the end gotten nowhere. But we had our enthusiasm, we had our spiritual father, we had the writings of the Fathers, we were helped by the grace of God, and so we made some progress.
But slowly, little by little, the difficulties set in, the failures, the compromises, the sins, the temptations, thoughts of stopping, of turning back. Our life, which till then had been like a happy song, became a cross. But it is then, my dear friend, that your martyrdom begins. When your Christian life begins to be difficult, when it seems like an intolerable cross, then you must stand as steady as a rock. That is when you are a martyr. Say to yourself: ‘Let us stand aright’. Stand fast, steady and unmoving. Say, like the prophet, ‘Here I am, O Lord, I stand here ready to do your will‘ (Isa 6:8). Be like the Theotokos, who said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your will‘ (Lk 1:38).
If you endure, the storm will pass, and you will emerge into the calm; your life will once again become a celebration, a feast day. But now you will have the experience of spiritual struggle, you will have acquired experience. After this trial, after having taken up your cross, the flames of divine love will be ignited within you, and you will acquire the most beautiful, the most powerful, the purest, most angelic love, the love of God.”
—In The Church at Prayer, p. 124.