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Fleshly and Spiritual Lives


[Acts 3:11–16; John 3:22–33] We have two lives, flesh­ly and spir­i­tu­al. Our spir­it is as though buried in our flesh. Once it begins to extract itself — com­ing to life by God’s grace — from its inter­twin­ing with the flesh and to appear in its spir­i­tu­al puri­ty, then it will be res?urrected, or it will res­ur­rect itself piece by piece. When it whol­ly tears itself out of this bind­ing, then it comes forth as if from a tomb, in a renewed life. In this man­ner the spir­it becomes sep­a­rate, alive and active; where­as the tomb of the flesh is sep­a­rate, dead and inac­tive, though both are in the same per­son. This is the mys­tery of what the apos­tle says: where the Spir­it of the Lord is, there is lib­er­ty (II Cor. 3:17). This is lib­er­ty from decay, which sur­rounds our incor­rupt­ible spir­it; or from pas­sions, cor­rupt­ing our na?ture. This spir­it, enter­ing into the free­dom of the chil­dren of God is like a beau­ti­ful­ly coloured but­ter­fly, flut­ter­ing away from its cocoon. Be?hold its rain­bow colour­ing: love, joy, peace, long­suf­fer­ing, gen­tle­ness, good­ness, faith, meek­ness, temper?ance (Gal. 5:22). Is it pos­si­ble for such a beau­ty of per­fec­tion not to arouse in us a desire to emu­late it?

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse