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Importance of internal and external


Mon­day. [Gal. 4:28–5:10; Mark 6:54–7:8] The Lord rebukes the Phar­isees not for their exter­nal rou­tines and rules of con­duct, but for par­tial­i­ty toward them — for lim­it­ing them?selves to exter­nal wor­ship of God, with no con­cern for what was in the heart. It is impos­si­ble to be with­out exter­nals. The high­est inter­nal things require the exter­nal as their expres­sion and gar­ment. In real­i­ty, inter­nal things are nev­er alone, but are always unit­ed with the out­er; only in false the­o­ries are they sepa?rated. But again it is obvi­ous that exter­nals alone are noth­ing; their worth comes from the pres­ence of the inter­nal things con­tained in them. Thus, once the inter­nal ceas­es to be, the exter­nal might as well not be there. Mean­while, we have a weak­ness for out­ward appear­ances in which the inter­nal is depict­ed and takes def­i­nite form, to such an extent that we are sat­is­fied with ful?filling them alone, with­out even think­ing that there might be inter?nal things. And since the inter­nal is hard­er to attain than the exter­nal, it is quite nat­ur­al to get stuck on the lat­ter, not striv­ing for the for­mer. What can we do? We must gov­ern our­selves and keep the inter­nal things in mind, always push­ing our?selves toward them through the exter­nals, only con­sid­er­ing a work to be real when the inter­nal and ex?ternal are unit­ed in it. There is no oth­er way. Atten­tive­ness toward one­self, sober­ness, and vig­i­lance are the only levers for rais­ing up our nature which is fat and has a pen­chant for low­ly things. Notice that those who pos­sess the inter­nal nev­er aban­don the exter­nal, though they con­sid­er it to be of no particu?lar val­ue.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse