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Self Interest

Tues­day. [I Cor. 15:29–38; Matt. 21:23–27] When the Lord asked the ques­tion about John the Bap­tist, the chief priests and the elders thought, “If we answer this way or that, ei?ther way is dis­ad­van­ta­geous for us,” and that is why they decid­ed it would be bet­ter to use igno­rance as a cov­er. Their self-inter­est tied their tongue and did not enable them to wit­ness to the truth. If they loved truth more than them­selves, there would be dif­fer­ent words, and dif?ferent deeds. Their inter­est cov­ered up the truth and would not let it reach the heart, inter­fered with form­ing a sin­cere con­vic­tion, and made their heart indif­fer­ent to it. And it is always this way: ego­tis­ti­cal striv­ings are the orig­i­nal ene­mies of truth. All oth­er ene­mies fol­low them and act due to them. If one investi?gates how all delu­sions and here­sies arose, it turns out that the source of all of them is pre­cise­ly this. In words we want noth­ing but the truth; but in fact the truth is a hin?drance which must be elim­i­nat­ed, and a lie set in its place which is more favourable for us. Why, for exam­ple, are there mate­ri­al­ist-nihilists? Because the idea of God the Cre­ator, Provider and Judge, to?gether with the idea of the spiritual?ity of the soul, hin­ders those peo­ple from liv­ing more broad­ly accord­ing to their incli­na­tions, so they push the idea aside. It is clear from the worth­less­ness of their premis­es that the nihilists are not guid­ed by the truth — it is desir­able for them that every­thing be just as they think, and every phan­tom that reflects their thoughts they put out for show as wit­ness to the truth. If they would sober up but a lit­tle, they would im?mediately see their lie. But they pity them­selves, and there­fore they re?main as they are.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse