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The Light of the World


Thurs­day. [Acts 10:34–43; John 8:12–20] I am the light of the world: he that fol­loweth Me shall not walk in dark­ness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12) says the Lord. Conse?quently, he who turns away from the Lord, turns away from the light and is head­ed into dark­ness, and there­fore he is a true obscurant.[1] You know what the teach­ing of Christ demands; and look: as soon as some­one puts forth thoughts con?trary to this teach­ing, do not fear call­ing him an obscu­rant; this is his real name. The Lord teach­es that God is one in essence and three in per­sons: this is the ray of the super?natural light of truth. Who­ev­er preach­es the con­trary is head­ed in?to dark­ness from the light, and he is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es that God has three hypostases; and hav?ing cre­at­ed the world by His word, guides it through His prov­i­dence. This is the Divine light, which illu­mi­nates the gloomy paths of our life, but not with an earth­ly, com?forting light. He who preach­es con?trary to this is head­ing into drea­ry dark­ness — he is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es that God cre­at­ed man accord­ing to His image and like­ness and set him to live in par­adise. When man sinned, God right­eous­ly drove him out of par­adise to live on this earth, which is full of sor­rows and want. How­ev­er, He was not an?gered with him unto the end, but it was His good will to arrange salva?tion for him through the death on the cross of the incar­nate Only-Be?gotten Son of God — and this is the spir­i­tu­al light, illu­mi­nat­ing the mor?al gloom that enshrouds our souls. He who preach­es con­trary to this is head­ed into dark­ness and is an ob?scurant. The Lord teach­es. Believe, and upon receiv­ing the pow­er of grace in the Divine mys­ter­ies, live accord­ing to His com­mand­ments and you will be saved — this is the only way for the light of God to en?ter us and make us enlight­ened. He who teach­es some­thing to the con?trary wants to keep us in dark­ness and there­fore is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es: enter in at the strait gate of a strict life of self-denial, and this is the only path to the light. Who­ev­er is trav­el­ling the broad path of self-plea­sure is head­ed into dark­ness, and is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es: remem­ber the last things: death, judg­ment, hell, heav?en. This is a light that illu­mi­nates our future. Who­ev­er teach­es that death is the end of all casts dark­ness over our fate, and is thus an obscur?ant. Lovers of the light! Learn by this to dis­tin­guish where the dark?ness is, and depart from it.

[1] Dur­ing St. Theophan’s time there was already much talk amongst “pro­gres­sive” peo­ple about Chris?tian “obscu­ran­tism.” The Ortho­dox faith­ful were often accused of “obscur­ing” the enlight­en­ment of more pro­gres­sive groups; i.e., they were called reactionaries.