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Understanding the Mysteries


[I Tim. 6:17–21; Luke 18:31–34]

The Lord told the dis­ci­ples about His suf­fer­ing, but they did not under­stand any­thing He was say­ing; This say­ing was hid from them. Lat­er, the faith­ful deter­mined not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him cru­ci­fied (I Cor. 2:2). The time had not come, they did not under­stand any of this mys­tery; but when the time came—they under­stood, and taught every­one, and inter­pret­ed for every­one. This hap­pens with every­one, not only with rela­tion to this mys­tery, but to all the oth­er mys­ter­ies as well. What is not under­stood in the begin­ning, with time becomes under­stood; it is as if a ray of light enters the con­scious­ness and bright­ens what was for­mer­ly dark. Who elu­ci­dates it? The Lord Him­self, the grace of the Spir­it that lives in the faith­ful, one’s guardian angel—only in no way the per­son him­self. He is a recip­i­ent, and not the cause. On the oth­er hand, anoth­er thing may remain incom­pre­hen­si­ble for one’s whole life—not only for indi­vid­u­als, but for all of human­i­ty. Man is sur­round­ed by things he does not understand—some are explained to him in the course of his life, while oth­ers are left until the next life, where it will be seen. This applies even to minds enlight­ened by God. Why is it not revealed here? Because some things are incom­pre­hen­si­ble, so there is no point in talk­ing about them; oth­ers are not told out of con­sid­er­a­tions for health— that is, it would be harm­ful to know pre­ma­ture­ly. Much will become clear in the oth­er life, but oth­er sub­jects and oth­er mys­ter­ies will be revealed. For a cre­at­ed mind there is nev­er a sur­plus of inscrutable mys­ter­ies. The mind rebels against these bonds: but whether you rebel or not, you can­not sev­er the bonds of mys­tery. Become hum­ble, proud mind, beneath the strong hand of God—and believe!

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse