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Ye know not, what hour your Lord doth come


Fri­day. [II Cor. 4:13–18; Matt. 24:27–33, 42–51] Watch; for ye know not, what hour your Lord doth come. If only this were remem­bered, there would be no sin­ners. But it is not re?membered, although every­one knows that it is unques­tion­ably true. Even the strictest ascetics were not strong enough to eas­i­ly keep this in mind, and made efforts to fix it in their con­scious­ness so that it would not leave — one kept a cof­fin in his cell, anoth­er begged his co-as?cetics to ask about his cof­fin and grave, anoth­er kept pic­tures of death and judg­ment, anoth­er in oth?er ways. If death does not touch a soul, the soul does not remem­ber it. But in no way can what immediate?ly fol­lows death not touch a soul; a soul can­not but be con­cerned about this, since it is the judg­ment of its fate for eter­nal ages. Why does a soul not remem­ber this? It deceives itself that death will come not soon, and that per­haps some­how things won’t go bad­ly for us. How bit­ter! It goes with­out say­ing that a soul which abides in such thoughts is care­less and self-indul­gent. So, how can it think that judg­ment will go favor­ably for it? No, one must be?have like a stu­dent who is fac­ing an exam: no mat­ter what he does, the exam does not leave his head; such remem­brance does not allow him to waste even a minute in vain, and he uses all his time to pre­pare for the exam. When will we acquire a mind­set like this!

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse