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Be Clean


Tues­day. [Phil. 1:8–14; Luke 5:12–16] The lep­er fell down before the Lord and besought: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. The Lord said: I will: be thou clean. And imme?diately the lep­rosy depart­ed from him. So does every moral lep­rosy imme­di­ate­ly depart as soon as one falls down before the Lord with faith, repen­tance, and con­fes­sion —it tru­ly departs and los­es any pow­er over him. Why does the lep­rosy some­times return again? For the same rea­son that bod­i­ly dis­eases re?turn. One who has recov­ered is told, “do not eat that, do not drink this, do not go there.” If he does not obey, the dis­ease again flares up. So it is in the spir­i­tu­al life. One must be sober, vig­i­lant, and pray — then the dis­ease of sin will not return. If you are not atten­tive toward your­self, if you allow your­self to see, hear, say, and do every­thing indis­crim­i­nate­ly, how can sin not flare up and take pow­er once again? The Lord charged the lep­er to ful­fil all accord?ing to the law. This means that upon con­fes­sion one must receive a pen?ance and faith­ful­ly ful­fil it; with­in it is con­cealed great pre­ven­tive strength. But why do some say: this sin­ful habit has over­come me, I can?not han­dle myself. Either because repen­tance and con­fes­sion were not com­plete, or because after mak­ing pre­cau­tion­ary changes he adheres only weak­ly to them, or indulges him­self. He wants to do every­thing with­out toil and self-coer­cion, and is laughed at by the ene­my. Resolve to stand unto death and show [this resolve] in deed, and you will see what pow­er there is in this. It is true that in every insur­mount­able pas?sion that comes up the ene­my pos?sesses the soul, but this is no justifi?cation; for he imme­di­ate­ly flees as soon as you pro­duce an inner change, with God’s help.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse