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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