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[Eph. 5:20–26; Luke 3:23–4:1] The honourable cross is brought out for veneration in the middle of Great Lent in order to inspire those who toil in fasting to patiently bear the yoke they have taken to the end. Why is this done in September? Is it accidental? But there are no acci?dents for the Providential Wisdom that arranges all things. This is why: [in Russia], at least, in September the harvest is taken from the field. And so that some of the Christians might not feel too satisfied and say: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!” and so that others might not fall in spirit be?cause of scarcity, the elevated cross is brought before all. It reminds the former that the support of well be?ing is not possessions, but their bearing of the cross in a Christian, inner way, should God’s goodness bring external plenitude; and it in?spires the latter to possess their souls in patience, through the cer?tainty that they will go from the cross directly to heaven. Therefore, may some endure, knowing, that they are travelling a smooth path to the heavenly kingdom; and may the others enjoy external comforts with fear, not sealing the entrance to heaven against themselves.
Saint Theophan the Recluse