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Body of the Church

Tuesday. [II Cor. 12:20-13:2; Mark 4:24-34] The parable about the grad?ual growth of wheat from seed por?trays, with respect to each man, the gradual growth of what is hidden in a man’s heart, sown and watched over by God’s grace, while with re?spect to mankind — the gradual in?crease in the body of the Church or the community of those saved in the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the order established by Him. Through this parable the question is settled: why to this day is Christianity not universal? Just as a man who has cast seed into the ground sleeps and rises, and the seed sprouts and grows up on its own without his knowing how, so the Lord, placing the seed of Divine life on the ground has given it freedom to spread on its own, subordinating it to the natural flow of events, and not forcing them. He only watches over the seed, assists it in individual circum?stances and gives the general direc?tion. The reason for this lies in man’s freedom. The Lord wants man to submit to Him on his own, and awaits the inclination of his freedom; this affair takes time. If all depended only on God’s will, every?one would have been a Christian long ago. Another thought: the body of the Church is being created in heaven; from the earth enter only materials, formed also by heavenly agents. The word passes over the earth from heaven and attracts those who desire it. Those who take heed and follow enter, like raw ma?terial, into God’s laboratory, the Church, and here are remade ac?cording to patterns given from heaven. Those who are remade, up?on departure from this life, pass in?to heaven and there enter into the house of God, each where he is fit. This goes on continuously, and con?sequently the work of God does not stand still. A universal solemn cele?bration of Christianity is not requir?ed for this. The house of God is cre?ated invisibly.

Saint Theophan the Recluse

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