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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