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No True God Without The Son

May 31, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Fri­day. [Acts 19:1–8; John 14:1–11] If ye had known me, ye should have known my Fa­ther al­so (John 14:7). There­fore, deists do not know God, in spite of the fact that they bear His name (Deus means God; from here comes the word deist), and rea­son el­o­quent­ly a­bout Him. There is no true God with­out the Son and with­out the Ho­ly Spir­it. He who be­lieves in God, but does not con­fess Him as the Fa­ther of the Son, does not be­lieve in a god that is the true God, but in some per­son­al in­ven­tion. The true God gave His Son, gave pow­er to be­come the sons of God (John 1:12), loves them, and hears each of their pray­ers, for the sake of the Son. That is why he who has the Son has the Fa­ther; and he who does not have the Son, does not have the Fa­ther. No one comes to the Fa­ther ex­cept through the Son, and re­ceives noth­ing from the Fa­ther, ex­cept through the Son. A­part from the Son there is no path to the true God; and he who thinks to in­vent Him is de­luded.


My Sheep Hear My Voice

May 23, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Fri­day. [Acts 15:5–34; John 10:17–28]emYe be­lieve not, be­cause ye are not of my sheep/em says the Lord to the un­be­liev­ing Jews. emMy sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they fol­low Me/em (John 10:26–7). Un­be­liev­ers are not of Christ’s fold. At that time, the un­be­liev­ers were those who had not yet en­ter­ed in­to the fold; but now the un­be­liev­ers are all those who have fall­en from the faith or who lag be­hind the fold of Christ. The Lord is the shep­herd: all of His sheep go af­ter Him, fol­low­ing His teach­ing and ful­fill­ing His ho­ly com­mand­ments. Sin­ners are sheep that are sick and weak, but still plod a­long to­geth­er with the fold. But those who have lost the faith are those who have to­tal­ly fall­en be­hind, and have been aban­doned to be eat­en by wild beasts. These are the ones who are tru­ly back­ward. They are not from the fold of Christ and they do not hear His voice; and He does not know them, be­cause they do not let them­selves be known as did the wom­an with the is­sue of blood. And at the judg­ment it will be said to them: emI know you not, de­part/em (cf. Matt. 25:12).


Be Silent

May 19, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Tues­day. [Acts 17:19–28; John 12:19–36] Ex­cept a corn of wheat fall in­to the ground and die, it a­bid­eth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24). And so, if you want to be fruit­ful, die. Die in a re­al way, bear­ing al­ways the feel­ing in your heart that you have al­ready died. Just as a dead man does not re­spond to any­thing sur­round­ing him, so do the same: if they praise you — be si­lent, and if they re­buke you — be si­lent, and if you make a prof­it — be si­lent; if you are full — be si­lent, or hun­gry — be si­lent. Be this way to all ex­ter­nal things; in­ward­ly a­bide in the place where all the dead a­bide — in the oth­er life, be­fore the all-righ­­teous face of God, pre­par­ing to hear the fi­nal sen­tence. You may say, what fruit can come ev­ery­thing dy­ing? No, noth­ing will die. Rath­er, abun­dant en­er­gy will ap­pear! “I have but one min­ute re­main­ing,” you will say to your­self. “Now will come the ver­dict; let me hur­ry to do some­thing;” and you will do it. And thus con­tin­ue ev­ery min­ute.


The Light of the World

May 10, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Thurs­day. [Acts 10:34–43; John 8:12–20] I am the light of the world: he that fol­loweth Me shall not walk in dark­ness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12) says the Lord. Conse?quently, he who turns away from the Lord, turns away from the light and is head­ed into dark­ness, and there­fore he is a true obscurant.[1] You know what the teach­ing of Christ demands; and look: as soon as some­one puts forth thoughts con?trary to this teach­ing, do not fear call­ing him an obscu­rant; this is his real name. The Lord teach­es that God is one in essence and three in per­sons: this is the ray of the super?natural light of truth. Who­ev­er preach­es the con­trary is head­ed in?to dark­ness from the light, and he is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es that God has three hypostases; and hav?ing cre­at­ed the world by His word, guides it through His prov­i­dence. This is the Divine light, which illu­mi­nates the gloomy paths of our life, but not with an earth­ly, com?forting light. He who preach­es con?trary to this is head­ing into drea­ry dark­ness — he is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es that God cre­at­ed man accord­ing to His image and like­ness and set him to live in par­adise. When man sinned, God right­eous­ly drove him out of par­adise to live on this earth, which is full of sor­rows and want. How­ev­er, He was not an?gered with him unto the end, but it was His good will to arrange salva?tion for him through the death on the cross of the incar­nate Only-Be?gotten Son of God — and this is the spir­i­tu­al light, illu­mi­nat­ing the mor?al gloom that enshrouds our souls. He who preach­es con­trary to this is head­ed into dark­ness and is an ob?scurant. The Lord teach­es. Believe, and upon receiv­ing the pow­er of grace in the Divine mys­ter­ies, live accord­ing to His com­mand­ments and you will be saved — this is the only way for the light of God to en?ter us and make us enlight­ened. He who teach­es some­thing to the con?trary wants to keep us in dark­ness and there­fore is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es: enter in at the strait gate of a strict life of self-denial, and this is the only path to the light. Who­ev­er is trav­el­ling the broad path of self-plea­sure is head­ed into dark­ness, and is an obscu­rant. The Lord teach­es: remem­ber the last things: death, judg­ment, hell, heav?en. This is a light that illu­mi­nates our future. Who­ev­er teach­es that death is the end of all casts dark­ness over our fate, and is thus an obscur?ant. Lovers of the light! Learn by this to dis­tin­guish where the dark?ness is, and depart from it.

[1] Dur­ing St. Theophan’s time there was already much talk amongst “pro­gres­sive” peo­ple about Chris?tian “obscu­ran­tism.” The Ortho­dox faith­ful were often accused of “obscur­ing” the enlight­en­ment of more pro­gres­sive groups; i.e., they were called reac­tionar­ies.


Zeal for God

May 9, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Fri­day. [Acts 8:40–9:19; John 6:48–54] Saint Paul de­fend­ed the Old Tes­ta­ment rou­tines so zeal­ous­ly at first, be­cause he was sin­cere­ly cer­tain that it was the un­al­ter­able will of God that these rou­tines re­main unchanged. He was not zeal­ous be­cause it was his fa­thers’ faith, but be­cause he was zeal­ous in bring­ing ser­vice to God. In this lay the spir­it of his life — to de­vote him­self to God and di­rect all his en­er­gy to­ward things pleas­ing to Him. Thus, in or­der to bring a­bout his con­ver­sion, or to make him stand for the realm of New Tes­ta­ment things rath­er than the Old Tes­ta­ment, it was suf­fi­cient to tan­gi­bly show him that God no long­er wants the Old Tes­ta­ment but rath­er the New, and that He has removed all of His good will from the for­mer and giv­en it to the lat­ter. The Lord’s ap­pear­ance on the road ac­com­plished this in him. There it be­came clear to him that he was not di­rect­ing his zeal where he ought, that he was not pleas­ing God by act­ing as he did, but was go­ing con­tra­ry to His will. This vi­sion of the state of af­fairs, with the help of God’s grace, im­me­di­ate­ly changed his striv­ings, and he cried out: emLord, what wilt Thou have me to do?/em (Acts 9:6). And from that mo­ment on he di­rect­ed all of his zeal to­ward what was shown to him, and he did not for­get this event for his whole life, but thank­ful­ly re­mem­ber­ing it, stirred up his zeal with it — not spar­ing any­thing to work for his Lord and Sav­iour. This is how all peo­ple act who have sin­cere­ly turn­ed to the Lord.


Go to the Lord

May 9, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Wednes­day. [Acts 14:6–18; John 7:14–30] On Mid-Pen­te­cost a cry is heard from the Lord: If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink (John 7:37). If so, then let us all go to Him. Who­ev­er thirsts for any­thing, as long as it is not contra?ry to the spir­it of the Lord, will find sat­is­fac­tion with­out fail. Who­ev­er thirsts for knowl­edge, go to the Lord, for He is the only light tru­ly enlight­en­ing every man. Who­ev­er thirsts for cleans­ing from sins and to soothe the burn­ing of his con?science, go to the Lord, for He lift­ed up the sins of the whole world onto the tree (cf. I Pet. 2:24) and tore up their hand­writ­ing (cf. Col. 2:14). Who­ev­er thirsts for peace of heart, go to the Lord, for He is the trea?sure, the pos­ses­sion of which will force you to for­get all depri­va­tions and despise all goods in order to pos­sess Him alone. Who­ev­er needs strength — He has every strength. Glo­ry — He has glo­ry on high. Free?dom — He is the giv­er of true free?dom. He will resolve all of our un?certainties, will break the bonds of the pas­sions, will dis­perse all sor?rows and griev­ing, will enable us to over­come all imped­i­ments, all temp­ta­tions and snares of the ene?my, and will smooth out the path of our spir­i­tu­al life. Let us all go to the Lord!

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse


Belonging to Christ not of the world

May 8, 2019 | Saint Theophan

[Acts 10:21–33; John 7:1–13] The world can­not hate you; but me it hateth, because I tes­ti­fy of it, that the works there­of are evil (John 7:7). The Lord did not say this to His dis­ci­ples; to His dis­ci­ples He fore­told lat­er that the world would hate and per­se­cute them also, be?cause He has tak­en them out of the world. So, note what the world hates, and you will learn of Christ’s lot. The world rebels most strong­ly against what is of Christ, what is clos­est to Him, and more like unto His spir­it. This is an exter­nal indica?tor, but for those who live external?ly this is enough. The world does not act on its own, but is kin­dled in its works by its prince — satan, the works of whom the Lord destroyed, and con­tin­ues to destroy in believ?ers and with believ­ers. He can­not do any­thing to the Lord direct­ly; this is why he directs his anger up?on those who believe in Him, so that in frus­trat­ing them he will frus­trate the Lord. He does not act direct­ly in this, but through his agen­cies, which make up the world. This does not mean that he is strong; do not fear him, but rather be bold, for the Lord over­came the world and the prince there­of. Satan is not in a con?dition to do any­thing to one who does not yield on his own.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse


True Source of Life

May 7, 2019 | Saint Theophan

[Acts 10:1–16; John 6:56–69] When the Lord pre­sent­ed His teach­ing about the mys­tery of His Body and Blood, set­ting it as a nec?essary con­di­tion for com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Him­self and as a source of true life, then many of His dis­ci­ples went back, and walked no more with Him (John 6:66). Such an act of God’s bound­less mer­cy toward us seemed too mirac­u­lous to them, and their dis­in­cli­na­tion toward the miracu?lous tore them from the Lord. The Lord saw this, and although He was pre­pared to be cru­ci­fied for the sal?vation of every per­son, He did not con­sid­er it pos­si­ble to dimin­ish or can­cel the mirac­u­lous. It is so cru?cial in the econ­o­my of our salva?tion! Albeit with regret, He allowed them to depart from Him into the dark­ness of unbe­lief and destruc?tion; and said to them and to the cho­sen twelve as well, will ye also go away? (John 6:67) This showed that He was ready to let them go al?so, if they could not bow down be?fore the mirac­u­lous. So it is, that to flee from the mirac­u­lous is to flee from the Lord and Sav­iour; and one who turns away from the miracu?lous is as one who is per­ish­ing. May those who are hor­ri­fied by the mi?raculous heed this! Even they will come across a mir­a­cle which they will not be able to thwart: death, and after death, judg­ment. But whether this inabil­i­ty to thwart it will serve them unto sal­va­tion, only God knows.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse


Zeal for God

May 4, 2019 | Saint Theophan

Fri­day. [Acts 8:40–9:19; John 6:48–54] Saint Paul defend­ed the Old Tes?tament rou­tines so zeal­ous­ly at first, because he was sin­cere­ly cer­tain that it was the unal­ter­able will of God that these rou­tines remain unchanged. He was not zeal­ous be?cause it was his fathers’ faith, but because he was zeal­ous in bring­ing ser­vice to God. In this lay the spir­it of his life — to devote him­self to God and direct all his ener­gy to?ward things pleas­ing to Him. Thus, in order to bring about his conver?sion, or to make him stand for the realm of New Tes­ta­ment things rather than the Old Tes­ta­ment, it was suf­fi­cient to tan­gi­bly show him that God no longer wants the Old Tes­ta­ment but rather the New, and that He has removed all of His good will from the for­mer and giv­en it to the lat­ter. The Lord’s appear­ance on the road accom­plished this in him. There it became clear to him that he was not direct­ing his zeal where he ought, that he was not pleas­ing God by act­ing as he did, but was going con­trary to His will. This vision of the state of affairs, with the help of God’s grace, imme­di­ate­ly changed his striv­ings, and he cried out: Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). And from that moment on he direct­ed all of his zeal toward what was shown to him, and he did not for­get this event for his whole life, but thank­ful­ly remem­ber­ing it, stirred up his zeal with it — not spar­ing any­thing to work for his Lord and Sav­iour. This is how all peo­ple act who have sin­cere­ly turn?ed to the Lord.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse


The Lord’s Dwelling Place

April 30, 2019 | Saint Theophan

[Acts 6:8–7:5, 47–60; John 4:46–54] Saint Stephan says: The most High dwelleth not in tem­ples made with hands… What house will ye build Me? saith the Lord or what is the place of My rest? (Acts 7:48–49). Only the tem­ple in the heart not made with hands can con­tain God, as the Lord said: If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Fa?ther will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23). How this is accom?plished is unfath­omable for us, but it is true because it is obvi­ous that then it is God which wor­keth in you both to will and to do of his good plea­sure (Phil. 2:13).[1] Do not rea?son, just give your heart away to the Lord, and He Him­self will estab­lish of it a church for Him­self — but give it unspar­ing­ly. If there are parts which are not giv­en, then from the heart a whole church can­not be es?tablished, for one thing will be de?cayed, anoth­er bro­ken — and what will come out, if any­thing comes out, is a church with holes or with?out a roof, or with­out doors. It is not pos­si­ble to live in such a church: the Lord will not be in it. It will only seem that it is a church, but in reali?ty will be a con­glom­er­ate mass.

[1]The Slavon­ic for Phil 2:13 reads: God wor­keth in us both desire and action, accord­ing to his good plea?sure

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse