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[II Cor. 5:1–10; Luke 7:2–10] What a bright person the centurion is! How did he reach such faith that he sur-passed with it all Israelites, raised with revelation, prophesies and miracles? The Gospels do not indi-cate how, but only describe his faith and tell of how the Lord praised him. The path of faith is a secret, concealed path. Who can even ex-plain within himself how the con-victions of faith are composed in the heart [cf. Lk. 2:19]? Best of all, the holy Apostle resolved this by calling faith God’s gift. Faith truly is God’s gift, but unbelievers are not without responsibility, and, consequently, they themselves are at fault for the fact that this gift is not given them. If there is no recipient for this gift, it is not given, for there is nothing to receive it with; while in such a case to give is the same as to spend in vain. How a soul is made a worthy recipient of the gift of faith is diffi-cult to determine. Extreme humility could be seen in the centurion, de-spite the fact that he was a man of power, virtuous and sensible. Is it not through humility in general that this great mercy, which gives faith, is attracted? This is not at all sur-prising. At the very least it is known to everyone that unbelievers always are of a proud spirit, and that faith most of all requires the submission of the mind beneath its yoke.
Saint Theophan the Recluse