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Wednesday. [Heb. 10:1–18; Mark 8:30–34] Having invited people to follow Him with the cross, the Lord shows also shows this path, elimi-nating the main obstacles to it, which are not outer, but inner, root-ed in the human heart. It is as though He is saying, “If you want to follow Me, first of all do not pity yourself, for he who pities himself will destroy himself; second, do not have anything to do with self-inter-est, for, What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mark 8:38)? Third, do not be embarrassed by what peo-ple will say or how they will look at you: Whosoever therefore shall be a-shamed of Me and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful genera-tion, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy an-gels. Self-pity, self-interest, and em-barrassment are the main chains by which a person is held in a life not pleasing to God, on the path of pas-sions and sin. They are the main ob-stacles to a sinner’s conversion; they are the main object of spiritual struggle in a person who repents and who already has begun to bring forth fruits of repentance. As long as these threads are not cut, the Christian life in us is unreliable, full of stumbles and falls, if not always outer, then inner. Let everyone look attentively at himself; if there is anything in you of what is said a-bove, take care to give it up: other-wise you can not hope to rise to per-fection in Christ, although you may outwardly be very proper.
Saint Theophan the recluse