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Fruit-Bearing Tree

[Eph. 2:19–3:7; Mark 11:11–23] The fig tree cov­ered with leaves was splen­did in appear­ance, but was not hon­oured with approval from the Lord because there was no fruit on it, and there was no fruit because there was no inner fruit-bear­ing pow­er. How many such fig trees there are in the moral sense! In appear­ance all is prop­er, but on the inside there is noth­ing. They are order­ly, hon­ourable, and ful­fil all that is Chris­t­ian, but they do not have the spir­it of life in Christ Jesus; that is why they do not have liv­ing fruit. And what is in them only seems to be fruit, but is not. In what lies the spir­it of life in Christ Jesus? To this we say: one part in this is from the Lord, and the oth­er from us. What is from the Lord essential­ ly is a fruit-bear­ing spir­i­tu­al pow­er; while what comes from us is just the receiv­er of this pow­er. Con­cern your­self more with the lat­ter. The root of this is the feel­ing that you are per­ish­ing, and that if it were not for the Lord, you would per­ish. From this you will have a heart that is bro­ken and hum­bled, in every­ thing you do, through­out your life. Fur­ther, since the future is un­ known, there are many ene­mies, and you can stum­ble every mo­ ment, fear and trem­bling accompa­ ny sal­va­tion, along with the unceas­ ing cry: “O Thou Who knoweth all things, save me.” Woe to him also who rests on some­thing oth­er than the Lord; woe to him who has worked for some­thing oth­er than the Lord! Ask your­self, you who la­ bour in deeds which are con­sid­ered God-pleas­ing, for whom are you work­ing? If your con­science bold­ly answers: only for the Lord — it is good; but if not, you are build­ing a house upon the sand. Here are sev­ eral indi­ca­tions of a fer­tile inner spir­it. You can under­stand many oth­er things accord­ing to this.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse