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[James 2:1–13; Mark 10:23–32] Hearing the word of the Lord a-bout the inconvenience rich people have in entering the Kingdom of God, the disciples thought, Who then can be saved? The Lord said to this, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. It is not possible to re-nounce self-interest without the in-fluence of grace on the heart; it is not possible to cope with all sorts of weaknesses for things, or with all the sin living in us and all of its con-sequences without God’s grace. God’s grace is given, according to faith in the Lord, in the mysteries of the holy Church. Hold tightly to the holy Church of God and to all of its institutions, and the power of God, helping to bring about every good, will always abide with you. But at the same time always remember that these illuminating and life-giv-ing institutions are a means and not the goal; that is why you should go through them only in order to enliv-en and nourish the grace-filled pow-ers hidden in you through their in-fluence, and then take up your work as a strong man, ready for every good deed. If you keep what you have received to yourself and not release it through good deeds, you will not be right; just like one is not right who shuns everything belong-ing to the church. Incorrect zealots of piety make the very structure of a pious life subject to criticism; but this does not take the significance a-way from this structure, and does not justify philosophizers, who shun it only on these grounds.
Saint Theophan tthe Recluse