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Tuesday. [I Cor. 15:29–38; Matt. 21:23–27] When the Lord asked the question about John the Baptist, the chief priests and the elders thought, “If we answer this way or that, ei?ther way is disadvantageous for us,” and that is why they decided it would be better to use ignorance as a cover. Their self-interest tied their tongue and did not enable them to witness to the truth. If they loved truth more than themselves, there would be different words, and dif?ferent deeds. Their interest covered up the truth and would not let it reach the heart, interfered with forming a sincere conviction, and made their heart indifferent to it. And it is always this way: egotistical strivings are the original enemies of truth. All other enemies follow them and act due to them. If one investi?gates how all delusions and heresies arose, it turns out that the source of all of them is precisely this. In words we want nothing but the truth; but in fact the truth is a hin?drance which must be eliminated, and a lie set in its place which is more favourable for us. Why, for example, are there materialist-nihilists? Because the idea of God the Creator, Provider and Judge, to?gether with the idea of the spiritual?ity of the soul, hinders those people from living more broadly according to their inclinations, so they push the idea aside. It is clear from the worthlessness of their premises that the nihilists are not guided by the truth — it is desirable for them that everything be just as they think, and every phantom that reflects their thoughts they put out for show as witness to the truth. If they would sober up but a little, they would im?mediately see their lie. But they pity themselves, and therefore they re?main as they are.
Saint Theophan the Recluse