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Thursday. [I Cor. 3:18-23; Matt. 13:36-43] And shall cast them (those who offend and do iniquity) into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Thus will be carried out the division of good and evil, light and darkness. Now is the period of time in which they are mixed. It pleased the Lord to arrange that the freedom of crea?tures should grow and be strength?ened in good through the struggle with evil; evil is tolerated within the vicinity of inward freedom, and in contact with a person externally. It does not determine anything, only tempts. One who feels a temptation must not fall, but enter into battle. He who conquers is freed from one temptation, and advances forward and upward to find new temptation there — and so on, until the end of his life. Oh, when will we compre?hend this meaning of the evil which tempts us, so we might arrange our lives according to this understand?ing! The strugglers are finally crowned, and pass on to the other life where there is neither sickness nor sorrows from the outside, and where they become inwardly pure like angels of God, free from the sting of tempting inclinations and thoughts. This is how the triumph of light and good is being prepared, and it will be revealed in all of its glory on the last day of the world.
Saint a Theophan the Recluse