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The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force

Mon­day. [Rom. 9:18–33; Matt. 11:2–15] The King­dom of Heav­en suf­fer­eth vio­lence, and the vio­lent take it by force. The king­dom suf­fer­eth vio?lence — that is, it is attained with vi?olence, with labour, force, and diffi?cult spir­i­tu­al strug­gles; there­fore only those who lead a labor-filled ascetic life attain it. This is how com­fort of every sort is renounced along the path to the king­dom. Plea?sures of all types dis­tance us from the king­dom; but these days we have con­cern only for plea­sures, some­times emo­tion­al, but more of?ten flesh­ly: to eat, drink, have fun, make mer­ry and lux­u­ri­ate in every?thing. We have said to the king­dom, “I beg you to excuse me,” though there is a feast in the king­dom — a roy­al feast, one so sump­tu­ous that we could not even con­ceive of it, be?cause we do not have the taste for it. What there is con­sid­ered sweet, to us is bit­ter; what there is pleas?ant, for us is repul­sive, what there glad­dens, for us is a bur­den — we have gone total­ly sep­a­rate ways. And the king­dom, togeth­er with the vio­lent who take it by force, with?draws from us. We are glad, even ready to dri­ve them away more quick­ly, indeed we already have start­ed talk­ing about it; but the evil one does not man­age to arrange this.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse