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The Light of the World

Thursday. [Acts 10:34–43; John 8:12–20] I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12) says the Lord. Conse?quently, he who turns away from the Lord, turns away from the light and is headed into darkness, and therefore he is a true obscurant.[1] You know what the teaching of Christ demands; and look: as soon as someone puts forth thoughts con?trary to this teaching, do not fear calling him an obscurant; this is his real name. The Lord teaches that God is one in essence and three in persons: this is the ray of the super?natural light of truth. Whoever preaches the contrary is headed in?to darkness from the light, and he is an obscurant. The Lord teaches that God has three hypostases; and hav?ing created the world by His word, guides it through His providence. This is the Divine light, which illuminates the gloomy paths of our life, but not with an earthly, com?forting light. He who preaches con?trary to this is heading into dreary darkness — he is an obscurant. The Lord teaches that God created man according to His image and likeness and set him to live in paradise. When man sinned, God righteously drove him out of paradise to live on this earth, which is full of sorrows and want. However, He was not an?gered with him unto the end, but it was His good will to arrange salva?tion for him through the death on the cross of the incarnate Only-Be?gotten Son of God — and this is the spiritual light, illuminating the mor?al gloom that enshrouds our souls. He who preaches contrary to this is headed into darkness and is an ob?scurant. The Lord teaches. Believe, and upon receiving the power of grace in the Divine mysteries, live according to His commandments and you will be saved — this is the only way for the light of God to en?ter us and make us enlightened. He who teaches something to the con?trary wants to keep us in darkness and therefore is an obscurant. The Lord teaches: enter in at the strait gate of a strict life of self-denial, and this is the only path to the light. Whoever is travelling the broad path of self-pleasure is headed into darkness, and is an obscurant. The Lord teaches: remember the last things: death, judgment, hell, heav?en. This is a light that illuminates our future. Whoever teaches that death is the end of all casts darkness over our fate, and is thus an obscur?ant. Lovers of the light! Learn by this to distinguish where the dark?ness is, and depart from it.

[1] During St. Theophan’s time there was already much talk amongst “progressive” people about Chris?tian “obscurantism.” The Orthodox faithful were often accused of “obscuring” the enlightenment of more progressive groups; i.e., they were called reactionaries.

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