February 21, 2018

Reflection for Clean Wednesday (St. Theophan the Recluse)

By St. Theophan the Recluse

"Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2:3–5). The root of a God-pleasing life is fear of the Lord. When it comes to you, then, as a creative force, it will restructure everything within you and recreate in you a beautiful order — a spiritual cosmos. How can you acquire the fear of God? It is in you, only it is smothered. Resurrect it. Give voice to your reason, and open your heart to accept the influence of truth. Until now, your reason was not given a voice — it was enslaved, and did not dare to speak sensibly. Let it now speak. It will begin to speak about God’s omnipotence, which upholds you and could abandon you at any instant; about God’s omnipresence and omniscience, which sees everything within you and is wrathful with you for all that is bad within you; about God’s justice, which is ready to punish you now, but is restrained until the time by His mercy; about death, which at every instant is ready to catch you and give you over to judgement and retribution. Listen and bring your heart to a feeling of these truths. Awaken this feeling — and together with it will come the fear of God. This is the dawn of life.