Sunday, December 16, 2018

Reflection for the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Holy Forefathers — these are truly great people! If one were to generalize the thought which defines their greatness, only those who fulfill God’s will for the human race — a positive will — are truly great, for there is much that happens only by God’s allowance. There are also powerful figures who act apart from God’s will and even against it. These too can seem great, but not in and of themselves — only according to those great counteractions which God’s Providence puts forth to efface the evil caused by them. We know God’s direct will concerning eternal salvation; but God’s plans concerning the temporal sojourn of people on the earth are hidden from us. That is why it is difficult for us to determine who acts more straightly, or more precisely according to God’s will. One can only acknowledge one negative criteria as true: He who acts against God’s determination for the eternal salvation of people cannot be considered great, no matter how ostentatious his deeds; for it is evident that he is going against the obvious will of God. Though this known will does not concern temporal, but rather eternal things, it is doubtless that the one will of God cannot contradict another.


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