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Saturday, January 8, 2022

Reflection for the Saturday After Theophany (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 
By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Apostle clothes Christians in the whole armor of God. It is appropriate that this follows the previous lesson. For, if someone, heeding the call of God, has taken on the beginning of a new life through God’s grace, providing for his own part all diligence (II Pet. 1:5), then he must not expect to rest on his laurels, but rather to struggle. 
 
He has left the world—for that the world will begin to press him. 
 
He was saved from the power of the devil—the devil will chase after him and set snares before him, to throw him off the path of good and drag him back to his domain. 
 
He has denied himself, denied selfishness together with a whole horde of passions. 
 
But this sin living in us will not suddenly relinquish its free and unrestricted existence as we live in self-pleasure, and every minute it will attempt under various pretexts to establish once more the same life routine that so richly filled and fed it earlier. These are three enemies, each with innumerable hordes; but the commander-in-chief is the devil, whilst his closest helpers are the demons. They run the show in a sinful life—the opponents of a spiritual life. That is why the Apostle arms the Christian against them as if there were no other enemies at all. He says: We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). If they did not exist, perhaps battles would not exist either. Likewise, as soon as they are repelled and struck down, it takes nothing to repel and defeat the others. 
 
So each of you look to see where you need to direct your arrows, or at least look to see from which side you particularly need to defend yourself. Then, defend yourself! The Apostle prescribed several weapons; but all of them have power only through the Lord. That is why experienced spiritual fighters have passed on to us this instruction: “Strike the enemy with the name of the Lord Jesus!” 
 
 
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