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Sunday, January 9, 2022

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


By St. Theophan the Recluse

Yesterday the Apostle armed the Christian who sets out upon the path of salvation with the whole spiritual armor. Now he shows who the leaders are in this battle procession, and what is the final bright goal of all for our inspiration in times of hardship. The leaders are pastors and teachers, whom the Lord gave to the Church and through whose mouth He Himself utters guiding direction needful for all, as soon as one turns to such leaders with faith and prayerful appeal to the Lord. Those who selflessly walk the Lord’s path know this truth, as do those who lead a struggle with the enemies of salvation without pity for themselves. In their pastors they always find help and are brought to understanding, when, looking from the outside, such help could not be anticipated. For they do not come to men, but to the Lord, who is always prepared to direct and give understanding through such men, to anyone who sincerely and with faith seeks help from Him. The final bright goal is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ—the stature of a perfect man (Eph. 4:13). We all know what a perfect man is in the usual order of things, and we could hardly find a person who would not wish to attain such perfection. But the meaning of a perfect man in the Lord is something not known to anyone other than those who have entered into that stature. This, however, should not cool one’s fervor for the attainment of such a stature, but on the contrary should kindle it even more; for this lack of knowledge is due to the height of that spiritual perfection which is called a manly stature in a life according to God. The Apostle defined this as the taking on of the fullness of perfections revealed in the Lord and Savior. Anyone can see that there is reason for us to apply all diligence (II Pet. 1:5) toward our calling. 
 
 
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