September 5, 2022

Reflection on the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 Twelfth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 19:16-26

By St. Theophan the Recluse 

"It is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 19:26). Here is meant a rich man who sees in his own self many methods and many powers unto his own prosperity. But as soon as one who has many possessions cuts off all attachment to them, extinguishes within himself all reliance on them, and ceases to see them as his substantial support, then in his heart he is the same as one who possesses nothing — for in this way is the road to the kingdom open. Riches are then not only a hindrance, but a help, for they provide the means for charitable works. Riches are not the misfortune, but rather reliance upon them and attachment to them. This thought can be generalized in this way: whoever relies on something and is attached to something is rich in that thing. Whoever relies on God alone and cleaves to Him with all his heart is rich in God. Whoever relies on something else turns his heart to it instead of God — such a person is rich in this other thing, but not in God. From this it follows that he who is not rich in God has no entrance into the kingdom of God. Here are meant such things as birth, connections, mind, rank, circle of activities and so forth.