October 22 - Daily Thoughts from St. Theophan, One of Russia's Favorite 19th Century Writers

"Is it at all possible to go dead against overwhelming evidence? Yet unbelievers do just that. No wonder that Satan is doing the same: [...] he knows very well that God exists, that God will judge and condemn him, that doom is awaiting him ─ and still he persists in being an adversary. . ."

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

Editor's Note: Saint Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894) was one of the most prolific and beloved spiritual writers of 19th-century Russia. His works comprise over twenty volumes. Although he lived the last twenty-eight years of his life as a hermit, his impact on his homeland was immense. His articles appeared in the popular spiritual journals of his time, his books were in great demand, and he personally replied to an average of thirty letters daily. We will be publishing excerpts from Thoughts for Each Day of the Year (Amazon). In it, St. Theophan takes us through the yearly cycle of Gospel and Epistle readings, humbly and reverently offering us brief but powerful daily meditations on the word of God. He also addresses the problems of his day: lack of faith, coldness of heart, trust in the rational mind rather than in the revealed Truth of God - which are problems of our day as well.


Friday, 18th week after Pentecost
Epistle reading: Ephesians 6:18-24
Gospel reading: Luke 7:31-35

St. Theophan the Recluse: Progressive Ravings and the Theoretical Mindset |  A Russian Orthodox Church Website

The Spirit of Disbelief

“Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation” ─ that is, unbelievers? [Luke7:31] If the Lord Himself seems to be uncertain about this question, so much more reason we have to wonder about the spirit of disbelief in people.

Is it at all possible to go dead against overwhelming evidence? Yet unbelievers do just that. No wonder that Satan is doing the same: his very name means the adversary. As the adversary of truth and goodness, he knows very well that God exists, that God will judge and condemn him, that doom is awaiting him ─ and still he persists in being an adversary, for no other reason than evil itself, thus making his own fate yet more certain.

Isn’t it the same militant spirit of godlessness which drives unbelievers? At any rate, given our knowledge of a human soul and its energies, given the self-evident foundations of faith, disbelief is plainly inexplicable ─ just as inexplicable as the voluntary submission of a sinner to his sin when he knows for sure that the sin is ruining him.

And yet another stunning dilemma: It is only unbelievers and those possessed by passions who deny the existence of Satan and evil spirits! Their most devoted supporters, as one would expect them to be, denounce them altogether. Those who are in the dark, love darkness — unbelievers have set up the mock-science of the human soul which pretends to explain our moral, spiritual world in material terms, free from involvement and influence of the spirits of evil.

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