October 27 - Daily Thoughts from St. Theophan, One of Russia's Favorite 19th Century Writers

". . .at every moment of your life, be ready to face death and enter into its realm without fear. This minute you are alive, but who knows whether or not you will be alive the next minute?"

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.


Wednesday, 19th  week after Pentecost
Epistle reading: Philippians 1:12-20
Gospel reading: Luke 8:22-25

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

On Being Prepared

When the Apostles were embarking on their trip across the lake, did they think of the tempest ahead that would put their lives in jeopardy? What happened, however, was just this, and they nearly lost all hope for survival [Luke 8:22-23]. 

Such are the ways of our earthly life! We never know when and from whence might come the ruinous disaster. Either the air, or water, or fire, or wild beasts, or man, or our own home ─ in a word, anything around us can suddenly become an instrument of our demise. Hence a rule: at every moment of your life, be ready to face death and enter into its realm without fear. This minute you are alive, but who knows whether or not you will be alive the next minute? Attach yourself to this thought. Follow your normal course of life, yet never forget that you are just a step away from an entrance into the world from whence there is no return.

Forgetting about it will not keep you longer on earth, and ignoring this impending change will not make it less momentous. Commend your entire life into God’s hands and live it, hour by hour, keeping in mind that each of them might be the last one. As a result, you will see fewer futile amusements in your present life, and an immense, inconceivable joy in the future.

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