November 7 - Daily Thoughts from St. Theophan, One of Russia's Favorite 19th Century Writers

"All of us, when we depart this life, are likely to feel the same as this Rich Man. Therefore, we ought to be sure about the only true guide on the course of our life — that is, Divine revelation."

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.


Saturday, 20th week after Pentecost
Epistle reading: Galatians 1:11-19
Gospel reading: Luke 16:19-31

The Only True Guide

In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man [Luke 16:19-31], the second thoughts of wrongdoers are shown: their eyes will open for the first time, they will see the truth with absolute clarity — though without any chance to undo anything or to help get themselves out of trouble. Knowing how many blind souls like themselves there are on earth, they would seek someone from among the dead to be sent there to testify about the only right way of life, the only true world view, about how the Lord has revealed it to men. But even that will be denied them. Divine revelation is convincing by itself for those who want to know the truth. Those who don’t want it would not be convinced, even if someone rose from the dead.

All of us, when we depart this life, are likely to feel the same as this Rich Man. Therefore, we ought to be sure about the only true guide on the course of our life — that is, Divine revelation. For many, however, that understanding will come too late. We need that understanding here on earth, but quite a few of us are failing to develop it. Let us at least believe those who have crossed the finish line. Let us try to walk in their shoes. Tormented, they do not lie — they wish our eyes opened, “lest we also come into this place of torment” [Luke 16:28].

This subject is quite unlike our everyday business which we often treat lightly: “As it may come about…”  No, it will not come about any way other than what we have made it to be. We must be sure not to follow the way of the Rich Man from the parable.

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