The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy
Theotokos (Gal. 4:22-31; Luke 8:16-21). Righteous Anna
(Hannah) (1100 b.c.), mother of the Prophet Samuel. St. Valeria of
Aquitaine (2nd c.). Martyr Sositheus of Persia (553). St. Stephen
“the New Light,” of Constantinople (912). (Gr. Cal.: Commemoration
of the Founding of the Church of the Resurrection at Jerusalem
. Martyr Narses of Persia.) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Unexpected Joy.”
Repose of Archimandrite Theodosius of Tismana
and Sophroniev Monasteries (1802) and Elder Anthimus the Bulgarian,
of Mt. Athos (1867).
Fish, wine and oil allowed
Thoughts for Each Day of the Year
According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God
By St. Theophan the Recluse
Saturday. [Eph. 2:11-13; Luke 13:18-29]
Strive to enter in at the strait
gate. The strait gate is a life not according
to your will, not according to your desires, not for
pleasing yourself; the wide gate is a life according to
all of the stirrings and strivings of a passion-filled
heart, without the slightest refusal of oneself in
anything. Thus, the gate to the kingdom is
self-constraint. Restrain yourself in all things and it
will be the same as pressing or pushing against a door to
open it and squeeze your way through it. How and with what
should you restrain yourself? With the commandments of
God, which are opposed to the passion-filled stirrings of
the heart. When you begin to be angry with someone,
remember the Lord’s commandment not to give place to
wrath, and with this restrain your heart. When lustful
stirrings come, bring to mind the prohibition against even
looking at a woman with lust, and with this restrain your
lustfulness. When you want to judge someone, remember what
the Lord said, that by judging you deprive yourself of
intercession before the Judge of heavenly things, and with
this restrain your arrogance. Do likewise in relation to
every sinful movement [of the heart]. Gather against each
of them sayings from Divine Scripture and keep them in
your memory. As soon as some bad desire comes from your
heart, bind it immediately with a saying directed against
it, or tie up all of your desires and thoughts in advance
with Divine words, and walk in them; you will be as if in
bonds. But in these bonds lies freedom, or a free path to
the Kingdom of God.
SAINT THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE (1815–1894) was one of the most prolific and beloved spiritual writers of nineteenth-century Russia. His works, which comprise over twenty volumes, include such classics as The Path to Salvation and A Commentary on Psalm 118, as well as many volumes of letters. 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.
In the present book, Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, 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.
Contemplating the sacred texts together with St. Theophan, the reader will learn to penetrate more deeply into Holy Scripture, and will receive answers to many dogmatic, moral, and spiritual questions which touch upon our salvation. Thoughts for Each Day of the Year can help us to more closely connect our lives with the life of Christ in His Holy Church, and to gain a better knowledge of how to fulfill His commandments. By reading St. Theophan's daily exhortations and taking them to heart, one can be changed by the grace-filled power of our Savior, in accordance with the teaching of the Apostle Paul: Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 11:2).
Thoughts for Each Day of the Year is published by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and Sretensky Monastery.
It is available at stherman.com/Catalog/Spiritual_Counsels/Daily_Thoughts_Book.html.
For further information on the Saint Herman Calendar contact St. Herman Press:
St. Herman Press, P.O. Box 70, Platina, CA 96076