Martyrs Thyrsus, Leucius, and Callinicus
(Coronatus), with others, of Bithynia (ca. 250). Martyrs Apollonius,
Philemon, Arianus, Theoctychus, and four guards converted by St. Arianus, at Alexandria (ca. 305). St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of
Poitiers (ca. 605). St. Hygbald, abbot in Lincolnshire (7th c.). St.
Folciunus, bishop of Tervas (Neth.) (855). St. Daniel the Hesychast,
of Voronet (Romania) (17th c.). New Hiero-confessor Bassian
(Pyatnitsky), archbishop of Tambov (1940). Repose of Blessed Recluse
John of Sezenovo (1839).
Mark 9:10-16 Nativity Fast
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
Thursday. [Heb. 10:35-11:7; Mark 9:10-16]
History flows on and, it seems,
inexorably determines individual events. How many
preparations there were to receive the Saviour!… At
last His closest indicator came, John, but what came of
it? With John, They have done…whatsoever they
listed, and the Son of Man suffered and was
humiliated. The flow of events could not be broken; it
took its own. So the flow of history always draws
everything after it. People ask, “Where is freedom?
What is it, given such an order of events? No more than a
phantom.” Thus fatalists usually reason. But this
all-determining necessity for the flow of events is only
an appearance; in reality all human events, both common
and individual, are the fruit of man’s free
undertakings. The common [history] flows exactly the way
it does because everyone, or a majority of people, want
this; and the individual enters into agreement with the
common [majority] because one or another in particular
wants it. The proof of this is obvious: in the midst of
general good there occur bad particulars; and in the midst
of general bad there occur good particulars. Also, in the
midst of a firmly established commonality are born
particulars which, spreading and becoming stronger and
stronger, overpower the former commonality and take its
place. But these particulars are always a matter of
freedom. What in di Christianity have in common with the
character of time in which it was conceived? It was sown
by several individuals who were not a result of the
necessary flow of history; it attracted those who desired
it; it spread vigorously and became the general affair of
mankind of the time, and yet it was a matter of freedom.
Similarly, only in a bad direction—how did the West
become corrupted? It corrupted itself: instead of learning
from the Gospels they began to learn from pagans and adopt
their customs—and they became corrupted. The same
will happen with us: we have started to learn from the
West which has fallen from Christ the Lord, and have
transferred its spirit to ourselves. Finally, like the
West, we will renounce true Christianity. But in all of
this there is nothing necessarily determining the matter
of freedom: if we want to, we will drive away the Western
darkness. If we don’t want to, of course, we will
submerge ourselves in it.
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