All Saints for January 8


On a tablet in the Church of St Sophia are inscribed the words: 'Wash your sins, not just your face.' Whoever entered this church read this inscription and remembered that the Christian faith demands moral purity of him-purity of soul, heart and mind. For the whole spirit of man is concentrated in his heart, as the Lord said: 'Blessed are the pure in heart.' The most complete outward purity is of no help whatever in the attaining of the Kingdom of heaven. Oh, when will we learn to give as much attention to washing our-selves from sin as we devote daily to the washing of our faces? God will then see into our hearts as in a mirror.


Let me ponder on the three temptations wherewith Satan tempted the Lord Jesus, on: 1. The love of pleasure (the temptation with bread). 2. The love of glory (the taking up to the pinnacle of the Temple). 3. The love of money (the offering of possession of the whole world).


- on the necessity of caution in those who think they are sure of themselves.

'Get him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall' (I Cor. 10:12).

The apostle who gave this advice had a most profound knowledge of human nature and its weakness. Day after day this experience is confirmed; that, as soon as a man pulls himself out of the mire of sin, he stumbles and falls afresh. No sooner has he been healed of the vice of cupidity than he falls into the vice of self-glorification. No sooner has he opened his hand to help a poor man than pride topples him over another way. Or, again, no sooner has he become a little accustomed to prayer than he opens his mouth to upbraid those who have not yet reached that state. Or, yet again, no sooner has he felt that the Spirit of God is leading him on the path of salvation than he sets himself up as a teacher of the whole world, until he utterly suc-ceeds in driving the Spirit from himself. When the lord foretold to His disciples that they would all deny Him and flee from Him, it was Peter, full of confidence in his own stability, who cried out in reply: 'Although all shall be offended, yet will not 1.' Seeing right into his soul and seeing him already fallen into self-trust and pride, the Lord answered him:'This night before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice' (Mk. 14: 29-30). And when such a fall happens to one of the apostles, in immediate relationship with the Lord, how can it not happen to us? So, my brethren, when we rise and recover from some sin, and stand upright, we must ascribe this to the strength and mercy of God and not to ourselves; and we must take great care and be vigilant and pray to God that we do not again fall either to the one side or to the other, but follow the Lord's true path.

O all-seeing Lord, help us to stand upright before Thee in the Spirit; and, when we are thus upright, hold us that we fall not afresh. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
Please see our calendar for conversion between old and new calendar dates.


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