St. Theophan the Recluse: Vain Piety, Vain Search

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Saturday, March 2 (February 18), 2024
2Tim. 3:1-9; Lk. 20:45-21:4

Who are those “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” [2Tim. 3:5]?  They hold all externals in accordance with the requirements of piety ─ but have no will power to properly set up their inner life likewise.  Such a man is willing to come to church, to stand there at a service ─ but makes no effort to also stand before the Lord with his mind, to fall before Him in earnest supplication.  His prayer is short; very soon he turns his mind loose and let it fly all over the world.  Therefore, while physically he stands in the church, in truth he isn’t there: while retaining a form of godliness, he has no power thereof.  Such examples can be multiplied, and all of them should be explained similarly.

And who are those “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” [2Tim. 3:7]?  Having entered into the domain of faith, they are busy entirely with making up questions: what’s the reason for this? what’s the reason for that? ─ in other words, they suffer from vain curiosity.  Truth itself is of little value for such a person; he is much more concerned with the process of questioning.  Therefore, when a solution is found, he has no lasting interest in it, but soon feels an urge to seek another one.  So he goes, round and round, in endless search day and night, never satisfied with what he has found.  Just like others endlessly seek fun, he seeks to cater to his curiosity.

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