St. Theophan the Recluse: Bonds of Mystery
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Thursday, December 8 (November 25), 2022

1Tim. 6:17-21; Lk. 18:31-34

The Lord tells His disciples of His impending suffering and death, but “they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” [Lk. 18:34]  At a later time, however, in the words of St. Paul, they “determined not to know anything… save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” [1Cor.2:2].  That is, until certain time they did not understand anything in this mystery, but when the time was right, they understood everything and passed it down to others with explanations.

The same happens to all of us, with regard to any mystery in general: what used to be a puzzle becomes clear with time, as if a ray of light came into mind and enlightened some dark corner.  Who makes it happen?  Maybe the Lord Himself, maybe the grace of the Spirit which dwells in the faithful, maybe the Guardian Angel, ─ but certainly not the man himself.  Man is not a producer, he is a recipient of the gift of understanding.

It should be noted, though, that certain things elude understanding forever, not only by an individual mind, but also by the entire mankind.  We are surrounded by mysteries: some of them we get to know in our lifetime, others remain for the future life to be explained then.  And so it is for everyone, even for the best minds enlightened by God.

Why cannot we learn quicker, here and now?  For many reasons.  Certain subjects simply do not fit our limited intellect, so there is no point in discussing them; other things, dangerous for us to know, are kept in secret by God Who cares for our well-being. Much will become clear for us in the future life, but we might also discover completely new subjects, new mysteries.  Creature cannot possibly grasp all mysteries of its Creator.  Rebellious mind would like to defy this law, ─ but, of course, in vain: there is no way of breaking the bonds of mystery.  So let us submit to the strong hand of the Lord and be faithful to Him.

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