St. Theophan the Recluse: Persistence in Doing Good
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Sunday, August 14 (1), 2022

9th Sunday after Pentecost

1Cor. 3:9-17; Mt. 14:22-34

With the Lord’s permission, St. Peter steps down from the boat and walks on water; then he gives in to fear and begins to sink [Mt. 14:28-30].  Resolving to take such an unusual step is no ground for reproof ─ otherwise the Lord would have not allowed him to take it, ─ but what is a ground for reproof is his failure to stick to his original intent and resolve. 

St. Peter was inspired with his trust in the Lord, in Lord’s unlimited power; being sure that with the help from the Lord he can do anything, he had enough courage to walk on the waves.  A few steps have already been made on this new path; what remained was to reinforce his hope, gaining strength from his actual experience of walking on water and from the Lord Who was near, ─ but St. Peter succumbed to commonplace reasoning: “The wind is strong, waves are high, water is unstable…”, and they eroded and weakened his faith and hope.  Hence, he detached himself from the Lord’s hand, and, subject to the laws of nature, began to sink.  Then the Lord reproved him: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” [Mt. 14:31] ─ showing the root cause of his trouble.

Such is the lesson for everyone who undertakes anything in the name of the Lord, be it small or great.  You must keep your original intent, your original faith and trust in God, thus developing a very important quality: persistence in doing good, which is the basis of a life of virtue.  As long as you keep that intent, that faith and trust, the inspiration for God-pleasing work does not leave you, and no obstacle seems too great to be surmounted.  But as soon as they wane, your soul immediately gets filled with concerns about practical means of everyday life and business.  And because those means are always ineffective, there comes fear: “What to do?” ─ then wavering, whether or not to continue, and, finally, total retreat.

Here is a rule for you: got started ─ keep going; ignore vacillating thoughts, and hang in there with the help from the Lord Who is nigh.