St. Theophan the Recluse: Worldliness Inside and Outside

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Tuesday, November 21(8), 2023
2Thess. 1:10-2:2; Lk. 12:42-48                                 

The Parable of the Steward offers us an example of the Christian attitude towards worldly business [Lk. 12:42-47].  The steward is carefully doing his job, but he does not let his heart become involved in it too deeply; his concern is external, and he is free from any bonds.

That is how we should look at any worldly affair.  Is this at all possible?  Yes, it is.  Just like piety which can be external only ─ that is, false piety, ─ there can be external worldliness without internal involvement: such worldliness is just what we need.

─ Would it not make all human relations very dry, formal and lifeless, with people cold to one another like marble statues?

─ No, it would not.  What it would bring about is an altogether new life amidst the familiar social realm, a life immeasurably more attractive than the most abundant life in the worldly sense.  Certainly, conventional worldliness will be left behind as a lifeless form; the heart will be warmed by energy coming from a different fountain, and whosoever drinketh from that fountain shall never thirst.

─ Then shouldn’t we just abandon all worldly business?…

─ Not at all.  Even if you abandon worldly business you could still be enslaved inside your heart, and, conversely, your heart can be free without abandoning the world.  But it is, indeed, easier to reign in your heart if you are disengaged from the worldly affairs.  So, everyone should choose the best course for himself; only make sure to set yourself up as the Lord has commanded.

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