October 31

Ask with many tears to be given the full assurance of salvation, but–if you are humble–do not ask to be given it long before your death, in case you grow negligent and indifferent. Ask that you may obtain it when you are close to your departure–but make your request in all seriousness, lest out of presumption you should delude yourself into believing that you possess such assurance only to find, when the time comes, that you have failed to attain it.

~St Theognostos

4 thoughts on “October 31”

  1. Wow! These types of quotes frighten me! I will never be good enough to merit salvation if it is up to me! I have always believed that it is only on Christ’s merits and action (the cross) that I will be saved. Not that I can now do whatever I want but that my efforts to grow in virtue spring from my love for Christ and not out of fear of not being saved. Would love to know what others think/believe about this.


    1. Good points! Although I didn’t read the quote as having to do with attaining salvation or not attaining it, but I rather read it as saying that having full assurance of it too soon in life can make us complacent, and not that complacency necessarily means we aren’t saved, but that it limits our effort in doing God’s will in sincerity. Of course I don’t know what St Theognostos intended but based on the rest of his writings, and the general teaching of the church, there doesn’t seem to be any confusion in his mind that our salvation is an act of God’s grace and all we can do is participate in a very modest way. In this light I read the end of the quote as more along the lines of the parable about the one who saves himself in the end but only barely, through fire, or the sheep and goats that are separated at the end of time; in both cases it seems that their efforts had something to do with their outcomes, but not necessarily did they lose salvation, at least in the case of the one saved through fire, they just didn’t have as good a salvation as they might have had, or might have expected. I’m no theologian so take this with a big grain of salt. This was just my response to the text.


      1. Thanks Francis! I guess that I am so aware of my sins and shortcomings that I tremble and fear for my salvation already and the enemy magnifies the question of salvation in order to cause me to despair. My own experience with Christ though has always been a deep sense of love and acceptance as a father toward his child-even when they don’t behave very well! I am constantly working on improving myself out of love for Him and the desire for Him to be my all-in-all for all eternity. My efforts usually fall short of my intent though and I am far from being a saint! That’s why I struggle with writing that seems to allude that only the very saintly will be saved. I have to remind myself that the thief on the cross had no merit of his own but was assured of salvation through his acknowledgment of and trust in Jesus.


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