November 4

Inexpressible is the soul’s delight when in full assurance of salvation it leaves the body, stripping it off as though it were a garment. Because it is now attaining what it hopes for, it puts off the body painlessly, going in peace to meet the radiant and joyful angel that comes down for it, and traveling with him unimpeded through the air, totally unharmed by the evil spirits. Rising with joy, courage and thanksgiving, it comes in adoration before the Creator, and is allotted its place among those akin to it and equal to it in virtue, until the universal resurrection.

~St Theognostos

November 3

We will not be punished or condemned in the age to be because we have sinned, since we were given a mutable and unstable nature. But we will be punished if, after sinning, we did not repent and turn from our evil ways to the Lord; for we have been given the power to repent, as well as the time in which to do so. Only through repentance shall we receive God’s mercy, and not its opposite, His passionate anger. Not that God is angry with us: He is angry with evil. Indeed, the divine is beyond passion and vengefulness, though we speak of it as reflecting, like a mirror, our actions and dispositions, giving to each of us whatever we deserve.

~St Theognostos

November 2

Faith and hope are not merely casual or theoretical matters. Faith requires a steadfast soul, while hope needs a firm will and an honest heart. How without grace can one readily believe in things unseen? How can a man have hope concerning the hidden things held in store unless through his own integrity he has gained some experience of the Lord’s gifts? These gifts of grace are a gauge of the blessings held in store, which they manifest as present realities. Faith and hope, then, require both virtue on our part and God’s inspiration and help. Unless both are present we labor in vain.

~St Theognostos

November 1

Slothful and inexperienced as you are, you too should ‘go to the ant’ (Proverbs 6:6): imitate its simplicity and insignificance, and know that God, self-sufficient and superabundant, has no need of our virtues. On the contrary, He richly bestows His gifts on us and through His grace saves those who are consciously grateful, though in His compassion He also accepts whatever work we are able to do. If, then, you labor as one in debt to God for blessings already received, you do well and God’s mercy is close to you. But if you think that God is in your debt because of the good things you imagine you have done, you are quite deluded. For how can the bestower of gifts be the debtor? Work like a hired servant and, advancing step by step, you will by God’s mercy attain what you seek.

~St Theognostos

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