April 16

The Prophet David says in the person of the ascetic whose carnal mind is still shaking: “I was envious of the wicked, seeing the peace of sinners, for there is no fear in their death;” that is, no affliction rouses them from their spiritual torpor, from their deadly sleep, from spiritual death. “They are not in the labor of other folk, neither are they plagued like other men.”

By men here is meant servants of the true God who have preserved their human dignity. They exercise themselves in pious voluntary labors and are subjected to the Lord’s involuntary discipline. Rejected sinners, living in carelessness, share neither labors nor sufferings. And what is the result? “Therefore hath their pride mastered them utterly; they have clothed themselves in their unrighteousness and impiety.”

All consciousness of their sinfulness is destroyed in them. An immense, incurable conceit makes its appearance. A sinful life becomes their inseparable property, just as if it were their constant garment or clothing, which in turn becomes their disgrace and consists in ignorance of God, in false conceptions of God and of every doctrine revealed by God.

~Ignatius Brianchaninov

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