Orthodox America

  Preserving Inner Contemplation and Remembrance of God

Respected M. A-na!

      If external affairs do not allow one to observe external acts of piety, then one must concentrate on inner acts.

      "We must hearken to the words 'Keep thy heart with all diligence' (Pr. 4:23) that we might not forfeit contemplation of God, and that we might not profane the remembrance of His wonders with vain ideas, but might rather bear everywhere with us, like an ineffaceable seal, holy contemplation of God by constant and pure remembrance in our souls. For this is how we acquire the love for God which both inspires us to fulfill the Lord's commandments and is at the same time maintained by them, becoming enduring and unwavering" (St. Basil the Great, Longer Rule 5; v. 5, p. 107). When we forget about God, passions and evil thoughts arise.

      "Abba Theonus said: because we withdraw our mind from the contemplation of God, we are imprisoned by the passions of the flesh" (Ancient Patericon, ch. 11, para. 35).

What must one do?

      One must compel oneself to remember God. "Compelling oneself to do all good things is the Godly path" (Ancient Patericon, ch. 21, para. 20), "He who compels himself for God's sake is likened to a human confessor" (Ancient Patericon, ch. 21, para. 38).

Archbishop Theophan

Sofia 10/21/1928

Letter 22 from selected Letters of Archbishop Theophan of Poltava and Pereyaslavka; St. John of Kronstadt Press, Liberty, TN 1989. Reprinted by Permission.