April 30, 2024

Escaping the Judgment of the Fig Tree (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 By St. Theophan the Recluse

(Mark 11:11–23)

The Lord took away His blessing from the fig tree which was rich with leaves but had no fruit, and it dried up. This is a lesson in action. The fig tree represents people who in appearance are proper, but in essence are not worthy of approval. Who are these people? They are those who eloquently discourse about the faith, but do not have that faith—they hold the objects of faith in the intellect only. They are those whose outward behavior is proper but their feelings and dispositions are very improper, and they manifest proper works only to hide their impropriety from people; whenever possible, they do not do these works. For example, such a person gives alms when someone asks of him in front of people, but ask him in private and he will berate you. He goes to church to pray to God, prays in sight of everyone, and prays at home as well, so as to not bring shame upon himself before his household. But as soon as he is alone, he does not even make the sign of the cross over his brow. He does not have any idea about turning to God with the mind and heart. Let us pray that God will not allow us to be as these. For then we will not escape the judgement pronounced over the fig tree.

- Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, January 19/February 1 

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