They deceive themselves who speak self-confidently that they know men well enough, and that they do not allow themselves to be deceived. Who can know what kind of spirit is in a man - except God. Who knows the secrets of the heart? Even the great saints were mistaken about people.
For example: for a long time St. Basil considered a certain hypocritical heretic to be a hoy man, and he defended him from many attackers until, finally, convinced of the heretic's falseness. Basil was bitterly disappointed.
St. Gregory the Theologian baptized a certain philosopher, Maximus by name, and liked him so much that he kept the philosopher in his home, sharing his table with him. However, this Maximus was as dangerous and cunning as a serpent. After a period of time, through intrigue and bribes, Maximus convinced numerous Constantinopolitans to recognize him as patriarch in place of St. Gregory.
When, after great confusion, this trial was removed, some rebuked Gregory for having kept his greatest enemy with him. The saint replied: "We are not to blame if we do not discern someone's evil. God alone knows the inner secrets of a man. And we are told by the commandments to open our hearts with fatherly love to all who come to us. A good man cannot easily understand the malice of a malevolent man."
On Who Christ is
"Whom do men say that I am?" (Mk. 8:27)
Brethren, it is almost two thousand years from the day when our Lord Jesus posed this question to His disciples. From then until today, this question has been put to every generation of men, to every bright day and every dark night. And every generation of men - and every bright day and every dark night - has had to give an answer to this question. This question is the question of life or death, and the answer to it is life-bearing or death-bearing. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God," (Mt. 16:16) the Apostle Peter responded. And that reply was approved and praised by the Lord Jesus.
"Who is Christ?" men ask today. Some say, along with the Jews, that He is a destroyer of the Law and a self-styled Messiah. Others say, along with Pilate, that on the whole they cannot arrive at the truth about this man. The third say, along with the apostles, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Savior, the Redeemer of the human race from sin and death, the Resurrected and the Ressurector, the Living One and the Giver of Life. All of us, who are baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, agree with the apostles and the Holy Apostolic Church, which with her universal voice thus confesses Christ the Lord.
O Lord, Only-begotten Son of God, help us, that we may all the days of our life believe in Thee in our hearts and confess Thee with our lips, as our God and our Savior, "as the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Cor. 1:24)
To Thee be glory and praise forever and ever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1
25 January, Reflection & Homily