The absence of envy among the saints is a startling and wonderful phenomenon. Not only did the saints not allow envy to seize their hearts, but they labored to uplift their companions and to diminish themselves with all their might.
On one occasion, when St. Hilarion of Palestine visited St. Anthony in Egypt, St. Anthony exclaimed: "Welcome, O morning star!" To this St. Hilarion replied: "Greetings and health be to you, O shining pillar who sustains the universe!"
When they praised St. Macarius as a monk, the saint replied: "Brethren, forgive me. I am not a monk - but I have seen monks!" When people told St. Sisoes that he had attained the same level of perfection as St. Anthony, Sisoes replied: "If only I had but a single thought as does Anthony, I would be all aflame."
On the Man Whom no one knows
"Who art Thou?" Jesus said to them: "The beginning…" (Jn. 8:25)
The Lord Jesus is the beginning of creation, the beginning of restoration, the beginning of salvation, the beginning of resurrection, and the beginning of immortal glory.
Wherever there is any evil in the world that needs to be uprooted, He is the beginning. Without Him it is impossible. Wherever there is any good that is desired to be done in the world, He is the beginning. Without Him it is impossible. If anyone desires to uproot dissent and malice in a family, in a village, in a town, in the entire world, without Him it is impossible. One must begin with Him. If anyone desires to instill good will, peace, love and unity in a family, in a village, in a town, among the peoples in the entire world, without Him it is impossible. He is the beginning.
Why is it that one cannot uproot evil or sow good without Christ? Because all evil is from sin, and only He can forgive sins. When He (and only He) forgives sin, then sin is plucked out by the root. No manner of good is possible to be sown without Him, because in Him is the treasury of all good - all the seeds of good. He is the only Sower of good in the field of the world.
The Apostle Paul, who understood all of this better than we, said: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13) Without Jesus Christ, who can begin to heal himself of evil, to heal others from evil, to sow good in himself and to sow good in others? No one, truly no one.
Therefore, brethren, if we are determined to uproot evil in ourselves and in others, and in place
of evil to sow good in ourselves and in others, let us begin with the Beginning - that is, let us begin with the Conqueror over evil and the Sower of good, with the Lord Jesus Christ.
O Lord Jesus Christ, be Thou to us the Beginning in every struggle against sin and in every good work.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1
28 January, Reflection & Homily