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THE SAINT PACHOMIUS ORTHODOX LIBRARY This document is in the public domain. Copying it is encouraged.
The time has come for the sowing of earthly seed, of corn and of other things. We see men going forth to work from the end to the beginning of the night, taking all care that they may sow what is best and most productive, that the needs of the body may be supplied. And shall we, the husbandmen of spiritual seed, sleep our time away, and neglect to sow what we should? How then should we bear everlasting hunger? What excuse can we give for our idleness?

Let us awake, then, and sow more zealously and more plentifully than the sowers of natural seed! For he that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he that soweth in blessing shall reap blessings.

What do we sow! Petitions, prayer, supplications, thanksgivings, faith, hope, love. These are the seed of piety, and by them the soul is nourished.

With the natural seed the husbandman can only be patient, awaiting the early and the latter rain. But of our seed we are the masters to cause rain and dew -- our weeping and contrition -- at our will, and as much as pleases us. Since this is within our choice, I beseech you, brethren, let us also sow much and let us water very much, and let us increase the fruits of righteousness that when the spiritual harvest of the unseen world shall come, we may fill our hands and our laps with sheaves, and may cry aloud: "The blessing of the Lord is upon us. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. Thou shalt eat the labours of thy hands. Thou art blessed, and it shall be well with thee."

So far about these things. I wish to remind you, brethren, that the nights swell out as the days diminish. And as by watchings the body declines, so by much sleep does the flesh grow in fatness. And as the flesh becomes fat, the passions increase along with it. What shall we say then? Each of you has a psalm, an exercise, a prayer. Let all things be attended to in order, all for the edification of the soul, for the strengthening of the spirit, that Satan may not tempt you by intemperance.

But I say this not as to sleep alone, but also as to food and drink, and it may be as to other things. To keep to a fixed order without deviation is the best means to keep ourselves whole and uninjured.

Now that the Emporer is returning from his campaign, thoughts arise in our hearts, as we ask: "How will it go with the things of the Church? that is to say, with our own affairs?" But it is written: "Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass," [Ps. 54:23(55:22)]. And "If God be for us, who can be against us?", [Rom 8:31]. He cared for our lives in former years, drawing us out of manifold temptations and afflictions. So again may He care for us in days to come.

Only let us walk worthy of the Gospel, having our citizenship in heaven. For we are strangers and sojourners upon earth. We have no part nor lot therein. For who, coming from eternity, has remained in the world, that he might inherit anything? Have not all who have come in gone out as from a strange land? For this is but a place of sojourning. Our true home and heritage and abiding place is in the world to come. May we come thither and be accounted worthy to inherit with all the saints the kingdom of Heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and the power with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and for ever. Amen.

[TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: Auvray thinks "Emporer's campaign" refers to the expedition of Michael Balbus in 823. If so, this is one of Theodore's last discourses in the monastery.]

The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, July/August 1995. O Lord, remember Thy servants the translator Alice and the scribes Kurt, Gerald, and Edward.

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