The Cross of Life

The paradisal tree of life remained in paradise. In its place the tree of the Cross was set up on earth. The goal of both is the same: if a man eats, he will live. Come, cleave to it with your lips and drink life from it. You will cleave to the Cross when, having spurned self-pity, you become zealous for self-crucifixion; and you’ll begin to drink life from it when you enter into the struggle against the passions. Each conquest of the passions will be the same as receiving life-giving sap from the life-giving Cross. Do it more often, and you will the sooner slake your thirst and be filled with life. Wondrous are the properties of self-crucifixion! It seems to take away, but in taking away, it gives; it seems to cut off, but in cutting off, it imparts; it seems to kill, but in killing, it gives life. It is none other than the Cross of Christ, by which death is trampled down and life is given.

– St. Theophan the Recluse


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