1. We are blessed, for our Lord has come. He has come for our sake. He likened himself to His people and came to His people for their sake. He came to save the sinners, which means us, for we are among the sinners. He came to redeem the dead, which means us, for we are among the dead. Blessed is the Lord who came to save the sinners and to redeem the dead!
2. Observe the honour that He has accorded us. His death is our life. By His illnesses and ulcers, are He cured our illnesses. He brought us honour and glory by suffering dishonour. Our spiritual rebirth is predicated in His birth. His sorrows are our joy. By his labours, we acquire eternal rest. By his torments, we are spared from our eternal torments. By the journeys of his earthly life, we inherit our fatherland in heaven. His hunger and thirst give us an eternal reprieve from thirst and heat. The goodness that man acquires emanates from Him alone, and to Him alone, we must ascribe.
3. Christ is my wisdom, truth, sanctification and deliverance; the faithful soul will know full well that no truth and sanctity may exist without Christ. Without Him, we may have no enlightenment or deliverance, and all wisdom without Him is madness. Faith in Christ gives wisdom, we are justified, sanctified and redeemed by our faith. However, without Christ, all wise men are mad, all righteous men are sinful, all pure men are impure, and all men will die.
4. We know that by faith alone we have no power to rise against sin and to defeat it, or to do genuine goodness, and so we plead and pray fervently to God for His help in all these things.
5. A sinner acts towards God like a man who mocks and reviles his keeper and feeder. The sinner sees none of these things, for he is blinded by his sin; but when he opens the eyes of his spirit, he will see, and accept it as true.
6. Many Christians say with they mouths: “We revere You, we bow to You, we glorify and praise you”, but their actions show otherwise. They praise and glorify Christ with their mouths, but revile Him by their iniquities.
7. God is impartial, but He has mercy on all who repent… A sinner is destroyed not by the gravity or number of his sins, but by a life without repentance.
8. God and His Divine grace mean everything for our souls; they are its calmness, nourishment, light, glory, honour, wealth, comfort, joy, happiness; they are all the good things that it enjoys when it finds Him. The more it seeks Him, the more it desires Him and will desire and seek Him until it meets Him face to face, We will then draw all the longer from His ever-springing, life-giving source, with eternal longing, and without saturation or excess. For the more we see Him, so much the stronger we desire Him.
9. Kingly honour and worldly fame is to eternal glory like darkness is to light. Eathly wealth is nought by comparison with wealth in heaven. Comfort today is to goodness in heaven is like foul and impure water to clean and life-bringing water; rather, it is meaningless.
10. Truth is like eternal life; once found, it is never lost.
11. A heart that cares for eternal life no longer cares for vain acquisitions; but when vanity enters our hearts, eternal life is lost.
12. When we die, we leave all things behind; not just our possessions, but also the earth and our very bodies; we depart with our souls only, and nothing else. So why should we care about things that we must abandon one day or another?
13. When the son returned to his father from a distant land, how great was his joy at reuniting with him and seeing his face! How heartfelt the welcome and embrace of his father! Imagine then the what blessing it will be for the honourable soul to return from this world, to leave behind its faraway land and its vale of tears, to reunite with its father in heaven, to see His Holy face, to bow before the radiant throne of His Glory, and is met by His holy embrace!
14. We also observe how sweet and comforting it is for a man to rest from his hard labours, and to forget the sorrows and pains of those labours. How sweet and peaceful will it be for the saintly soul to find rest in eternal life from the labour, struggle and feats of piety; after multiplying the talents from the Lord and serving Him and the neighbour with awe and love!
15. Leave the darkness and aspire to the truth, to understand the Truth. Remember the words of our Saviour: For many are invited, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). We are called by His grace to have eternal life; so let us seek to be not only among the invited but also among the chosen. Reflect upon this diligently and frequently, and you will grow to despise the world with its affections and lusts.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Excerpted from: Writings of the Holy Father Tikhon of Zadonsk, Volume 5.