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 How beautiful the world is, but it is full of death! It is like unto a flower which opens in the spring. It blooms while dew and rain support its life; when the hot weather comes, the flower wilts. Likewise does death cause the cheeks to fade, and in the grave does it destroy the members of the body so beautifully arranged…. Grant us, O Lord, a refuge and defense in the land where the righteous dwell.

The world has made fools of its offspring. They sin, become distressed, and are convulsed by their own anxieties. How many of them whirl about, giving themselves no peace; yet they only gather thorns for the fire! Deceit arrogantly opens its mouth, but fidelity remains silent and does not speak. Iniquity gives eloquent speeches, but truth hides itself. Only death will silence all who have set foot on earth. Blessed is he who has completed his path in the world untainted.

The world is much stormier than the surging waves, and sin agitates it more than wind does the sea. There are times when the waters of the sea are calm, when the winds are concealed in their hiding places; but in the world waves of desire are ceaselessly whipped up, and the wind of deceit blows against the doors of the world’s vessels. Yet the day when it will abate is at hand…. Blessed is he who has completed his path in the world without falling into its snares.

Iniquity committed in the world upsets and distresses; burning lust takes on ferocity of a magni­tude much greater than that of waves. The snares and traps of the world entangle those who serve it— their evil cargoes are sins and iniquities. But for the virtuous the time will come when their boat shall rest at harbor.

Your times and years are pleasant, O world, but they are like smoke. You are like unto a fleeting dream, and your days are just like shadows. Your evening passes quickly and your morning does not linger. Your hours fly, racing toward the end…. Hasten, O sinner, to receive forgiveness while the light of day still shines on you.

Righteous is the judge, and righteous is the judgement of truth — then shall every man’s deeds be weighed and rewarded according to his merits. In that day, those who worked iniquity will be tor­mented by regret, and those who labored virtuously will partake of joy in that land…. O Lord, grant that I who am inspired by Thy mercy may be freed from the snares of the world so that I might safely enter the harbor of life.

St Theophan the Recluse (A Spiritual Psalter #76)