The other day, I found these sobering words from St. Feofil, Hieroschemamonk of the Kiev-Caves Lavra. I was completely struck. I wish to share with all readers these same words that affected me so much. May they be a preservation against falling into the vain things of this world, and a sure guide along the narrow path.
“Leave the vanity of this world for its wells are useless, they cannot hold within themselves saving water. Yesterday, my eyes saw, my ears heard, my lips spoke, and my body moved. But the spirit of life has left it and what is now before you? And so remember, my friend, to live in fear for our earthly life is nothing but a daily death. Yesterday, we were not as we are today. Tomorrow we will not be as today. Each day, a part of our life vanishes and at the very time when we are growing, life is receding and diminishing. Your brother has died today and tomorrow you will die. The route is the same for all. All the earth is sown with the bones of the deceased like a field of wheat and the living cannot find a spot upon which to step without disturbing with their feet the remains of the deceased. Do not seek delights for sight and hearing, for tomorrow your eyes will close and your ears will stop hearing. Do not give will to your hands and feet. Tomorrow the hand of death will bind them and you yourself will be welded to your death-bed from which you will rise. Do not desire splendid clothing or grand houses, for tomorrow you will be clothed in a shroud and a coffin will be your house. Do not desire rewards and distinction, for they will be displayed only temporarily near your coffin, as if laughing at your vainglory. Do not tie yourself down to the earth or to anything earthly, for tomorrow the scythe of death will sever all such ties and against your will and desire, you will go to the distant country of another world where everything is different and will remind you of nothing of your earthly riches and treasures. Keep vigil and hurry to settle over there in good time in thought and heart so that at that hour when you are led to this region, you will not find yourself in a strange place, unfamiliar with the order there.”
+ St. Feofil of the Kiev-Caves Lavra
Excerpted from Hieroschemamonk Feofil – Fool-for-Christ’s-Sake: Ascetic and Visionary of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, published by Holy Trinity Monastery, pgs. 126-70