Philokalia

Philokalia

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Fool's Portion is Small in His Eyes

The thread that connects the thoughts of St. Isaac the Syrian's second homily is thankfulness to God.  How we receive the gifts of God has great significance.  One need only think of the story of the ten lepers in the Gospel.  Only one returns to give thanks to the Giver for the healing he received.  Lack of thanksgiving is akin to dishonesty, St. Isaac states.  It shows that one does not grasp the true worth of what one has received and so not worthy themselves of receiving something greater.  With the eyes of faith, one must grasp the generosity of the healer, even if the cure is painful.  To fail to acknowledge such goodness or generosity or to resist the gift only increase the torment of the affliction.  If we receive what the Lord gives us with true gratitude - whether painful or consoling - He will not fail to pour greater graces upon us for our salvation.  Lacking such an understanding of things, God's gifts seem small in one's eyes - thus making one a "fool".

The thanksgiving of the recipient incites the giver to give gifts greater than the first.  He that returns no thanks in small matters is a dissembler and dishonest in greater ones also.  If a man is ill and he recognizes his ailment, his healing will be easy.  If he confesses his pain, he draws nigh to cure.  The pangs of the unyielding heart will be multiplied, and the patient who resists his physician amplifies his torment.  There is no unpardonable sin, save the unrepented one.  Nor does any gift remain without addition, save that which is received without thanksgiving.  The fool's portion is small in his own eyes.

St. Isaac the Syrian