Strengthening our mind

On January 22, the Church commemorates the Holy Apostle Timothy, the beloved disciple of the Holy Apostle Paul – “My son, Timothy,” as Saint Paul calls him. At one point, Saint Paul advises him to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake and for his frequent infirmities (cf. 1 Timothy 5:23). Likely inspired by this verse, the church hymnographer who composed the service to Saint Timothy wrote, in a sticheron at Vespers, the following: “O Timothy, godly-minded Saint [godly-minded translates the Greek theophron, he who contemplates God], strengthening your mind through frequent ailments of your body and through infirmities, O blessed one, you readily destroyed the dominion of deceit, being protected by the power of Christ, and you sublimely proclaimed to us the divine Gospel of peace.”

There is an image, which in fact is an image of all Christians in this world: “we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God,” as Saint Paul instructed the faithful (Acts 14:22). In our case, usually, suffering paralyzes our mind. With Saint Timothy, however, we see that bearing suffering with strong faith ultimately strengthens the mind and “readily destroys the dominion of deceit,” with Christ’s help and with Christ’s power. Christ conquers the evil ‘strong man’ and shames him via these weak people, the Christians, who, if they humble themselves under the mighty hand of God (cf. 1 Peter 5:6), learn the tactics of triumphing over the evil one. Or, in the words of Elder Zacharias Zacharou, they become partakers in the cosmic victory of the Son of God.