What I should absolutely expect is resistance. This old will of mine will not be assaulted without a vicious fight. Those devilish thoughts, pesky as flies, lethal as bullets, are swarming, I tell you:
"You're so pious -so consistent."
"You're such a fake."
"You'll be burned out by next week."
But they cannot make a home in my head if I refuse to entertain them by calling ceaselessly on the name of Christ.
And it's terribly hard, attempting to extricate yourself from slothfulness and gluttony. Like trying to resist the urge to plop down on the couch with a bag of Fritos when you know you should be jogging, but jogging takes too much effort and energy and I'm tired and sitting on the couch is way more comfortable, and everyone else is sitting on their couches....
God, please don't let me settle for atrophying muscles and a weakened heart.
I need fuel to keep on keeping on. Here is what has girded and inspired me today:
I have become an idol to myself, and in passions have I injured my soul. But accept me now in repentance, O Lord, and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Savior, have mercy on me.
- Hymn from the Canon of St. Andrew
This is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; He is whatever is
good and beautiful. He is everything. Yet, He is still a friend and He shouts it out, "You're
my friends, don't you understand that? We're brothers. I'm not...I don't hold hell in my
hands. I am not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me."
Christ is Everything. He is joy, He is life, He is light. He is the true light who makes man
joyful, makes him soar with happiness; makes him see everything, everybody; makes him feel
for everyone, to want everyone with him, everyone with Christ.
Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. Christ is Everything. He is the source of life,
the ultimate desire, He is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ.
Somebody who is Christ's must love Christ, and when he loves Christ he is delivered from
the Devil, from hell and from death.
- Elder Porphyrios
Trying to pray repetitively is an inner asceticism. According to St Ignatius Brianchaninov, trying to pray without ceasing is a "hidden martyrdom."
...Prayer requires super-human courage, given the atmosphere of the world today. The whole ensemble of natural energies is in opposition. So says Sophrony.
Lions may not eat us for the sake of the Gospel. Rather, our call to martyrdom takes the form of being attentive to the present moment, relying upon God's power always, and doing His will. Our call to martyrdom may not be any easier than death by violence.
"Like any of us living at this time, a time in which images of horrific tragedies are ubiquitous, I was tempted by the demon of desensitization to not let my heart be broken just a little bit; to whisper a prayer of thanks that it was not my home, my possessions, my clothes, shoes, coats, my precious memories extinguished and left as ashes on the earth; to dismiss the suffering of this family by allowing their heartache to exist merely as casual conversation. I was unclear why my mother even mentioned the R--- family to me, this family I do not know, that I don't have any personal connection to, but she did and because she chose to tell me, something within told me to listen. "
- My dear friend, Beth, writing about taking action when tragedy strikes one's neighbor, in her most recent blog post
Keep up the good fight! So much love to you!