Orthodox Thought for the Day


Friday, March 14, 2014

Return to God

Take an interest, at last, in your salvation, O sinner.  Seclude yourself, collect your thoughts and say to yourself:  how much time have you spent feeding the lusts of your flesh and imagination, and what benefit has it brought you; what have you attained by doing this?  Alas, my soul, what a state we have reached, what disorder! 

Look—everyone around me is adorned with virtues and truly fears God; but I alone walk in darkness.  Early in the morning do I repent of my deeds, yet a short while later I commit even worse errors.  The Lord has given me strength and health and lo! I take this for granted and incur the wrath of my Creator. 

Why art thou so apathetic, O my soul:  Why art thou so careless?  After all, thou canst not stay here forever. When the end comes, the Lord will send His angel to get thee and thou wilt have to leave this place whether thou so want or not.  What then? 

Acknowledge at last your extreme wretchedness, O man, and stop contradicting Him Who created you and opposing His commands.  Boldly say to the enemy who seduces you: 

You, O devil, made me an object of shame for angels and men when I took your irreverent advice.  You inspired me to think:  for once I will satisfy my craving and lo! this small act became for me a great abyss and I gave myself up to your shameful desires.  The water found a small crack and made of it a big crevice. 

You have clouded my mind with impure thoughts and hurled me from sin to sin.  You have annihilated my restraint on the pretext of bodily infirmity.  You have alienated me from prayer and vigilance.  You have implanted in me love for money, excusing this with the approaching long years of old age.  You have dried up my tears.  You have hardened my heart.  You have made me stray from obedience to Christ. You have multiplied my distractions.  You have made me insubordinate.  I have reached the point where I fail to labor over needful things and occupy myself with vain endeavors instead.  You have taught me envy and slander.  You have made me haughty, irritable and wrathful.  You have taught me gluttony, drunkenness and sensuality.  You have trained my thoughts to scatter while I read and sing psalms; thus I pray and do not know for what; I read psalms and meanwhile I surrender my thoughts to unrestrained wanderings. 


Having thus exposed the wiles of the enemy, tell him with conviction:  I have had enough of you, O devil.  And leave the evil one and join yourself to the man-befriending God.  Are you wounded?  Despair not.  Have you fallen?  Get up and say bravely: now I have begun.  Fall down before your merciful Master and confess your sins.


But before you say anything He will already know what you intend to say.  Before you open your lips, He will see what is in your heart.  You will not be able to say, “I have sinned,” before you see Him stretch forth His hands to receive and embrace you.


Approach with faith and He will cleanse you straightway as He cleansed the leper, lift you from your bed as He lifted the paralytic, and raise you from the dead as He raised Lazarus.

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