SECOND WEEK OF LENT 3/8/2020
WATCHFULNESS AND SPIRITUAL COMBAT
O Lord my God, let me lead my life in your presence.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection
And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Saint John of Kronstadt
If the fervor of faith in our heart is not kept alight (i.e.showing excitement and happiness) then our apathy may entirely extinguish our faith. Christianity, with all its sacraments will completely die for us. The enemy does everything he can to extinguish faith and obliterate the truth of Christianity in our hearts.
St. Isaac of Syria
Pray with attention – so that we can have a true encounter with God
Pray with humility – because this sort of prayer goes straight to God’s ear
Pray with affection and tears – with joy and thanksgiving, but also with true repentance and purity.
Pray with patience and ardor – ‘to deny oneself’ is courageously to persevere in prayer.
Pray from the depths of the heart – even if we pray using ‘the words of another’ they should be uttered as if they are our own... this is especially true of the Psalms.
Pray with faith and absolute trust in God – because He knows our life.
Rule of Benedict (Chapter 4 - Tools for Good Works) – A few to consider:
First of all, love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27)
Place your hope in God alone. If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself, but be certain that the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge. Listen readily to holy reading, and devote yourself often to prayer. Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else. You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge. Rid your heart of all deceit. Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love. Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue. Do not love quarreling; shun arrogance If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down. Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. Listen readily to holy reading, and devote yourself often to prayer.You must relieve the lot of the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick (Matt 25:36), and bury the dead. Go to help the troubled and console the sorrowing.
Do not repay one bad turn with another (1 Thess 5:15; 1 Pet 3:9). Do not injure anyone, but bear injuries patiently. Love your enemies (Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27). If people curse you, do not curse them back but bless them instead. Endure persecution for the sake of justice (Matt 5:10).
Do not grumble or speak ill of others. Do not love quarreling; shun arrogance. Respect the elders and love the young. Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.
And finally, never lose hope in God’s mercy
- Be still. Become aware of God’s presence.
- Recall your day. Thank God for anything for which you are especially grateful.
- Name those actions and regrets for which you are sorry.
- Ask God to forgive you. If you have hurt someone, resolve to reconcile ask forgiveness
- Thank God for the gift of your life and ask for the grace to see God’s presence and His will for you more clearly. Look toward tomorrow.