Thought for the Day

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If we believe that someone else is invisibly guiding our life, how can we ever obey our own thoughts when they say ‘I want this’ or ‘I do not want it’, ‘This is good’ or ‘This is bad’? If we had some visible guide, we would ask him about everything, would hear the reply and carry into effect what was said. But even when we do not have a visible guide, we do have Christ.

We should therefore put questions to Him through prayer from the heart, in faith hoping His answer will manifest itself in our thoughts and actions. Otherwise Satan, not being able to affect us in our actions, may answer us in our thoughts, pretending that he is the guide and in this way dragging us to perdition because we lack patient endurance.

It is those lacking such endurance who in their ignorance impetuously hurry on to seize what they have not yet been given, failing to realize that one day in the eyes of the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a single day. But he who by enduring patiently has gained experience of the devil’s machinations will fight and strive forward with patience so as to reach the goal, as St. Paul puts it. He will be able to say, ‘We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices’, that is, of the devil’s invisible ploys, unknown to most men. For St. Paul says, ‘Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ and there is nothing surprising in this, since the thoughts that he causes to appear in our heart seem to be righteous thoughts to those who lack experience.

For this reason it is good to say ‘I do not know’, so that we neither disbelieve what is said by an angel nor place credence in what occurs through the decietfulness of the enemy. By thus accepting patiently whatever comes we may avoid both pitfalls. We may wait for many years until the answer is given us, unsolicited and unperceived, in the form of some concrete action — as someone has put it with reference to the contemplation of created beings. In this way we reach the haven of active spiritual knowledge. When we see this knowledge persisting in us over many years, then we will understand that truly we have been heard and have invisibly received the answer.

–Peter of Damascus

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