Another thought for the day

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With all our strength let us hold fast to Christ, for there are always those who struggle to deprive our soul of His presence; and let us take care lest Jesus withdraws because of the evil thoughts that crowd our soul (cf. John 5:13. Yet we will not manage to hold Him without great effort on the soul’s part. Let us study His life in the flesh, so that in our own life we may be humble.

Let us absorb His sufferings, so that by emulating Him we may endure our afflictions patiently. Let us savor His ineffable incarnation and His work of salvation on our behalf, so that from the sweet taste in our soul we may know that the Lord is bountiful (cf. Ps. 34:8). Also, and above all, let us unhesitatingly trust in Him and in what He says; and let us daily wait on His providence towards us.

And whatever form it takes, let us accept it gratefully, gladly and eagerly, so that we may learn to look only to God, who governs all things in accordance with the the divine principles of His wisdom. If we do all these things, we are not far from God; for godliness is ‘perfection that is never complete.’

I note this because it is true and worth taking to heart. I also note this because with this passage I start the set of thePhilokalia over again, having finished the volumes yesterday I press onwards in my reading today. They are, apart from Scripture itself, the guide to the depths, maps for the journey into the heart of the faith, and the most important spiritual reading I have come across. These books are, for all purposes, the advanced texts on living the Christian life. The Scriptures tell us of God and Christ and Spirit. These books fill us in on what it means to live the Christian life to the utmost. I have learned more from these than from any other source, finding through my reading to grow and find again the trails which seemed so lost. I struggle and I rejoice, I yearn and I call, discovering that above all the practical things, it is the pursuit of Christ which is my real goal.

As a junior in college I prayed with all earnestness and sincerity I would be able to understand Paul when he said, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For the last decade I have been indeed taught this, and am still being taught this. I learned new things even today, and await the new things I will grasp tomorrow.

In trying to explain these things I get frustrated, either someone understands or they do not. I am tired of explaining but I am renewed in my zeal to pursue. May the Spirit do a work and bring fruition from my work. May I hold fast to Christ.

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