Present and future

From Mark the ascetic:

When harmed, insulted, or persecuted by someone, do not think of the present but wait for the future and you will find he has brought you much good, not only in this life but in the life to come.

After the first part, I expected there to be something along the lines of God will judge, or will make right, or will avenge. Something Old Testamenty.

But it doesn’t go that direction. Instead it stays with us. By enduring those things we can gain spiritual wisdom and patience. Something I’ve realized again and again, as I’ve been seemingly perpetually bothered by nearby construction that day after day violates the seeming expected quiet of the forest. Needless construction that has taken far too long.

I’ve gone up and down about it. Realizing all that noise entirely undermines attempts to find quiet prayer or spiritual focus.

Then I realized I was growing in different ways. A training of sorts.

There have been a lot of these things in my life, persistent bothers and greater frustrations. That’s just the one on my mind today that makes me realize exactly how right Mark the Ascetic is, even as I wish it wasn’t true, and that God would send a lightening bolt to end the bother and always step in to solve every frustration.

When you sin, blame your thought, not your action. For had your intellect not run ahead, your body would not have followed.

To add to this, and echo a little other Philokalia, blame the thoughts but also analyze them. Learning my own mental state, path, influences, and whole mental context has been a wonderful way to address my deeper faults. Sinful actions are more often than not more symptom than the direct disease. There’s often some faithlessness, or entitlement, or something underneath it that provokes the sin, often in not always obvious ways.

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