O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, nor chasten me in Thy wrath. For Thine arrows are fastened in me, and Thou hast laid Thy hand heavily upon me. (Ps 37, 1-2)
If we do not agree with the evil thoughts suggested by the devil, we do good. — St. Seraphim of Sarov
“Too late, Mr. doorkeep! You heeded too late to the Word. Now your bed is made — the rubble outside is your bedroom, now lie in it.”
So intones that voice. It never wants us to do well. I think you know who the “it” is that I’m talking about. It kicks us when we are down, and doesn’t want us to get up (which is proof of the grace of God).
How long can I listen to that voice? It is the voice of unreason masquerading as human reason, as moral logic, but in reality it is the opposite. It tells me I cannot accomplish anything good or worthwhile again. In a sense this is true when I am not asking for God’s help, but God wants us to know that His help is always available. He doesn’t want us despairing or doubting His power to work through human hands.
I had tried to take God out of the picture and gone off on my own. Then I fell subject to the worst vices that the evil one had drummed up for me and I fell hard and there are consequences that cause anxiety and distress.
But I’m not giving up on the joy, because the Lord rescued me out of my desolation and performed miracles to get me where I am now and I will not forsake Him again.
This change of heart came in the Church, after I heard the Six Psalms at Matins like I had never heard them before:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all that He hath done for thee, Who is gracious unto all thine iniquities, Who healeth all thine infirmities, Who redeemeth thy life from corruption, Who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion, Who fulfilleth thy desire with good things; thy youth shall be renewed as the eagle’s. (Ps 102, 1-5)
Countless times have I stood in prayer on Saturday night vigil in Church, and heard these psalms, with the candles extinguished and everyone at their quietest, save the whimpers or playful entreaties of our young. But I must add how those words never spoke to me like this before, because I had lived them all too viscerally and now I needed His voice to call to me and save me from this spiritual death that had been threatening.
Now I was young again, like the eagle, tearing high above the crouch of the doomsayers, flying through the sorrows of faithlessness and heading towards home. Again.