Sunday, February 26, 2017

Smooth Hands Will Never Take the Gate

Uninspired and much too tired
To bleed for the Word today
Oh I want and I need
To walk the narrow way

Give blood to get spirit 
Only soldiers storm the gates.
Do I have the ears to hear it?
Or to keep a warrior's pace?

The servants will be greatest;
But no sweat flows from my pores.
My hands are smooth and the gate is
Taken violently by force. 

~ Peter John Gillquist from his album Real

These are the words I've had running through my head this week. I happened to put on an old album, one I haven't listened to in years, and when this song came I realized that these were words meant for me.

How often I have sat back and complained when things are not going my way. How often I have felt sorry for myself that I keep having to face temptation and struggle. How many times I have relaxed my vigilance because I just don't feel like making an effort.

My hands are smooth because I haven't been trying. But only those who do violence to their passions will take the gate. How can I expect to win a battle I won't even fight? I must arm myself with love and learn to keep watch over my thoughts. I must run from those things that take my thoughts away from Christ. I must give blood. And that's not pretty and it's not easy and it's certainly not fun. But now is the time to run the race. Now is the time to work and build up my treasure in heaven so that my heart might be there also. This is not the time for rest or retreat; this is the time to fight.

Thank God that Lent is upon us! What better time to wake and begin the watch? I know that when we begin to fast the temptations will pile on fast and thick, but thank God! How else could we become seasoned warriors if we haven't had any practice in battle?

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh at midnight.
And blessed is the servant whom He shall find awake.
But he whom He shall find neglectful is verily unworthy.
Behold therfore, my soul! 
Beware, lest thou fallest into deep slumber
And the door of the Kingdom be closed against thee
And thou be delivered unto death. 
But be thou wakeful crying,
Holy, holy, holy art Thou, O God!
Through the intercessions of the Theotokos have mercy on us. 

A blessed fast to all of my readers! May God give you strength and grace to run the race and fight the good fight! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rejoice in each day

I rejoice in each day's blessing as it comes, and never wish for more than does come. You, who are wishing the present to be better than it is, and fearing that the future may be worse, are meanwhile losing all enjoyment of the hour that now is. You think this wise. To me it seems as foolish as it is ungrateful!

Margaret Gatty
Parables from Nature