Monday, 30 July 2012
Humility, constancy and the Name
Indeed, our true task is always the same and is always accomplished in the same way: to call upon our Lord Jesus Christ with a burning heart so that His holy name intercedes for us.
In virtue as in vice, constancy is the mother of habit; once acquired, it rules us like nature.
When the intellect is in such a state of equilibrium, it searches out its enemies like a hound searching for a hare in a thicket. But the hound searches in order to get food, the intellect in order to destroy.
Whenever we are filled with evil thoughts, we should throw the invocation of our Lord Jesus Christ into their midst. Then, as experience has taught us, we shall see them instantly dispersed like smoke in the air.
Once the intellect is left to itself again, we can renew our constant attentiveness and our invocation. Whenever we are distracted, we should act in this way.
Just as it is impossible to fight battles without weapons, or to swim a great sea with clothes on, or to live without breathing, so without humility and the constant prayer to Christ it is impossible to master the art of inward spiritual warfare or to set about it and pursue it skillfully.
That great spiritual master David said to the Lord: “I shall preserve my strength through Thee” (cf. Ps.59:9 LXX). So the strength of the heart’s stillness, mother of all the virtues, is preserved in us through our being helped by the Lord.
For He has given us the commandments, and when we call upon Him constantly He expels from us that foul forgetfulness which destroys the heart’s stillness as water destroys fire.
Therefore… do not “sleep unto death” (Ps. 13:3. LXX) because of your negligence; but lash the enemy with the name of Jesus and, as a certain wise man has said, let the name of Jesus adhere to your breath, and then you will know the blessings of stillness.
Hesychios the Priest (?6th-9th century): On Watchfulness and Holiness