Friday, February 8, 2013

I Run to My Christ

I was engaged in a bit of a battle with a demon or two last night. Why do I listen to them?

In the book about the Hermitess Photini, the priest who is visiting her asks “Aren’t you afraid of the traps of the demons?” Photini acknowledges that she is, but that she has seen many times that the Lord protects her in her weakness against them.

“Besides,” she says, “I have the mighty refuge of prayer.”

I think having the habit of praying the Divine Office is a strong defense against demons. When they come after me and I feel discouraged and beaten, I know I should pray, but sometimes I don’t want to. I feel de-energized, and I don’t want to be bothered praying the next hour. On occasion, I have told myself, “I’m just not going to do it”, and plan to take a little time off to feel sorry for myself. But then the time to pray comes, and I get up and pray the Office. It’s a habit, it’s ingrained. I just do it. And at those times I am very happy that I have cultivated the habit, because praying the Office almost always chases the demon-planted depression away.

In the story of Photini, the priest asks the hermitess how she can tell which thoughts are from the evil one, and whether the devil reminds her of the world and the things in it. She affirms that this is so, and adds that the devil tells her, “You came to this wilderness in vain” – that she could do so much more good in the world by, for instance, building a women’s monastery.

“The wicked one brings these and many other thoughts to my mind. But I run to my Christ, denouncing the devil, so to speak. Then he retreats immediately and the evil thoughts disappear.”

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!
Last night I had an experience like that. Those demons…they wait for a chink in my (very weak!) armor, and then rush in, sowing thoughts that I am leading a useless and hopeless life. Last night when they did that, I recalled Hermitess Photini’s words, and I, too, ran to my Christ. He welcomed me with open arms in a most exquisite moment of consolation. The voices of the demons faded into the distance, because of course they cannot stand to be in the presence of Our Lord!

When we run to the Lord and hide in Him, it’s a sure win. The Lord will not forsake us.

In hoc cognovi voluisti me,
     Quia non gaudebit inimicus meus super me.

That you love me, I know by this,
     that my enemy does not triumph over me.

(Psalm 40:12)  

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