Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Starve Stan

Do you take the Lord's name in vain when things go badly?  Satan brings you troubles just to hear you blaspheme, says St John Chrystostom.  But He.s like a begging dog: if you do't throw hi any treats, he'll stop hanging around..

      There are some who, if they meet with any reverse, or are slandered by anyone, or if they fall into any bodily malady, a;ny pain in the foot or head, or any other diseae, immediately blaspheme.  In this way they endure the affliction, but are deprived of the beneift.
     What do you think you're doing, blaspheming against your benefactor and yourself into an abyss of utter destruction?  Nor do you make your suffereing lighter by balasphemingt but you increase it, and make your pain more severe.
     This is why the tempter brings so many misfortunes against you: so that he may lead you into that abyss.  And if he see you blaspheming, how easily does he increase the anguish and make it greater, so that, being afflicted, you may rebel sufferi9ng, the more giving thanks to God,he gives up at once,  sincere for the future he would attack you fruitlesly and in vain.
     Thus the tempter is like a dog waiting at the table.  If he see the man who is eating continually throwing to him some morsel or other from the sihes on the table, he waits patiently.  But if, having waited once or twice, he shold go away without anyting, he gives up for the future, because he has waited fruitlessly and in vain.  ou starve him, so to speak, and quickly drive him away and make him flee.

                                                   -St. John Chrysostom, Four Discourses, 3:7

Have I fallen into habits of using bad language when things go wrong?
Have I made any sincere effort to change those habits?

Lord, may your holy, precious, glorious name be blessed in all things and by all people.


Endure Temptation - it's God's training for you!

The devil makes use of temptation - the word means "testing" - to lure us to hell.  But God test us, says Dionysius, to train us for heaven.

     In general it seems true that it's not possible for anyone to keep from experiencing evil completely.  As someone says, "the whole world is in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19), and again, "their span is but toil aned tgrouble" (Psalm 90:10).
     But, you might ask, what's the difference between being tempted and falling or entering into temptation?
     Well, if ou're overcome by evil - and you will be overcome unless you struggle against it yourself, and unless God protects you with his shield - then you have entered into temptation.  You're in it; you're under its power like a prison.   But if you hold up and endure, then you certainly are tempted, but you haven't entered into temptation, or fallen into it.
     Thus Jesus was led by the Spirit, certainly not to enter into tempation, but to be tempted by the devil.  And again, Abraham did not enter into temptation, nor did God lead him into temptation, but he did tempt (that is, test) him; yet he did not drive him into temptation.  Moreover, the Lord himself tempted - that is, tested - the disciples.
     This the evil one, when he tempts us, pulls us into the temptations, because he deals himself with the temptations of evil,  But God, when he tests us, brings temptations or trials as one who is not tempted by evil.  For God, as it says, "cannot be tempted with evil" (James 1:13).  So the devil drives us on by force, pulling us toward destruction; but God leads us by the hand, training us for our salvation.
                                       -St. Dionysius of Alexandria, Gospel According to Luke 22:45-46

What temptations will I probably face in the rest of the day?
How can I use those opportunities to get in shape for heaven?

God who made the universe and everything in it, have mercy on me and wash away my sins, and save me in the time of trial.