Prayers, please, for Neal, special intention.
Prayers for Jed and Maria, delivering their son, Logan, by C-section today, prayers for all three and for the grandparents and siblings.
Prayers for Ann Marie, sugrery for kidney cancer today.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's
will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise
Him! Thanks so much. JL
January 4, May 5, September 4
Having our loins girded, therefore,
with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14),
let us walk in His paths
by the guidance of the Gospel,
that we may deserve to see Him
who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12).
For if we wish to dwell in the tent of that kingdom,
we must run to it by good deeds
or we shall never reach it.
But let us ask the Lord, with the Prophet,
"Lord, who shall dwell in Your tent,
or who shall rest upon Your holy mountain" (Ps. 14:1)?
After this question,
let us listen to the Lord
as He answers and shows us the way to that tent, saying,
"The one Who walks without stain and practices justice;
who speaks truth from his heart;
who has not used his tongue for deceit;
who has done no evil to his neighbor;
who has given no place to slander against his neighbor."
This is the one who,
under any temptation from the malicious devil,
has brought him to naught (Ps. 14:4)
by casting him and his temptation from the sight of his heart;
and who has laid hold of his thoughts
while they were still young
and dashed them against Christ (Ps. 136:9).
It is they who,
fearing the Lord (Ps. 14:4),
do not pride themselves on their good observance;
convinced that the good which is in them
cannot come from themselves and must be from the Lord,
glorify the Lord's work in them (Ps. 14:4),
using the words of the Prophet,
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to Your name give the glory" (Ps. 113, 2nd part:1).
Thus also the Apostle Paul
attributed nothing of the success of his preaching to himself,
"By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
And again he says,
"He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (2 Cor. 10:17).
If one doesn't read this portion VERY carefully and thoughtfully,
it is easy to see why so many Christians, even some monastics, have
been taken in by the heresy of Pelagianism. (Even poor Evagrius
himself was accused of "semi-Pelagianism'!) That heresy taught that
we could actually save ourselves, it was the original "bootstrap"
theology. It placed far too much emphasis on us and on our efforts.
There is a very delicate tension and balance
which must be maintained when dealing with faith and our own works.
Important point: we can ONLY do real good because of our inclusion
into Christ, Who is Perfect Good, at Baptism. End of story there!
We might, without Christ do all kinds of nice stuff, and I would be
the last to say that none is in God's good graces for just such
nice stuff: the Spirit blows (and saves!) wherever It wills. I feel
sure that many people who, through no fault of their own cannot or
do not, know Christ nevertheless delight Him with their sincerity
of doing right.
Our growth in grace, however, is made possible only by God. No
manner of spiritual gymnastics on our own could do that. That is
crucial to remember, and the last portion of this reading makes is
clearly evident. It ALL comes from God. Of ourselves, we are less
Having said that, and here comes the delicate balance, we have
chosen, each in our own conditions, to follow a monastic path of spirituality.
Monasticism quite surely DOES involve a lot of works, of practices. That's the way it
What we must school ourselves to always be aware of is that these
works and practices, of themselves, are nada, zilch, nothing at all. It is
the God for Whom we undertake the road and the love with which we
travel that transforms all this "nada" into (your should pardon
this SW U.S. phrase...) the whole enchilada!!
Yes, our works matter. Yes, the monastic who deserts them entirely
will flounder. But no, the focus here is not our own work, our
presumed merit. The merit, the good, and the work of grace is God
and His work in us.
I feel sure that most of us would affirm the statement that all
good in us comes from God, but we must be very, very careful to
really KNOW that, believe it utterly, with all our hearts. Lip-
service in this area can be dangerous.
We are, truly, even the best of us, nothing more than unprofitable
servants who have done only what was commanded. And, let us be
truthful, few of us- myself included first in this failure- even do
all that was commanded. Humility chimes in again!
Love and prayers,
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