Aug 1, 2011

Expansion and Contraction of the Soul

There are innumerable and various ways by means of which the Devil enters into our soul and removes it from God, pressing upon it with all his being - dark, hateful, and destroying. Whatever the motion of passion may be, he finds a way and does not neglect the least opportunity of entering the soul. 

Likewise, there are innumerable and various ways for the Holy Ghost to enter it: the way of sincere faith, of true humility, of love to God and to our neighbor, and so on. But, to our misfortune, the destroyer of men from time immemorial makes every effort to obstruct, by all possible means, all these ways for the Holy Ghost to enter the soul. The most usual way to God for us sinners, who have strayed from Him into a far-away land, is the way of painful suffering and bitter tears. Both the Holy Scriptures and actual experience testify that, in order to draw near to God, it is necessary for the sinner to suffer, weep, shed tears, and to amend his deceitful heart:

"Draw nigh to God .... be afflicted, and mourn, and weep." Tears have power to cleanse the wickedness of our heart, and sufferings and affliction are necessary, because through suffering, the sinful expansion of the heart is salutarily contracted, and when the heart is thus contracted, tears more easily flow.

Psalm 51

 1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
         According to Your lovingkindness; 
         According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, 
         Blot out my transgressions.
 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
         And cleanse me from my sin. 
 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
         And my sin is always before me.
 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
         And done this evil in Your sight— 
         That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
         And blameless when You judge. 
 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
         And in sin my mother conceived me.
 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
         And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 
 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
         Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
 8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
         That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
 9 Hide Your face from my sins,
         And blot out all my iniquities. 
 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
         And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
         And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 
 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
         And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
         And sinners shall be converted to You. 
 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
         The God of my salvation, 
         And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
 15 O Lord, open my lips,
         And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
         You do not delight in burnt offering.
 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
         A broken and a contrite heart— 
         These, O God, You will not despise. 
 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
         Build the walls of Jerusalem.
 19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
         With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; 
         Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

No comments: