St. Theophan the Recluse: Do You Prepare for War Every Morning?

Feast of Quadratus the Martyr and His Companions

Theophan_on_Prayer_Square.jpgAs soon as you wake up in the morning, pray for a while, saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.” Then your first work should be to shut yourself in your own heart, as if taking up position in an arena. Having established yourself there, bring yourself to the consciousness and feeling that your enemy and the passionate urge against which you struggle at the moment are already there, on your left, ready for immediate attack; therefore rouse against them a firm resolve to conquer or die, but never to submit. Realize also that on your right there stands, invisibly present, your Commander, our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Holy Mother and a host of holy Angels, with Archangel Michael at their head, ready to come to your aid. So take heart and be of good cheer.

Lo, the prince of this nether world, the devil, rises against you with his host of demons and begins to fan the flame of passionate attraction, trying to persuade you with various promises flattering to your self-indulgence, to cease struggling against that passion and to submit to it, assuring you that this submission would be better and less troublesome. But you must keep attention in yourself—and at the same time you should hear from the right the warning and inspiring voice of your guardian angel who, speaking for all those standing on your right, will assuredly say to you: “You are now faced with a battle against your passion and your other enemies. Fear not and be not afraid; let not this fear drive you to run from your post on the battlefield. For our Lord Jesus Christ, the Commander, is near you, surrounded by the commanders and centurions of His incorporeal armies and all the hosts of holy Angels, ready to fight with you against your enemies and not let them overcome and conquer you, as is promised: ‘The Lord shall fight for you’ (Ex. 14.14).” Therefore stand firm, compel yourself not to give ground and strive by all possible means to stand up to the trial which has assailed you, calling from the bottom of your heart: “Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies” (Ps. 27.12). Appeal to your Lord, to the Holy Virgin, to all the Angels and saints. Help will come, and you will be victorious, for it is written: “I write to you, young men” (emboldened and intrepid warriors), “because ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 Jn. 2.18). You may be weak and tied by bad habits, while your enemies are strong and numerous; but much more powerful help is ready for you from Him, Who has created and redeemed you. God your Protector is incomparably stronger than all others in this battle. As it is written: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24.8). Moreover His desire to save you is greater than that of your enemy to destroy you. So fight and never weary of the labors of this warfare. For victory is won by these labors, by forcing yourself and mercilessly tearing yourself from vicious habits despite the pain; and thus a great treasure is gained, whereby the kingdom of heaven is purchased and the soul for ever united with God.  

—Theophan the Recluse, Unseen Warfare

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.