Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Christ is in our Midst LXIX(letter 98)

6 February 1955

I received your letter. You write that sometimes during prayer you are very much disturbed by blasphemous thoughts; they are so shabby that one is somehow ashamed even to look at the icons or to speak to the priest. Do not be embarrassed, for such thoughts are not ours but those of the enemy of mankind - the devil. Simply do not pay attention to them, and try to turn your thoughts to some external objects. This devil is a blasphemer. Sometimes during the Divine Liturgy he blasphemes the Lord, the Holy Mysteries and all that is Divine. St Nicetas Stethatos said: 'That blasphemer, the devil, sometimes by our mouths reviles us and the God Most High'.

St John of Karpathos said: 'Not only before the end of the world will the devil speak words against the Most High, as Daniel says [7:25], but he does so even now, through our thoughts'. We send grievous blasphemies to heaven itself and revile the Most High, and his creation, and the Holy Mysteries of Christ. That blasphemer, the devil, tempted our Lord Jesus Christ with gluttony, vanity and pride. The devil did not know the secret of the Incarnation of the God-man, and yet for some reason he conjectured: 'If you are the Son of God', and the rest, as it tells in the Gospel [Matt. 4:3-9]. The Lord said: 'Begone from me, Satan!' So you tell the blasphemer, the devil: 'Begone from me, Satan, I know our Lord Jesus Christ, I listen to Him and obey Him in everything that is commanded in the Holy Gospel, and whatever you may say, I will not listen to you, who are lost for ever because of your pride: begone from me, you hater of all good'.

Although the devil blasphemer tempts everyone, the proud suffer more from blasphemous thoughts, for the Lord permits the devil to tempt a man because of his pride. The Holy Fathers experienced such blaspheming that they did not even want to commit it to writing. But they were experienced in the spiritual life and were not confused, for they knew well that the perpetrator of blasphemy is the devil. "


I concur with Father John in the thoughts present in my mind concerning our Lord and the Church. It would seem there is no occasion when the Evil One would offer times of truce like say, during prayer or in the Divine Liturgy.
I well know the blasphemous thoughts I constantly think and at times I am drawn into them and entertain them at a much deeper level, relishing them even.
Another thing I notice happen to me is that when I pray, especially the Jesus Prayer and when I attend the Divine Services, a deep tiredness comes over me. This, I know, is much my own fault as I do not rest properly in proportion to the extremely full schedules I keep but it has been a definite impression of mine that especially during prayer and the Divine Services this happens to me.

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