Confronting Our Weaknesses
As we continue our Lenten journey, this is a time when the Church puts much emphasis on the role of repentance. We strive to go to confession more frequently during Great Lent, just as we’ve increased our level of fasting, and frequency of attending the services. Holy Week is almost upon us, and as we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Holy Virgin that she was to bear the Son of God, let us examine how we are living our lives.
There are certain sins that have become habitual, and behavior that we would like to change, but seem to repeat, even against our will. Saint Isaac the Syrian suggested that we confront these struggles head on. “If you bear your weakness constantly in mind, you will not overstep the bounds of caution.” Part of the problem is that we allow our guard to be down, and we find ourselves repeating the same sins over and over. If we take Saint Isaac’s suggestion, we will keep vigil, watching out for those situations that bring us into moments of temptation, where we find ourselves falling into the same sins, over and over again.
When we keep ourselves vigilant, we are able to avoid those very situations that cause us to stumble, and, with Christ’s help, triumph over our sins. God’s grace is sufficient to bring about the transformation of our heart, but we must cooperate. Just as a soldier enters into combat prepared, so too must we be vigilant, keeping watch for the enemy. Then, just as the Holy Virgin received the Son of God into her womb, becoming a living tabernacle of the Most High, so too will we receive Christ into our hearts.
On this Feast of the Annunciation of the Birth-giving of God today, let us remember that this Feast reflects the fullness of Christian teaching, and touches on the mystery of God within us. The Feast is a reminder that we must also give birth to God within ourselves, by cleansing and restoring our ailing human condition through the Medicine of Immorality, wherein we take Christ into our imperfect bodies. In doing so, we allow Christ to purify us from within, as He purified His Mother, when She gave birth with the whole of Her body and being. For this pure and virgin vessel, the Prototype of our salvation, brought forth in mystery God Himself as the Archetype of Perfected Man, Who guides us by Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the example of His Pure Mother, to the fullness of life. Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
With love in Christ,