A Life of Careful Devotionsheep09/07/2017 (Thu) 16:08:51No.37
1. Recognise that though "God is everywhere and fillest all things", you often go through the world as if He were not particularly present at all and things were just empty things. When you see this, make it a matter of confession and repentance. 2. Always approach the church and the sacraments (where we have an even more specific promise of His presence) with awe. Never treat the building of things that have been set aside as holy as though they were common or empty. Do not divide your life into two - "now He's here, now He's not". Syrian Christians traditionally believed that the Shekinah presence of God left the temple and took up abode in the cross - every cross - and thus they had extraordinary devotion to each and every cross. We should never be indifferent to the icon or prayer corner in our home. Cross yourself whenever you pass it or come into it's presence. 3. Make careful preparation for communion. Always read the precommunion prayers if you are going to receive communion (and perhaps even if you are not); pray Akathists and other devotional prayers that particularly focus on Christ and his presence, such as the Akathist to the Sweetest Lord Jesus. The traditional Western hymn written by Saint Patrick, known as his "breastplate", is also a very fine hymn to know. Find it, keep it with you, and learn it. 4. Learn by heart psalms of presence, such as Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd," and Psalm 91, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High", and any others that strike you. Repeat them frequently throughout the day. 5. Throughout the day, search for God. He is everywhere present, and yet our searching helps us to be more properly aware. In searching, expect to find him. He delights in sharing His presence. 6. Approach others with deep respect and wonder - it will often be the foundation for love. As much as is possible, forgive everyone for everything, staying mindful of the great mystery that is every human being. If you cannot yet pray for an enemy, begin by saying, "O Lord, do not hold this sin against them on judgement day on my account." It seems to postpone the forgiveness, but it also makes a beginning. 7. More than anything, give thanks to God for all things. There is no better way to acknowledge his presence. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thess. 5:18).