by Saint Theophan the Recluse
by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014
My soul hath slumbered from despondency,
strengthen me with Thy words.
Need for hard work and struggle before it becomes light and easy to follow the commandments.
Beware of two attacks:
– v.28: despondency, weakening of moral energy
-v.29: way of unrighteousness, strong pressure of wrong motions within, and wicked irritation from the outside.
Despondency is boredom at work.
Despondency opposite of vigilance.
We can then be seized by the enemy, hence the cry for awakening and enlivening; the cry not to totally fall sleep and sin. cf. Ps 12:3
Theophan even quotes Bellarmine!
Then, what to do?
– remain firmly in established ways and works (even if the taste is gone)
– meditate about the marvelous ways of God.
The spirit of despondency cannot be chased away except by studying the divine words.
= how often did I experience this in monastic life! And yes studying, not just reading.
Sleep comes upon us from the sorrows and cares of this world. Yet, he who cleaves to God escapes such worries.
In some editions, instead of slumbered, we find “to begin to leak”:
the soul begins to take in foreign matter.
Or it lets out the previously accepted word of salvation.
So our soul needs to be “solidly joined in an indivisible union of virtues”, like Mary keeping all the sayings in her heart.
Hence the importance of not being quick to talk, because of “the hole of the tongue”.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THESE NOTES
Any reflection on these quotes?
I have never thought of despondency as boredom at work, but it makes total sense! Thanks for sharing.
Ah yes. And boredom is a major enemy according to the Fathers. They usually call it acedia. It’s sad to see how much it is at work in our society
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