We are now entering region of the most savage warfare. The struggle against evil, against darkness so basic to the human race, present from its very creation, is crucial to each one of us as well. Evil seeks to assail what is good. You are good and beautiful. Darkness is in revolt against Godís Will and plan. The evil one desires only one thing. On that great Day of Christís Second Coming to say as one of the Church Fathers so eloquently put it: "You, Nazarene offered these humans the Kingdom of Heaven forever, Eternal Life with You, to be Your children for all eternity. Yet they gave up all that You promised them for the trivial vanities and pleasures I gave them!"
As in all human athletic and martial endeavor, the warfare described herein also takes effort, striving, and exercise. The more one works out the stronger he gets physically. The more weight a person adds to his sets, the greater muscle mass he will gain. This continuous effort keeps the athlete and warrior constantly ready for battle, aware like a great cat, of his/her surroundings, dangers, friends and foes.
This warfare is the most serious and takes a dedicated heart, a sharply focused mind, and a courageous spirit willing to go the length of the race in order to endure and conquer. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
In this the greatest of adventures, more exciting than any fictional human adventure all human beings may take part. All are called according to their gifts. In this struggle all are able to partake. All one needs is the courage to strive in His Name and get up after having fallen. Youth can easily offer their enthusiasm, strength, stamina and dedication. As in human warfare, and athletic endeavor young people more easily give themselves to acts of courage and bravery, and are more willing to learn from more experienced spiritual warriors. Adults are also able to strive bearing the experience of life that they have. Young people more easily can meet the challenge of this athletic endeavor with great success since their hearts are still pure and the cassettes of their soul still blank to a great degree. Yet we are all called to be young inside and vital if we choose to engage in this fight. People of all ages, walks of life and physical condition can become Spirit warriors. So take up your sword!, the Sword of Faith and let us go still deeper in this issue that is the most vital issue of our life!
There are two fronts in this battle. The first and most important is inside ourselves, with ourselves, against ourselves at times. If we are not training internally, then there is no hope for readiness in battle outwardly. We must strive, (not alone, for we are never alone, there is always ONE WHO IS with us and will never ever forsake us!
The idea of training inwardly, of living a very private spiritual condition daily inside our inner most self is of ultimate importance. For HE wishes us to become steady and strong like a rock. So that no matter what we face in life we will endure and overcome! HE IS OUR ROCK! OUR FOUNDATION! WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR WITH HIM!
How do we train? What can we do to become a warrior? Actually it isnít that hard. Spiritual things are always easy, uncomplicated. Human beings make their lives complicated on their own usually, or are just stuck in complications because of the general condition of the human race. Yet with God we can make a difference! All we need do is try.
As the sun sets, and darkness covers the earth, we can begin training. Why at night? This time is the time when nature renews itself, when human activity slows down, when human beings rest or party. The night, especially around midnight, is the time that the Creator "scans" the earth to find those that worship Him "in Spirit and in Truth." During this time, while others are either sleeping or carousing, we can make a difference by drawing to ourselves and thus to the whole human race, Godís grace as a lightening rod draws lightening in a storm. In the night darkness the Sun of Righteousness will rise in our hearts. We may say, using a human example, that our humble attempt at offering worship out of Love to God, adds fuel to the flame that He Himself has lit within each of us upon our creation. His Fire is always there! Sometimes in the course of life it may be covered by the events and happenings that make us feel cold inside. Filling our hearts with His Light and sweetness. Present always in our heart, He never forsakes us either falling or rising. All He asks is that we try.
The Desert Fathers basing their lives on the early Apostolic Christian traditions, emphasize the night, after dusk, and midnight as the prime times of communicating with God.
Having rested a while, arising and refreshing oneself, kneeling before the Creator of the Universe we can serve God and speak to Him as a friend speaks to his own friend. Beginning by invoking His Almighty Name one can say: "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." When we call upon the Name of God, we are in His Presence. We find ourselves before our Loving Father. Freely the cares of the previous day and of the day to come can be laid out before the Lord with love so that He may act upon our problems and cares according to His Divine Plan and Will. The Lord is the Creator of the Universe, He made all that we see and all that we can never possible see or understand. Though His creation is so vast and overwhelmingly beautiful and majestic He loves each of us as if we are His only creation! He is more than able to help in our lives. Infinitely wise and gentle the Lord of Hosts will never intrude on our lives. He comes into our hearts, and intercedes in the issues of our life ONLY WHEN WE ASK HIM TO DO SO!In order to receive His grace we need ask! There is no other way. He will never interfere in our life, in the course of human history, in the issues of our nation or the world unless we ask Him. So by speaking to Him in the night and spending good quality time with Him, we bring Him into the realm of human endeavor and allow Him to work His purpose through our prayers and lives.
After having spoken to Him freely, one needs to warm up the spiritual engine of our heart. The same way in which an athlete warms up before working out. Reading is a way by which we can make the squeaky valves of our heart work smoothly. The Sacred Scriptures, (meaning the BIBLE), one chapter from the New Testament and two from the Old Testament will help us feel the divine Words flow through us, and our heart and mind will become open to their meanings for us slowly as we need them. Eventually the cadence of the Holy Spirit will be in our walk, our look, our smile, our attitude, our whole demeanor. As in any physical exercise in the beginning it will take some effort to move forward. As time goes by and as the Words of the Holy Spirit become our inside our hearts, the Scriptures will become and invaluable treasure in times of joy and trouble, in our fall and in our rising up. As passages seep into our consciousness the Divine Words will be in what we write and say, and will play a vital role in our day to day decisions and decision making processes.
After the reading of the Scriptures, a work by one of the ascetic fathers of the Church, (one of the Desert Fathers), is good for 15 or so minutes. This exercise purifies the heart and makes us want to strive harder, and higher. As watching the Olympics on TV makes a young athlete desire the gold, so also these sacred works illustrating the simplicity and beauty of the innocent souls of these holy men and women, make us desire to strive more earnestly. There is only one secret in succeeding: NEVER LOOSE HOPE, NEVER LOOSE FAITH, NEVER EVER GIVE UP!!!!
NASA: These dudes are just awed and looking. You see the furniture, you will get to know the Carpenter!
HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE PICTURE SITE: You think you are alone, take a look and see what He has made!
These guys saw what He made and went to the trouble of meeting Him, it's worth it iI think!
The Lord made these and entrusted them to us as our friends..
These dudes gave me this space