01 April 2011

Called to Pray and Recite Psalms

If a man has tar on his hands, he removes it with a little cleansing oil; how much more, then, can you be made clean with the oil of God’s mercy. You find no difficulty in washing your clothes; how much easier is it for the Lord to cleanse you from every stain, even though you are bound to be tempted every day.

When you say to the Lord ‘I have sinned’, He answers: ‘Your sins are forgiven you; I am He Who blots out your iniquities and I will not remember your sins’ (Mt 9, 2 & Is 43, 25). As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your sins from you; and as a Father has compassion on his children, so will I have compassion on you (cf Ps 102 [103], 12-13).

Only do not rebel against Him Who has called you to pray and recite psalms, but cleave to Him throughout your life in pure and intimate communion, reverent yet unashamed in His presence, and always full of thanksgiving.

It is God Who cleanses you by a simple act of His will. For has not God in His love acquitted us? Who then will condemn us? (cf Rom 8, 33-34). When we call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is not hard for our conscience to be made pure, and then we are no different from the prophets and the rest of the saints. For God’s purpose is not that we should suffer from His anger, but that we should gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us.

So, whether we are watchful in virtue or sometimes fall asleep, as is likely to happen because of our failings, yet shall we live with Christ. As we look up to Him with cries of distress and continual lamentation, it is He Himself that we breathe.

~ John of Karpathos ~