Gospel Reading January 15th
Luke 12: 32-40
“You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.” (v. 40)
Watchfulness constitutes the central theme of this passage. Our Church Fathers emphasise that watchfulness has two dimensions. The first dimension is the “eschatological” dimension which is concerned with how we will be judged by God after we die. It encourages us to live each moment of our lives as if we could suddenly receive a tap on the shoulder and be taken before the judgment seat of the Lord in order to give an account of our sins as well as an account of the gifts that we have been given.
The second dimension of watchfulness is “ascesis” (spiritual struggle). This dimension involves the ascetic notion of guarding the intellect and watching, so that the attacks and assaults of the demonic powers do not penetrate our heart and soul and overcome our being with temptation and sin. St Hesychios in the Philokalia states that ”watchfulness is a spiritual method which, if practiced carefully and patiently over a long period, completely frees us with God’s help from impassioned thoughts, impassioned words, and evil actions…watchfulness is a way embracing every virtue, every commandment. It is the heart’s stillness and, when free from mental images, it is the guarding of the intellect. Watchfulness is a continual fixing and halting of thought at the entrance to the heart. In this way, predatory and murderous thoughts are marked down as they approach and what they say and do is noted; and we can see in what false and delusive form the demons are trying to deceive the intellect.”
Watchfulness, therefore, is vital for our salvation. We must indeed remain watchful, both eschatologically and spiritually, so that on that dreaded day of the Lord, when we are called to stand and be judged before the throne of the Most High, we may indeed be found worthy to enter God’s kingdom.
Source: December-January 2014 Lychnos Edition