Our son is away for his first experience of church camp and I have had restless moments, wondering if he is having a good time, resting well, making new friends, etc...the list goes on. My son has often said that I'm overprotective and I can see that he's right... it has been hard to let go this week and completely trust his well being to others. It's a test of my faith. How much do I really trust God?
Last night I was struggling, unable to sleep and plagued with anxious thoughts. I went to my prayer corner, before our icons of Jesus Christ and the Theotokos, lit the candle and wept. I recalled the words of Fr. Seraphim, from Holy Cross Monastery, who reminds me that it is humility that defeats the snares of satan. Our enemy knows our weaknesses and will attack us at every turn through those vulnerabilities.
And so, my prayer was the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" with prostrations, for satan & his minions cannot bear the true worship of God. As I signed the cross and sat on the floor watching the flickering flame, peace came.
"You know, you hold Truth in your hand when you sign the cross" Fr. Seraphim has told me. By placing your three fingers together you proclaim the Holy Trinity and the last two fingers resting against your palm signify that Christ is both fully God and fully man. Sometimes this signing of the cross is my prayer ...when I cannot think of words to say, I can rest in the shadow of the glory of the cross.
As Fr. Peter Gillquist writes in his book, Becoming Orthodox, "...the cross is more than a symbol for earthly decor; it is a weapon of peace that sets us free from being slaves to sin, death and the devil."
A mighty weapon indeed.