Friday, April 6, 2012

Disfiguring the Beauty of My Mind

Very soon most of my Christian friends will be celebrating Easter, our Risen Savior and all that is renewing and hopeful about this time of year.  For us Orthodox Christians, our Lenten journey goes a bit further, since we celebrate the glory of Christ’s Resurrection a week from Sunday, on April 15th.   
This year, as in years past, I have read portions of The Canon of St. Andrew to accompany my walk through Great Lent.  Some of the pages are worn and dog-eared, marking the passages that strike a chord deep within.  A few of these I’m sharing here because maybe they’ll touch you, too.  These portions may be even more meaningful to me now since I’m also reading Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives about the life and teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica:
I have cared only for the outward adornment, and neglected that which is within--the tabernacle fashioned by God.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

With my lustful desires I have formed within myself the deformity of the passions and disfigured the beauty of my mind.   

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.
I have discolored with the passions the first beauty of the image, O Savior.  But seek me, as once Thou hast sought the lost coin, and find me.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Melancholy, by Alphonse Mucha

Such a poignant reminder of how beautifully we are created in the image of God and the extent to which sin disfigures us.  It’s so easy to read and so difficult to recognize the battlefield of the mind.  To be fully aware that our thoughts have origin and that we can choose which thoughts to entertain and which ones to discard immediately.  How often do I jump on that worn-out path of negative thinking only to see it materialize in disharmony around me.  
If I wish for peace, contentment and fellowship with those about me, it begins by shutting the door of my tabernacle to sinful thoughts --  the sugar-coated ones that encourage pride, anger, jealousy, revenge and greed.  Only when that door is barred against the snares our enemy sets before us can peace, understanding and love make entry.
I wish all of you a blessed Easter;  May God hold you in the palm of His hand, granting you strength & victory on that internal battlefield.

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