Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What to Remember

From Psalm 137, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."

Take "Jerusalem" to mean the heavenlies, or the things that are above. Watchfulness (attention or focus) is the key to the spiritual life. Being watchful can be taken to mean not forgetting about something. Another familiar verse to go along with this is from Isaiah 62, "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, (margin "the Lord's remembrancers"), keep not silence, And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."

In other words, there are those called to hold the Lord in their memory constantly. Therefore, watching is tied to the memory, and spiritually speaking, I believe you have to make a choice to retain the Lord in your memory or thoughts, and not to be in a state of forgetfulness of Him.
I believe Scripture is admonishing us to not be forgetful of the higher life or our Lord.

Another thing to remember:
I believe "remembrance" of our mortality is one of the key things in the spiritual life. I always go back to the verses, "Lord teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom", Psalm 90:12; and also, "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:13,14.

I believe it is a foundation of wisdom to keep our mortality always before us. It keeps us directly in the present moment, and also saves us from many projections of "big ideas" or visions for the future, that may not be led of the Spirit.
In 1989 I had a suspicious test result, that proved to be benign, but I was unable to find that out for about three weeks. For some reason there were complications with tests results and the doctors were uncertain about it. I really came face to face with my mortality during that time. The Lord really used it to shake me profoundly, and I came out of it in a new place. I count it as a great blessing looking back on it.

On another note, there is another side to this. There can be a really good forgetfulness. From Isaiah 43:18, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old, Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth..." And where would we be without the divine forgetfulness of our sins? For He has said in His covenant promise, ".... their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 10:17.

~Desert Pilgrim

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fifth Century Prophecy

A Prophecy from the Fifth Century Church

After the year 1900, toward the middle of the 20th century, the people of that time will become unrecognizable.
When the time for the advent of the Antichrist approaches, people’s minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. People’s appearances will change, and it will become impossible to distinguish men from women due to their shamelessness in dress and style of hair.
These people will be cruel and will be like wild animals because of the temptation of the Antichrist. There will be no respect for parents and elders; love will disappear, and Christian Shepherds, Bishops and Priests will become vain men, completely failing to distinguish the right-hand way from the left. (Didache)
At that time the morals and traditions of the Christians and of the Church will change. People will abandon modesty, and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed will attain great proportions, secret deeds and murder will rule in society.
At that future time, due to the power of such great crimes and licentiousness, people will be deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which they received in Holy Baptism, and equally of remorse.
The Churches of God will be deprived of God-fearing and pious shepherds, and woe to the Christians remaining in the world at that time; they will completely lose their faith because they will lack the opportunity of seeing the light of knowledge from anyone at all.
Then they will separate themselves out of the world in holy refuges in search of lightening their spiritual sufferings, but everywhere they will meet obstacles and constraints.
And all of this will result from the fact that the Antichrist wants to be lord over everything and become the ruler of the whole universe, and he will produce miracles and fantastic signs.
He will also give depraved wisdom to an unhappy man so that he will discover a way by which one man can carry on a conversation with another from one end of the earth to the other.
At that time men will also fly through the air like birds and descend to the bottom of the sea like fish. And when they have achieved all this, these unhappy people will spend their lives in comfort without knowing, poor souls, that it is deceit of the Antichrist. And, the impious one! - he will so complete science with vanity that it will go off the right path and lead people to lose faith in the existence of God in these hypostases.
Then the all good God will see the downfall of the human race and will shorten the days for the sake of those few who are being saved, because the enemy wants to lead even the chosen into temptation, if that is possible. Then the sword of chastisement will suddenly appear and kill the perverter and his servants.
......St. Nilus