Yes, Lord Jesus
(Hermitage of Mary in the Wilderness on March 7th, 2016)
Yes, Lord – I am listening.
We listen to many things.
Amma Theodora was asked about the conversations one hears; If one is habitually listening to secular speech, how can one yet live for God alone, as you suggest?’ She said, ‘Just as when you are sitting at table and there are many courses, you take some but without pleasure, so when secular conversations come your way, have your heart turned towards God, and thanks to this disposition, you will hear them without pleasure, and they will not do you any harm.’
We listen to many words in the course of a day – sometimes we feel like hiding under the bed – in a closet – in a cave – in a desert place alone – in order not to hear what we are hearing – to see what we are seeing.
We are listening to the Voice of God, when we are Praying the Prayer of Jesus (hesychia) – we may be hearing the words of others from time to time – but the real “listening” is coming through the Voice of Jesus within; hearing as St. Benedict exhorted:
“Listen, O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart, and cheerfully receive and faithfully execute the admonitions of thy loving Father, that by the toil of obedience thou may return to Him from whom by the sloth of disobedience thou hast gone away. To thee, therefore, my speech is now directed, who, giving up your own will, takes up the strong and most excellent arms of obedience, to do battle for Christ the Lord, the true King. In the first place, beg of Him by most earnest prayer, that He perfect whatever good thou dost begin, in order that He who hath been pleased to count us in the number of His children, need never be grieved at our evil deeds.” (Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict)
One day when Abba Macarius was going down to Egypt with some brethren, he heard a boy saying to his mother, ‘Mother, there is a rich man who likes me, but I detest him; and on the other hand, there is a poor man who hates me, and I love him.’ Hearing these words, Abba Macarius marveled. So the brethren said to him: ‘What is this saying, abba, that makes you marvel?’ The old man said to them, ‘Truly, our Lord is rich and loves us, and we do not listen to him; while our enemy the devil is poor and hates us, but we love his impurity.’
We listen to that we wish to listen to dear soul.
We hear what we want to hear.
We seek and find the answer that best suits our desires more often than we wish to admit to ourselves; for we prefer to listen to our own will over the will of God through Christ Jesus.
THIS alone is the greatest reason so many of us end up “shipwrecked” as we would in a storm that takes our ship into the rocks, because we failed to allow the ROCK of our Salvation guide us through the storms into the safety of the Homeport!
The Solution is “listening” to the Word of the LORD – and responding – “Yes, LORD JESUS.”
No other approach will work for us – for it is God who must work in you the Salvation we must work out with fear and trembling – until we come to that walk in Jesus who is our Perfect Love – where it is Perfect Love Himself who casts out all fear!
Yes, Lord Jesus…
Abba Anthony the repentant sinner