Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/26/08

It is one of the mean and morbid modern lies that physical courage is connected with cruelty. The Tolstoian and Kiplingite are nowhere more at one than in maintaining this. They have, I believe, some small sectarian quarrel with each other: the one saying that courage must be abandoned because it is connected with cruelty, and the other maintaining that cruelty is charming because it is a part of courage. But it is all, thank God, a lie. An energy and boldness of body may make a man stupid or reckless or dull or drunk or hungry, but it does not make him spiteful.
-- G. K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World
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Determined to give his disciples an example they could imitate, our Lord himself became one with them by assuming a human soul like theirs. This enabled him to enter into their sentiments and thus to sow the seeds of comfort in their hearts. He acquainted himself with their fear in order that the knowledge of his resemblance to themselves might restrain them from boasting of their readiness to meet death while it was still far off. Fearless though he was, our Lord actually experienced fear and prayed to be delivered from suffering, even though he knew his prayer could not be granted. Surely then before temptation assailed them his disciples should have prayed all the more earnestly to be saved from failing the test!

We may also tell ourselves that we too were in our Lord's mind as he prayed. In time of temptation our minds become confused and our imagination runs riot. By persevering in prayer Jesus was showing us how much we ourselves need to pray if we are to escape the wiles and snares of the devil. It is only by sustained prayer that we gain control of our distracted thoughts.
-- Ephrem of Edessa, Commentary on the Diatessaron 20, 3-4, 6-7: CSCO 145, 201-204

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