Fr. Gabriel Weller is a business man. He founded and operates Hawk Security. The company installs all kinds of security systems. I worked for the company for a little while, and so I got to see how the technicians figure out what kind of system is needed and then how it will be installed. They can install little units on every window and door so that if anyone opens a window when the system is on, the alarm will sound (and it’s a very loud alarm). They can install cameras that you can watch online. They can install units that detect motion and even detectors that are tuned to frequency of breaking glass. Once it’s set up, and you turn it on at night, you will free pretty secure against anyone sneaking in. Even more, the system is monitored so that if it’s set off, and no one turns it off with a security code, the police and fire department are called immediately.
We put a security system in our church. I told Father that instead of the alarm saying, “Intruder alert. Intruder alert! Leave immediately!” I wanted to change it to “Sinner alert. Sinner alert. Repent immediately!”
Security is an important issue in life, for without a sense of security, we live with fear and anxiety. So, we try to be wise and arrange life to be emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically secure. The problem is that security is an illusion. Despite our best efforts life is filled with surprises and we are reminded that much of life is beyond our control. It can be quite a shock because we love the illusion that we are in control and life is secure.
The thief comes in the night, the Lord said, when we are asleep. In the pre-Hawk Security days, the only way to catch the thief was to stay awake. Physically, this is almost impossible, however the Lord is using this analogy to make a spiritual point – we must be awake or the thief will come to take what we have.
There is a Greek term that you should know – nepsis. It means to be in a wakeful state. The Orthodox Fathers were called the Neptic Fathers, the awake ones. They held vigil over their hearts and minds so that nothing could break in and steal from them – no thought, no sin or passion could rob them of their spiritual treasure.
It’s so easy for the thief to take from us, because there is much that puts us to sleep. It’s like eating too many carbs. Even if it’s the middle of the day, we just want to take a good nap. There are spiritual carbs too, things stimulate our passions. So we indulge ourselves, and we fall asleep spiritually. This is when the thief takes away what little spirituality we have. Sadly, the day will come when the great thief, death, will steal everything from us; or someday, the Lord Himself will come when we least expect it and He will find us asleep. The Lord wondered if there would be any wise enough to remain vigilant.
The beginning of nepsis comes when we realize that there is no real security. We cannot fold our hands and take a nap when it comes to our souls. This is something we cannot turn over to Hawk Security. If we do not remain vigilant, awake, then what we have gained spiritually and even all that we have in the physical world will be stolen from us. Just as we have many stories of Saints who stayed awake, we also have many stories of those who started well in the Faith, but fell asleep and had everything stolen from them.
Spiritually speaking then, we must go low carb. We need to push away from the table and stop binging on the passions and the things that stimulate them. If we stay awake, we can watch with vigilance over our minds, our hearts and our souls. Nothing will break in or surprise us. Certainly, we will need to ask for God’s help because it is so easy to sleep, especially when it is dark. It’s so easy “to be asleep in Zion.”
How did Bach put it? Oh yes, “Sleepers Awake.” And he was a Lutheran!
A low carb spiritual diet – I recommend it