When we take our eyes off our own failings, shortcomings, and sins, we notice the failings of others. As the sins of others get our attention, our focus turns away from our own struggles with the passions, and we begin to fall further into sin, our eyes having turned away from the Lord. When our focus is no longer turned towards the conquering of our own passions, our hearts become vulnerable, and we begin to expend our energy on picking apart our neighbor. Their sins become the hot topic with our gossiping friends, and we fall further into the rottenness of our own sins. At this stage, Abba Sisoes asks, “How can we guard the heart if the tongue leaves the door of the fortress open?”
If we are to take ourselves out of the mire of sin, and with Christ’s help, be transformed and made whole, our eyes must never look to the sins of others, “For a person cannot be disquieted or concerned about other people’s affairs if he is satisfied with concentrating on the work of his own hands (St. John Cassian).”
As we approach Great and Holy Lent, let us refocus ourselves, and prepare for the struggle ahead. Let us make this Great Fast the most profitable of all, with the goal of acquiring a humble and contrite heart. If we focus on our own failings, only, we will find this Lenten season will be the most profitable of all, and we will be lifted up by God, and our celebration of Holy Pascha will be the most glorious of them all.
Remember, the Great and Holy Fast was created for us as a time for repentance, renewal, and the restoration of heart, mind, and body. Let us keep our spiritual eyes on Christ, and be open to the healing of our soul that comes for us through this very Christ Jesus, Whom we worship and adore.
With love in Christ,