Lent – The Flame

Great Lent – A season to fan the flame of transformation in the Spirit by guarding, feeding, and nurturing it through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, dwelling richly in Word and Sacraments, and the fellowship of the Word and Sacrament; and by noticing, confessing, and addressing what threatens to blow out the flame.**

St. Theophan the Recluse, says:

From the moment when your heart starts to be kindled with divine warmth your inner transformation will properly begin.  This slight flame will in time consume and melt everything within you, it will begin and continue to spiritualize your being to the full.  Indeed, until this flame starts to burn, there will be no spiritualization, in spite of all your strivings to achieve it.  Thus the engendering of its first flicker is all that matters at this moment, and to this end be sure to direct all your efforts.

But while you must realize that this kindling cannot take place in you while the passions are still strong and vigorous, even though they may not in fact be indulged.  Passions are the dampness in the fuel of your being, and damp wood does not burn.  There is nothing else to be done except to bring in dry wood from outside and light this, allowing the flames from it to dry out the damp wood, until this in its turn is dry enough to begin slowly to catch alight.  And so little by little the burning of the dry wood will disperse the dampness and will spread, until all the wood is enveloped in flames…

Recollection of God is the life of the spirit.  It fires your zeal to please God, and makes unshakeable your decision to belong to Him.  It is, I repeat, the mainstay of the spiritual life; and it is, I will add, the base for your campaign against every passion that invades the heart.  The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology,” (London: Faber & Faber, 1966)

“…and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish…” Isaiah 42.3

** A couple of phrases from “Pray as you go” for Saturday, March 1, 2014 were used to craft this statement.

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