Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fighting Evil Thoughts: Humility & Prayer

"Evil thoughts afflict the proud soul, and until she humbles herself she knows no rest from them.  When wrong thoughts besiege you, call like Adam upon God, saying, ‘O Lord, my Maker and Creator, Thou seest how my soul is vexed with bad thoughts…Have mercy on me.’ And when you stand before the face of the Master, steadfastly remember that He will give ear to all your supplications if they be for your good.

A cloud blows over and hides the sun, making everything dark.  In the same way, one prideful thought causes the soul to lose grace, and she is left in darkness.  But, equally, a single impulse of humility – and grace returns.  This I have experienced and proved in myself” (441).

“It is very difficult to recognize pride in oneself.  But here are some signs to tell you:  if the enemy (devils) assail you, or wrong thoughts torment you, it means that humility is lacking in you, and so even if you do not realize the presence of pride in you – humble yourself” (447).  
- St. Silouan the Athonite

Archimandrite Sophrony, St. Silouan the Athonite, trans. by Rosemary Edmonds, Chapter 17, “Concerning Intrusive Thoughts and Delusions,” (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1991).

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A Prayer for One Who Has Shameful Thoughts

O Master, Lord my God, in whose hands is my destiny: help me according to Thy mercy, and leave me not to perish in my transgressions, nor allow me to follow them that place desires of the flesh over those of the spirit.  I am thy creation, disdain not the work of Thy hands.  Turn not away, be compassionate and humiliate me not, neither scorn me, O Lord, as I am weak.  I have fled unto Thee as my Protector and God.  Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee; save me for They mercy's sake, for I have cleaved unto Thee from my youth; let me who seek Thee not be put to shame by being rejected by Thee for unclean actions, unseemly thoughts, and unprofitable remembrances.   Drive away from me every filthy thing and excess of evil.  For Thou alone art holy, alone mighty, and alone immortal, in all things having unexcelled might, which, through Thee, are given to all that strive against the devil and the might of his armies.  For unto Thee is due all glory, honor and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

The Great Book of Needs, Volume 3, trans. by St. Tikhon's Monastery (South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 2002), 47.