Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“When you undertake to begin any task whatever,” a certain elder advises, “conscientiously ask yourself this question: ‘If I were visited by the Lord at his moment, what would I do?’ Take care to listen well to what your conscience answers you. If it reproves you, immediately forsake what you had decided to do and begin some other task of which it approves and which, so as assuredly to complete it, is intrinsically rewarding. The virtuous worker must at every moment be ready to face death.

“When you fall into your bed to sleep, or get up from sleep, when you eat or work, when you are thinking or your mind is idle, constantly say to yourself: ‘If the Lord were to call me at this moment, would I be ready?’ Listen also with care to what your conscience tells you and do not fail to comply with its directions. Your heart will, indeed, assure you that God has had mercy on you.”

How often do we ask ourselves this question? If Jesus were to appear before us at any given moment, would we feel ashamed of the way we were using our time?  Shame is one of those uncomfortable emotions we don’t like to feel and which challenges our sense of self-esteem. But shame is a useful feeling because it warns us that maybe we are doing what we ought not. Of course, it is correct to examine the sense of shame to make sure it is well grounded and not a symptom of something else.

Sometimes, we may have shame because of the way we were raised and that shame may be a symptom of a dysfunctional nuclear family. We need to know the difference.

Sometimes we feel shame because we are in the wrong and that is something we need to be adult about, take responsibility for, repent and do better.

When we go to bed at night, waiting for sleep, how do we spend that time?  If Jesus would come before us at just that moment, what would He discover?

If we pray for the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds and hearts, it will happen.  Our consciences and hearts become witness to the changes the Holy Spirit is causing within us as we grow into our sanctification.  If we so allow.


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