I drive a lot. And sometimes those trips present wonderful opportunities to see spiritual truths reflected in the natural world around me.
On Wednesday, I watched an enormous red tailed hawk wrestle a poor, unsuspecting squirrel off the middle of the road. As I drove up, the bird sat on the shoulder, clutching the barely dead squirrel in a taloned-foot, and glared at me with this predatory smugness. I suspect that the squirrel scurried out into the road, worried about dodging cars, and maybe didn’t notice the giant danger perched in the trees above the road.
Lent’s a hard trip, and a good wake-up call for how arduous our walk of faith is EVERY day.
I feel, this week, a lot like that squirrel. I have worried about temptation X and Y bearing down on me at a high speed from ground level, threatening to reduce me to the spiritual equivalent of a crimson stain on the pavement. But at the same time I have ignored passion Z, perched atop the trees, and eagerly waiting to devour me.
On Sunday, Fr. Isaac preached a bit on St. Gregory Palamas, who taught that, while we cannot partake of God’s Divine Essence, we can partake of His Divine Energies–His grace, His love, and His light. Then he talked again about the Ladder of Divine Ascent, and how our passions and the the devil himself seek to pull us off, trying to keep us from fulfilling our journey. But, he said, God calls out to us, cheering us on, encouraging us to keep coming towards Him, to continue to pursue Him. “Come unto me, all you who are weary” is His cry to us.
It was a good sermon, and I’m sure a topic he will revisit again during Great Lent. And I was again reminded, in a kind of parable, of the dangers around me as I watched that poor squirrel.
I need to pay more attention.