It’s freezing cold8 November 2021
What a blessing, what bliss it is when there’s ice and snow outside and we quickly get back to a home that’s cozy, either because it has a stove, central heating or a fireplace. We’re blanketed by the pleasantness of the temperature and overcome with joy. And isn’t the same thing even more true from the point of view of spirituality? Our surroundings and the world in general ‘lie in evil’ and the devil is their overlord because of his dominion in people’s hearts.
But what does this mean? That in all places and at all times, to a horrific degree, the frost of evil is dominant, because, alas, sin has the first word. What’s the priority for most people? How to snatch whatever they can and increase whatever it is they have; how to satisfy their carnal desires as much as possible; how to impose their will on others by making their name the first to be heard. As Saint John the Theologian notes in his 1st general epistle: ‘for all that is in the world- the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches- comes not from the Father but from the world’. And this is the result: the world’s living in an Ice Age, that is, in a hell like that of the devil. Because you can’t live in sin and expect your heart to enjoy the warmth and heat of love. The Lord himself says so in precisely these terms: ‘And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold’.
So, if those of us who have some awareness of the Christian faith wish to warm up and experience the blessing of a fervent heart, all we have to do is turn to the only one who can break the ice and make us partakers in his own fire, our Lord, Jesus Christ. He- that is the Holy Trinity itself- is the ‘fire of love’. He came to ‘light a fire’, to enflame our hearts so that he can dwell within us. ‘I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled’. We find and experience this fire in prayer, particularly that of the Church (because the words of the services are his own), the words of Holy Scripture, the spiritual texts of our Fathers, the hymns of the Church, the Lives of the saints and in the holy people we encounter. Our Church is the hearth and the fire’s well lit. What a shame that so many people are like numbed blocks of wood, unable to drag themselves into the warmth. The ice has likely frozen them in place and they’re slowly wasting away in the tragic state of iniquity and sin.