This week we had new shingles installed on our roof! Up to this point, we have had some leaks. Water was leaking on the porch, into the bathtub, and in the closet; and because of the roof leaking I have noticed some mildew and mold forming on some of our floor joists and walls in the basement. Also, we had some cardboard boxes where materials were being stored that were ruined as well.
As hot as it’s been, we certainly need the rain but we humans don’t have feathers to keep us dry so we like to have a shelter to keep us out of the weather. Scientists even say that getting wet from rain or snow decreases our body temperature and lowers our natural resistance to fight illness so we humans live in houses protected with roofs over them providing a safe, dry shelter.
I know firsthand that my roof also leaks when I neglect my prayer life. Not the one on my cabin but the covering that deflects the world and all its’ temptations from occupying my thoughts and enticing me to stumble. These thoughts try to enter into my day like water dripping into my safe, dry home and try to cause damage and decay. St. Makarios of Corinth wrote: “frequent prayer renders the intellect more forceful in its warfare against the enemy”.
And in a letter to the church in Thessalonica, Saint Paul prescribes this remedy for a healthy decay-free life: “Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” By following these instructions, we protect ourselves from having a leaky roof!
But if we need to go out into the storm we should put our raincoat on. It is through our healthy church life that we keep ourselves safe and dry. From the Garden of the Holy Fathers we here: “Fasting is the subjugation of the body, prayer is converse with God, vigil is a war against Satan, abstinence is being weaned from meats, humility is the state of the first man, kneeling is the inclining of the body before the Judge, tears are the remembrance of sins, nakedness is our captivity which is caused by the transgression of the command, and service is constant supplication to and praise of God.”
Sometimes just like my leaky roof, we need to replace our shingles of old habits and neglect, with a new layer of coverage that will help us deflect any temptation that separates us from the covering of God’s love. “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4). Brothers and sisters, keep dry and warm. Glory to Thee!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 7-24-16