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April 19, 2022

A Lesson for the Soul on Holy Tuesday: Be Watchful (Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios)

Be Watchful
 On Holy Tuesday
we commemorate 
the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

"Watch therefore...." (Matt. 25:1-13)

By Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios
The dust of the soul. This is what indolence was called, that carelessness of the soul for the spiritual life and salvation. And slowly slowly it drowns into obscurity, just as with all the ancient creations of this world. The work of carelessness comes to complete the ignorance of the Law of God due to the absence of study, and subsequently, of forgetfulness of every good thing the soul acquired in the past.

And my soul, Lord, is like a broken pillar from the divine Edifice of Your Church, and is buried in the dirt of indolence.

Grant me, Great Investigator of souls, the spade of divine watchfulness that I may offer it as a precious treasure to Your love.

Wretched soul! You still insist on dwelling in the land of indolence as the Lord is in anguish in His Gethsemane?

You lie sleeping in the pleasures of this world, while He there keeps vigil for you? You laugh carefree, while He is drenched in the sweat of pain?

The night of my soul! A night of dawnless nights!

Soon will be heard the arousing trumpet sound: "Behold the Bridegroom is coming, go out to meet Him."

You will seek for the oil lamp of virtues. Yet the oil has come to an end. With an outburst you will seek to repent. You will want to hasten to do works of mercy and love. However, the door of the bridal-chamber will have shut behind you.

"Contemplating that terrible day, O my soul, be watchful, keeping your lamp alight and filled with oil; for you know not when to you shall come the voice, saying: Behold the Bridegroom! Beware, therefore, my soul, lest you fall into slumber and be left outside, knocking, as were the five virgins; but wakefully watch, that you may come to meet Christ with good oil, and He shall bestow upon you the divine chamber of His glory."

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation" (Mark 14:18).

"Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He finds watching. And again unworthy is he whom he shall find careless. See to it, my soul, that sleep does not overcome you, lest you be given over to death and are locked out of the kingdom. But arise and cry out: Holy, Holy, Holy are You our God, through the Theotokos have mercy on us."