“If the Lord wills we shall do this and that”. James 4

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you…. Come now, you say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city…. Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.” For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you want to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this and that.” James 4

Perhaps the hardest lesson for me during this pandemic has been to stay in the present. We always live in uncertainty. Our awareness of the fragility of life is always before us every day, but the distractions of life take us away from the remembrance of the reality of the dance between living our lives in Christ to the fullest, and knowing that our lives can and will end at some point.

This pandemic has placed that reality squarely in front of us. The Holy Fathers would say this is a good thing, because we are remembering that death can come at any time, thus giving us the opportunity to consistently and frequently examine the condition of our soul, change, repent and come closer to God. With Lent once again approaching, the Church gives us the opportunity to once again practice, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

So let us strive to work on the wedding garment of our soul in preparation for the banquet that we are being called to, whether it be Holy Week and Pascha, or our time to cross over to the Lord. The only thing present with us when we go to meet Christ at our death will be the wedding garment of our soul. Will it be dark or light? Our opportunity is before us: to repent and remove the dark threads of our sins, replacing them with threads of light as we transform our fallen state into our baptismal state, renewing our conversion and baptism each time we cleanse ourselves of our sins and by the grace of God draw closer to Him. Have a blessed entry into fasting and prayer, so that we can say with great joy on Pascha, “Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!” And so have I, in Christ!

Veronica Hughes

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