Scripture is the clear air of a meadow or a garden, says St. John Chrysostom. You can see far and plainly. But worldly cares are like smoke that makes your eyes water and dims your sight.
Even your bodily eyes are always weeping when they have to be surrounded by smoke. But when they are in clear air—in a meadow, in fountains, and in gardens—they become more acute and more healthy.
The soul’s eye is like that, too. If it feeds in the meadows of spiritual oracles, it will be clear and piercing, and very acute. But if it leaves and goes into the smoke of the things of this life, it will weep without end, and wail both now and hereafter.
Indeed, the things of this life are like smoke. And this is why someone once said, “My days pass away like smoke” (Psalm 102:3). He was referring, of course, to how short they were, but I’d say we should take what he said not only in that sense, but also as referring to their murkiness. For nothing hurts and dims the eye of the soul so much as a crowd of worldly anxieties and a swarm of desires. These are the wood that feeds the smoke.
–St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on Matthew, 9IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do I set aside time for reading Scripture, uninterrupted by my worldly anxieties?
Lord, grant me the peace that is from above, and let me pray to you in tranquility.
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