All the sins we secretly serve are idols we worship in our hearts, says St. Ephrem the Syrian. Cast out those sins, and the Enemy retreats.
Narrow is the way of life, and broad the way of torment; prayer is able to bring a man to the house of the Kingdom. This is the perfect work: prayer that is pure from iniquity.
Human righteousness counts for nothing. Our labor is altogether vanity. From you, O Lord, from your grace it is that in our nature we should become good. From you is righteousness, that we from men should become righteous. From you is the mercy and favor, that we from the dust should become your image. Give power to our will, so that we shall not be sunk in sin! Pour into our heart memory, that at every hour we may know your honor! Plant truth in our minds, that we may not perish among doubts! Occupy our understanding with your law, that it may not wander in vain thoughts! Order the motions of our members, that they may bring no hurt upon us!
Draw near to God, so that Satan will flee from you. Cast out passions from your heart, and then you have put the Enemy to flight. Hate sins and wickedness, and Satan at once will have fled.
Whatever sins you serve, you are worshiping secret idols. Whatsoever transgressions you love, you are serving demons in your soul. Whenever you argue with your brother, Satan abides in peace. Whenever you envy your fellow, you give rest to devils. Whenever you tell the shortcomings of others who are not present, your tongue has made a harp for the music of the devil. Whenever hatred is in thy soul, great is the peace of the Deceiver. If you love unseemly discourse, you prepare a feast for demons. For this is the worship of idols, the working of lust.
–St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Admonition and Repentance, 7
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
What idols do I secretly worship?
What can I do to cast them out?
Father, put all the enemies of your holy Church quickly under my feet.
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