On the Excellence of a Free Mind
THE DISCIPLE. Lord, one who desires perfection must make it his first task to keep his mind at all times set on heavenly things. By so doing, he can pass carefree through many troubles, not as one who has not the wit to realize the dangers that beset him, but in the strength of a free mind, unfettered by undue attachment to worldly things.
Most loving God, I beg You so to preserve me that I am not overborne by the cares of this life. Keep me, also, from becoming the servant of my body's many needs, that I may not become absorbed in its pleasures. Save me from all the pitfalls that beset my soul, that they may not overwhelm and crush me. I do not ask to be preserved from those things that vain and worldly men pursue with such ardour, but rather from those miseries that so heavily burden and impede the soul of Your servant, who lies under the curse common to all mortal men.(Gen.3:17; Rom.7:2) It is these miseries that prevent my soul from entering into the true liberty of the spirit whenever I would. My Lord God, my Delight above all delights, make bitter to me all worldly pleasure that draws me away from the love of eternal joys, and wickedly seduces me by promising me all the joys of the present. Let me not be overcome by flesh and blood, (Rom.12:21; Gal 1:16) I entreat You. Let not the world and its brief glory deceive me, nor the Devil and his cunning overthrow me. Give me strength to resist, patience to endure, and constancy to persevere. Give me the rich graces of Your spirit rather than all the pleasures of the world and supplant all worldly love by the love of Your Name. A man of fervent spirit grudges much attention to food, drink, clothing and other bodily needs. Grant me to use these things with moderation, and not to be over-concerned about them.(Matt.6:25) It is not right to ignore them, for nature bids us supply their needs ; but the law of holiness forbids us to crave for needless luxuries, since the body then revolts against the spirit. In all things, I pray You, let Your hand guide and govern me, that moderation may be my rule at all times.
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