Mark 1:23-28

The reading today for the Wednesday twelve weeks after Pentecost includes an excerpt from Mark 1:23-28:

“Now there was a man in a synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a  loud voice, he came out of him. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.’ And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

According to St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Love, Text #67. B#9),

“It is said that God allows the demons to attack us for five reasons.

1) …through being attacked and fighting back, we should learn to distinguish virtue from sin…

2)…having acquired virtue by struggle and labor, we should keep it firm and unalterable…

3)…that progressing in virtue we should not think highly of ourselves, but should learn humility…

4)…that having experienced in practice the wickedness of sin, we should hate it with perfect hatred…

5)…that having been freed from passion we should not forget our weakness and the strength of Him Who has helped us…”

St. Maximos deemed number five to be the most important from this list.

On a personal note, I must reflect daily, if not hourly to remind myself that I have been freed from my weaknesses and passions by the strength of Jesus Christ. I truly could not make it without the guidance and hope that is in our Lord. I must look to Him for true strength and a source of love in which to provide my family and friends. Through this hope and knowledge I want to be able to give freely even when others don’t reciprocate to me. I really enjoyed this reading today and found a great source of encouragement through being reminded of what Christ our Lord has done for us.

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