Being Watchful in Prayer

Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:42)

In the Great Canon of St. Andrew, chanted in the first week of Great Lent, there are many wonderful spiritual uses and interpretations of the Scriptures.  St. Andrew reminds us to be vigilant in prayer.

“But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.”  (Luke 21:36)

Vigilance in prayer, mindfulness in general, are modes of being for the Christian to be able to see God.  It may seem odd to say it, be the invisible God can be seen if you are looking for God when God chooses to reveal Himself to us.  St. Andrew says in his canon:

Be watchful, O my soul, be full of courage like Jacob the great patriarch, that you may acquire action with knowledge, and be named Israel, “the mind that sees God.” So shall you reach the innermost darkness through contemplation, and gain great merchandise. Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me. 

The mind that sees God enters “the innermost darkness”!   St. Andrew’s language is poetic mystery.  The encounter with God comes not when or how we expect for God is not controlled by our reason or perspective.  Andrew’s canon contains verses with unusual and unexpected perspectives which help us to see anew, and not with our eyes alone but in our hearts and minds as did the Patriarch Jacob.

 

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