(Jesus asked people if they want to be healed. The piece by St Anthony of Padua below can also be seen to give us an insight as to why many modern day “atheists” hate to hear or see anything Christian – because of the “threat” of the dawn of understanding Christians bring regarding the misery of the human condition without God; and with it the realisation of the need for humility and change through Jesus’ love and mercy. If we men don’t strive to imitate Jesus, we automatically worship sin instead; rather than being “free of belief” and having “control of our lives”, we have absolutely no control whatsoever whilst being ever more tightly bound and shackled by elusive “pleasure” and “happiness”, mortality, moral disease, sin – ending in permanent death (rather than eternal life) as well as suffering for the soul, because every soul excruciatingly longs for God once its state is fixed for eternity after the physical death, and it’s too late for repentance (e.g. Lk 16:26). God is just and in His love wants everyone to have eternal life, we bring this upon ourselves by our free will. God has given all of us free will and never takes it away from us. Let’s pray daily for the conversion of poor sinners, and for mercy for our weak selves. Without God, men are nothing and can do nothing.)
BY ST ANTHONY
‘I HAVE WOVEN MY BED WITH CORDS’
Of this bed, the harlot says in the Proverbs of Solomon:
‘I have woven my bed with cords; I have covered it with tapestry, brought from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us be inebriated with the breasts, and let us enjoy the desired embraces, till the day appear’ [Prov 7:16-18].
The bed of carnal pleasure is woven with the cords of sin. It is covered with tapestries from the Egypt of a darkened conscience. Because mirth is mixed with sorrow, and pleasure with bitterness, there is added: ‘I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.’ Myrrh and aloes, which are bitter plants, represent the bitterness of punishment; the sweet-smelling cinnamon represents the pleasure of the flesh. So the harlot (the flesh) says to the young man (the soul): ‘Come’ (by the consent of the mind), ‘let us be inebriated with the breasts’ (assenting to works of greed and lust), ‘and let us enjoy the desired embraces’ (in the bondage of habit), ’till the day appear.’ This is appropriate, since the flesh cannot get round anyone except in the night of ignorance; so it fears nothing more greatly than the daylight of understanding. See, then, how the palsied man lies helpless on his bed.
Similarly, it says in Judith that Holofernes lay on his bed, fast asleep, being exceedingly drunk [Jdth 13:4]. Holofernes is the ‘weakening of the sacrificial calf’, meaning the spirit of the sinner which, weakened by the consent of the mind, weakens the sacrificial calf of the flesh with the fatness of temporal abundance, in the pleasure of which it lies asleep, being exceedingly drunk.
It says, too, in Proverbs:
‘Thou shalt be as one sleeping in the midst of the sea,
and as a pilot fast asleep, when the stern is lost.
And thou shalt say:
They have beaten me, but I was not sensible of pain;
they drew me, and I felt not’ [Prov 23:34-35].
Someone sleeps in the midst of the sea when he lies torpid amid his tossing thoughts and bitter sins, and he resembles a drowsy steersman who let’s go of the rudder, the control of reason, and drives the ship of his life into the Charybdis of eternal death. He is not sensible of the beating of the demons, nor does he feel when they draw him by various vices, ‘as an ox led to be a victim’ [Prov 7:22].
So the paralysed man lies on his bed, and of him Solomon says in Proverbs:
‘The slothful man says:
There is a lion in the way and a lioness in the roads.
He turneth as a door upon its hinges’ [Prov 26:13-14].
The lion is the devil, the lioness is carnal desire. He is slothful, his feet held fast, because greed and lust have weakened the feet of his good desires and will. He lies paralysed upon the bed of wretched pleasure, a sick man. He cannot find the energy to withstand the devil’s temptation, he is afraid to restrain the desires of the flesh. He does not want to go out, to works of penance; so he turns about in carnal pleasure, like a door on its hinge.
(What to do when one is in this catch-22 situation? Please see the previous post for the continuation by St Anthony. Thank you.)