Sunday before Theophany
(Mark. 1, 1-8)
Preparation opens the road
In order to begin his work, Christ prepares the ground with the preaching of St. John the Baptist. Without preparation, nothing that ought to happen is able to happen, in anything. The same occurs even with the work of Christ. St. John the Forerunner comes and urges men to prepare themselves, because the kingdom of God is approaching: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. He calls them to repentance, and in this way prepares them to receive Christ the Saviour, to listen to his word, and to believe it.
If even for the work of Christ certain preparation is needed, how much more is needed for the spiritual work in our own souls? Many Christians seek to spiritually build up their souls, but do this without preparation. They prefer things a bit casual and superficial. And because of this they become tired and are not benefitted.
The hour in which you stand in the presence of God – either to pray or to confess or whatever else – you need to prepare yourself a little: you can read or listen to something, so as to warm, to sweeten, your soul and for you to be humbled a bit, to see yourself, to see your sin, and to repent. Then, you will talk to God differently, will communicate with him differently. God will hear you, differently. So why do we flee this preparation? Because it grieves the old man that we carry around within us. However, if we seriously consider this theme, the road of authentic life in Christ will open.
Transcribed talks by Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos
From: Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.