#CCLent17 / Day 4 / March 4 / Praying against Despair

The Temptation in the Wilderness' _B. Riviere
The Temptation in the Wilderness’ _B. Riviere

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.  (Psalm 42:5)

The Prayer of Ephrem the Syrian starts with 2 petitions: praying against an undesirable spirit with 4 qualities and then praying for a desirable spirit with 4 qualities. The second  negative is  “Faintheartedness” or as it is often translated, despondency, despair or distraction. Here is the commentary from Schmemman:

The result of  spiritual apathy is despondency (or faint-heartedness.) The Church Fathers considered it the greatest danger for the soul. Despondency is the impossibility for one to see anything good or positive; it is the reduction of everything to negativism and pessimism. It is truly a demonic power because the Devil is fundamentally a liar. He lies to man about God and about the world; he fills life with darkness and negation. Despondency is the ‘suicide of the soul’ because when man is possessed by it he is absolutely unable to see the light and to desire it. 

Our faith is a joyous faith! (“Do not despair for Christ conquered all.”)

O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of
apathy, faintheartedness, love of power, and empty talk.
But give rather the spirit of
purity, humility, patience, and love to Your servant.
Yes, O Lord and King!
Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother or sister;
For You are blessed forever, to ages of ages.  Amen!

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