When the soul betrays itself and loses the blessed and longed-for fervour, let it carefully investigate the reason for losing it. And let it arm itself with all its longing and zeal against whatever has caused this. For the former fervour can return only through the same door through which it was lost. (Step 1:12)

St. John looks briefly at a state which all Christians struggle with in their walk with Christ – a diminishing of their fervour for God. This basically describes those times when our desire to please our Saviour has slacked, or even almost gone away completely. We often describe these times as feeling distant from God, and during these periods we find it increasingly harder to struggle spiritually. It’s not uncommon for us to lose interest in God altogether when our zeal has gone away. St. John says the fault for this lies in ‘the soul betray[ing] herself,’ in other words, we have failed or sinned in some way. The prescription here is straightforward – we’re told to carefully investigate our fall and to arm ourselves against this particular reason. The only way to regain our fervour, St. John writes, is the same way we lost it. We must grow the virtue that is counter to the reason for our fall in order to overcome the reason for our fall and to regain our relationship with Christ. As we intentionally enter this struggle, our Lord sees our desire and our effort and He meets us with His grace and restores our fervour for Him.

Scripture verse for thought today – “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” (Psalm 75:25)

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