Today, we continue to approach Holy Week by examining the life of St. Jacob the patriarch.
Jacob’s life continued to be complicated by his tendencies toward deception, and because of this weakness in Jacob many people tried to deceive him as well. His father-in-law, Laban, was a prime example. But Jacob had some amazing and redeeming qualities as well. He was very faithful and really tried to come to grips with his own mistakes and not hide from them. He overcame his weaknesses through faithfulness and God blessed him for his faithfulness. Read today’s passage about St. Jacob in Genesis 31:3-16.
This is always God’s way toward us. He sees us as He made us and not as we have deformed ourselves through fear and disobedience. Because of this perspective, when God witnesses the “real” you shining forth, He runs to bless and affirm this better part of who you are. When God sees you struggling to become by grace what He is by nature, He adds His strength to your efforts. It’s called “grace.”
This is why the Church, in Her genius, offers us service after service to draw out of us our real selves. The prayers of the faith, the disciplines of the faith, the daily practice of the faith, are all meant to strengthen, reveal, and witness the “continual “birth” of the “real” you to the world. This “revelation of the sons of God” (see Romans 8:18-20) is the path to witnessing the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus to the world. There is no greater “proof” of the Resurrection that the “new” life in Christ lived out by faithful men and women.
Today, allow your faithfulness, even when you don’t feel like being faithful, to strengthen your heart against the sins that so easily trip you up. By practicing your prayers today, by making your cross before and after you eat, by doing those little things through the day that remind you of God, you will “slowly by slowly” cooperate with God’s grace to extinguish all that is unlike Christ in your life. Especially as we approach the spiritual “marathon” that is Holy Week, gather your strength for these grace-filled days by preparing your heart today to run this Holy Week race well.
Today, let us prepare ourselves to arrive at Pascha in that joyously exhausted state of peace and exclusive focus on Him Who is our only source of true life.