Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Devil's Billable Hours

"In Lent, the Devil works overtime."

Non-liturgical people would want to say, "No, no! The devil always works overtime!" He does work to destroy our faith and souls. He constantly seeks chinks in our armor where his fiery darts may land. He constantly probes for weaknesses, old standards and new ones alike.

But Lent is different. At least for those who keep it.

And that is the key. When you make commitments to pray, fast, and give more, the devil delights in attack. For fasting, prayer and giving alms are acts of charity, they are deeds pleasing to God. They are deeds of your sanctification--and this the devil cannot abide. If you want more "proof" just reread Matthew 4. Christ in the desert, and we following Him. The devil will be there as well.

He is not without a sense of irony, either. I've seen this when I prepare a sermon which addresses a specific sin like impatience. I prepare it on Tuesday or Wednesday, and by Friday realize that I have been snapping at everyone and everything that dares intrude upon me. Our enemy loves the irony, if we can say that he loves anything.

His hours have increased and there is no end to his toil. He will fight against the chains in aeternum. When we come to ourselves and make the trip home to beg our Father's mercy, the devil walks along, and every moment is the Crossroads, every day the trial.

"Wachet auf," ruft uns die Stimme
Der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
"Wach auf du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heißt diese Stunde!"
Sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
"Wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohlauf, der Bräutigam kommt,
Steht auf, die Lampen nehmt!
Macht euch bereit zur Hochzeitsfreud;
Ihr müsset ihm entgegengehen!"

'Wake up!' calls us the Voice
The Watchers high upon the battlements,
Awake, you City Jerusalem!
It is the Midnight Hour!
They call with clarion voice
Where are you, virgins wise?
Make haste--the Bridegroom comes,
Stand up, take the lamps!
Get yourselves straight to the Wedding Feast;
You must enter in with him!

--translation mine


  1. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    Whenever we set ourselves consciously against the world and it's ways, the world will present more and more things that seem appealing there-in. Or as Paul might put it - the Law increases sin. This isn't a bad thing, so long as it reinforces our need for our Savior.

    Lord have mercy!