Thursday of the First week of Lent
"Ask, seek, knock"
Homily attributed to Saint Macarius of Egypt (?-390), monk
Spiritual Homilies no. 30, 3-4
"Ask, seek, knock"
Try hard to please the Lord, pay him unwearying attention within yourself, seek for him with the aid of your thoughts, keep a check on your will and its decisions, control them so they are constantly directed towards him. Then you will see how he draws near you and makes his dwelling within you… He stands there, taking note of your reasoning, thoughts, reflexions, examining how you are seeking him, whether it is with all your soul or whether sluggishly and carelessly. And as soon as he sees you seek him fervently, he will make himself known to you. He will appear to you, grant you his help, bestow the victory on you and save you from your enemies. In fact, when he sees how you are looking for him, how you continually place all your hope in him, then he will instruct you, teach you true prayer, give you that authentic charity that is himself. Then he will become everything to you: your paradise, life-giving tree, precious pearl, crown, architect, farmer, one subject to suffering but not afflicted with suffering, man, God, wine, living water, lamb, bridegroom, soldier, armor, Christ who is “all in all” (1Cor 15,28).
Just as a child cannot feed or take care of itself but can only look at its mother and cry until she takes pity and gives it her attention, so believing souls always hope in Christ and attribute to him all righteousness. As the shoot withers if it is separated from the vine (Jn 15,6) so does someone who wants to become righteous apart from Christ. Just as “someone is a thief and robber who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere” (Jn 10,1), so it is with someone who wants to become just without him who justifies.