On the Soul in the Balance

Weighing of a Soul from Icon of the Last Judgment

Weighing of a Soul from Icon of the Last Judgment. Source

St. Basil the Great ca. 330-379

Imagine your soul in a balance, devils and angels pulling at it in different directions. Which side will your heart defend? Who will win you over? Will it be fleshly delights or the holy soul? Present pleasure or a longing for the world to come? Will angels welcome you or will what you are tightly grasping now continue to own you? Commanders on the battlefield provide their soldiers with a password or token to equip them to call for help readily and to recognize one another clearly in any combat. But no one will recognize you, as belonging to either us or the enemy, if you fail to display the proper secret signs. How can the angel confirm your identity if you are not marked with the light of the Lord’s countenance? (Ps. 4:6) How can he rescue you from the foe if he sees no sign of your allegiance? Don’t you recall that the Angel of Death spared homes that had the mark, but killed the firstborn in homes without it? (Ex. 12:23) Unidentified riches are most liable to theft. Sheep are easy to steal if they have not been branded. (On Fasting and Feasts [Popular Patristic Series Book 50] Kindle Locations 1049-1056. St Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Kindle Edition)

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