On Prayer and Spiritual Vulnerability

seagull-in-the-sun2St. Theophan the Recluse 1815-1894

One who prays is like a bird, soaring high in the air, neither to be captured by the net, nor reached by an arrow. But when noticing some delectable seeds, it flies down from above and starts to peck at them, it can get entangled in a net or easily shot. Thus, the one who prays is difficult for enemies to catch, for the Spirit of prayer lifts him high. But if he, leaving the heights, drops down to what is earthly and begins to be beguiled by this and that — no wonder he will be caught and dragged away to indecent actions. And who is guilty? If he had not left prayer, it would not have allowed him to fall. (Commentary on Psalm 118: Verse 117)