"Protection from Evil" - A Meditation on the Collect
for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany (BCP)
by Violet Mary Firth (Dion Fortune)
Although we may recognise the need for precaution in times of danger, let us never forget that our strongest weapon is courage. No influence or attack, however strong, can ever injure the soul unless we allow ourselves to vibrate in response to its note. The best method of defense is to hold consciousness steady by tuning it to a definite keynote and keeping it vibrating at that pitch all the time by constant meditation. Once again the collect gives us the keynote in teaching us to pray for the help we need to be sent to us “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“By reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright,” says the old prayer, and who does not know its truth? When spiritual evil threatens, we have nothing to fear except ourselves. As long as we can keep our hearts and minds fixed steadily on Christ Jesus, so that His influence permeates our whole being, we shall not react to the forces of evil, and evil will be powerless to harm us.
It is not the evil which assails the soul that injures us, but the evil that finds entrance into the soul.
We may wonder why it is that when we are sincerely striving after spiritual things the fiercest assaults of evil should fall upon us? There is always a backwash with every tide. The flowing tide of spiritual force stirs up the powers of evil; we must be prepared for this when we enter upon the spiritual life; it is no strange thing which befalls us; all the servants of God have known it.
There are forces in the unseen which are but little understood; the sheep of Christ's flock, the souls who look to him as shepherd, not as Master, are protected from these forces; they are not called upon to encounter them. But we, if we elect to follow the straight way to the heights, if we would aspire to work with our Master in in His tasks and not merely to be carried in His bosom, must be prepared to encounter those forces and conditions which Saint Paul referred to as “spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Let us never forget that it is “by reason of the frailty of our nature that we cannot always stand upright.” Let us watch our own thoughts closely when we are encountering the dark storms of the spiritual world, for it is here that the first danger shows itself. And let our thoughts be so centred on our Lord, so filled and imbued with love and faith, that evil, and the fear that opens the door to evil, can find no cranny for a lodging place.