Topic of the Week – A Safeguard for the Soul, by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain
Concerning the Worth of Salvation
1) My salvation is a matter entirely my own. If I do not have concern for it, who else will?
2) My salvation is a matter concerning my whole soul and body. If I do not make sure of my salvation, who else will make sure of it for me?
3) My salvation is a matter concerning all eternity. If I do not work for it, who else will work for it for me?
And what do I do? Why don’t I care at all for the salvation of my soul? I do not have anything better than this soul. I do not have anything worth more than this immortal soul. So, if I lose it just one time, I will have lost the greatest good for all eternity.
Offer all of your effort to the Holy Trinity through the Virgin and your Guardian Angel, and your patron Saint that you have as a protector, so that the effort you put forth may be unto the glory of God and unto the salvation of your soul.
Excerpted from Orthodox Christian Prayer Book (newromepress.com) p171, translated by Rev. Fr. George Dokos
Concerning the Uncertainty of the Hour of Death
1) The verdict that has been made, I must die, but I do not know when. I may die this very day, this very hour.
2) And I do not know where I will die. I may die either where I sleep, or where I walk, or where I stand, or any other place I go.
3) And I do not know how I will die. I might die while uncorrected in this or that sin. How is it that I still sin with such joy and fearlessness? That I still fall again and again so easily? That I do not flee every cause of sin? What kind of faith do I really have?
Be resolved not to lose any time, for time is a great means for you to live virtuously and to arrange the day’s tasks. That hour which you lose could very well be the last hour of your life. And that hour which you use well may bring about the eternal salvation of your soul.
Concerning the Examination of Our Life
1) As long as I am alive and work good or evil, I write these things as if in a book, which book will one day be read. That is, the evil things that I should not have done, but did, will one day be read.
2) The good things which I could have done, but did not, will be read.
3) Lastly, the final verdict will be given to me. But which verdict? The one I prepare by my works.
Take a look at your life and consider your sins, and how many good things you did not do because of social or other reasons, and hate every evil thing that you have done, and be determined to live a virtuous life from now on and forevermore.
Middle School/High School
Concerning the Revealing of the Conscience at the Future Judgment
1) Not a single one of my many sins will be hidden or kept silent at the judgment. They will all be revealed; they will all be read; all of them will be heard. O what embarrassment and shame I will experience on that day!
2) How many hidden sins that I myself did not even realize I had will be revealed then? How much inner wickedness that I never even considered will be made manifest? What possible excuse will I then be able to give for these things?
3) At that time God will place all the blessings and graces He gave me on the one side, and on the other side He will place my sins and the bad use I made of the Mysteries, of His holy Body and Blood, of the inspirations and enlightenment He sent me, and of all His other graces. What fear and despair will envelop me then!
Withdraw to some quiet and peaceful place today, even if just for a short while, and examine your conscience carefully, not only in order to find your inner passions, but also to examine your confessions you have made in the past and find your unconfessed sins. Then go to your Spiritual Father in order to confess them and be corrected in everything.
The Orthodox Christian Prayer Book is a beautiful 4×6 blue cloth covered hard bound 230 page book with gold stamping, printed in full-color with many icons, gilded edges and three page-marker ribbons. It includes Morning Prayers, the Service of Vespers, Small Compline, the Salutations to the Theotokos, Small Paraklesis, Prayers Before Meals, the Paschal Hours, the Lesser Hours, the Service of Preparation for Holy Communion, the Prayers of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion, the Prayer of the Heart, Occasional Prayers, the Fasting Periods of the Church and a Paschalion through 2029.
It also includes two sections by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain (translated by Rev. Fr. George Dokos): Prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ (written in the style of an Akathist) and Safeguard for the Soul (a thirty-day on spiritual watchfulness).