Here, we call upon God, our Father, giving Him His due praise. He is our Master, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. We are humbling ourselves while we admit that we are sinners, that we do indeed possess, carry with us, and ‘own’ even, these spirits.
We are slothful, for we do not truly love God. As Saint John of Kronstadt said, ‘I have not preserved a love for God.’ Nor do we call out to Him in prayer enough. We are lazy. We miss the services. Often, we simply forget God, as is a habit of ours living in this world.
We are in a state of despair, of despondency. We have neglected the wick. It burns low. The oil runs out. The flame dwindles and we feel a sense of helplessness. Perhaps it’s a sense that we are alone. We have arrived here through pride. We thought that we knew everything, that we didn’t need help. And we fall, in failure.
We long for a power of this world, that we may conquer and climb the ladder of success. Perhaps it is achieved by material possession, or status among the elite. We succumb to the desires we are told we want, that we think we need.
We gossip. We engage in belittling one another. We hurt ourselves and our neighbors with our loose tongues. We listen to radio and other media that does nothing but provoke the passions. We watch feebleness on TV or in the cinema. We passively take it all in.
Sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk – these represent the antithesis of Christlikeness:
Christ did not go to the cross grudgingly; he did not fall asleep in the garden.
Christ did not pity himself or lose hope in God, even as he hung dying.
Christ did not call down legions of angels to save him from his gruesome execution.
Christ, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7).
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth” (Acts 8:32).
Christ did not plead his case. He did not curse his captors. Instead he blessed them and forgave them.
Let us reject the spirit of sloth, despair,
lust of power and idle talk. Let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Romans 13:14).