Spiders and Winds

I never think of spiders as devils, at least not the garden spiders that are so busy all over the place this fall. This one is between the cherry tomatoes and the bottlebrush bush. I went with my camera into the yard before the sun was very high, hoping that some of the critters had mended their nets after the rains, and I did get good shots of a few.

Then I read George MacDonald’s verse for the day, from A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul. He wrote a section of this long poem for every day of the year; the lines for October 10th use the metaphor of a spider to warn about how the devil works at entrapping us every morning. We do need to continually pray for the Holy Spirit to break our selfish crust, I know that. O Heavenly King, blow into us and fill us and make us a refreshment to everyone around.

With every morn my life afresh must break
The crust of self, gathered about me fresh;
That thy wind-spirit may rush in and shake
The darkness out of me, and rend the mesh
The spider-devils spin out of the flesh—
Eager to net the soul before it wake,
That it may slumberous lie, and listen to the snake.

I don’t like to end a post with reference to that snake, so let’s look at our situation from another angle before we finish the contemplation:
I consider no other labor as difficult as prayer. When we are ready to pray, our spiritual enemies interfere. They understand it is only by making it difficult for us to pray that they can harm us. Other things will meet with success if we keep at it, but laboring at prayer is a war that will continue until we die.  –Abba Agathon

8 thoughts on “Spiders and Winds

  1. I've come to see prayer as the journey…never complete, never neat and tidy. If I felt success, knowing me, I would take credit for it and go happily along my godless way. I have been pondering Thomas Merton's reflection on the interior world: “Our thought should not merely be an answer to what someone else has just said. Or what someone else might have said. Our interior world must be more than an echo of the words of someone else. There is no point in being a moon to somebody else's sun, still less is there any justification for our being moons of one another, and hence darkness to one another, not one of us being a true sun.”

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  2. What a *pretty* spider. I do think spiders can be pretty and their webs too. For me, prayer is always something I must try harder to focus on. It's easy to be “wool gathering” instead of praying.

    Jody

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  3. I love the spiders this time of year–such amazing webs.

    I've found the best time to pray is in the morning as I'm driving the boys to school. Sometimes I get distracted, but it's become such a habit I feel a little lost and out of sorts if I don't.

    xofrances

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  4. We had a very large banana spider living outside our porch for about a month. He was here when we moved in, but one day just disappeared. I'm sorry I didn't snap a photo of him before he disappeared.

    I love the title of the MacDonald book. Is the rest of the book as good as this excerpt?

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  5. Interesting title for a book. I don't like spiders, except for Charlotte, of course. I agree that prayer is hard work because the web of the devil is ready to entrap us at any given moment.
    Thanks for an interesting post, GretchenJoanna

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  6. Hello,
    I do not think I like spiders or dislike them. But always I admire their webs, especially shinning against the sun light after rain, they are almost art. I have taken their photos a lot.
    Thanks a lot for the nice story and photo!
    Best wishes,
    keiko

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