Tag Archives: Abba Agathon

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. 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.

-George MacDonald

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