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Th. Vassilikos[play]

The tower builder and the king going to make war.

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:28-33).

The first of these two parables says that we must properly evaluate the strengths and abilities we have available to us before taking on something we want to do. Of this, St. John of the Ladder wrote: "Our enemies, the demons, often intently incite us to take on works which are above our powers so that we, being unsuccessful, become despondent and leave even those activities that are adequate to our powers…" (The Ladder, Chapter 26). The second parable cited tells about fighting the difficulties and temptations which inevitably arise when one undertakes some good work. Not reason alone, but selflessness also is required for success here. That is why these two parables are linked to the teaching in the Gospel of bearing one’s cross: "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:27).

Sometimes the circumstances of life are so hard that it is extremely difficult to find the right decision. In such case, one must ask God for edification very intensely: "… cause me to know the way wherein I should walk…Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God" (Ps. 142:8-10). These and the like were the words of our saint, David, the King and Psalmist, who was given edification for his prayers to God.

In order to strengthen our confidence that God hears and complies with our requests, the Lord Jesus Christ told the parables about <see next chapter>

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