Monastery of Annaya-Lebanon. Image by Naanouh Productions.
When the lamp dims into darkness, it is replenished with oil. Now the lamp is dimming, its light is fading, and darkness is pitch-black. Fill your lamp with oil before it goes out and darkness engulfs you.
Attend to the oil of the lamp, by the light of which you remain awake. Attend to the oil of the lamp that lights up your nights. Watch over the lamp that watches over you. Your lamp is dimming, and the light of your home has darkened. You are absorbed, looking in front of you, ignoring the light that lights up your darkness.
Light up your darkness with your lamp as long as it is night; do not sleep in darkness awaiting the light of day to shine. When the light of day shines, another endeavor begins, and you will be asked about the night’s work. If the light of your lamp dims due to lack of oil, fill it up, do not remain under your brother’s light and allow your lamp to go out. You will be asked about your own lamp, which you alone are responsible for tending. Let the light shine in every lamp until the day shines. A lamp is filled with oil; it is neither filled with intentions nor carelessly with water. Take care of your lamp’s light before your work and your production.
Reexamine your priorities. Your ladder is upside down. The small rung is at the bottom and the big rung is at the top. See how the wise builder’s building rises; the biggest stone at the bottom and the smallest at the top. Many people nowadays are building their walls in reverse: they no longer know the large from the small, the first from the last, and the least important from the most important. The wall with the smallest stone at the bottom and the largest at the top will crumble, and the building will collapse. Many are the walls that are collapsing, and the bonds that are breaking due to the ignorance of the workers and the pride of the builders.
You, raise your building with wisdom. Build on the foundation of Christ, the essential stone for all your building that supports all your courses. Place your large stones at the foundation and the smaller ones at the top; and if in one of the walls of your building you see a big stone in the high course and a small stone in the foundation, then take down your entire wall and build it anew. No matter how large or tall your building, it is better to rebuild it from the foundation than to let it tumble down, collapse and fall on your head, or on the heads of your brothers or your children.
Rest assured that if Christ is not the foundation for every building, it will collapse. Do not be dazzled by the tall structure built by man, for it will collapse no matter how high it rises, and time will erase it. If you have already built your building and have discovered of late that it is not built on Christ, then take it down and build it again. A course built on Christ is better than a high tower that tumbles down under the wind. Christ is the foundation of the Lord’s building; you are its living stones; and the Holy Spirit is the keystone. Christ bears up the whole building, and the Spirit gathers together all the stones of the vault and supports the walls. The Spirit is the spirit of love. Love is the keystone. If you remove the Spirit, you remove the keystone; the vault breaks up, the stones come apart and the whole building collapses.
The Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, is the keystone that keeps the covenant. Every stone in the building has its place; every stone in a course is supported by stones from beneath, and supported on its side by stones, which it also supports. Above it, are stones that it supports. Every stone is cut to fill its place. The stone missing from a building not only leaves an empty space in its place, but offers room for rain, air, dust, and wind as well. Do not leave a space between one stone and another, for this will weaken the building. Do not leave sand between one stone and another either, for the rain will intensify and snow will accumulate, causing the sand to slip and the building to fall apart. It is the power of the Spirit that holds the stones of the building together and not the sand, which glues them together.
Remain firm in the building of the Lord. Persevere in building up the kingdom and be living stones in the Lord’s temple. The stone that is not in the Lord’s temple remains a stone in a pile of other stones; it has volume but no shape, place or role, just a stone thrown in a pile of stones.
Surrender yourself into the hands of the Lord, the wise builder. Let Him smooth and carve you, let Him remove excess from you and complete in you what you lack, let the Lord give you the shape, the size, and place. Whether you are destined to be a large stone or a small one, you have your place and you were hewn to its size.
Let the Lord build you and then you will take your place in the course. Do not put yourself in the place that attracts you: if you take a place bigger than your place, you will protrude and disjoint the whole wall. If you take a place smaller than the place prepared for you, there will be an empty space around you. Fill your place, sustain what is above you, support those around you, and lean on the one carrying you. Christ bears all and the Spirit brings you together and guides you.