I forget where I read it today, but someone quoted Hebrews 2.14-15:
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.
Suddenly, I understood that italic section above, verse 15. I don’t know why I didn’t grasp it before, as it seems so obvious (and probably is to everyone else!). It really was something of a revelation to me. Here’s what came to mind.
We often live our lives doing all kinds of strange things, sinful things most of them, because we are afraid of death, trying to get in as much “life” as possible. These sinful practices are a kind of bondage in themselves, which is something repeatedly emphasized throughout the writings of the Church Fathers. Ironically, this grasping at life so-called is really only grasping at death, which is the wages of sin, as we’re told elsewhere. Not only does the poor person, inspired in these things by the evil one, think he’s avoiding a kind of death through non-indulgence of some compulsion or other while actually piling on more and more death, but also all this, without the intervention of repentance, keeps that person from the necessary preparation for an eternity of life in joy in the presence of God.
The author of Hebrews, whoever that was, had a deep understanding of what we now call psychology. The therapy anonymously prescribed is redemption and sanctification, resulting in the transfer of the prisoner from the dank, reeking dungeons of the evil one to the wards, peaceful and sunlit, of the hospital where all patients are healed: the Church, the Body of Christ.
Save us all, O Lord our Physician!