Lent IV Friday

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Lent IV Friday – Proverbs 14: 15-26

15 The simple believes every word: but the prudent man betakes himself to after-thought. 16 A wise man fears, and departs from evil; but the fool trusts in himself, and joins himself with the transgressor. 17 A passionate man acts inconsiderately; but a sensible man bears up under many things. 18 Fools shall have mischief for their portion; but the prudent shall take fast hold of understanding. 19 Evil men shall fall before the good; and the ungodly shall attend at the gates of the righteous. 20 Friends will hate poor friends; but the friends of the rich are many. 21 He that dishonours the needy sins: but he that has pity on the poor is most blessed. 22 They that go astray devise evils: but the good devise mercy and truth. The framers of evil do not understand mercy and truth: but compassion and faithfulness are with the framers of good. 23 With every one who is careful there is abundance: but the pleasure-taking and indolent shall be in want. 24 A prudent man is the crown of the wise: but the occupation of fools is evil. 25 A faithful witness shall deliver a soul from evil: but a deceitful man kindles falsehoods. 26 In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and he leaves his children a support. 

The word “simple” in verse fifteen does not refer to the holy simplicity of the saint who believes in God without doubting and receives the Kingdom of God into his heart with the childlike innocence praised by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel. Here, rather, by a “simple” man the sacred author means a simpleton, a fool.  St. John Chrysostom, commenting on this verse, says briefly, “Surely it is typical of folly to believe everything.”  It is well said that someone who stops believing in the true God will believe anything else, no matter how ridiculous. Naïveté and credulity are not small sins in a grown man, for he is responsible for seeking the truth earnestly and praying for wisdom daily, in order to carry out with prudence the tasks assigned him in life by God. People today have forgotten – or have never been told – that they will answer to God for their culpable ignorance.   Those who refuse to undertake serious study about the most serious things – how to attain eternal happiness in the next life and  how to carry out the duties imposed on them by God in this life – will answer to God for the waste of the minds He gave them and the perversion of their wills that logically followed upon their ignorance. 

In order to have time and energy to study the sacred truths of our Faith, as well as serious works on secular topics, we have to stop wasting time distracting ourselves with silly things like sports, video entertainment, mindless chatter on social media, and all the nonsense on the Internet and television about current events.   Remember, the so-called news is not serious; it is theater cynically manufactured to retard your intellectual and moral development by trapping you in ignorance and gratifying your passions.  The pronouncements of high government officials and media “experts” are not even meant to be taken seriously:  they are theater scripts written by nihilists – that is, products of our universities – who do not believe in God and who believe themselves both wise and virtuous for denying the existence of the real, objectively knowable, and permanent essences of created things.  Thus nothing they say means anything, because they are unable to intend to say anything that means anything. The first step to wisdom would therefore be to refuse to discuss the Thing that everyone else began discussing instantly today when they were informed by such blind and hopeless idiots that This Thing is now the One Important Thing rather than That other One Important Thing they were discussing yesterday. 

Orthodox Christian, know your dignity!   Almighty God your Creator has given you a mind to use for the study of His truth, both His truth directly revealed in the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church, and His truth indirectly revealed through the created order of existing things that are the legitimate subjects of the arts and sciences.  Do not lower yourself by occupying your hours with the false, the trivial, the superficial, and the absurd. Our Lord Himself told us to be wise as serpents as well as innocent as doves.   St. Paul writes,  “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (I Corinthians 14:20).” 

O Christ our Lord, Thou Eternal Wisdom of the Father, enlighten our minds with Thy truth, govern our wills according to Thy goodness, and direct our desires to the love of all those good things that are pleasing to Thine Eternal Father, Who is glorified with Thee and Thine All-Holy Spirit unto the ages.  Amen. 

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