Lent VI Monday – Proverbs 19: 16 – 25

The Beginning of Wisdom 

The Lenten Readings from Proverbs 

Lent VI Monday – Proverbs 19: 16 – 25

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My son: He that keeps the commandment keeps his own soul; but he that despises his ways shall perish. 17 He that has pity on the poor lends to the Lord; and he will recompense to him according to his gift. 18 Chasten thy son, for so he shall be hopeful; and be not exalted in thy soul to haughtiness. 19 A malicious man shall be severely punished, and if he commit injury, he shall also lose his life.  20 Hear, son, the instruction of thy father, that thou mayest be wise at thy latter end. 21 There are many thoughts in a man’s heart; but the counsel of the Lord abides for ever. 22 Mercy is a fruit to a man: and a poor man is better than a rich liar. 23 The fear of the Lord is life to a man: and he shall lodge without fear in places where knowledge is not seen. 24 He that unjustly hides his hands in his bosom, will not even bring them up to his mouth. 25 When a pestilent character is scourged, a simple man is made wiser: and if thou reprove a wise man, he will understand discretion. 

“There are many thoughts in a man’s heart” – If one kept a careful journal of all the thoughts he had in the course of the day, how many of them would be true, good, and beautiful thoughts, full of wisdom and usefulness to the soul and the body?   It would be revealing, indeed, if one were to try such an experiment.  We know that the ultimate issues of life are decided in the heart:  keeping that in mind, the evidence of such a one day journal would probably convict us of the need to change what we think about. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Sermon on the Mount in chapters five through seven of St. Matthew, revealed to man a new standard for the God-pleasing life, based on purity of heart:  If a man, for example, is only angry at his brother, he has murdered him.  If he merely indulges in a carnal thought, he has in fact committed adultery.   This far surpasses the merely outward discipline of the Old Testament, or, rather, it reveals the true meaning of the Old Testament, which in fact did not give a merely outward code but also contained many passages in which the Lord called upon His children to “rend your heart and not your garments (Joel 2:13) .”  “My son,” the Lord says in the person of wise Solomon, “give me thine heart (Proverbs 23:26).” “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might (Deuteronomy 6:5).”  Our Lord Himself said that He had come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.   All that His Holy Apostles did indeed abrogate at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) were those rituals and ordinances which had been given for a limited time, for man’s instruction before the coming of Christ, which did not constitute the essence of the Law but only contained types and figures of that essence.   The essence lies in purity of heart.  

As we begin the last week of Great Lent, let us resolve to govern our thoughts more attentively with the constant use of the Jesus Prayer, at our waking, at our rising, throughout our day, and into the night.    The all-powerful divine energies imparted to the human name of Jesus in the hypostatic union, descending into the depths of the heart, will cleanse the Augean stable of our countless unhappy and impure thoughts, making it a cleansed and shining home for the One who was born in a stable and laid in a manger, Who came to suffer for us and to save us.  

To Him be the glory with the Father and the Spirit, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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