Wisdom, Growing in purity of Heart

Sometimes I get lost in The Office of Reading, Morning Prayer and the Mass Readings. Sometimes I have the time to be contemplative.

Today wasn’t one of those days. But all of these jumped out at me, and I ended up jotting them down here.

They speak so beautifully to the heart when we try to grow in wisdom, and in grace.

wisdom of solomon
None of us are perfect; and life is complex and at times tragic. That’s where wisdom can be found at times. Acknowledging the struggles in life, and developing authentic character, tried in the forges of life trials.

These verses speak for themselves, and point us towards the path of righteousness, humility and holiness:

“A good name is better than good ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. … For that is the end of every man, and the living should take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because when the face is sad, the heart grows wiser. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Eccliesiastes, 6:13-14.

“Do not in spirit become quickly discontented, for discontent lodges in the heart of a fool.”

‘For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.”

“Do not give heed to every word that is spoken lest you hear your servant speak ill of you, for you know in your heart that you have many times spoken ill of others.”

“What exists is far reaching; it is deep, very deep: who can find it out? I turned my thoughts toward knowledge; I sought and pursued wisdom and reason, and I recognized that wickedness is foolishness and folly is madness.”

From the responsory: “Who can say: My heart is pure; I am not a sinner? There is no living man so holy who does good and never sins. If we claim to be sinless we deceive ourselves; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive us.”
St. Columban
From an instruction by Saint Columban, abbot: “Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by faith that comes from simplicity of heart, not from the learned speculations of the unrighteous.

If you search by means of discussions for the God who cannot be defined by words, he will depart further from you than he was before. If you search for him by faith, wisdom will stand where wisdom lives, at the gates. Where wisdom is, wisdom will be seen, at least in part. But wisdom is also to some extent truly attained when the invisible God is the object of faith, in a way beyond our understanding, for we must believe in God, invisible as he is, though he is partially seen by a heart that is pure.”

From the readings for Mass:

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

El Greco, the Baptism of the Lord

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.

Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

Lord Jesus, help me to overcome sin in my life. Help me to overcome weakness, and to strive for the perfection of my life with your grace. Amen.

The Rev. Kenneth Allen