Dec. 7: “think about such things”

A thought worth passing along:

You don’t become holy by fighting evil. Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you. What makes a person saintly is love. — St. Porphyrios

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. A lesson I have still to learn. But I’m working on it! (Thanks Dick Bower for sharing this quote with me!)

And from my devotional reading this morning, other well-timed words from Psalm 37:

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

(Side-note: I still don’t think this means we ought to “just” pray and do nothing else – our prayer, if it is true prayer, should precede and encompass and empower right action, I believe – not lure us into a false sense of complacency that augments apathy. We need to “bear fruits worthy of repentance,” as John the Baptist, that great Advent Voice prophetically crying out in the wilderness, exhorted the people who came to hear him. I think the chief source of my frustration right now is people who call themselves Christians and apparently find this sufficient grounds to pronounce flippant, simple judgments and all and sundry, yet feel no compunction to do anything else about violence, and/or don’t really seem to care about the actual people victimized by violence at all – or to imagine in anyway that they themselves are absolutely capable, perhaps even guilty, of the exact same evil. This implicates myself as much as anyone else. Still – while John was the Voice crying such things out to “Broods of Vipers!” in the wilderness [see John 3:4-18], I also want to bear in mind that of Jesus it was said “He will not quarrel nor cry aloud; no one will hear his voice in the streets,” — and to further remember that this is still in the context of him, Jesus, bringing justice:

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is [Jesus] my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name [Jesus] the nations will put their hope.
–Matthew 12:17-21.)

And this from Philippians 4 – especially to remind me:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Come, oh COME!, Emmanuel! — our God who is with us. Come, O Prince of Peace. We await you.

And to close by returning to the beginning thought again – because it is true and excellent and beautiful and more, and thus worth repeating and meditating on:

You don’t become holy by fighting evil. Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you. What makes a person saintly is love. — St. Porphyrios

Think about such things.

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