St. Anthony – Wisdom is a Hard Won Virtue

st. antony the greatWisdom is a hard won virtue. But the valuable lessons earned are absolutely filled with life and peace! Notice a section of our readings from Proverbs this morning: “The simple believes everything, but the prudent looks where he is going. A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool throws off restraint and is careless. A man of quick temper acts foolishly, but a man of discretion …is patient. The simple acquire folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” Proverbs 14:15-18 The writer of these Proverbs “bookends” his insight with “the simple.” Here, he is referring to those who haven’t yet acquired wisdom, and all his observations deal directly with the results of behavior. It is a powerful insight from the Fathers of the Church that the cares of life, the events of our lives, and the challenges of our lives, all work to reveal our true selves to us and to the world. Of course God already knows every detail of your motivations, your actions, and your attitude, so these revelations aren’t for Him, but for you. When the pressure is on my true self comes to the forefront. All my insecurities, my fears, my self-defense rush to the front of my life and give me valuable information about my own heart. It is a mark of wisdom that a person, rather than regretting and fearing these important revelations, takes the time to really “see” these aspects of his true self and allows the abundant grace of God to begin healing and transforming all these areas of his life that are unlike Christ. A wise man doesn’t despise or fear the Light being shined on his own heart. As we quoted yesterday, St. Anthony declared  “Who does not know himself cannot know God.” So, the power of the Good News of the faith takes the sting from difficult circumstances in your life by encouraging you to see these very same hard times as opportunities of self-revelation for your salvation. As St. Paul declares “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…” Romans 8:28 Today, instead of reacting (or over reacting) to troubles, frustrations, and difficulties in your life; take a deep breath. Stop. Whisper the Jesus Prayer, and invite the Holy Spirit  to give you the wisdom to look at your own heart and learn such valuable truths about your own self. Then offer these fears, brokenness, and spiritual needs to the Lord Who only wishes you to know yourself so well that He can transform every aspect of your life to set you truly free. This is the value of Great Lent, that it affords us so many opportunities to get wisdom! Today, let us become wise.

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