Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Providence
The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. (Ecclesiastes 2:14).
Those who plunge themselves into Classical Greek literature - think Plato and his ilk - will be familiar with the trial of Socrates which took place in 399 BC. During his hearing, the philosopher uttered the words: “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Well, in fact he said “ὁ ... ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ” but only because he’d not had the benefit of a fine English education.
Two hundred years earlier, the prophet Jeremiah lamented the destruction of Jerusalem and urged the survivors: “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!” (Lamentation 3:40). Far from being mere introspection, what is in mind is a consideration of the heart. Are we living in ways consistent with our beliefs, let alone the will of God? In the end if your deeds do not match up with your values you become deeply conflicted. And then of course there is the danger of being branded a hypocrite.
The calling of God is a calling not only to believe certain things, but also to put them into practice. It is as these two aspects align themselves that true satisfaction is found. To walk out your faith is to find a path to contentment. It is also a deep witness to your faith - you are willing to put it into practice.
Others watch for our halting, therefore we had need look to our standing. We must beware, not only of scandals— but of all that is unfitting, lest thereby we open the mouth of others with a fresh cry against religion. If our piety will not convert men—our prudence may silence them. (Thomas Watson).