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Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts

Thurs­day. [I Cor. 7:24–35; Matt. 15:12–21] Out of the heart pro­ceed evil thoughts. From whence in the heart? Their root lies in sin which lives with­in us, and their branch­ing out, mul­ti­ply­ing and par­tic­u­lar ap?pearance in each per­son come from that per­son­’s own will. What should one do? First, cut off all that comes from your will. This will be like some­one tear­ing off leaves from a tree, cut­ting off branch­es and twigs, and chop­ping the trunk almost to its roots. Then, do not allow new sprouts to come up, and the root it?self will dry up; that is, do not allow evil thoughts to pro­ceed from your heart, and repel and dri­ve off those that do, and the sin which lives in us, not receiv­ing sus­te­nance, will slack­en and com­plete­ly grow weak. In this lies the essence of the com?mandment: be sober, be vig­i­lant (1 Peter 5:8). Take heed unto thy­self (1 Tim. 4:6). Gird up the loins of thy mind 1 Peter 1:13.” Togeth­er with at?tentiveness one must have discern?ment. From the heart not only bad things pro­ceed, but also good things; yet, one should not ful­fil every good thing sug­gest­ed by the heart. What one should tru­ly ful­fil is deter­mined by dis­cern­ment. Dis­cern­ment is a gar­den­er’s knife; some branch­es it cuts off, while oth­ers it grafts in.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse