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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

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