God Looks Into the Heart

"Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops." - Luke 12:3

Prayer: God, may my heart be pure and innocent, that I belong to You. If there be any impurities in me, blot them out. Help me to grow in my ability to love You and others. Amen.

God Looks Into the Heart

Our long and beautiful reading today helps us to see how God reveals the character of the heart, that nothing is hidden from Him and all will be revealed, even if sometimes not in this world, as is the case for Suzanna. Our story reveals the darkening effects of sin and wickedness and the triumph or purity of heart.

For the two elders, their story is one of hardness of heart and blindness. Scripture tells us, "When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments." For these men as they see beauty, their response is not of purity of heart. They lust for her, they seek their own purpose and it begins to consume them. We hear of them, next they suppressed their consciences. Thus continuing the darkening effect of sin. They don't look to heaven revealing how sin separates us from God. Hatred of God is an effect of lust. And in the plotting of their dark hearts their judgment is dimmed, even though they think themselves cleaver. What they have allowed into their hearts will be revealed to their condemnation. Daniel reveals that this lust, plotting and treachery is an ingrained habit for them, "This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness." This is the type of thing, the downward slope of sin and diminishment of the mind, is what we don't want to happen to our hearts, we want purity of heart.

Suzanna is a woman of virtue and purity. She is honorable and of right mind. Her virtue helps her to see that though she is trapped it is better to suffer the humiliation and injustice rather than commit sin. Her trust is in God and God harkens to her prayer. Suzanna prays, "O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” Suzanna knows that God knows her heart and can reveal its honor to others.

For Suzanna, she even grows in virtue as she suffers through this trial, and she is rewarded for her honor, virtue, and her purity of heart that trusted in God.

When we look to ourselves, where is our heart and what do we allow to grow?

Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4:23

May God richly bless you!

-Fr. Jeremy 


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