Wednesday in Holy Week
Today’s Lenten meditation includes several well-known verses from the Bible (I’m using the KJV here). This excerpt of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians contains the verse (7), “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” and the verse (13), “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” However, St. Paul provides additional advice to us who worry or have anxiety in our lives. He creates a framework or “lens” for how to focus our thoughts. Simply, he implies that if we want to live as Christians, we need to think as Christians.
In the following verse (8), St. Paul shows us a way to think by removing negative and unrealistic thoughts from our lives. He suggests we focus on, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” St. Paul is asking us to shift our focus to Jesus by moving toward the good and away from the bad. He crafts for us a “lens” of discernment.
Of course, St. Paul’s recommendation makes sense. Most of us know that we should lean towards the positive and away from the negative, towards the constructive and away from the destructive, and towards the healthy and away from unhealthy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where information hits us like a tsunami. Our ability to discern what is true, honest, and pure becomes more and more difficult. The level of worry and anxiety increases with every news story. As Christians, we know God is bigger than our problems, and St. Paul reminds us to turn to prayer to relieve our burden. He also tells us that to relieve our information confusion, look through the “lens” of whatever is “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.” This will guide us on what we watch, what we read, and with whom we converse. St. Paul’s teachings continually lead us towards Jesus.