Solomon

The Way of Spiritual Compromise

By Fr. Chris Pietraszko | February 28, 2022

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women [...] from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.”

 
—1 Kings 11:1–3 (RSV-CE)
 
Solomon

The Way of Spiritual Compromise

By Fr. Chris Pietraszko | February 28, 2022

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women [...] from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.”

 
—1 Kings 11:1–3 (RSV-CE)
 
King Solomon is known for being the son of King David, and his name carries with it the connotation of peace.  He was able to build up peace in his reign, yet it did not end well with him.  He left the tribes of Israel in a state of division and idolatry that would only escalate after his death. It is a jarring thing for us to consider that any one man could have 700 wives, but it would be a failure on our part not to consider this behavior similar to a type of addiction and spiritual compromise.  There are all sorts of problems with Solomon’s actions here, but to focus on one, I’d like to briefly examine his failure to put God first.  Solomon, who was seeking peace with other nations, married these women of royal heritage in order to foster good relations with the nations outside of the elect.  One compromise after another adds up, and the heart of Solomon slowly faded away from a true worship of God.  In his seeking to please and build a worldly type of peace, he forgot to first pursue a peace that can only come from God. We could, I suppose, reflect here on the notion of true peace, and the worldly type God doesn’t command.  Rather, I would like to bring to light the phenomenon of moral and spiritual compromise that slowly erodes the faith away.  We only look so briefly at the beginning of Solomon’s rule and its end, yet should also recognize that there was a series of compromises taking place in the midst of these two points in his own personal history.  The same is true for each one of us.  We need to do a spiritual inventory from time to time of the little or perhaps big compromises that we have chosen, and ask ourselves:  how have they changed our love of God? This discernment should not be conflated with a type of rigid adherence to external behavior per se.  Rather, it is about an internal compromise, a sin that occurs within us.  Such compromises have the effect of turning our heart and mind away from God.  The sad thing is, the wisdom Solomon had in the beginning of his mission as King was lost, and he could not even recognize that it was lost.  A type of dark forgetfulness clouds his mind, as does all vice.  This descent into error begins often with small actions, small compromises. As we approach Lent, may our focus not only be on manifest areas of sin that we struggle to overcome.  May we also be focused on the little sins that add up and add to the force of these temptations.

Fr. Chris Pietraszko

Fr. Chris Pietraszko is a diocesan priest of the diocese of London in Ontario, Canada. His interests include teaching, fishing, and camping, and he has a particular fondness for the philosophy and spirituality of St. Thomas Aquinas.

1 Comment

  1. Maria Hutchings on 03/01/2022 at 6:00 PM

    I wish I was taught this 25 yrs ago. But, I realize God is always On Time to save us. I really needed this advice. My Lent will be most meaningful as I work on surrender & detachment from a few compromises.

    Outstanding article. Absolutely outstanding, most needed today.
    You are truly inspired by God to write this.

    Thank you so much for your love of God.

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