Friday, January 29, 2010

high post

The letter to Diognetus (around 200)
§6 (trans.©Maxwell Staniforth; SC 33 bis, p.65)

Sown in the earth

The relation of Christians to the world is that of a soul to the body. As
the soul is diffused through every part of the body, so are Christians
through all the cities of the world. The soul, too, inhabits the body,
while at the same time forming no part of it; and Christians inhabit the
world, but they are not part of the world (Jn 17,16). The soul, invisible
herself, is immured within a visible body; so Christians can be recognized
in the world, but their Christianity itself remains hidden from the eye.
The flesh hates the soul, and wars against her without any provocation,
because she is an obstacle to its own self-indulgence; and the world
similarly hates the Christians without provocation, because they ate
opposed to its pleasures. All the same, the soul loves the flesh and all
its members, despite their hatred for her; and Christians, too, love those
who hate them. The soul, shut up inside the body, nevertheless
holds the body together; and though they are confined within the world as
in a dungeon, it is Christians who hold the world together. The soul, which
is immortal, must dwell in a mortal tabernacle; and Christians, as they
sojourn for a while in the midst of corruptibility here, look for
incorruptibility in the heavens (cf.1Cor 15,50)... Such is the high post of
duty in which God has placed them, and it is their moral duty not to shrink
from it.

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