Let us purify ourselves, brethren, through the martyrs; or rather, through him through whom they too were purified in blood and truth. Let us free ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit. Let us wash; let us become clean; you, let us present our very bodies and souls as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship and petition. For nothing is so precious to the pure as purity and purification. Let us enter the lists for the sake of the athletes; let us be victorious for the victors; let us witness to the truth for the witnesses. The contribution that we should make to their achievements is this, that we ourselves too win the crown of victory and claim as our inheritance the same glory that we have bestowed upon them here and that is reserved for them in heaven, of which the visible world around us is but a shallow hint and impress. Let us struggle against the principalities, against the powers, against lurking tyrants and persecutors, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places and among the celestial beings, against the war which goes on even within ourselves among the passions, against the daily onslaught of external events.
Let us handle our anger as if it were a ferocious beast and our tongue as a sharp sword, and let us extinguish our love of pleasure like a flame. Let us place shutters over our ears that can be duly opened and closed; and let us curb our roving eye; let us control our wanton touch and ravenous taste lest death come up into our windows (this means, I believe, our senses); and let us scorn inordinate laughter… Our one and only fear should be fearing anything more than God and in our wickedness defiling his image. Let us in all things take the shield of faith and let us deflect all the darts of the evil one.
St. Gregory Nazianzen
Leave a Reply