20 May 2006

Another Patristic quote for the Day

I'm too impatient. This one is such a joy; I just HAD to share it now:

Death, brothers, is the mistress of Despair, the mother of Unbelief, the sister of Corruption, the parent of hell, the wife of the devil, the queen of all evils, who is so insatiable and so deliberate in her attacks against the whole human race that she first sends ahead Despair to murmur and seduce on her behalf as follows. So Despair says: “O man, why are you wasting your time? Look, Death, your mistress is coming, and she is going to reduce your soul to nothing and consume your flesh with decay and your bones with aging, so as to make you, who did not exist before your birth, nonexistent after death. So, you who are about to die, do not delay to pay what you owe to the various stages in life before you die: spend your childhood in games, spend your adolescence in delights, spend your youth in pleasures, spend your old age with me, so that you will not image that you have no reason to have despaired of hope.”

After she sends her daughter Unbelief, who makes the following threats: “Are you thus disposing of your life as if you are not going to die, as if you will avoid death? O man, faith is deceiving you; you trust faith, which promises future blessings in order to take away present ones; and pledges that there are all sorts of unseen things after death, in order to remove the things that do exist before death. Who has come from there, or what wise person believes in things that have been promised for so long but never fulfilled? Oh, if only you would eat and drink! Eat and drink, for tomorrow you will die!”

Third, she directs Corruption, her sister in wickedness, with such fury that she assaults, lays hold of, and seizes what can be seen of human beings throughout their graves, and revealing her ultimate prisons she points out those who lie there bound and immobile, and in order to throw all the senses of the human being into turmoil with complete horror and complete fear, she oozes decay, she belches gore, she strews stenches, and she proclaims that she has supplied worms from herself as countless butchers to one human body.

Why should Christians not trust Despair or Unbelief? They are the way Death wages war; with these generals and with these tactics in a battle of this sort she captures, crushes and kills al those whom nature brings forth into the present life. She holds sway over kings, she conquers peoples, she routs nations. It has never been possible to bribe her with wealth, or to move her by entreaties, or to soften her by tears, or to conquer her by strength.

Brothers, how wrong those authors have been who have tried to write about the good of death. And what is so surprising about that? In this case the worldly-wise think that they are great and remarkable if they convince simple folks that the thing that is the greatest evil is the greatest good…. But these things, brothers, truth dispels, the Law banishes, faith attacks, the Apostle censures, and Christ blots out, who, while restoring the good that life is, discloses, condemns, and banishes the evil of death.

--St. Peter Chyrsologus, Sermon 118 pars. 3-6

[Corruption - anyone else think Shelob?]


Chaz said...

It's so exciting it took you two weeks to post it. :-P

William Weedon said...

Hey, I had to make up my mind whether or not to type out the whole thing. But I finally decided that it was too good not to share and wouldn't work breaking up in smaller pieces. I know. I should have just made the VICAR type it up! Now, why didn't I think of that?

Chaz said...

Buy the book, mark all the passages, and I'm sure your next vicar will be glad to scribe 'em. :-P

cheryl said...

Brings to mind Terri Shiavo.