Being strangers to the world. (All Saints)

Dearest all.

Something to consider as we celebrate the witness of all the Saints who were strangers to this world; and the call to follow their example of virtue.

“The first virtue, yea the whole of virtue, is to be a stranger to this world, and a sojourner, and to have nothing in common with things here, but to hang loose from them, as from things strange to us; As those blessed disciples (and we can add, all the Saints- ed) did, of whom he says, “They wandered about in sheepskins, and in goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented: of whom the world was not worthy.”

They called themselves therefore “strangers”; but Paul said somewhat much beyond this: for not merely did he call himself a stranger, but said that he was dead to the world, and that the world was dead to him. “For the world” (he says) “has been crucified to me and I to the world.” ( Gal. vi. 14.) But we… quite alive, busy ourselves about everything here as citizens. And what righteous men were to the world, “strangers” and “dead,” that we are to Heaven. And what they were to Heaven, alive and acting as citizens, that we are to the world. Wherefore we are dead, because we have refused that which is truly life, and have chosen this which is but for a time…Let us also, my beloved, become “strangers”; that God may “not be ashamed of us”; that He may not be ashamed, and deliver us up to Hell…

What shall we do then that we may be saved? Let us begin the practice of virtue, as we have opportunity: let us portion out the virtues to ourselves, as laborers do their work; in this month let us master evil-speaking, injuriousness, unjust anger; and let us lay down a law for ourselves, and say, Today let us set this right. Again, in this month let us school ourselves in forbearance, and in another, in some other virtue: And when we have got into the habit of this virtue let us go to another, just as in the things we learn at school, guarding what is already gained, and acquiring others…”

St. John Chrysotom Homily XXIV. Hebrews xi. 13–16

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