History relates that Moses, the servant of God, died at the Lord’s command and no one knew his burial place. His sight was not dimmed nor his face touched by decay.

We learn from this that after his many labours Moses was judged worthy of the exalted title, ‘Servant of God’, which is the same as saying that he was above all earthly concerns.

No one can serve God without rising above every worldly preoccupation.

This was also for him the consummation of his life of virtue, brought about by the word of God.

The history calls this death, but it was a death in which he still lives, for no burial followed it, no monument was built. It left his sight undimmed and his face untouched by corruption.

Moses had achieved the highest possible perfection. What more trustworthy witness of this could we find than the voice of God, which said to him: I have loved you more than all others.

Moses was called the friend of God by God himself.

Moreover, because he would rather have perished with all the people than have lived without them, he begged God by his favour toward himself to pardon those who had sinned.

He thus checked God’s anger against the Israelites, for God withdrew his condemnation so as not to grieve his friend.

All these things are clear evidence and proof that the life of Moses reached the summit of the mountain of perfection.

[…] It is time now for you, my generous friend, to study the model carefully.

The lessons we have learned from our spiritual contemplation of historical happenings you must apply to your own life, so that you may be loved by God and become his friend.

True perfection does not consist in abandoning a life of sin as a slave might for fear of punishment; nor in doing good in the hope of receiving a reward.

Expecting the virtuous life to yield a profit would be making it a matter of trade and commerce

[…] No, it seems to me that to be perfect we must look beyond even the hoped-for blessings which we have been promised are stored up for us.

Our only fear should be the loss of God’s friendship, and the only honour or pleasure we covet should be that of becoming God’s friend.

You can attain such perfection – and I know that you will attain it abundantly – if you raise your mind to the majesty of God.

The gain will surely be shared by all in Christ Jesus.

Gregory of Nyssa (c 335 – after 394): The Life of Moses, 2.313-14, 319-21 (Sources Chrétiennes 1:131-135); from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Saturday of the Second Week in Lent, Year 1