Sf-IoanCasianRenunciation is nothing but the evidence of the Cross and of mortification. And so you must know that to-day you are dead to this world and its deeds and desires, and that, as the Apostle says, you are crucified to this world and this world to you (see Gal. 6:14).

Consider therefore the demands of the Cross under the sacrament of which you ought henceforward to live in this life; because you no longer live but He lives in you who was crucified for you (see Gal. 2:20).

We must therefore pass our time in this life in that fashion and form in which He was crucified for us on the Cross.

In this way (as David says), piercing our flesh with the fear of the Lord (see Psalm 118:120), we may have all our wishes and desires not subservient to our own lusts but fastened to His mortification.

For so shall we fulfil the command of the Lord which says: “He that does not take up his Cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38).

But perhaps you will say: How can a man carry his Cross continually? Or how can anyone who is alive be crucified? Hear briefly how this is.

The fear of the Lord is our Cross.

One who is crucified no longer has the power of moving or turning his limbs in any direction as he pleases.

In the same way we also ought to affix our wishes and desires – not in accordance with what is pleasant and delightful to us now, but in accordance with the law of the Lord, where it constrains us.

And as he who is fastened to the wood of the Cross no longer considers things present, nor thinks about his likings.

Neither is he perplexed by anxiety and care for the morrow, nor disturbed by any desire of possession, nor inflamed by any pride or strife or rivalry.

He grieves not at present injuries, remembers not past ones, and, while he is still breathing in the body, considers that he is dead to all earthly things, sending the thoughts of his heart on before to that place whither he doubts not that he is shortly to come.

So we also, when crucified by the fear of the Lord ought to be dead indeed to all these things, i.e. not only to carnal vices but also to all earthly things.

We should have the eye of our minds fixed there whither we hope at each moment that we are soon to pass.

For in this way we can have all our desires and carnal affections mortified.

John Cassian (c. 360-435): Institutes 4,34-35.

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