St.-Gregory-NazianzenThis is my fear, this day and night accompanies me, and will not let me breathe: on one side the glory, on the other the place of correction.

The former I long for till I can say, “My soul fainteth for Thy salvation” (Ps. 119:81). From the latter I shrink back shuddering.

Yet I am not afraid that this body of mine should utterly perish in dissolution and corruption.

Rather, I am afraid that the glorious creature of God (for glorious it is if upright, just as it is dishonourable if sinful) in which is reason, morality, and hope, should be condemned to the same dishonour as the brutes, and be no better after death….

Would that I might mortify my members that are upon the earth (Col. 3:5).

Would that I might spend my all upon the spirit, walking in the way that is narrow and trodden by few, not that which is broad and easy (Matt. 7:13).

For glorious and great are its consequences, and our hope is greater than our desert.

What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? (Ps. 8:5).  What is this new mystery which concerns me?

I am small and great, lowly and exalted, mortal and immortal, earthly and heavenly.

I share one condition with the lower world, the other with God; one with the flesh, the other with the spirit.

I must be buried with Christ, arise with Christ, be joint heir with Christ, become the son of God, yea, God Himself.

See whither our argument has carried us in its progress.  I almost own myself indebted to the disaster which has inspired me with such thoughts, and made me more enamoured of my departure hence.

This is the purpose of the great mystery for us.

This is the purpose for us of God, Who for us was made man and became poor (2 Cor. 8:9), to raise our flesh and recover His image (Luke 15:9; 1 Cor. 15:49), and remodel man (Col. 3:10).

He did this so that we might all be made one in Christ (Gal. 3:28), who was perfectly made in all of us all that He Himself is (1 Cor. 15:28);

that we might no longer be male and female, barbarian, Scythian, bond or free (Col. 3:1), which are badges of the flesh, but might bear in ourselves only the stamp of God.

By Him and for Him we were made (Rom. 11:36), and have so far received our form and model from Him, that we are recognized by it alone.

Gregory Nazianzen (c.330-390): Oration 7, 22-23 (Panegyric on His Brother S. Cæsarius).

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