Monday, June 22, 2015

St. John Chrysostom: Living With Security



"Living With Security"

Commentary on Matthew 7:24-27

Whereas his teaching has up to now largely focused on the future kingdom, its unspeakable rewards and its consolations, now he shifts his focus to the present life, its current fruits and how great is the strength of virtue within it. What then is its strength? It is living with security, not being easily overcome by any of life’s terrors and standing above all those who treat others maliciously. What could be as good as this? For not even the one who wears the royal crown would be able to furnish this for himself. 

But one who pursues the way of excellence can have this stability, for that one alone is possessed of this equilibrium in full abundance. In the crashing surf of the present circumstances such a one experiences a calm sea. This is amazing. It is when the storm is violent, the upheaval great and the temptations continual that such a person is not shaken in the slightest. This is not a way of living that applies to fair weather only. For he says, “The rain came down, the floods came, the winds blew, and they beat against that house. And it did not fall because it was founded upon the rock.” 

 In referring to rain, floods and winds, Jesus is speaking about all those human circumstances and misfortunes, such as false accusations, plots, bereavements, deaths, loss of family members, insults from others, and all the horrid things in life about which one could speak. Jesus says that a soul that pursues the way of excellence does not give in to any of these potential disasters. And the cause of this is that this soul has been founded upon the rock. 

 Now “rock” refers to the reliability of Jesus’ teaching. For his commands are stronger than any rock. They place one quite above all the human waves of life. For the one who guards these commands with care will excel not only over human beings when treated maliciously but even over the demons themselves in their plots. – St. John ChrysostomThe Gospel of Matthew, Homily 24.2 


Source: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament Ia: Matthew 1-13, edited by Manlio Simonetti (InterVarsity Press, 2001), pp. 156-157.

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