Holy Week…

…and we wave goodbye to the Wisconsin Poet, who goes back to the bosom of his family. But before he leaves, one last excerpt from his book of Ancient Christian Writers. Here, from the Epistle to Diognetus, is a passage that I find rather beautiful:

“Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind by either country, speech, or customs; the fact is, they nowhere settle in cities of their own; they use no peculiar language; they cultivate no eccentric mode of life. Certainly, this creed of theirs is no discovery due to some fancy or speculation of inquisitive men; nor do they, as some do, champion a doctrine of human origin. Yet while they dwell in both Greek and non-Greek cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and conform to the customs of the country in dress, food, and mode of life in general, the whole tenor of their way of living stamps it as worthy of admiration and admittedly extraordinary. They reside in their respective countries, but only as aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their home, and every home a foreign land.

“They marry like all others and beget children; but they do not expose their offspring. Their board they spread for all, but not their bed. They find themselves in the flesh, but do not life according to the flesh. They spend their days on earth, but hold citizenship in heaven. They obey the established laws, but in their private lives they rise above the laws.

“They love all men, but are persecuted by all. They are unknown, yet are condemned; they are put to death, but it is life that they receive. They are poor, and enrich many; destitute of everything, they abound in everything. They are dishonored, and their dishonor is their glory. They are calumnated, and are vindicated. They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted and render honor. Doing good, they are penalized as evildoers; when penalized, they rejoice because they are quickened into life. The Jews make war on them as foreigners; the Greeks persecute them; and those who hate them are at a loss to explain their hatred.”

Comments

  1. Cubeland Mystic says

    “They reside in their respective countries, but only as aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their home, and every home a foreign land.”

    The entire passage is indeed beautiful, thanks for posting it. The above snippet is most poignant to me.

  2. Matthew Lickona says

    You’re most welcome. That’s the one that got me, too.

  3. To cubeland mystic,

    I finally got around to responding to our February debate. (I’ve been sick.) Just wanted to let you know.

    “Mrs. Anonymous.”

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