Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Labor Awaits You - Gregory of Nazianzus

Time has not allowed me space in this past week to prepare the third scene of my serialized verse play, "Thus Ends the World" (click these links if you'd like to read Scene 1 and Scene 2). I hope to have Scene 3 finished by next week; and in lieu of that, I offer a bit of verse from one of the great fathers of the early church, Gregory of Nazianzus:

Labor awaits you, soul, great labor,
if you would know yourself,
the what, the whither, and the whence,
the way of now behaving—
whether it should be as it is
or whether more is expected;
labor awaits you, soul, and a purer life.

If you would ponder on God and probe
      into his mysteries,
if you would know what was there before
the world and the world itself—
the source from which it came to you,
the end that will take it from you:
labor awaits you, soul, and a purer life.

If you would know how God guides
the helm of the world and the course he plots,
why he set some things like rocks in the sea
while others he left in flux—
why men most of all are caught in the stream
and the swirl of perpetual change:
labor awaits you, soul, and a purer life.

If you would show me my former glory,
the shame that has come to succeed it,
what binds me to this mortal life
and what my end will be—
if you would hold this light to my mind
and drive dark error from it:
labor awaits you, soul; may it not undo you.

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