Friday, June 17, 2011

Saint Gregory the Theologian To His Own Soul

You have a job to do, soul, and a great one, if you
like: examine yourself, what it is you are and how
you act, where you come from, and where you’re going
to end, and whether to live is this very life you’re living,
or something else besides.

You have a job to do, soul; by these things
cleanse your life. Make me to know God and God’s
mysteries. What was there before this universe, and
why is this universe here for you? Where has it come
from, and where is it going?

You have a job to do, soul, by these things
cleanse your life. How does God guide and turn the
universe: or why are some things permanent, while
other things flow away, and us especially, in this
changing life?

You have a job to do, soul: look to God alone.
What was my former glory, what is this present arrogance?
What will be my crown, and what the end of my
life? Of these things inform me, and check the mind
from wandering.

A job you have to do, soul: lest you suffer in
deep trouble.

Poem 2.1.78, Ad Suam Animam (PG 37, 1425-1426)
(On God and Man: The Theological Poetry of St Gregory of Nazianzus,
Trans. P. Gilbert, SVS Press, 2001)

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