HOMILY 11

On the theme that it is necessary to place great store by virtue and to imitate the saints, who while being of the same nature as ourselves live up to its precise obligations; and that sloth on our part will have no excuse.

I AM AWARE THAT in these past days I have challenged your thinking with some quite profound notions, (91a) hence today I intend to put to you a simpler instruction. You see, just as the body wasted by fasting needs a slight respite so that once more to the same degree it may gird itself for the rigors of fasting at the prompting of a renewed enthusiasm, so too the soul needs to stop and rest. After all, you can't always be straining or always resting; instead, you must do one at this time, the other at that time, and in this fashion regulate the condition of the soul and the impulses of the body. I mean, just as unremitting tension leads to wearing out through effort and to collapse, so, too, constant resting brings on sloth. You could see this happening in the case both of the soul and of the body. Accordingly, moderation in all things is excellent.1.

(2) This very thing the God of all teaches us, even through the very creatures he produced for our sustenance. (91B) To help you grasp this, let us take the example of the day and the night--I mean light and darkness. You see, when he determined the day for the labor of the human race, on the one hand, and, on the other, the dark of night for their rest and pause from toil, he set measures and limits to each, with the result that we all enjoy the benefit from this arrangement. As

____________________
1.
A lesson learnt by bitter experience in Chrysostom's case, as we have seen (cf. Homily 10, note 6).

-143-

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Homilies on Genesis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Select Bibliography vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Homily 1 Homily on the Beginning of the Holy Season of Lent 20
  • Homily 2 29
  • Homily 3 39
  • Homily 4 51
  • Homily 5 66
  • Homily 6 77
  • Homily 7 91
  • Homily 8 105
  • Homily 9 117
  • Homily 10 127
  • Homily 11 143
  • Homily 12 156
  • Homily 13 169
  • Homily 14 180
  • Homily 15 194
  • Homily 16 207
  • Homily 17 222
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