Friday, July 4, 2014

The way of innocence

This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden, under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see—brigands on the high roads, pirates on the seas; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; under all roofs misery and selfishness. It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet in the midst of it I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasures of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians—and I am one of them.

If you keep the way of innocence, the way of righteousness,
if you walk with a firm and steady step,
if, depending on God with your whole strength
and with your whole heart,
you only ‘be’ what you have begun to be,
then liberty and power to do is given you
in proportion to the increase of your spiritual grace.

For there is not, as in the case with earthly benefits,
any measure of stint in the dispensing of the heavenly gift.

The Spirit freely flowing forth is restrained by no limits,
is checked by no closed barriers within certain bounded spaces,
He flows perpetually, He is exuberant in His affluence.

Let our hearts only be athirst, and be ready to receive:
in the degree in which we bring to Him a capacious faith,
in that measure we draw from Him an overflowing grace.

Cyprian of Carthage (AD 208~258)

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