"BE IMITATORS OF ME"
"Brethren, be imitators of me.
And mark them which so walk even as ye have us for an example."
And "beware of dogs." From such, Paul leads us away and
rightly leads to those whom we ought to imitate.
"Imitate me. . ." for not by words alone did
he teach but also by deeds. Imitation creates order, order is
dissolved by sedition.
The apostles were an archetype model.
Their life was compete and accurate; their life was an example and
the living law. What was in their writings was manifested in
all their actions. This is the best manner of teaching.
A philosopher speaks, but his actions are lacking or contrary.
Apostles teach with their lips and lead with their lives.
Because of this, the teacher is reverenced and the disciples easily
yield to obedience.
The philosopher speaks; the listeners say he
commands impossibilities, and the best proof is the speaker who
preaches but does not practice. If good teachers are lacking,
then look at Him who said: "They shall all be taught by God."
"Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Look at the
disciples and saints. See how one became holy in riches while
another, in poverty. Choose whatever is easier; just be
certain it leads to God. Another became holy through marriage,
others through virginity. John shined through fasting, while
Job, without fasting.
On the other hand, Samson was lost in
marriage, Dives was lost in riches. But it was not marriage
that destroyed Samson nor riches, Dives; they were both destroyed by
their own choices.
Captivity did not harm Joseph, Daniel, the
three young men and St. Paul. Lazarus, Job and Timothy were
sick, but this did not harm them.
Let the soul be noble and nothing can hinder
it from being virtuous. An artist is an artist whether in
riches or in poverty; thus, too, the virtuous man who is devoted to
God. The apostles worked in every state; Paul knew how to work
in abundance, in want, in hunger and in death.
"For many walked with us; but they are now
enemies of Christ, whose end is perdition, whose god is their belly,
whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things."
Nothing is so incongruous and foreign to the
Christian character as to seek ease and rest; and to be engrossed
with the present life is foreign to his profession and enlistment.
Christ was crucified and we live in ease; His hands were pierced
with nails and we live delicately. Many have made a pretense
of Christianity, yet have lived in ease and luxury.
"Take up thy cross. . ." means to be
prepared to fight and die in doing good. Do not wait for
someone to crucify you; crucify yourselves, because the cross has
done and will do much good. The lovers of life, the lovers of
the body, the friends of luxury are the enemies of the cross.
Such need lamentation because their god is their belly. They
boast of things of which they ought to be ashamed. To do evil
and be ashamed of it is natural; but to boast of what one must be
ashamed of is excessive senselessness.
These are the earthly minded: those
who say, "Let us build homes on earth, let us purchase farms on
earth, let us obtain power on earth, let us enrich ourselves on
earth." Because all their possessions are here, so their minds
are also on earth.
John Chrysostom, "On Phil."