posted on Aug 27, 2010 - 06:42 AM
I’ve found that a lot of the passages from our Early Church Fathers are very helpful. I’ll try to post what I can in this thread, but if any of you have passages or excerpts from our Early Church Fathers that you would like to share, please post them in this thread. Also, please include the source where you got the passages or excerpts from, so if any of us are interested in reading more from that particular source, we’ll know what to look for.
What does it mean to be as wise as a serpent? When a serpent is attacked, it is willing to have much of its body severed, as long as it saves its head. So to be as wise as a serpent means to be willing to lose everything – your wealth, your reputation, your friends – as long as you save your faith. Your faith is your head, by which you learn all truth; and by that truth your soul is set free. We should, however, recognize that the wisdom of the serpent is not enough; we must be as honest and innocent as doves. Indeed it is the combination of wisdom and innocence that creates virtue. The person who is wise as a serpent can sustain the most terrible attacks and still continue to flourish as a disciple of Christ. The person who is innocent refuses to retaliate against those who make the attacks. To be as innocent as a dove means never to take revenge on those who wrong you or undermine you. Unless wisdom is tempered by innocence, one attack provokes another, and conflict continues without end. Unless innocence is tempered by wisdom, a person is so vulnerable that he will not even survive a single attack. Rest assured that no one can ever take away your faith; your wisdom guards against that. But be careful never to bear a grudge against anyone who does you wrong.
On Living Simply, The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom
Complied by Robert Van de Weyer