Monday, August 24, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Abba Dioscorus 2


If we wear our heavenly robe, we shall not be found naked, but if we are found not wearing this garment, what shall we do, brethren? We, even we also, shall hear the voice that says, "Cast them into outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." (Matt. 22:13) And, brethren, there will be great shame in store for us, if, after having worn this habit for so long, we are found in the hour of need not having put on the wedding garment. Oh what compunction will seize us! What darkness will fall upon us, in the presence of our fathers and our brethren, who will see us being tortured by the angels of punishment!

Some thoughts:

Vigilance. The Desert Christians were big on vigilance. There is this sense that salvation is something that they could lose no matter how hard they worked to earn it. I am reminded of the icon "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" which I was privileged to see in the Getty Museum when the icons from the monastery of St Catherine of the Sinai were on exhibit.

In our day, we stress the free gift of God's grace and that at any given moment, we are acceptable to God just as we are and He will love us. Episcopalians with a more catholic theology do not worry about losing their salvation although I suppose the more Reformed among us might.

Although as you, Gentle Reader, may have guessed, this particular Episcopalian does think we could recover the concept of vigilance and it would do us good. I don't believe we can lose our salvation. At the same time, though, I don't want to take mine for granted.


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