1 March – Choose Life (Clement of Alexandra)
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-20
Excerpt from Clement of Alexandria
…as true children of the light, let us raise our eyes and look on the light, lest the Lord discover us to be spurious, as the sun does the eagles. Let us therefore repent, and pass from ignorance to knowledge, from foolishness to wisdom, from licentiousness to self-restraint, from unrighteousness to righteousness, from godlessness to God.
It is an enterprise of noble daring to take our way to God; and the enjoyment of many other good things is within the reach of the lovers of righteousness, who pursue eternal life, specially those things to which God Himself alludes, speaking by Isaiah: “There is an inheritance for those who serve the LORD.” Noble and desirable is this inheritance: not gold, not silver, not raiment, which the moth assails, and things of earth which are assailed by the robber, whose eye is dazzled by worldly wealth; but it is that treasure of salvation to which we must hasten, by becoming lovers of the Word. Thence praise-worthy works descend to us, and fly with us on the wing of truth.
This is the inheritance with which the eternal covenant of God invests us, conveying the everlasting gift of grace; and thus our loving Father—the true Father—ceases not to exhort, admonish, train, love us. For He ceases not to save, and advises the best course: “Become righteous,” says the Lord. You that thirst, come to the water; and you that have no money, come, and buy and drink without money. He invites to the laver, to salvation, to illumination, all but crying out and saying, The land I give thee, and the sea, my child, and heaven too; and all the living creatures in them I freely bestow upon thee. Only, O child, thirst for your Father; God shall be revealed to you without price; the truth is not made merchandise of. He gives you all creatures that fly and swim, and those on the land. These the Father has created for your thankful enjoyment.
What the bastard, who is a son of perdition, foredoomed to be the slave of mammon, has to buy for money, He assigns to you as your own, even to His own son who loves the Father; for whose sake He still works, and to whom alone He promises, saying, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity,” for it is not destined to corruption. “For the whole land is mine;” and it is yours too, if you receive God.
Wherefore the Scripture, as might have been expected, proclaims good news to those who have believed. “The saints of the Lord shall inherit the glory of God and His power.” What glory, tell me, O blessed One, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man;” and “they shall be glad in the kingdom of their Lord for ever and ever! Amen.”
You have, O [people], the divine promise of grace; you have heard, on the other hand, the threatening of punishment: by these the Lord saves, teaching men by fear and grace. Why do we delay? Why do we not shun the punishment? Why do we not receive the free gift? Why, [in conclusion], do we not choose the better part, God instead of the evil one, and prefer wisdom to idolatry, and take life in exchange for death? “Behold,” He says, “I have set before your face death and life.” The Lord tries you, that “you may choose life.”