Asterius of Amasea reminds us that our lives really belong only to God. The things we think of as permanently ours will pass to dozens of other people after us, but God alone has eternal life to give us.
You possess an estate, having either inherited it from your fathers, or obtained it by some exchange. So call up in memory and count over, if you can, all who have occupied it before you. And direct your mind also to the time to come, and think how many are to occupy it after you. Then tell me who owns it, and to whom does it especially belong— those who have had it, or those who now have it, or those who in the future are to have it? For if some one should in some way or other call them all together, the owners would be found more numerous than the clods.
Try to remember whether sometime in the summer, while traveling, you have seen a flourishing tree extending far enough in breadth and height to serve with its shadow the purpose of a shelter. You were glad to come under its shade, and there you remained as long as possible. And when it was necessary to move on, even as you were thinking of setting off again, another wayfarer appeared. And you took up your luggage while he laid his down and appropriated all your conveniences—the bed of leaves, the fire, the shade of the tree, the water flowing by. And he began to recline and rest, while you resumed your walk. He, too, enjoyed the place and then left it. And that one tree was, in a single day, the temporary lodging-place for perhaps ten strangers. And that which was enjoyed by all belonged to but one owner.
Thus also the abundance of our life here delights and supports many, while it belongs to God alone, who has imperishable and indestructible life.
–Asterius of Amasea, Sermon 2
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
How can I reach the right balance in my own life between taking care of business and remembering that earthly life is transitory?
Lord, let me not be afraid or disturbed when the time comes for my soul to leave my body, but let the Enemy find nothing that he can call his own in me.
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