In a vision, the Shepherd tells Hermas that you can’t tell the righteous from the sinners by looking at them. In this life, we’re all like trees in the winter: who can tell which are living and which are dead?
He showed me many trees that had no leaves; they were withered, and they all looked alike to me.
And he said to me, “Do you see these trees?”
“I see, sir, that they are all alike, and all withered,” I replied.
“These trees that you see,” he answered, “are those who dwell in this world.”
“Then why are they withered,” I said, “and why do they all look alike?”
“Because,” he said, “neither the righteous nor sinners are obvious in this life. They are all alike. For this life is a winter to the righteous, and they do not show themselves, because they live with sinners. Just as, in the winter, the trees that have lost their leaves are all alike, and we can’t see which are dead and which are living, so in this world neither the righteous nor the sinners show themselves, but they all look alike.”
–Hermas, Similitude 3
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
How much do I judge people by their appearances?
Do I treat people differently because of those judgments?
Lord, I pray for all those who bear fruit, and labor honorably for your Church, which remembers the poor, the widows and orphans, strangers and those in need.
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