The unknown author of this letter simply calls himself a “Mathetes,” a “disciple.” Here he tells a pagan friend that Christians are like the soul of the world.
To sum up: what the soul is to the body, that is what Christians are to the world.
The soul is scattered through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world.
The soul lives in the body but is not part of the body; the Christians live in the world but are not part of the world.
The invisible soul is guarded by the visible body; you see Christians in the world, but their godliness is invisible.
The flesh hates the soul and wars against it, though the soul’s preventing it from enjoying pleasures causes it no injury; the world hates the Christians, though Christians do not injure it in any way, because they renounce pleasures.
The soul loves the flesh and the members that hate it; Christians in the same way love those who hate them.
The soul is imprisoned in the body, yet preserves that same body; Christians are shut up in the world as if it were a prison, yet they are the preservers of the world.
The immortal soul lives in a mortal dwelling; Christians live in what is corruptible as though they were travelers, looking for an incorruptible home in heaven.
The soul becomes better when it is scantly supplied with food and drink; Christians likewise, though punished every day, grow ever more in number.
God has assigned them to this eminent position, and it would be improper for them to forsake it.
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
How well does this description fit me?
What could I do to make it fit me better?
Father, help me become a more perfect witness of your love, so that others may recognize in me the signs of your love and mercy, and gladly acknowledge you as their Father.
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