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Humility and Spiritual Simplicity: Excerpts From “Leaves from St. John Chrysostom” by Saint John Chrysostom (vegetarian), Part 2 of 2

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In these passages, Lord Jesus Christ (vegetarian) teaches us the value of meekness, humility, and simplicity on our spiritual journey towards the kingdom of Heaven.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, then, is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven? The disciples had a human feeling, this is why the Evangelist lays special stress upon it, saying, at that time—that is, when He had singled out Peter for special honor. For in the case of James and John one was the first-born, but He did nothing of the kind for them. As, then, they are ashamed to own to their annoyance, they do not say openly: ‘Why have Thou honored Peter more than us?’ or, ‘Is he greater than we?’ they would not say this, but ask indefinitely: Who is the greater? […]

Now, what does Christ say? He reveals their conscience to them, and answers this feeling rather than their mere words. Calling unto Him a little child, He said: Unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. ‘You, indeed, enquire who is the greater, and dispute about the first places; I tell you that he who has not become meeker than all the rest is not worthy even to enter into that kingdom.’ And He brings the example before them in a beautiful way; and not only does He bring it before them, but He sets the child in the midst of them, admonishing them by the sight, and urging them to be both humble and unaffected. For a child is free from envy and from vainglory, and from the love of the first places, and he possesses the greatest virtue—simplicity, and unaffectedness and humility. It is not sufficient to have courage and prudence, but this virtue also: I mean humility and simplicity. For with the greatest, our salvation will be at fault, if we have not these. […]

He adds this further exhortation, saying: He who shall receive one of these children in My name receives Me. ‘Not only if you have become like to them shall you have a great reward, but also if you honor those like them for My sake, I will give you a kingdom as a reward for your honor of them.’ He says, indeed, more than this in the words receives Me. Thus, ardently am I to desire meekness and unaffectedness. Hence, He calls men who are thus simple and humble, and cast off by the multitude, and despised, children.”
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