Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Contentedness Is a Gift of God

"I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live" [Ec 3:12].  These words recapitulate everything we have already said.  If the right use of what had been divinely created in time defines the good for human life, it is the one joy born from good works which endures among other beautiful things.  Observance of the commandments now imparts joy to our good works through hope; then the enjoyment of good things enlivens those persons worthy to receive their eternal hope.  As the Lord says to those who have done good, "Come, blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you" [Mt 25:34].  As food and drink sustain the body, so the soul must look to the good, a true gift of God on which we have fixed our eyes.  For such is the meaning of "It is God's gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil" [Ec 3:13].  Just as human nature obtains physical strength through eating and drinking, so the person who looks to the good (for the true good is He who is good alone) has the gift of God in all his labor.  This is nothing other than to always have our eyes fixed on the good which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power forever and ever.  Amen.

Gregory of Nyssa, Eighth Homily on Ecclesiastes

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