The death of self-will

Daily Reading for September 5 • The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

I heard his holy voice speaking to all without distinction. “He who does not leave father and mother and brothers and all that he possesses and take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” I learned from Scripture and from experience itself that the cross comes at the end for no other reason than that we must endure trials and tribulations and finally voluntary death itself. In times past, when heresies prevailed, many chose death through martyrdom and various tortures. Now, when we through the grace of Christ live in a time of profound and perfect peace, we learn for sure that cross and death consist in nothing else than the complete putting to death of self-will. He who pursues his own will, however slightly, will never be able to observe the law of Christ the Savior.

From the Discourses of Symeon the New Theologian, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament III, Luke, edited by Arthur A. Just, Jr. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003).

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