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Proper 16 + Tuesday

A reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians by Clement, Bishop of Rome [c. 100]

Beloved, see what a marvelous thing love is, its perfection is beyond our expression.  Who can truly love save those to whom God grants it?  We ought to beg and beseech him in his mercy that our love may be genuine, unmarred by any too human inclination.  From Adam down to the present time all generations have passed away; but those who were perfected in love by God’s grace have a place among the saints who will be revealed when the kingdom of Christ comes to us.  As it is written: ‘Enter your chambers for a little while, until my wrath and anger pass away; and I shall remember a good day and raise you from your graves.’  We are blessed, beloved, if we fulfill the commands of the Lord in harmonious, loving union, so that through love our sins may be forgiven.  For it is written: ‘Blessed are those whose transgression are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one to whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and in whose mouth there is no deceit.’  This is the blessing that has been given to those who have been chosen by God through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever.

We should pry then that we may be granted forgiveness for our sins and for whatever we may have done when led astray by our adversary’s servants.  And as for those who were the leaders of the schism and the sedition, they too should look to the common hope.  For those who live in pious fear and in love are willing to endure torment rather than have their neighbor suffer; and they more willingly suffer their own condemnation than the loss of that harmony that has been so nobly and righteously handed down to us.  For it is better to confess one’s sins that to harden one’s heart.

Who then among you is generous, who is compassionate, who is filled with love?  You should speak out as follows: If I have been the cause of sedition, conflict, and schisms, then I shall depart; I shall go away wherever you wish, and I shall do what the community wants, if only the flock of Christ live in peace with the presbyters who are set over them.  Whoever acts thus would win great glory in Christ, and would be received everywhere, ‘for the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.’  Thus have they acted in the past and will continue to act in the future who live without regret as citizens in the city of God.

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Peace be with you.

+ OD

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