Our Gaze Penetrates the Heights

From the “First Letter to the Church in Corinth,” 36 (ca. 96)

My dear friends, Jesus Christ is our salvation; he is the high priest through whom we present our offerings and the protector who supports us in our weakness. Through him our gaze penetrates the heights of heaven and we see, as in a mirror, the most holy face of God. Through him the eyes of our heart are opened, and our weak and clouded understanding unfolds like a flower toward the light. Through him the Lord God willed that we should taste the wisdom of eternity. For Christ is the radiance of God’s glory, and as much greater than the angels as the name God has given him is superior to theirs.

So then, let us do battle with all our might under his unerring leadership. Think of the soldiers serving under our military commanders in the field. How well disciplined they are! How readily and submissively they carry out their orders! Not everyone can be a prefect, a tribune, a centurion, or a captain; but each rank executes the orders of the emperor and their commanding officer. The great cannot exist without those of humble condition, nor can those of humble condition exist without the great.

Every organism is composed of different elements; and this ensures its own good. Take our body as an example: the head is helpless without the feet; and the feet can do nothing without the head. Even our least important members are useful and necessary to the whole body, and all work together for its well-being in a common subordination, with the result that the body remains intact.

Let us, then, preserve the unity of the body that we form in Christ Jesus, and let all give their neighbors the respect to which their particular gifts entitle them.

St, Clement of Rome (ca. 35-99) was one of the earliest Bishops of Rome, the author of one of the earliest post-Biblical Christian text, a letter to the church in Corinth, which aimed to settle a dispute caused by the deposition of several of the church’s presbyters. He was martyred during the persecution of Trajan.

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