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Chrysostom: “nothing can destroy such a strong building”

21 November 2016

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“A man decides to build a house. He digs down into the earth until he reaches solid rock, and then lays the foundations. He collects great lumps of stone, hews them into regular shapes, and puts them one on top of the other to make walls. He goes into the forest to chop down trees, which he saws into rafters for the roof. He digs out clay, and bakes it into tiles to put on the roof. At last his work is complete. He stands back and admires his achievement. ‘nothing can destroy such a strong building,’ he says to himself; ‘my house will last forever.’ Certainly such a man is skilled with his hands; but he is totally unskilled with his soul. Even if his house were to last forever, it is utterly irrelevant to him. He may be struck down by an accident or a disease within a few days. He may survive his full span, but as the breath leaves his body, his house will count for nothing. He might just as well have built himself a shelter from sticks and mud and used the time to concentrate on the salvation of his own soul”.

St John Chrysostom

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