Caesar’s Image versus God’s Image: An Ancient Reflection on Matthew 22

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“So let us always reflect the image of God in these ways:

I do not swell up with the arrogance of pride;

nor do I droop with the blush of anger;

nor do I succumb to the passion of avarice;

nor do I surrender myself to the ravishes of gluttony;

nor do I infect myself with the duplicity of hypocrisy;

nor do I contaminate myself with the filth of rioting;

nor do I grow flippant with the pretension of conceit;

nor do I grow enamored of the burden of heavy drinking;

nor do I alienate by the dissension of mutual admiration;

nor do I infect others with the biting of detraction;

nor do I grow conceited with the vanity of gossip.

Rather, instead, I will reflect the image of God in that I feed on love;

grow certain on faith and hope;

strengthen myself on the virtue of patience;

grow tranquil by humility;

grow beautiful by chastity;

am sober by abstention;

am made happy by tranquility;

and am ready for death by practicing hospitality.

It is with such inscriptions that God imprints his coins with an impression made neither by hammer nor by chisel but has formed them with his primary divine intention. For Caesar required his image on every coin, but God has chosen man, whom he has created, to reflect his glory.”

– Homily 42 from the Incomplete Work on Matthew

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