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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Prayer for the Week

“O God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant us, we pray thee, to be grounded and settled in the truth, by the coming down of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. That which we know not…reveal; that which is wanting in us…fill up; that which we know…confirm, and keep up blameless in thy service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Clement

Prayer for the week

“Light of Light, and God of God, who did bow your holy heavens and descend to earth for the salvation of the world, out of your love of humanity; extend your almighty right hand, and send out your blessings on us all…Guide our steps into the paths of righteousness, that we may behave ourselves according to your will and observe your commandments and do them all the days of our life, and come to a blessed end and sing a ceaseless hymn with your saints to you, and your Father and your Holy Spirit. Amen.” – Liturgy of Dioscorus

Prayer for the Week

“O God, the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings and the bestower of affection, who sends peace to those who receive it, open to us this day the sea of your love, and water us with plenteous streams from the riches of your grace and from the most sweet springs of your benignity. Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen our weakness by your power; bind us closely to you and to each other in one firm and indissoluble bond of unity. Amen.” – from Syrian Clementine Liturgy

Prayer for the week

“Holy Father, we come before with you humble hearts, confessing our sins. We have chased after the vanities of the world and have wandered from our heart’s true home; and, forgetful of you, the living God, we have burned the incense of the soul before false gods that cannot deliver. Deal not with us as we deserve, but pardon our foolish and perverse ways. Of your clemency wash us clean from all sin, for no adversity shall harm us if no wickedness has dominion over us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – The Leonine Sacramentary