For Septuagesima: John Chrysostom on the dangers of reprobation
Again from Faith and Life, here is an excerpt from John Chrysostom on the dangers of reprobation, where he is quoting the Epistle for the day – 1 Corinthians 9:24ff – and addresses the fact that the Apostle Paul himself thought about this:
IF one so great as Paul, who traversed the whole world as it were on wings, and became superior to corporeal needs, and was thought worthy to hear those “unspeakable words” which no other man has heard up to this day, could write, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway;” if, I say, he, who was deemed worthy of so much grace, after so many and such eminent good works needed to keep under and subjugate the unruliness of the body, and subject it to the authority of the soul, and to the excellence thereof (for a man keeps under what rises up against him, and brings into subjection what is restive), what must we say, who are devoid of all virtues, who are burdened with a load of sins, and, in addition, exhibit a great degree of indolence? For does this war admit of any truce? has it any fixed time for joining battle? We must be always wakeful and on the look-out, and never deem ourselves secure; for there is no set time for the onset of him who is at war with us and is ready to attack us. Let us therefore be always thoughtful, always anxious about our salvation; that so we too ourselves may be able to remain unconquered, and, having escaped the devices framed by the enemy, be counted worthy of the loving-kindness coming from God, through the grace and compassions of His Only-begotten Son.
–St. Chrysostom,Homily xa. on Genesis.
Let us never forget that the Christian life is a fight.