Newsletter of the District
ADVICE FOR MODERN TIMES
True Christians Relate to the World
the Letter to Diognetus, Mid-2nd Century, by St. Justin,
do not differ from other men as to habitat, language or custom.
They live among Greeks and barbarians, wherever destiny has put
them. They follow local custom in garb and diet and other matters.
But their way of life is nonetheless strange and unbelievable to
many. They live in their native land, but as sojourners; as citizens
they share everything with their fellowmen, yet they are treated
as alien; any alien country is homeland to them, and every homeland
an alien country. They marry as men do and beget children, but
they do not practice abortion. They share tables but not beds.
They live in the flesh but not according to the flesh. They dwell
on earth but regard heaven as their city. They follow established
law but in their way of life, go beyond what the law requires.
They love all and everybody persecutes them. No one knows them,
while all condemn them; they are put to death and still are very
To put it all briefly: What the soul is to the body, Christians
are to the world. The soul is present in all the body’s members;
so are Christians in the world’s cities. The soul dwells in the
body but does not originate from it; Christians live in the world
but do not have their origin there. The invisible soul abides
in the visible body; Christians are seen as living in the world,
but their piety is invisible. On the other hand, the body, though
it suffers nothing from the soul, hates it and makes war upon it
because it cannot enjoy its pleasures in peace; the world suffers
nothing from Christians but hates them because they reject its pleasures.
The soul loves the flesh and members which hate it; so do Christians
love those who hate them. The soul is enclosed in the body but
it contains the body; Christians must remain in the world as in
a prison, but they contain the world. The immortal soul dwells
in a mortal home; Christians are pilgrims in a corruptible world
while they look forward to heavenly immortality. God has set them
in the world as His sentinels and they may not leave their posts.