St Gregory Nazianzen: Our success is always judged by comparison with our place in life

“I HOPE you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain; and the gown which had been let down to hide it not doing its office.”

“Your picture may be very exact, Louisa,” said Bingley; “but this was all lost upon me. I thought Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked remarkably well when she came into the room this morning. Her dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice.”

Jane Austen (1775-1817), “Pride And Prejudice”. Lizzie had acquired her muddy petticoat because she was rushing to be beside her poorly sister.

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Actress Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

“Her dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice.” Actress Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen.

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OUR success is always judged by comparison with our place in life by our just and merciful Judge; and often one who is in public life and has had small success has had a greater reward than one who in the enjoyment of liberty [i.e. in a monastery] has not completely succeeded; as I think it more marvellous for a man to advance a little in fetters, than for one to run who is not carrying any weight; or to be only a little spattered in walking through mud, than to be perfectly clean when the road is clean.

To give you a proof of what I have said:—Rahab the harlot was justified by one thing alone, her hospitality, though she receives no praise for the rest of her conduct; and the Publican was exalted by one thing, his humility, though he received no testimony for anything else; so that you may learn not easily to despair concerning yourself.

St Gregory Nazianzen, Homily on Holy Baptism. Delivered on January 6, 381. Source.

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AND Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Mark 12:37-44.

2 thoughts on “St Gregory Nazianzen: Our success is always judged by comparison with our place in life

  1. I’m sure that’s true. Elizabeth’s only concern was to look after her sister; she did not let the possibility of accidentally muddying her petticoat stop her from bringing her sister the comfort she needed.

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