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To Narses, Patrician.
Gregory to Narses, etc.
In describing loftily the sweetness of contemplation, you have renewed the groans of my fallen state, since I hear what I have lost inwardly while mounting outwardly, though undeserving, to the topmost height of rule. Know then that I am stricken with so great sorrow that I can scarcely speak; for the dark shades of grief block up the eyes of my soul. Whatever is beheld is sad, whatever is thought delightful appears to my heart lamentable. For I reflect to what a dejected height of external advancement I have mounted in falling from the lofty height of my rest. And, being sent for my faults into the exile of employment from the face of my Lord, I say with the prophet, in the words, as it were of destroyed Jerusalem, He who should comfort me has departed far from me Lamentations 1:16. But when, in seeking a similitude to express my condition and title, you frame periods and declamations in your letter, certainly, dearest brother, you call an ape a lion. Herein we see that you do as we often do, when we call mangy whelps pards or tigers. For I, my good man, have, as it were, lost my children, since through earthly cares I have lost works of righteousness. Therefore call me not Noemi, that is fair; but call me Mara, for I am full of bitterness Ruth 1:20. But as to your saying that I ought not to have written,
That you should plough with bubali in the Lord's field, seeing that when in the sheet shown to the blessed Peter both bubali and all wild beasts were presented to view; you know yourself that it is subjoined, Slay and eat Acts 10:13. You, then, who had not yet slain these beasts, why did you already wish to eat them through obedience? Or do you not know that the beast about which you wrote refused to be slain by the sword of your mouth? You must needs, then, satisfy the hunger of your desire with those whom you have been able to prick and slay (Lit., to slay through compunction).
Further, as to the case of our brethren, I think that, if God gives aid, it will be as you have written. It was not, however, by any means right for me to write about it at present to our most serene lords, since at the very outset one should not begin with complaints. But I have written to my well-beloved son, the deacon Honoratus , that he should mention the matter to them in a suitable manner at a seasonable time, and speedily inform me of their reply. I beg greetings to be given in my behalf to the lord Alexander, the lord Theodorus , my son Marinus, the lady Esicia, the lady Eudochia, and the lady Dominica.
Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360201006.htm>.
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