Saturday, March 4, 2017

between God and the giraffes

St Ephrem the Syrian tells us about speech and its relationship to animals today in A Year with the Church Fathers.

He says we should imitate God, the One who gave us our speech, and not the animals, which are also creatures of His creation. And he brings up a good point.

There is nothing wrong with animals. Ephrem isn't telling us not to be like them because they're evil. He's telling us not to act like animals because we are called to something higher. God made us to grow into better and better versions of ourselves, until we find the ultimate self that He created us to be. When we act like animals, we move in the opposite direction, fulfilling our base desires while neglecting the things that make us better people.

This is why so many of our sins might remind us of animals. Gluttony, lust, envy... even pride are sins that represent a glorification of the banal side of our being. When we learn to lay these things aside, and embrace the virtues, we move toward being the person that God created us to be. We move toward ultimate fulfillment and our greatest joy.

God, please help us to set aside our base tendencies, and to follow after You with all of our hearts, becoming more like You each day.

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