Letters from Antioch TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both

Salvador discussed the two paths:

Learn from these simple rules from the Teaching of the Twelve Akicita, “There are two paths; one of life and one of death and the difference is great between the two paths. Now, the path of life is this, first, love the Mighty Savior who made you, and your neighbor as yourself, and like Rabbi Hillel said, “All things that you would not have done unto thee, do not do it to another.”[1]

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

Give to everyone that asks, for the Father wishes to give the Mighty Savior’s gifts to all. Happy is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is free from guilt; but woe unto him that receives. For if, a man is really in need and he receives, he shall be free from guilt. On the other hand, the person who receives when he is not in need shall pay a penalty. He will also be asked to explain why he received and for what purpose. When he is in distress, the judge will examine him concerning the things that he has done, and shall not depart until he has paid the last penny.[2]  

Be longsuffering, and compassionate, and harmless, and peaceable, and good, and looking always to the words that you have heard. You will not exalt yourself, neither will you put boldness into your bowels. You will not join your life force with the lofty, but you will walk with the just and humble.

Accept the things that happen to you as noble, knowing that without the Mighty Savior nothing happens.[3]

Even outlaws love their own kind.

If you welcome those who welcome you, what credit is that? Even outlaws love those who love them. If you do noble things for those who do noble things for you, what credit is that to you? Even outlaws do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what benefit is that to you?

Even scoundrels lend to scoundrels, and get back the same amount, and interest. Look at what even the Blessed St. Augustine says on the subject in the City of God, ‘When there is no justice, what are kingdoms but great robberies? What are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? Men make up the band; ruled by the authority of a prince. The pact of the confederacy knits it together and they divide the booty by the law they agreed on.”

Salvador also noted, “If we are a Christian nation and Christians, the Mighty Judge calls us to a higher calling. Welcome those opposed to your welfare and do noble things for them. Lend expecting nothing back; then Pop will make your reward great and you will be children of the Most High, for he is kind, even to the ungrateful and the rotten.”

He commanded us, “Be merciful, just as Pop is merciful. Remember, if you want to know what others think of you, the surest way is to ask what you think of them. If you do not criticize anyone, nobody will criticize you.”

God calls us to a higher calling, concern for others

Salvador noted:

If you each free others from their pains, others will come to free you. If you each give gifts to others, your time to receive gifts will come and you will receive a beautiful measure. Packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, it will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into the ditch beside the road? No student is superior to his professor; but when fully trained, every student will be like his professor. Why do you see the floundering carp that is in the eye of your neighbor, but you are completely unacquainted with the dock full of old water logged dead wood covered with moss and mud?”

Salvador became more graphic, “This has been pounded out from under the pier, and placed in your own eye. First, clear the old dead wood out of your own eye. You will see to do the surgery on that floundering carp.”

Father Tarfon, who traveled with us, remarked, “If you tell someone, ‘Remove the speck from between your eyes,’ he is obliged to answer: ‘Remove the beam from your eyes!”[4]

Tahoe peer with specks and beams

Salvador observed, “A beautiful tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear beautiful fruit every tree. People know every tree by its own fruit. People do not pick apples from thistles, nor do they gather grapes from Himalaya blackberry bushes. A noble person produces nobility from the soil of nobility in his heart, but a rotten person out of rotten soil produces rot. From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Salvador informed us:

Do you know what it says in the teaching of the Church Fathers, “As the deep cannot be sown to yield fruit, so the deeds of the rotten do not produce fruit, for if they produced fruit they would destroy the world.”[5]

Beautiful fields yield beautiful fruit, and rotten fields...

Why do you yell at me, ‘Professor, Professor’ but do not do what I teach? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house. He digs deep down until he finds bedrock. He lays his foundation on the bedrock. When the floods came, the river bursts against his home but cannot shake it because it had been upon bedrock.”

Salvador told us of the people who listen but do not act, “The one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on railroad ties. When the river bursts against it, it collapses at once and is completely destroyed.”

[1] The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 1:1-2,  Translated by Charles H. Hoole, The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, October/November, Phoenix, AZ, 1994
[2] The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 1:5,  Translated by Charles H. Hoole, The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, October/November, Phoenix, AZ, 1994
[3] The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 3:8-10,  Translated by Charles H. Hoole, The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, October/November, Phoenix, AZ, 1994

[4] Babylonian Talmud, Talmud, Arakin 16b

[5]  Midrash Rabbah, Genesis, Chapter 33, Noach, p257, Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman, B.A., PH.d. The Soncino Press, New York


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