cassianus:

The shortsighted see only this life, and say: “This is the only life there is, and we shall make it immortal by means of our deeds among men.” But I tell them: “If your beginning is like a river, then it must have a source; if it is like a tree, it must have its root, if it is like a beam of light, it must come from some sun.” And again I tell them: “So, you intend to establish your immortality among mortals? Try starting a fire in water!”

But when they look death in the face, they are left speech­less, and torment seizes their heart. When they smell the flesh of their dead brides; when they leave the empty faces of their friends in the grave; when they place their hands on their sons’ chests that have grown cold; when they realize that even kings are not able to buy off death with their crowns, nor heroes with their mighty deeds, nor wise men with their wis­dom–then they feel the icy wind of death breathing down their necks too, and they fall down on their knees and bow their heads over their toppled pride, and pray to You: “Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!”

Prayers by the Lake

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