Clever as snakes but innocent as doves

‘Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.’
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Friends in Christ, for our reflection today, I thought it might be informative to hear what St. John Chrysostom has to say about this passage. He says, we are sheep that are sent out into the world, as among the wolves. Jesus says to us, ‘don’t be upset by this. I could have done things differently; I could have sent you to be fierce lions and you would not suffer at all. But the way I have chosen is right. It will bring you greater praise and also manifest my power.
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That is why he told St. Paul, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, because in weakness my power is made perfect.’
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Now even though the Lord’s grace will be working in us, he wants us to contribute something. Therefore he says, be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. What does he mean? A snake will surrender everything and will put up no great resistance even if its body is being cut to pieces, as long it can save its head. The Lord is saying, that when enemies are against you, you should surrender everything: your money, your body, even your life itself, but not your Faith.
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Christ insisted on the cleverness of the snake, but also on the innocence of the dove; innocence, so that we would not seek revenge on those who injure us. This teaching is not beyond your power. The Lord knows that when we are attacked, moderation, not a fierce defense, beats back the attack.
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Some thoughts from St. John Chrysostom.

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