He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.
Read Chapter 10
Cyril of Alexandria
Here Jesus calls the departure of life from the body the “loss of life,” speaking figuratively. “He who finds his life” refers to anyone who too highly values transitory existence and as it were sells it at a profit. He will face the hands of death when he is sent to unremittable punishment and death.
He that findeth Behold the great losses that befall such as love their souls above measure; and on the contrary, the advantages that follow from hating them as they ought. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxxvi.)
That is, he that findeth in this life pleasures and comforts, and places his affections upon them, will certainly soon lose them. For Isaias says, (Chap. xl, ver. 6,) All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field. The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen. So man's glory seems to flourish and appears great, but falls away and dies before it has come to its full bloom; for what duration is there in the flesh? and what stability in the pleasures of this world? To-day you may behold a young man, strong, beautiful, healthy, admired, and flourishing in virtue; and to-morrow you will find him quite changed, oppressed with either sin, labour, want, or sickness. (St. Ambrose)
But if he continues moderately happy as to temporal concerns till death, and places hi...
Non occ.: It seems to happen in many cases that the parents love the children more than the children love the parents; therefore having taught that His loveis to be preferred to the love of parents, as in an ascending scale, He next teaches that it is to be preferred to the love of children, saying, “And whosoloveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Hom. in Ev., xxxii, 3: The cross is so called from, torment ; and there are two ways in which we bear the Lord’s cross; either when we afflict the flesh by abstinence; or when in compassion for our neighbour we make his afflictions our own. But it should be known that there are some who make a show of abstinence not for God, but for ostentation; and some there are who show compassion to their neighbour, not spiritually but carnally, not that they may encourage him in virtue; but rather countenancing him in faults. These indeed seem to bear their cross, but do not follow the Lord; therefore He adds, "And followeth me.”
For they who have esteemed domestic affection of relations higher than God, are unworthy to inherit good things to come.
Or; “They that are Christ’s have crucified the body with its vices and lusts.” And he is unworthy of Christ who does not take up His cross, in which we suffer with Him, die with Him, are buried and rise again with Him, and follow his Lord, purposing to live in newness of spirit in this sacrament of the faith.
Thus the gain of life brings death, the loss of life brings salvation; for bythe sacrifice of this short life we gain the reward of immortality.
Here the stated doctrine and its meaning run along the same course. After he commands us to abandon everything that is most valuable in earthly life, he adds, “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” This is because those who belong to Christ have crucified their bodies with their sinful practices and pleasures. We are unworthy of Christ if we do not take up our own cross, by which we suffer, die and are buried and resurrected together with him. Only by this pledge of faith in the Spirit will he triumph in new life in us. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” This obviously means that through the power of the Word and separation from our old vices, we will receive spiritual profit in death and a fine exacted against our life. Therefore we must accept death in the reformation of our life. We are to fashion our vicious selves on the model of our Lord’s cross, and we are to cling to an open profession of glo...
See how great is the impairment to those who have an exaggerated love for their own life. And how great is the blessing to those who are ready to give up their lives for a wellordered love! So he bids his disciples to be willing to give up parents, children, natural relationships, kinships, the world and even their own lives. How onerous are these injunctions! But then he immediately sets forth the greater blessings of rightly ordered love. Thus these instructions, Jesus says, are so far from harming that they in fact are of greatest benefit. It is their opposites that injure. He then counsels them, as he so often does, in accord with the very desires that they already possess. Why should you be willing to give up your life? Only because you love it inordinately. So for the very reason of loving it ordinately, you will scorn loving it inordinately, and so it will be to your advantage to the highest degree. You will then in the truest sense love your life. Jesus does not reason in this ...
Do you see how great the damage to such as love it unduly? How great the gain to them that hate it? I mean, because the injunctions were disagreeable, when He was bidding them set themselves against parents, and children, and nature, and kindred, and the world, and their very soul, He sets forth the profit also, being very great. Thus, These things, says He, so far from harming, will very greatly profit; and their opposites will injure; urging them, as He ever does, by the very things which they desire. For why are you willing to despise your life? Because you love it? Then for that very reason despise it, and so you will advantage it in the highest degree, and do the part of one that loves it.
And mark an instance of unspeakable consideration. For not in respect of our parents only does He practise this reasoning, nor of our children, but with regard to our life, which is nearer than all; that the other point may thenceforth become unquestionable, and they may learn that they will ...
Yet when Paul bids us obey our parents in all things, we are not to marvel; forwe are only to obey in such things are not hurtful to our piety to God. It is holy to render them every other honour, but when they demand more than is due, we ought not to yield. This is likewise agreeable to the Old Testament; in itthe Lord commands that all who worshipped idols, should not only be held in abhorrence, but should be stoned. And in Deuteronomy it is said, “He who saithto his father and his mother, I know you not; and to his brethren, Ye are strangers; he hath kept thy saying.” .
Because these commands seemed burdensome, He proceeds to show their great use and benefit, saying, “He that findeth his life shall lose it.” As much as tosay, Not only do these things that I have inculcated do no harm, but they are of great advantage to a man; and the contrary thereof shall do him great hurt -and this is His manner everywhere. He uses those things which men’s affections are set upon as a means of bri...
He is unworthy of the divine communion who prefers the carnal affection of kindred to the spiritual love of God.
Otherwise; He who seeks an immortal life, does not hesitate to lose his life, that is, to offer it to death. But either sense suits equally well with that which follows, “And whoso shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
The life in this place is not to be understood as the substance, (the soul,)but as this present state of being; and the sense is, He who findeth his life,i.e. this present life, he who so loves this light, its joys and pleasures, asto desire that he may always find them; he shall lose that which he wishes always to keep, and prepare his soul for eternal damnation.
He who pampers his life in the flesh appears to "find his life," while in fact he is losing it by sending it to eternal punishment. But he who loses his life and dies, not as a thief or one who strangles himself, but for Christ’s sake, he it is that saves his life.