Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be who go in there:
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Augustine of Hippo
But because this belongs to few, He now begins to speak of searching for and possessing wisdom, which is a tree of life; and certainly, in searching for and possessing, i.e. contemplating this wisdom, such an eye is led through all that precedes to a point where there may now be seen the narrow way and the strait gate. When, therefore, He says in continuation, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it; He does not say so for this reason, that the Lord's yoke is rough, or His burden heavy; but because few are willing to bring their labours to an end, giving too little credit to Him who cries, Come unto me, all you that labour, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (hence, moreover, ...
He says this not because the Lord’s yoke is rough or his burden heavy but because there are a few who wish their labors to end. They do not put their full trust in the Lord when he cries, “Come to me, all you who labor, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. … For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Hence the humble and the meek of heart are named at the very beginning of this sermon. But because there are many who spurn this smooth yoke and this light burden, it comes to pass that the way that leads to life is demanding and the entry gate is narrow. .
Remember that later Jesus would say, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” And here he implies the same thing. Does it not seem inconsistent then to say here that the good road is narrow and constricted? Pay attention. He has made it clear the burden is very light, easy and agreeable. “But how,” one may say, “is the narrow and constricted road easy?” Because it is both a gate and a road. The other road is, of course, both a gate and a road, but on that way there is nothing that is enduring. All things on that way are temporary, both things pleasant and painful. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
It is not only on the way that the things of excellence become easy. In the end they become even more agreeable. For it is not just the passing away of toil and sweating but also the anticipated arrival at a pleasant destination that is sufficient to encourage the traveler. For this road ends in life! The result is that both the temporary nature of the toils and the eternal nature of the victor’s crowns, combined with the fact that these toils come first and the victor’s crowns come afterward, become a hearty encouragement. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
And yet after this He said, My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 And in what He has lately said also, He intimated the same: how then does He here say it is strait and confined? In the first place, if you attend, even here He points to it as very light, and easy, and accessible. And how, it may be said, is the narrow and confined way easy? Because it is a way and a gate; even as also the other, though it be wide, though spacious, is also a way and a gate. And of these there is nothing permanent, but all things are passing away, both the pains and the good things of life.
And not only herein is the part of virtue easy, but also by the end again it becomes yet easier. For not the passing away of our labors and toils, but also their issuing in a good end (for they end in life) is enough to console those in conflict. So that both the temporary nature of our labors, and the perpetuity of our crowns, and the fact that the labors come first, and the crowns after, must pro...
. The narrow gate means both trials that are voluntarily undertaken, such as fasting and the like, and trials that are involuntarily experienced, such as imprisonment and persecution. Just as a man who is fat, or who is carrying a great load, cannot go in through a narrow gate, neither can a gourmandizer or a rich man. These go in through the wide gate. To show that narrowness is temporary and that width is likewise transitory, He calls them a "gate" and a "way." For the gate is hardship, and he who undergoes hardship passes through his hardship as quickly as he would pass through a gate. And the pleasures of the gourmandizer’s feast are as transitory as any moment in a journey along a road. Since both are temporary, we ought to choose the better of the two.