And as I strive to honour my God by works, by stillness,
By labours by day and hymns by night
By streams of tears and holy purifications,
Who summons me to vain battles and verbal squabblings?
For my strength is not concerned with people, nor am I agile
With words, nor do I mingle in human concourses nor exult
In the votes of favourable judges…
Let the honours of life be for others. But as for me,
I have one law, one intention; filled with love,
To wend my way from here, a light bearer, towards the high-ruling God.
But as for other goods, desire for them effects my heart but little,
Such things as vain people dream of, inflated with useless vanities,
Things quickly gained and which perish as rapidly
As smoke or steam or a flowing breeze
As sand ever swept by the disturbing winds,
Or as the trail of a ship upon the sea.
I would prefer to be dishonoured among men
And to have a small reputation eternally among heavenly beings
Than to possess all things and fall short of God.
St Gregory of Nazianzus, In Praise of Virginity, Poem 1.2.1 356-376 PG 37, 549-550