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The Narrow and Wide Gates


13. Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in by it. 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 gourmandize 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 pleasure 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.

14. How narrow is the gate and how hard the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it! The word "how" expresses the Lord's wonderment, as if He were saying, "Alas, how narrow it is!" But how is it that the Lord says on another occasion, "My yoke is light"? It is light when compared to the burden of passions.

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