09 July 2009

Hus: Impervious Joy

In late 1412, Czech reformer John Hus wrote to a rector of a university from his prison cell. Hus would be burned at the stake three years later.

I assure you, venerable lord rector, that persecution never causes me sorrow, if my sins and the disorders of the Christian people did not so affect me. What harm indeed the loss of the riches of the world, which are but dung, can cause me? What matters the loss of worldly favor, which can draw us away from the way of Christ? What matters infamy when humbly endured, which purges and illumines the sons of God, so that they 'shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father'? What if I be deprived of this miserable life, which is death; if one loses it, he is rid of death and finds the true life.

--The Letters of John Hus (trans. Matthew Spinka; Manchester U. Press, 1972), 88-89

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