St William of York (8 June)

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

John 17. 16-19

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Not of this world? Gregory of Nyssa wrote about his sister Macrina’s life and death, and throughout his description tells us what it meant for her to be in the world, but not of it. What stands out about Macrina’s life, most of all, is the hope that characterized her every word and act.

To live in the ‘not-yet’ and be of the ‘already’ is the challenge of Christian life. The only requirement, it seems to me, for answering that call, is hope. Macrina had it, and the saints through the ages shared it. Fortunately, her hope and ours comes not from a grim determination to set our sights on heaven, but by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Hope is ours for the asking, given by God to all of us who are on the journey.

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