A colleague posted this marvelous passage from the Stoic poet Aulus Persius Flaccus. Beautiful words making true things clear shake the roots of my mind.
“So you think that Jupiter has forgiven you just because his lightening shatters the oak tree rather than you and your house? …O mortal souls that lie prone upon the earth, devoid of heavenly thoughts, how does it help you that you project your own morals upon the temples of the gods and that you think that you draw the gods’ blessings out of your own corrupt human nature?…Yes, mortal flesh sins and sins again, but nonetheless it manages to profit from its wrongdoing…Tell me, priests, why do we need gold in the sanctuary? …Why don’t we give the gods what the snot-nosed son of the great Messala can’t offer from his vast scale: Justice and what is right, well-regulated in the mind, and innermost thoughts that are pure, and a heart that has been steeped in noble honor?” Persius, 1.24-25, 61-63, 68-69, 71-74.