Grace be yours in Christ; through Him all things are made known to the glory of God. Amen.
Do not think I grant you my allegiance, Titus, for that alone is reserved for Christ. What is it Paul said? Not to confuse yourself by saying some come from Christ, others from Paul, others still from Apollos and Cephas. We are one body in many persons; do not think the many can exist without the one. For this reason, I owe you nothing, Titus—any more than I owe Sosthenes or Crispus. In Christ all things are possible; in Christ we rest our spirit.
But it is through you that Christ is manifest, and through our communion that He is made known. Do you suppose that because you see the love of Christ in me that I am Christ? Or that I love the people of Corinth, and cherish them in my letters? I am no more Christ than you are, Titus, but am as much a vessel for Him as you are. If we stand on a hill and let our light shine forth, what is it to anyone except that they see it? So it is with Christ. I am not the Christ, but Christ is with me; and it may be known because you feel my love and devotion through all of my letters and visits.
I ask you: Do the commandments tend only toward one? Even in the narrowest of commands, does God ever extract himself from us? Therefore, where is God present but in relationship? And Christ but in love for another? Therefore, we cannot ourselves be fully Christ, any more than God can be fully human. For it is as the God of Moses said: “I am that I am.” For us it is rather, “I am who I am.” But who we are is thanks to God in Christ; our relationship with the divine gives us being, purpose, and personality.
Do not, then, do as the monks do and extract themselves from the world. What good is isolation in deep faith? What is believing if it does not compel us to act out in love? Be of this world as we are who we are—creatures of the world, and creation in sum. If we act against this, we act against the will of God.
Be diligent, then, in your work, Titus. And think not of what is owed to you by anyone, for what is comes from God. Let God attend to debts, and you to needs.
I love you as Christ loves you, and remain your brother and servant in the Lord,