Origens Commentary On The Gospel Of John by Origen
11. Of the Way of the Lord, How It is Narrow, and How Jesus is the Way.
Now the way of the Lord is made straight in two fashions. First, in the way of contemplation, when thought is made clear in truth without any mixture of falsehood; and then in the way of conduct, after the sound contemplation of what ought to be done, when action is produced which harmonizes with sound theory of conduct. And that we may the more clearly understand the text, |Make straight the way of the Lord,| it will be well to compare with it what is said in the Proverbs, |Depart not, either to the right hand or to the left.| For he who deviates in either direction has given up keeping his path straight, and is no longer worthy of regard, since he has gone apart from the straightness of the journey, for |the Lord is righteous, and loves righteousness, and His face beholds straightness.| Hence he who is the object of regard, and receives the benefit that comes from this oversight, says, |The light of Thy countenance was shown upon us, O Lord.| Let us stand, then, as Jeremiah exhorts, upon the ways, and let us see and ask after the ancient ways of the Lord, and let us see which is the good way, and walk in it. Thus did the Apostles stand and ask for the ancient ways of the Lord; they asked the Patriarchs and the Prophets, enquiring into their writings, and when they came to understand these writings they saw the good way, namely, Jesus Christ, who said, |I am the way,| and they walked in it. For it is a good way that leads the good man to the good father, the man who, from the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things, and who is a good and faithful servant. This way is narrow, indeed, for the many cannot bear to walk in it and are lovers of their flesh; but it is also hard-pressed by those who use violence to walk in it, for it is not called afflicting, but afflicted. For that way which is a living way, and feels the qualities of those who tread it, is pressed and afflicted, when he travels on it who has not taken off his shoes from off his feet, nor truly realized that the place on which he stands. or indeed treads, is holy ground. And it will lead to Him who is the life, and who says, |I am the life.| For the Saviour, in whom all virtues are combined, has many aspects. To him who, though by no means near the end, is yet advancing, He is the way; to him who has put off all that is dead He is the life. He who travels on this way is told to take nothing with him on it, since it provides bread and all that is necessary for life, enemies are powerless on it, and he needs no staff, and since it is holy, he needs no shoes.