On the Pious Wolf

Post by
Ambrose Andreano

The wolf has a coat of piety. One not given by God, but one which was stolen from the carcass of a slaughtered animal.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Listen to Jesus,[1] who is our high priest,[2] say to all clergy: “choose you this day whom ye will serve.” For not all spirits within the church can be served, nor is every spirit from God, nor can one (in an attempt to serve both) please both God and passion, but the spirits within the church must be tested to see if they are of God and worthy of service. Listen to the divine scriptures saying to the ecclesiastical world, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”[3]

I say, with St. Augustine, “how many wolves within!”[4] Indeed, for the wolf is more pious than all the beasts of the field, and has carefully studied the appearance of sheep far more than the sheep. And as I have said in another meditation, the wolf is all they who “shed blood, and destroy souls to get dishonest gain,”[5] and false prophets who “come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”[6]

However, there is one thing the wolf cannot hide, and that is its red and decaying teeth. Sheep do not have such stains, because the blood of animals is foreign to their diet. The wolf on the other hand, who cannot hide its many sins red as crimson,[7] is thereby exposed and defeated by the Good Shepherd,[8] who offers His own blood and uses the sword of His mouth as protection against those wolves with bloodlust. Listen to the apostle giving warning to the wolf who has not yet become as The Lamb, “if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”[9] Indeed, a wolf must by grace become The Lamb to truly dwell with the lamb.[10]

The wolf has a coat of piety. One not given by God,[11] but one which was stolen from the carcass of a slaughtered animal. The wolf has a coat of skins and not a “wedding garment,”[12] that is, the garment of Love,[13] who clothes the soul and who is displayed from within all who have wed themselves to Christ the Bridegroom.[14] Though the cotton skins of piety may appear white as snow, the Bridegroom sees that this kind of spirit is one which transforms "as an angel of light.”[15] For the Bridegroom judges not “according to appearance,”[16] but judges righteously, looking at the heart rather than the appearance.[17] It is to this man that Christ says, ”Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead bones and of all uncleanness.” The spirits have been tested, and this spirit of the wolf is not from God. To this spirit, which is an idol worshiped by many in the church, Christ turns and rebukes, saying “ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.”[18]

Clergy of Christ, what responsibility you have! For truly you must choose this day whom ye will serve: the sheep who are silent as they are led to the slaughter, or the wolf who barks its orthodoxy as it devours the flock? You cannot serve both! The future of the church depends entirely on which spirit you want to see multiplied.

Therefore, the Good Shepherd calls to you, saying “choose you this day whom ye will serve.”


[1] The name “Joshua” is a variant of “Jesus,” and Joshua mystically represents Christ in scripture.

[2]  cf. Hebrews 4:14-16.

[3]  1 John 4:1.

[4]  Augustine, Tractates on John, 45.12.

[5]  Ezekiel 22:27.

[6]  Matthew 7:15.

[7]  cf. Isaiah 1:18.

[8]  cf. John 10:11.

[9]  Galatians 5:15.

[10]  cf. Isaiah 11:6.

[11]  cf. Genesis 3:21.

[12]  cf. Matthew 22:12.

[13]  cf. Galatians 3:27.

[14]  cf. John 3:29.

[15]  cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14.

[16]  cf. John 7:24.

[17]  cf. 1 Samuel 16:7.

[18]  Luke 9:55.

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