The “Oration and Panegyric to Origen” ends, as St. Gregory commends his teacher’s skill in interpretation of scripture, regrets his imminent departure back to his pagan hometown and family, makes a last explanation of the temerity of his speechifying, and then asks Origen to pray for him and his brother.
This has been a really warm and beautiful portrait of respect and love for a good teacher, and the inestimable value of a good education for Christian life. I commend it to anyone who cares about the life of the mind.
Gregory’s sorrow is also pretty funny, in retrospect. He thought that he was going back home to lead a mundane lawyer life, trapped in the bosom of his well-meaning pagan family and separated from all the Christian things he valued. But instead, he was only going to be home about five minutes before the Church grabbed him again and made him a bishop this time. He thought he’d like to be a perpetual student; instead, he was made a perpetual teacher. If you think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, read autobiographies. 🙂