Living like the angels; Angels: Day 272

St. Macrina, a great Christian teacher, showed her own mother how to live a life of asceticism and meditation—a  life that her brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, describes as being little different from the life of the angels.When the cares of bringing up a family and the anxieties of their educa- tion and settling in life had come to an end, and the property—a frequent cause of worldliness—had been for the most part divided among the children, then, as I said earlier, the life of the virgin beca … [Read more...]

Angels appear when you winnow the wheat; Angels: Day 271

You’re not likely to receive the inner truths of  the Lord, says  St. Gregory the Great, unless you separate yourself from external things that lead you away.“And he took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes” ( Job 2:8).This is why our Redeemer came—to scrape the scabs off our wounds, so to speak, when he said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed a … [Read more...]

Experience the Eucharist through the eyes of the early church

One of the main things that separate us Catholics from our Christian brethren is the Eucharist. Non-Catholics have varying beliefs in what communion means for them. As Catholics, we firmly believe in the Real Presence and that what we are receiving at communion is the actual body and bluff of Jesus Christ. In his new book Around the Table: Retelling the Story of the Eucharist through the Eyes of Jesus' First Followers Scott Hurd reveals exactly why the Eucharist is so important in our daily … [Read more...]

Fasting makes us angels – but prayer comes; Angels: Day 270

Fasting, says St. John Chrysostom, is an extraordinarily powerful thing. It makes us mortals into angels, and it fights the demonic powers. But more important even than fasting is praying—and  even if  you’re too weak to fast, you can still pray.Fasting brings considerable power. It trains us in strictness, and makes a mortal into an angel, and fights against the demons. But it doesn’t do these things by itself. Prayer is needed too—and prayer must come first.Why did Christ go up on the m … [Read more...]

The angelic virtue of detachment; Angels: Day 269

Why  does God let bad things happen to good people? Dionysius  the Areopagite tells us that it’s not really unfair at all. In fact, it would be unfair to weaken brave Christians by letting them get attached to earthly things. When they have to struggle on earth, they come nearer to the virtue of the angels.But someone may say, “It is not the mark of justice to leave pious men without assistance when they are ground down by evil men.”To this we must reply that, if those whom you call pious … [Read more...]

Leave greed behind to be equal to the angels; Angels: Day 268

There are countless poor people and only a few rich. So why did the apostles, all of them poor, worry about their own salvation when Jesus told them how hard it was for a rich man to get into Heaven? Because, says, St. Augustine, they knew he was really talking about covetousness.When they were saying, “Who then can be saved?” were they thinking of the few rich people? Had they forgotten how many poor people there are? Couldn’t they say to themselves, “So it’s hard—even impossible—for a camel … [Read more...]