Church Fathers, Day 249: St. Gregory the Great says learn to repent from Judas

Learn to repent from JudasChrist gave Judas every opportunity to repent, not even holding back the Last Supper from him. St. Gregory the Great advises us to look to Judas as a good example of what not to do.When the Lord said, “Truly I tell you, one of you is about to betray me,” he showed that his betrayer’s conscience was well known to him. He did not confound the traitor by harsh and open rebukes, but met him with mild and silent warnings, so that he who had never been sent astray by … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 248: St. Ambrose tells us excommunication is a last resort

Excommunication is a last resortWe see it all the time: politicians, professors, even priests who call themselves “Catholic” but embarrass the Church with their public denials of Church teaching. Why doesn’t the Church just throw them out right away? St. Ambrose answers that it is, and should be, a hard thing to cut a limb off the body. First the bishop tries everything in his power to heal the disease.The bishop should treat the clerics and attendants, who are indeed his sons, as membe … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 247: St. Ambrose says repent for the sake of the Eucharist

Repent for the sake of the EucharistAgainst heretics who said that serious sinners could never be reconciled to the Church, St. Ambrose uses the example of the Prodigal Son. No matter how serious the sin, the Church always holds out the hope of reconciliation. Without the hope of the Eucharist, who would repent at all?And no wonder he was dying of starvation! He didn’t have the divine nourishment. Prompted by the lack of it, he says, “I will arise and go to my fa­ther, and I will say to … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 246: St. John Chrysostom advises us trust your Physician, even if the cure hurts

Trust your Physician, even if the cure hurtsWe trust medical doctors even though they do all sorts of unpleasant things to us, says St. John Chrysostom. Shouldn’t we trust God to heal our sin—even if the remedy is unpleasant?The physician is not to be praised only when he leads the patient into gardens and meadows, or baths and pools of water, or when he sets a well-fur­nished table before him. He is also to be praised when he orders him not to eat, when he oppresses him with hunger and … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 245: St. Ambrose tells us the “anger” of Christ is his mercy

The “anger” of Christ is his mercyWhen we say that Christ is “angry” with sinners, says St. Ambrose, we don’t mean that he’s carried away by rage. We mean that he’s doing everything he can to bring us back into his forgiveness.Isn’t it obvious that the Lord Jesus is angry with us when we sin so that He may convert us through fear of his indignation? So his indignation is not re­venge, but rather the working of forgiveness, For these are his words: “If you will turn and lament, you will … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 244: Aphrahat tells us to take the medicine that cures you

Take the medicine that cures you When you’ve been wounded in the battle against sin, says Aphrahat the Sage, penitence is the medicine you need. But you can’t be cured if you’re ashamed to go to the doctor. There is a medicine for every disease, and the disease is healed when the skillful physician finds the medicine. For those who have been wounded in our battle, there is the medicine of penitence, and those who rub it on their wounds are healed. Physicians, disciples of our wise Physi … [Read more...]