Make the Sign of the Cross everywhere; Church Fathers: Day 057

Wherever you are, says St. Ephrem the Syrian, seal everything you do with the Sign of the Cross, and teach your children to do the same. How gracious is the Lord! How measureless are His mercies! Happy the race of mortals when God confesses it! Woe to the soul that he denies! Fire is stored up for its punishment. Be of good cheer, my child, in hope; sow good seed and do not despair. The farmer sows in hope, and… Read more

Don’t despair when you’re in a dry spell; Church Fathers: Day 056

St. John Cassian recalls the wise words of the abbot Daniel in the Egyptian desert. Why do we sometimes feel so close to God, and other times so far away? Don’t despair, says Daniel: even in those dry spells, God has your benefit in mind. We asked this blessed Daniel why it was that as we sat in the cells we were sometimes filled with the utmost gladness of heart, together with inex­pressible delight and abundance of the holiest feelings,… Read more

In prayer, quality counts more than quantity; Church Fathers: Day 055

There is a mountain in Egypt called Pherme, which borders on the great desert of Scete. On this mountain dwell some five hundred men, devotees of asceticism. One of them, a man named Paul, had this manner of life: he touched no work and no business, nor did he receive anything from anyone beyond what he ate. But his work and his asceticism consisted in ceaseless prayer. He had three hundred set prayers, and he collected the same number of… Read more

Get rid of your anger before you pray; Church Fathers: Day 054

Tertullian reminds us how important it is not to be angry with our neighbors when we approach God. How can we ask for forgiveness when we ourselves have not forgiven? Remembering the Lord’s commandments paves the road to heaven for our prayers. And the chief commandment is that we should not go up to God’s altar before we make up whatever argument or offense we’ve got into with our brothers. What do we think we’re doing if we approach the… Read more

Look for quiet when you pray; Church Fathers: Day 053

St. Basil tells us that a quiet heart will help us overcome our passions and our temptations. We have to break our bad habits and start new good habits, and a little solitude will help a lot. We must work to have a quiet mind. You can’t see an object right in front of you if your eye is moving restlessly up and down and sideways; you have to look at it steadily. In the same way, your mind can’t… Read more

Expect Satan’s attack when you pray; Church Fathers: Day 052

Satan knows how much we gain by praying, says St. John Chrysostom, so that’s when he attacks us the most. We need to be on our guard and not let in the stray thoughts the devil suggests. We talked yesterday about the power of prayer. I pointed out how the devil, that deceiver, lies in wait when we pray. For he sees how much we gain from prayer, so that’s when he attacks us the most, to break down our… Read more

Lead us not into temptation; Church Fathers: Day 051

When we pray “Lead us not into temptation,” are we praying that we should never be tempted at all? No, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem—temptation is always there. But, like St. Peter, we can get over it and come through the other side. “And lead us not into temptation.” So is the Lord teaching us to pray that we should not be tempted at all? Then why would it be said elsewhere that “a man untempted is a man untested”?… Read more

Off the Shelf 037 with Trent Horn

Trent Horn is an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers, an apostolate that is dedicated to explaining and defending the Catholic faith. He specializes in teaching Catholics how to graciously defend their faith with sound arguments and persuasive communication techniques. Trent earned a graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy from Holy Apostles College. He is a regular guest on the radio program Catholic Answers Live, a lecturer who… Read more

Our daily bread is the Word of God and the Mass; Church Fathers: Day 050

Give us this day our daily bread”: we pray these words even if we have plenty of bread in the pantry. Why? St. Augustine says it’s because we need something more than ordinary bread. When you say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” you admit that you’re God’s beggar. But don’t be ashamed of that. No matter how rich you are on earth, you’re still God’s beggar. And what does the rich man need? I dare say he needs… Read more

Dare to call God Father, Church Fathers: Day 049

The atonement of Christ changes everything, says St. Leo the Great. We were miserable outcasts, but now we’re children of God. Whoever you are, if you devoutly and faithfully boast of the name of Christian, value this atonement rightly. You were a castaway, banished from the realms of paradise, dying of your weary exile, reduced to dust and ashes, with no more hope of living. But by the incarnation of the Word, you were given power to return from far… Read more

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