The struggles between Christians and the Donatist sect had become violent, and two Donatists had died, whom the Donatists called martyrs. St. Optatus of Milevis says they cannot be called martyrs, because they had abandoned charity, the one virtue without which not even communion with angels will do us any good. Those men you call martyrs refused to recognize their brethren, and had no charity. And don’t say in their excuse that they were unwilling to hold communion with Betrayers, since… Read more

The Stations of the Cross are one of the oldest devotions in the Church. By journeying alongside Jesus as he travels through the phases of his Passion, we come to a deeper respect and understanding of the suffering which he endured for each of us. Gary Jansen takes an even deeper look at this suffering and how we can apply the lessons of Jesus’ Passion to our lives. His book Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of… Read more

Who  has the authority to promise the keys of  Heaven? Not an angel, says St. Cyril of Alexandria, and not any of the other powers of Heaven. Responding to heretics who doubted the divinity of Jesus, St. Cyril says that only God himself can make a promise like that—even when God looks like a Galilean carpenter. “And I tell you, you are Peter (that is, a rock), and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death… Read more

Simeon Stylites (“of the pillar”)  attempted  to live the life of  the angels on earth—by  removing himself  as far as possible from the earth, living on top of a column for thirty-seven years. In spite of  his eccentricity, however, he was unquestioningly obedient to the leaders of the Church. Simeon tried to realize the life of the heavenly hosts in the flesh. He lifted himself above the concerns of earth, and—overpowering the downward tendency of human nature—was intent on things above…. Read more

The Gothic leader Gainas tried to make himself  master of the whole Roman Empire. Constantinople,  the eastern capital, was in serious danger: most of the Roman army was too far away to help. But the barbarians were defeated—and popular opinion insisted that their defeat was due to angelic protection. The city was accordingly quite inundated by the barbarians, and its residents were reduced to a condition equivalent to that of captives. Moreover, so great was the danger of the city that… Read more

When Constantinople was menaced by a Persian attack, the report of  a message from the angels gave its citizens  courage. In times of trouble, ancient Christians keenly felt the protecting presence of the angels. When the emperor saw that the Persian was mustering his whole force, he made additional levies to his army, and put his whole trust in God for the victory. And that the king was not without immediate benefit from this pious confi- dence the following circumstance… Read more

When Satan dared Jesus to throw himself  off a tower, he quoted Scripture, saying that the angels would guard him. But Christ, who is the Lord of angels, has no need of  their protection. Instead, if  we trust in him, he will send his angels to protect us. “For it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you’” (Luke 4:10). Satan then made use of these verses, as though the Savior were a common man. For… Read more

This week one lucky winner will receive a copy of How to Read Your Way to Heaven: A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between by Vicki Burbach (you can read my review of the book here)  sponsored by Sophia Institute Press. I use Rafflecopter to run my giveaways which makes it simple for you and me. The contest begins now and ends next Wednesday 3/15 with a winner chosen later that day, enter… Read more

Many historians have told the story of Constantine’s  conversion. Sozomen says that angels explained his vision of the Cross to him. The story may be apocryphal, but it illustrates perfectly how completely the early Christians trusted in the protection of the angels. We have been informed that Constantine was led to honor the Christian religion by the concurrence of several different events, particularly by the appearance of a sign from Heaven. When he first formed the resolution of entering into a war… Read more

We are told in Scripture that entering through the gates of heaven is like a camel going through the eye of a needle.  One way to ensure that the eye of the needle is a little larger, or we are each a slightly smaller camel; is to consume the Word of God and consume books ABOUT the Word of God. Vicki Burbach has written a book that takes readers by the hand and shows them how to integrate a reading… Read more

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