Clean out your heart before you pray, Church Fathers: Day 045

The Egyptian abbot Isaac gave St. John Cassian some practical advice on praying: before you start, get rid of all the things in your mind that will distract you from your prayers. To be able to offer our prayer with that earnestness and purity with which it ought to be offered, first, all anxiety about carnal things must be entirely got rid of. Next, we must leave no room for not just the care but even the recollection of any… Read more

A book to guide us through our daily sufferings

Let’s face a harsh reality of life. We all have challenges. Every one of us faces hurdles in life. We may face desperation when facing these issues head on. Desperation has many faces. It could be the drunk or drug addict who has hit rock-bottom. It may be the person out of work or under-employed who cannot make ends meet for their family.  Or it could be those hidden secrets in our closets we hope no one discovers. Heather King… Read more

Keep silent until the right moment, Church Fathers: Day 044

St. Ambrose, one of the great thinkers in Christian history, weighed his words carefully. When we run the risk of being judged by our words, he says, silence is better than speaking. Now what should we learn before everything else? To be silent, so that we may be able to speak. Otherwise my voice may condemn me before that of another acquits me; for it is written, “by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). Why should you rush… Read more

Rely on God to make your soul fit for him, Church Fathers: Day 043

If your home is a mess, how can you invite guests to come in? If your soul is a mess, how can you invite God to come in? But God, says St. Augustine, will clean up your soul and make it a fit dwelling for himself. The dwelling of my soul is cramped—expand it, God, so that you may enter it. It is in ruins—restore it. Some things about it must offend your eyes—I confess it and I know it…. Read more

Off the Shelf 036 with Eric Sammons

Eric Sammons is a former Evangelical, who entered the Catholic Church in 1993. He has been involved in Catholic evangelization efforts for more than two decades, including five years as a diocesan director of evangelization. He is the father of seven children, author of several books, and a professional writer/editor. His website “Swimming Upstream” can be found at ericsammons.com. Today we talk about his foray into Catholic fiction with his short story The Profession. The book is set in 2049… Read more

What we mean by “the right hand of the Father”, Church Fathers: Day 042

St. John of Damascus, traditionally the last of the Church Fathers, explains what we mean when we say that Christ sits “at the right hand of the Father”: not that God the Father has literal hands, but that God the Son shares the Father’s glory. We also believe that Christ sits in the body at the right hand of God the Father. But we do not believe that “the right hand of the Father” is actually a place. For how… Read more

Live a life worthy of the Resurrection, Church Fathers: Day 041

Christ died for sinners, not for the righteous. Now that Christ has conquered death, says St. Gregory the Great, we should abandon our worldly lives and live for Christ. God’s mercy for us is more amazing because Christ died, not for the righteous or holy, but for the unrighteous and wicked. Though his divine na­ture was not capable of death, yet at his birth he took from us what he would offer for us. Long ago he threatened our death… Read more

Let your tears turn to joy, Church Fathers: Day 040

Tears we shed for Christ are never unrewarded, says St. Cyril of Alexandria. Look at Mary Magdalene: she wept because she thought Christ’s body had been stolen, and she learned the most joyous news in all history. Observe that the tears we let fall for Christ do not lose their reward, nor is it long before love for him bears fruit. No, his grace and rich return will follow closely in the wake of pain. As Mary was sitting there,… Read more

Cross the bridge to heaven, Church Fathers: Day 039

In a striking metaphor, St. Ephrem the Syrian imagines Jesus the carpenter making his own Cross into a bridge to heaven. Because the tree in Eden brought death, it is fitting that a tree also brings us to life. This is the Son of the carpenter, who skilfully made his Cross a bridge over Sheol—Sheol that swallows up all—and brought over mankind into the dwelling of life. And because it was through the tree that mankind had fallen into Sheol,… Read more

Find your strength in Jesus’ weakness, Church Fathers: Day 038

Because Christ took on our flesh and suffered for us, says St. Gregory the Great, we can know that we will also overcome our own suffering. How much this humiliation gave all the faithful was proved first by the most blessed Apostle Peter. After the fierce blast of threatening cruelty had dis­mayed him, he quickly changed, and his strength was restored, finding his remedy in the great model, so that the member who had been suddenly shaken returned to the… Read more

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