Explaining to the emperor what Christians are, Aristides is so bold as to say that the only reason the world still exists is because of the prayers of the Chris­tians. Read the scriptures for yourself, he says, and you’ll discover the truth. As people who know God, they ask from him things that are proper for him to give and for them to receive: and this is how they live their lives. And be­cause they acknowledge the goodnesses of God… Read more

St. John Cassian recalls a striking illustration a wise old abbot named Moses taught him. Your mind is like a flour mill: it keeps grinding all the time, but you are responsible for deciding what it grinds. A good way to illustrate the movement of the heart is by comparing it to a millstone driven by a waterwheel. The headlong rush of water whirls the wheel around, with revolving force, and the millstone can never stop its work so long… Read more

Fr. John Bartunek, comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. You might recognize Fr. John from… Read more

Scripture isn’t just for monks, says St. John Chrysostom. In fact, the more involved you are with the world, the more you need Scripture.. “I’m not a monk,” you might say. “I have a wife and children. I have to take care of my household.” But this is what ruins everything—your thinking that only monks need to read the divine Scriptures. You need it much more than they do. Those who live in the world and are wounded every day… Read more

St. Ephrem the Syrian reminds us of what it means to live as a Christian. We can’t just say we believe in these things: we actually have to do them. Do not resist evil, for whoever resists evil is evil from the evil one. Do not keep back anything from anyone, so that if he perishes you will not be blamed. Do not change your respect for someone according to his goods and possessions. Do everything as if nothing existed… Read more

St. Basil uses the example of an octopus to show us what a Christian shouldn’t be like. The octopus takes on the color of the rocks it hides among, and unsus­pecting fish swim by and are caught. I will not pass in silence the cunning and trickery of the octopus, which takes on the color of the rock to which it attaches itself. Most fish swim idly up to the squid as they might to a rock, and become themselves… Read more

Palladius of Galatia tells us what he heard from two wise desert monks. No matter how good, intelligent, or reasonable what someone tells you seems, be wary if his life doesn’t match his words. And those men told us this too: “When you see a man irregular in his life but plausible in speech, remember the demon who conversed with Christ using the words of Scripture, and the wit­ness that says, ‘Now the serpent was the most subtle of all… Read more

People go wild for shows and sports, says St. Basil, and waste all their time in frivolous things. Shouldn’t we Christians be at least as enthusiastic about the wonderful words of Scripture? There are towns where the inhabitants, from dawn to dusk, feast their eyes on the tricks of innumerable magicians. They never tire of hearing dissolute songs that cause much impurity to spring up in their souls, and they are often called happy, because they neglect the cares of… Read more

Shaun McAfee was raised Protestant but at 24, he experienced a profound conversion to the Catholic Church with the writings of James Cardinal Gibbons and modern apologists. He is the author of Filling Our Father’s House (Sophia Institute Press) among other books, and holds a Masters in Dogmatic Theology. Shaun is the founder and editor of EpicPew.com and contributes to many online Catholic resources. On this episode Shaun and I discuss his book Reform Yourself!: How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in… Read more

Just as in our own time, the ancient Roman public flocked to lowbrow enter­tainment full of dirty jokes, sex, and immorality. An early Christian writer, traditionally identified as St. Cyprian, says that what you watch will eventually affect what you do. And now on to the shameless corruption of the stage. I’m ashamed to tell you what things are said. I’m ashamed even to denounce the things that happen—the tricks of arguments, the cheatings of adulterers, the immodesties of women,… Read more

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