Church Fathers, Day Seventy-Three: Palladius advises to find the best use of your talents

Find the best use of your talents Palladius of Galatia tells the story of a man who became a monk late in life. He couldn’t learn a new craft, and he couldn’t write well enough to be a scribe. But he found a way to be not only useful to the other monks, but essential. A man named Apollonius, a merchant, who had renounced the world and come to live on Mount Nitria, was unable because of his advanced years either to learn a craft or work as a scribe. So he had this occupation during his twe … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day Seventy-Two: St. John Chrysostom tells us to use the gifts God gave you rightly

Use the gifts God gave you rightly God gave you wonderful tools and abilities, says St. John Chrysostom. But it’s up to you to use them the way God meant them to be used. Look: you were given an eye, so that you could look at the creation and glorify the Master. But if you do not use the eye well, it becomes a servant of adultery to you. You were given a tongue, so that you could speak well, so that you could praise the Creator. But if you don’t take good care, it becomes a cause of bla … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day Seventy-One: Origen says that foreknowledge doesn’t cancel free will

Foreknowledge doesn’t cancel free will If God knows in advance what you will do, does that mean God is the cause of your sins? No, says Origen. Just because God knows the choices you will make doesn’t mean he causes you to make them. Suppose you get information from a person in no way responsible for the events. If you hear that certain things have happened or will happen to certain individuals, and you do not bear in mind that your informant as to the past or future is in no way answerable f … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day Seventy: St. Ephrem discusses free will

Denying free will proves that there is free will We Christians know that we have free will: that we can choose between good and evil. Want proof, asks St. Ephrem the Syrian? The very denial of free will proves it exists. If anyone asks what this “will” is, we must tell him the real truth about it: that it is the power of free choice. So if anyone asks, “What is this will? For it is only one thing, but part of it is good and part of it is evil”—then we shall say, “That is because it is a will. … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day Sixty-Nine: Tatian says free will is the problem—and the solution


Free will is the problem—and the solution To pagans who blame everything on “fate,” Tatian answers that our miseries are our own fault. Our own free will brought evil into the world—but our own free will can reject evil. Why should I admit that we’re born by “fate,” when I see such managers of “fate” as the pagan gods? How can you be “fated” to be sleepless from greed? Why are you “fated” to grasp at everything, and die often? Die to the world, rejecting the madness in it. Live to God, and … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day Sixty-Eight: St. John Chrysostom tells us to rely on what no one can take away

Rely on what no one can take away Expensive tack doesn’t make a good horse, says St. John Chrysostom. Likewise, wealth, health, and reputation don’t make a good man. All these things can be taken away, but nothing can take away real virtue. What is the virtue of a horse? Is it to have a bridle studded with gold and straps to match, and a silk band to fasten the housing, and colorful clothes embroi­dered with gold thread, and headgear studded with jewels, and hair braided with gold cord? Or is … [Read more...]