Living the resurrected life; Angels: Day 275

Those who have taken vows of chastity, says St. Ambrose, are living the life of the angels now—the  life we will all live after the Resurrection. There is a special brightness reserved for them in Heaven.But you who have taken the vow already, chasten your bodies more strict- ly, and do not allow yourselves to loosen the reins of desire even after those things that are permitted. You should not only turn away from an unlawful connection, but despise even a lawful look.Remember, in whi … [Read more...]

Virginity is to marriage as angel is to human; Angels: Day 274

God forbid we should say anything against marriage, says St. John of Damascus. After all, Christ himself  honored marriage as a guest at the wedding in Cana. But virginity is a higher state—an  imitation of the angels.Virginity is the rule of life among the angels, the property of all incor- poreal nature. We say this without speaking ill of marriage—God forbid! For we know that the Lord blessed marriage by His presence ( John 2:1), and we know him who said, “Let marriage be held in honor amo … [Read more...]

Choosing an angel’s life; Angels: Day 273

St. Augustine writes to express his joy at hearing that the daughter of an illustrious family has chosen to become a nun. It’s a glorious thing to be the mother of  an extensive family, he says, but even more glorious to belong completely to Christ.Who can declare in words, or expound with adequate praises, how in- comparably greater is the glory and advantage gained by your family in giving to Christ women consecrated to his service, than in giving to the world men called to the honors of th … [Read more...]

Living like the angels; Angels: Day 272

St. Macrina, a great Christian teacher, showed her own mother how to live a life of asceticism and meditation—a  life that her brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, describes as being little different from the life of the angels.When the cares of bringing up a family and the anxieties of their educa- tion and settling in life had come to an end, and the property—a frequent cause of worldliness—had been for the most part divided among the children, then, as I said earlier, the life of the virgin beca … [Read more...]

Angels appear when you winnow the wheat; Angels: Day 271

You’re not likely to receive the inner truths of  the Lord, says  St. Gregory the Great, unless you separate yourself from external things that lead you away.“And he took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes” ( Job 2:8).This is why our Redeemer came—to scrape the scabs off our wounds, so to speak, when he said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed a … [Read more...]

Fasting makes us angels – but prayer comes; Angels: Day 270

Fasting, says St. John Chrysostom, is an extraordinarily powerful thing. It makes us mortals into angels, and it fights the demonic powers. But more important even than fasting is praying—and  even if  you’re too weak to fast, you can still pray.Fasting brings considerable power. It trains us in strictness, and makes a mortal into an angel, and fights against the demons. But it doesn’t do these things by itself. Prayer is needed too—and prayer must come first.Why did Christ go up on the m … [Read more...]