Church Fathers, Day 339: St. Basil become famous for good deeds


Become famous for good deedsSt. Basil was a man who knew how to ask for a favor. In this letter he very gently appeals to a provincial governor’s love of reputation, suggesting that the surest way to earn wide fame is to be known for his good deeds.I am aware that your excellency is favorably receiving my letters, and I understand why. You love all that is good; you are ready in doing kindnesses. So whenever I give you the opportunity of showing your magnanimity, you are eager for my l … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 338: Lactantius says practice what you preach


Practice what you preachIf you tell other people to behave themselves, says Lactantius, what will they think when they see how you act? If you do the things you tell them not to do, they’ll laugh at you, and rightly so.If anyone gives people rules to live by, and molds the character of others, is he bound to practice what he preaches or not?If he doesn’t practice what he preaches, his rules are worthless. For if the things he teaches are good, and they put our lives in the best sha … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 337: Commodianus discusses everyday martyrdom

Everyday martyrdomYou can be a martyr even without the bloodshed, says Commodianus, a North African bishop who wrote in the early 200s. Whenever you set aside your un­healthy desires and avoid the traps of sin, you are a martyr—a witness to the power of Jesus Christ.Birds are fooled, and the animals of the forest, by the very charms that bring their destruction. Caves as well as food deceive them. They do not know how to avoid evil, and they are not restrained by the law.Law is gi … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 336: St. John Chrysostom tells us this hurts me more than it hurts you

This hurts me more than it hurts youInsults, thefts, even torture—none of these things do any real harm to the person who suffers them, says St. John Chrysostom. But they do lasting harm to the person who does them.So if neither loss of money, nor slander, nor insult, nor banishment, nor diseases, nor tortures, nor what seems more formidable than all those, namely death, harms those who suffer them, but rather adds to their profit, how will you prove to me that anyone is injured, when n … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 335: St. John Cassian says evil is evil, even if God turns it to good


Evil is evil, even if God turns it to goodSt. John Cassian tells how an earnest monk asked a hard question of the wise abbot Theodore: if dying brings a good person to eternal bliss, how can murder­ing a good person be a crime?Germanus: Well then, if a good man does not only suffer no evil by being killed, but actually gains a reward from his suffering, how can we accuse the man who has done him no harm but good by killing him?Theodore: We are talking about the actual qualities of … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 334: St. John Chrysostom say we should fear God, not death


Fear God, not deathWhen the city of Antioch was in danger of total annihilation, St. John Chrys­ostom dared to tell his parishioners that there was nothing fearful about death. The only thing we need to fear, he said, is displeasing God.There is nothing to be dreaded in human ills except sin—not poverty, or disease, or insult, or ill treatment, or dishonor, or death, which people call the worst of evils. To those who love spiritual wisdom, these things are only the names of disasters, n … [Read more...]