Church Fathers, Day 244: Aphrahat tells us to take the medicine that cures you

Take the medicine that cures you When you’ve been wounded in the battle against sin, says Aphrahat the Sage, penitence is the medicine you need. But you can’t be cured if you’re ashamed to go to the doctor. There is a medicine for every disease, and the disease is healed when the skillful physician finds the medicine. For those who have been wounded in our battle, there is the medicine of penitence, and those who rub it on their wounds are healed. Physicians, disciples of our wise Physi … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 243: St. John Cassian advises us to attack our strongest sin first

Attack your strongest sin first The wise abbot Serapion told St. John Cassian that we should attack the enemy first where he’s strongest. The struggle builds up our spiritual strength, and we know that the rest of the struggles will be easier. Discover your most characteristic sin, and direct your main attack against it, turning all your care and watchfulness of mind to guard against its assault. Send against it daily the weapons of fasting, and at all times hurl against it the constant d … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 242: St. Clement tells us be happy to be corrected

Be happy to be corrected St. Clement of Rome tells us to correct one another, and—more important—to accept correction happily. That’s hard to do, but it’s worthwhile, because God uses our brothers and sisters to show us when we’re headed down the wrong path. So let us also pray for those who have fallen into sin. Pray that they may be given meekness and humility, so that they may submit, not to us, but to the will of God. That way they will have a productive and perfect remembrance from us. W … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 241: St. John Chrysostom gives five ways to repent

Five ways to repent There are many ways to repent, says St. John Chrysostom, and they all lead to heaven. Not one of them is too hard for any of us. Would you like me to talk about the ways of repentance? There are many ways, and various, and diverse—and they all lead to heaven. The first way of repentance is condemning your sins. “Declare your sins, that you may be justified” (Isaiah 42:26, Septuagint). So condemn yourself for your sins. That’s a good enough self-defense for the Master. Fo … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 240: St. Cyril of Jerusalem says sincere repentance saves the wickedest

Sincere repentance saves the wickedest No one was more wicked than Nebuchadnezzar, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Yet even he was forgiven when he sincerely repented. God may send us hard times to remind us that we need to repent, but we can be confident that sincere repentance brigs salvation and an eternal place in the Kingdom. What do you think of Nebuchadnezzar? What great punishments he deserved for murdering kings, setting fire to the Temple, taking the people cap­tive, placing the … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 239: St. Augustine says to know God, confess your sins

To know God, confess your sins Why do we confess our sins when God knows them already? St. Augustine tells us that we can’t hide our sins from God, but not confessing them will hide God from us. Lord, the depths of a man’s conscience are bare to your eyes. What in me could be hidden from you, even if I were unwilling to confess it to you? By not confessing I would hide you from myself, not myself from you. For when I am wicked, to confess to you is nothing but to be dissatisfied with mys … [Read more...]