Church Fathers, Day 215: St. John Chrysostom tells us to see the real power of wealth

See the real power of wealth Preaching on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19-31), St. John Chrysostom pauses at the point where the rich man dies. See now, he says, what good all his possessions did him. Dear friends, do not carelessly pass by the words “and was buried,” but let us think of the tables inlaid with silver, the couches, the carpets, the wardrobe, all the ornaments throughout the house, the oils, the perfumes, the abundance of wine, the variety of meats, the … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 214: St. Ambrose tells us to toss out the image of the devil

Toss out the image of the devil Heaping up useless wealth, says St. Ambrose, rips the image of God out of our souls and substitutes the image of Satan. What good does all your wealth do you if it earns you condemnation? Is it not a vain thing to heap up riches? For surely to look for fleeting things is vain enough. And when you have gathered them, how do you know that you will be able to keep them? Is it not vain for a merchant to journey by night and by day, that he may be able to heap up … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 213: St. Ephrem the Syrian says be poor to be rich

Be poor to be rich Only one who fears God is rich, says St. Ephrem the Syrian. All earthly riches are really poverty, because they lead us away from our true riches. No one in creation is rich but one who fears God; no one is truly poor but one who lacks the truth. How needy and not rich is the one whose need witnesses against him that even from the abject and the beggars he needs to receive a gift! He is truly a slave, and many are his masters: he renders service to money, to riches, and … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 212: St. Basil says find God through continence


Find God through continence Writing to a monk, St. Basil praises continence. It isn’t just the celibacy prac­ticed by monks, he says: continence is a way of life for everyone, and it leads us to God. The fruit of continence is the companionship of God. For not to be cor­rupted is to have part with God; just as to be corrupted is the companionship of the world. Continence is denial of the body, and confession to God. It withdraws from any­thing mortal, like a body which has the Spirit of God … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 211: St. Athanasius says marriage is good; virginity is better

Marriage is good; virginity is better Following the doctrine of St. Paul, St. Athanasius tells us that marriage and consecrated virginity both have a place in God’s plan. Those who marry bear fruit for God, and they will receive great rewards. But virginity bears even greater fruit and brings even greater rewards. There are two ways in life. The first is more moderate and ordinary—I mean marriage. The second is angelic and unsurpassed—namely virginity. Now if someone chooses the way of the … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 210: St. Augustine says keep the soul pure to keep the body pure

Keep the soul pure to keep the body pure Barbarian invaders had violated many consecrated virgins in Rome. Was their chastity destroyed? No, says St. Augustine: the purity of the body depends on the purity of the soul, not on the violence of the unpredictable outside world. The sanctity of the body does not depend on the integrity of its mem­bers, or on their being untouched. After all, they are subject to various accidents that hurt them and wound them, and the surgeons who bring relief … [Read more...]