Show reverence to what is sacred, Church Fathers: Day 356

Show reverence to what is sacredSt. Jerome says that when he is angry (which happened to him often enough) or has evil thoughts, he is afraid to enter the basilicas of the martyrs. Is he being superstitious? Perhaps. Or perhaps he has a real sense of the reverence due those sacred places.I confess my own fear, for possibly it may be thought to spring from su­perstition when I have been angry, or have had evil thoughts in my soul.You may smile, perhaps, and deride this as on a level … [Read more...]

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Remember the martyrs, Church Fathers: Day 355

Remember the martyrsMarble statues don’t commemorate the deeds of the martyrs, says the historian Eusebius of Caesarea in his introduction to a book about the martyrs of Pal­estine, but the faith they died for does. Marble statues are lifeless, whereas the martyrs live forever in heaven.The holy Martyrs of God loved our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, and God supreme and sovereign of all, more than themselves and their own lives. They were dragged forward to the conflict for the sake of r … [Read more...]

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Find the best models to imitate, Church Fathers: Day 354

Find the best models to imitateA bit of practical advice for monks, but also for anyone else, from St. John Cas­sian: if you’re looking for virtues to imitate, don’t expect to find all the virtues in one model. We all have different strengths.It is an ancient and excellent saying of the blessed Anthony that when a monk is trying through the monastic life to reach the heights of a more advanced perfection, and, having learned the consideration of discretion, is able now to stand in his o … [Read more...]

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Fear nothing: the Lord is with you, Church Fathers: Day 353

Fear nothing: the Lord is with youIn his life of St. Martin, Sulpitius Severus tells the story of Martin’s encounter with a gang of robbers. The example of his courage is so persuasive that one of the robbers is converted.The robber, having led him to a private place apart from the rest, began to ask him who he was. To this Martin replied that he was a Christian.Next the robber asked him whether he was afraid.At this point Martin very courageously replied that he had never b … [Read more...]

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St. Augustine says don’t be surprised when evil enters the Church , Church Fathers: Day 352

Don’t be surprised when evil enters the ChurchThe earthly city and the city of God are all mixed up in this world, says St. Augustine. Yes, you will find wicked people in the Church—and yes, you will find good people outside it. These things are to be expected until the last judgment.As long as she is a foreigner in the world, the City of God has in her com­munion, and bound to her by the sacraments, some who will not live forever in the destiny of the saints.Some of these we do not … [Read more...]

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St. Ignatius of Antioch says be gentlest with the most abrasive people, Church Fathers: Day 351

Be gentlest with the most abrasive peopleWriting as bishop to bishop to St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Ignatius of Antioch advises him to win over the troublemakers with his mildness. The worse the wound, the gentler you have to be in treating it.If you love the good disciples, no one owes you any thanks on that ac­count. But instead, try to subdue the more troublesome ones with your meekness.Not every kind of wound is healed by the same dressing. Treat violent attacks by gentle … [Read more...]

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