Suffer a little while, be with the angels forever; Angels: Day 238

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem, because he does exactly that. How can the martyrs face horrible tortures without blinking? Because the Spirit has whispered in their ears, reminding them that they will soon be with the angels.And the Spirit is called the Comforter, because he comforts us, and encourages us.Often a man is outraged, dishonored, and hurt for Christ’s sake. Tortures on every side—fire and sword—savage beasts—the deep pit. But the Holy Spir … [Read more...]

No one can hurt you; Angels: Day 237

If  you’re a Christian,  says  St. John Chrysostom,  no one can really hurt you—not  even the devil himself. But more than that, you can’t hurt anyone else.Listen to me! I testify, and proclaim with a loud voice, more piercing even than the sound of a trumpet—and if it were possible to rise up on high and cry aloud, I would not shrink from doing it—no one of all the human beings that inhabit the earth has the power to hurt a Christian.And why do I say human beings? Not even the evil spiri … [Read more...]

Sickness may be your angel in the way; Angels: Day 236

In the Bible’s  most famous talking-animal story, Balaam is riding to curse Israel, but his ass sees an angel in the way, though Balaam doesn’t. Sickness, says St. Gregory the Great, may be your angel in the way, stopping you from sinning and turning your mind back to God.Remind the sick to think about how great health of the heart is in bodily suffering, which brings the mind back to knowing itself, and renews the memory of infirmity, which health for the most part throws away—so that the st … [Read more...]

The angel of the Lord driving us on; Angels: Day 235

When misfortunes strike us, says St. Gregory the Great, we’re very likely to despair—a  tendency represented by the bad advice of Job’s wife. But we need to remember that our sufferings can be useful in bringing us back to the right path.“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God, and die’” ( Job 2:9).The wife, with her bad advice, is the carnal thought that prods at the mind. It often happens (as I’ve just said) that we are both harried by blows from ou … [Read more...]

Angels our fellow servants; Angels: Day 234

St. Basil the Great replies to those who would make the Holy Spirit something less than God. They argue that the angels are sometimes  also mentioned together with the Father and the Son; but St. Basil says that, in those cases, the angels are called as witnesses, as fellow servants under the same Lord.Some people object that other beings mentioned along with the Father and the Son are certainly not always glorified together with them. The Apostle, for instance, in his charge to Timothy, a … [Read more...]

Friendship with angels is useless without charity; Angels: Day 233

The struggles between Christians and the Donatist sect had become violent, and two Donatists had died, whom the Donatists called martyrs. St. Optatus of Milevis says they cannot be called martyrs, because they had abandoned charity, the one virtue without which not even communion with angels will do us any good.Those men you call martyrs refused to recognize their brethren, and had no charity.And don’t say in their excuse that they were unwilling to hold communion with Betrayers, since it … [Read more...]