Church Fathers, Day 346: St. Gregory the Great urges us to pray for the straying


Pray for the strayingSt. Gregory the Great urges his congregation not to fall into the trap of the Manichean heresy. But he also urges them to pray for the heretics. We should pray constantly that all who have strayed will be brought back to the Lord.We deplore the blasphemy of those who deny that Christ was truly hu­man—about whom the blessed Apostle John forewarned us in a crystal-clear say­ing: “every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 345: St. Ignatius of Antioch tells us to never stop praying for others


Never stop praying for othersNo matter how wicked they may seem to be, says St. Ignatius of Antioch, all the people around us are our brothers. We need to imitate Christ and return gentleness for their cruelty.And pray on behalf of others without ceasing. For there is hope of re­pentance in them: they may still make it to God. Make sure that they can learn from your works, if in no other way. Be meek in response to their anger, humble against their boasting. Return prayers for their … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 344: St. John Cassian advises let your struggles help others


Let your struggles help othersThe desert fathers, St. John Cassian tells us, had a custom of revealing their most intimate spiritual struggles to beginning monks. By revealing our own struggles, we can help others facing the same problem.I thought it was a good idea to mention these things in this little work of mine, so that we might learn, not only by reason, but also by examples, about the force of temptations and the order of the sins that hurt an unfortunate soul, and so might be … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 343: Palladius says saves souls through service


Save souls through servicePalladius of Galatia tells the story of an ascetic who met a man and woman who were actors—a notoriously immoral profession in those days. Wishing to save them for Christ, he took the extreme measure of selling himself to them as a slave.The fathers used to tell how, taking a female ascetic as his accomplice, Serapion sold himself to some Greek actors in a certain city for twenty pieces of money. And having sealed up the money he kept it on his person. Then he … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 342: St. John Chrysostom suggests bringing your neighbors to church

Bring your neighbors to churchWhy do our churches seem half-empty sometimes? Why are our neighbors stay­ing home from Mass? St. John Chrysostom warns us that the real blame is not with those who stayed away, but with us who went to church and didn’t bring our neighbors with us.It seems I did no good with the long harangue I addressed to you a while ago, hoping to rouse up your enthusiasm for the meetings here. Once again our church is destitute of her children. So once again I have to a … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 341: You are the soul of the world


You are the soul of the worldThe unknown author of this letter simply calls himself a “Mathetes,” a “dis­ciple.” Here he tells a pagan friend that Christians are like the soul of the world.To sum up: what the soul is to the body, that is what Christians are to the world.The soul is scattered through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world.The soul lives in the body but is not part of the body; the Christians live in the world … [Read more...]