Church Fathers, Day 308: St. Ephrem the Syrian says throw off your shackles

Throw off your shacklesSt. Ephrem the Syrian imagines a conversation between Satan and the “sinful woman” of Luke 7:37-50. She throws off the yoke of Satan—and leaves the devil in tears!Satan said to the sinful woman, “I tell you, woman, that I am the first of your lovers. I am not such as you, and I place my hands on you. I will give you much more gold than before.”The sinful woman answered, “I am wearied of you, sir, and you are no more my lover. I have won for myself a husband in … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 307: St. John Chrysostom tells us that not even the devil can make you sin

Not even the devil can make you sinSt. John Cassian remembers the words of the wise Abbot Theodore in the Egyptian desert. No one can make you sin, says Theodore—not even the devil. Only you have the power to consent to sin, or to reject it.Let us now carefully consider whether God ever allows evil to be forced on his saints either by himself or by some one else.And you will certainly find that this never happens. For another can never possibly force the evil of sin upon anyone who … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 306: St. John Chrysostom reminds us to remember that God, not Satan, is in control

Remember that God, not Satan, is in controlSome say that the demons control affairs on earth. Not so, says St. John Chrys­ostom. You’re lucky God doesn’t really let the demons take over.The sun is not more obvious than the providence of God. Nevertheless, some people dare to say that demons control our affairs.What can I say? You have a loving Master. He chooses to be blasphemed by these words, rather than to hand your affairs over to the demons, and show you by real experience how … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 305: St. John Chrysostom tells us to starve Satan

Starve SatanDo you take the Lord’s name in vain when things go badly? Satan brings you troubles just to hear you blaspheme, says St. John Chrysostom. But he’s like a begging dog: if you don’t throw him any treats, he’ll stop hanging around.There are some who, if they meet with any reverse, or are slandered by anyone, or if they fall into any bodily malady, any pain in the foot or head, or any other disease, immediately blaspheme. In this way they endure the affliction, but are deprived … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 304: St. Dionysius of Alexandria says endure temptation—it’s God’s training for you


Endure temptation—it’s God’s training for youThe devil makes use of temptation—the word means “testing”—to lure us to hell. But God tests us, says Dionysius, to train us for heaven.In general it seems true that it’s not possible for anyone to keep from ex­periencing evil completely. As someone says, “the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and again, “their span is but toil and trouble” (Psalm 90:10).But, you might ask, what’s the difference between being tem … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 303: St. Cyril of Alexandria wants us to know how Satan works

Know how Satan worksWhenever Satan attacks us, says St. Cyril of Alexandria, he does it at our weakest point. Whatever temptation we’re most likely to give in to, that’s where Satan musters all his forces.By searching the inspired Scripture thoroughly, we shall find this to be a usual habit, as we may say, of the evil one. At the beginning, he opens his attack by trying the hearts of those who worship God, first of all sowing the seed of evil questionings, and inciting us with the bait … [Read more...]