Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just God

From the diary of Vincent Pallotti, a 19th Century theologian and pastor, a praryer I'd like to make my own:

Not the intellect, but God.
Not the will, but God.
Not the soul, but God.
Not the goods of the world, but God.
Not riches, but God.
Not honors, but God.
Not distinction, but God.
Not dignities, but God.
Not advancement, but God.
God always and in everything.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why I Read the Church Fathers

Scott Cairns wrote the following in an introduction to Athanasius' Life of Antony. He says more effectively than I could ever do how I have come to feel about the leaders of the early church and the writings they've left behind:
... C.S. Lewis makes the claim that our continued attention to the "old books" is absolutely necessary if we are to avoid the hubris of thinking that our contemporary views are without error. It is not so much that the old authors didn't also make mistakes, Lewis notes, as it is that their mistakes are not our mistakes; without having recourse to "the old books," we become blind to our own disabling premises.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

To the Father of Monks

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Egypt, one of the "Desert Fathers" of the church. In 271, at the age of 20, Anthony took seriously Jesus' words regarding the selling of possessions. Anthony gave all his wealth to the poor and moved to the desert to live the ascetic life of a monk, but was continually sought out by pilgrims for spiritual direction and advice.

In the early 300s, Anthony created a loosely-organized group of cells, which can be considered the world's first monastery. The story of Anthony's life (compiled by St. Athanasius in about 370) greatly influenced St. Augustine, who was only 2 when Anthony died. Augustine went on to serve the church greatly and leave many of his own writings behind, including his "Rule" for monastic life, written in 400, which led to great growth and vitality of the monastic vocation within the church over the next thousand years.

In 311, in a renewed time of persecution, Anthony moved about ALexandria preaching and teaching, willing to accept the grace of martyrdom should it come his way. His life was spared, and he continued as a church leader, active in the fight against the Arian heresy, which denied the deity of Christ and thus the Trinity. At this point, Anthony was nearly 90. He died at 105.

Monday, January 07, 2008

from the venerable Bede

A hymn of glory let us sing,
new hymns throughout the world shall ring;
by a new way none ever trod
Christ takes his place: the throne of God!

You are a present joy, O Lord;
you will be ever our reward;
and great the light in you we see
to guide us to eternity.

O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
all praise to you let earth accord,
who are, while endless ages run,
with Father and with Spirit, One.