Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Christian Heritage - June 30 - Paul

"No one has known Christ better than Paul, nor surpassed him in the example he gave of what anyone should be who bears Christ's name. So perfectly did he mirror his Master that he became his very image. He was transformed into his model and it seemed to be no longer Paul who lived and spoke, but Christ himself living in Paul.

"Paul teaches us the meaning of Christ's name when he calls him the power and wisdom of God, our peace, the unapproachable light in which God dwells, our sanctification and redemption; when he declares him to be the reflection of God's glory, the perfect likeness of his nature, the Creator of all ages, our spiritual food and drink, the rock and the water, the foundation of our faith, the cornerstone, the image of the invisible God. He shows what Christ's name means when he says that he is the mighty God, the head of his body the Church, the firstborn of the new creation, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, the firstborn from the dead, the eldest of many brothers and sisters, and when he tells us that Christ is the mediator between God and the human race, the only-begotten Son crowned with glory and honor, the Lord of glory, the beginning of all things, the king of justice and of peace, the king of the whole universe, the ruler of a realm that has no boundaries."

Gregory of Nyssa (AD 330-395), Christian Perfection: Jaeger 8, 174-177

Gregory was greatest speculative theologian of the three great Cappadocian Fathers, a trio which also included Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa's eldest brother, Basil the Great. Apparently against his family's wishes, before he became a bishop, Gregory, much like Augustine, pursued a secular career and the study of rhetoric. Also probably like Augustine, he may have been married, as suggested by Gregory of Nazianzus's written condolences for his loss.

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