Monday, September 13, 2004

Christian Heritage - September 12 & 13

September 12

Natural Illumination

"Wisdom has built her house. The substantive power of God the Father has made his own dwelling-place in both the whole earth, in which he lives in actuality, and in the human race itself, created in the image and likeness of God, composed of visible and invisible nature.

"To human beings themselves, re-created after their rebirth in Christ, while they believe in him and keep his commandment, he has also given the seven gifts of the Spirit. With the help of these, virtue being animated by knowledge, and knowledge in turn embodied in virtue, the spiritual human being is made complete, brought to perfection by perfect faith and participation in supernatural things.

"So Christians attain to natural illumination through the spirit, and have strength to make an eager start in the right direction, led of course by the holy desires by which all things have come into being. They have deliberation to help them distinguish the kind of desires which are entirely good and come from God, being uncreated and immortal, and permissible in thought, speech, and action, from those that are not so. They also have understanding which makes them consent to and delight in one kind and not the other."

Chew, chew, chew...

Procopius of Gaza (AD 475-528), Proverbs: PG 87/1, 1299-1304

Procopius was the foremost member of the school of rhetoric that flourished in Gaza. His major achievement was in the field of scriptural interpretation, specifically the compilor of the catenae for a number of books of the Old Testament.

Not only is this a cool quote, but Procopius is one of the raddest names I've heard in years. Hmmmm, maybe I can name my (hypothetical) kids Dorothy, Cyril AND, now, Procopius....

September 13

Let Us Take Care That We Hate No One

"Two things are required of us, here and now: to acknowledge our sins and to forgive others; the first, so that the second may become easier. For someone properly aware of his own behavior and its shortcomings will be the more forgiving to his fellow humans. And that does not mean forgiveness in words merely, but from the heart, lest in our resentment we turn the sword on ourselves. The more he has injured you, the greater the forgiveness of your own sin, in consequence.

"Let us take care that we hate no one, so that God may still love us; so that even though we may be owing him a thousand talents he may yet be generous and merciful to us. Has someone offended you? Be merciful to him, then; do not hate him. Weep and lament for him, but do not show aversion. For it is not you who have offended God, but he; you will do well to put up with it. Recall how Christ was content to be crucified — and yet shed tears over those who did it. That must be your disposition also: the more you are wronged, the more you must lament for the wrongdoers. For it is we who profit from this — and greatly — but not they."

John Chrysostom (AD 347-407), patriarch of Constantinople, Hom. LXI on Matthew

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