Friday, April 4, 2008

Wisdom from… [3 Apr]

ST ATHANASIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (296–373): He destroyed our death

Since all human beings were subject to death, after taking from us a body like ours he delivered it up to death in the place of us all, offering it to the Father. He did this because of his love for us, so that we might all die in him, for then the law imposing death on us would be abrogated. Death's power, having been fully spent in the Lord's body, would no longer prevail against other human beings resembling him. He did it to free us from the corruptible condition into which we had fallen and to restore us to life. By making our body his own and by the grace of the resurrection he destroyed our death as completely as straw is destroyed by fire.

The Word knew that there was absolutely no way of delivering us from our state of corruptibility except by dying. Since he himself, being immortal and the Son of the Father, was incapable of dying, he took to himself a body which could die. Its participation in the Word who is above all would make it worthy to die for all. Because of the Word dwelling in it, it would remain incorruptible and all others would be freed from corruptibility by the grace of resurrection.
(De Incarnatione 7–9.)

Athansius was bishop of Alexandria, and was the principal defender against the Arians regarding faith in the divinity of Christ.

ST AUGUSTINE: Head and Members Pray

God could give no greater gift to us than to make his Word, through Whom he created all things, our Head and to join us to him as his members. Thus, when we speak to God in prayer we do not separate the Son from him, and when the body of the Son prays it does not separate its Head from itself.
-- Commentary on Psalm 85, 1

Prayer. May he perfect his gifts in us, since he did not hesitate to take our faults on himself. And may he make us children of God, since he chose to become the child of human beings for us.
-- Sermon 184, 3


I would advise you to consider from time to time the quantity of your interior and exterior goods, and at the same time the very great number of interior and exterior punishments that Divine Providence has prepared for us in His most holy justice and His great mercy. As if opening the arms of our consent, let us most lovingly embrace all this by saying, "Yes, Lord, Your will be done on earth, where we have no pleasure without pain, no roses without thorns, no day without a night to follow, no spring without a winter than preceded it. Here consolations are rare and trials are countless. Still, O God, Your will be done."
(T.L.G. IX, Ch. 1; O. V, pp. 111-112)


IT is very currently suggested that the modern man is the heir of all the ages, that he has got the good out of these successive human experiments. I know not what to say in answer to this, except to ask the reader to look at the modern man, as I have just looked at the modern man––in the looking-glass. Is it really true that you and I are two starry towers built up of all the most towering visions of the past? Have we really fulfilled all the great historic ideals one after the other, from our naked ancestor who was brave enough to kill a mammoth with a stone knife, through the Greek citizen and the Christian saint to our own grandfather or great-grandfather, who may have been sabred by the Manchester Yeomany or shot in the '48? Are we still strong enough to spear mammoths, but now tender enough to spare them? Does the cosmos contain any mammoth that we have either speared or spared? When we decline (in a marked manner) to fly the red flag and fire across a barricade like our grand-fathers, are we really declining in deference to sociologists––or to soldiers? Have we indeed outstripped the warrior and passed the ascetical saint? I fear we only outstrip the warrior in the sense that we should probably run away from him. And if we have passed the saint, I fear we have passed him without bowing.
('What's Wrong with the World.')

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