Monday, May 2, 2016

St. Athanasius: " might be enabled to know Him"

“For God, being good and loving to mankind, and caring for the souls made by Him, ─since He is by nature invisible and incomprehensible, having His being beyond all created existence, for which reason the race of mankind was likely to miss the way to the knowledge of Him, since they are mad out of nothing while He is unmade, ─for this cause God by His own Word gave the Universe the Order it has, in order that since He is by nature invisible, men might be enabled to know Him at any rate by His works.”

~St. Athanasius: Against the Heathen, Chap. 35.

Lactantius: "There are two ways"

"THERE are two ways, O Emperor Constantine, by which human life must proceed—the one which leads to heaven, the other which sinks to hell; and these ways poets have introduced in their poems, and philosophers in their disputations. And indeed philosophers have represented the one as belonging to virtues, the other to vices; and they have represented that which belongs to virtues as steep and rugged at the first entrance, in which if any one, having overcome the difficulty, has climbed to the summit, they say that he afterwards has a level path, a bright and pleasant plain, and that he enjoys abundant and delightful fruits of his labours; but that those whom the difficulty of the first approach has deterred, glide and turn aside into the way of vices, which at its first entrance appears to be pleasant and much more beaten, but afterwards, when they have advanced in it a little further, that the appearance of its pleasantness is withdrawn, and that there arises a steep way, now rough with stones, now overspread with thorns, now interrupted by deep waters or violent with torrents, so that they must be in difficulty, hesitate, slip about, and fall. And all these things are brought forward that it may appear that there are very great labours in undertaking virtues, but that when they are gained there are the greatest advantages, and firm and incorruptible pleasures; but that vices ensnare the minds of men with certain natural blandishments, and lead them captivated by the appearance of empty pleasures to bitter griefs and miseries—an altogether wise discussion, if they knew the forms and limits of the virtues themselves. For they had not learned either what they are, or what reward awaits them from God: but this we will show in these two books."

~Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 325): The Divine Institutes, Bk. VI, Ch. 6.

Christopher H. Dawson on St. Augustine of Hippo

"IT was in this age of ruin and distress that St. Augustine lived and worked. To the materialist, nothing could be more futile than the spectacle of Augustine busying himself with the reunion of the African Church and the refutation of the Pelagians, while civilisation was falling to pieces about his ears. It would seem like the activity of an ant which works on while its nest is being destroyed. But St. Augustine saw things otherwise. To him the ruin of civilisation and the destruction of the Empire were not very important things. He looked beyond the aimless and bloody chaos of history to the world of eternal realities from which the world of sense derives all the significance which it possesses. His thoughts were fixed, not on the fate of the city of Rome or the city of Hippo, nor on the struggle of Roman and barbarian, but on those other cities which have their foundations in heaven and in hell, and on the warfare between ‘the world-rulers of the dark aeon’ and the princes of light. And, in fact, though the age of St. Augustine ended in ruin and though the Church of Africa, in the service of which he spent his life, was destined to be blotted out as completely as if it had never been, he was justified in his faith. The spirit of Augustine continued to live and bear fruit long after Christian Africa had ceased to exist. It entered into the tradition of the Western Church and moulded the thought of Western Christendom so that our very civilisation bears that imprint of his genius. However far we have travelled since the fifth century and however much we have learnt from other teachers, the work of St. Augustine remains an inalienable part of our spiritual heritage."

~Christopher Dawson: Enquiries into Religion and Culture.

St. Cyril of Alexandria: Mother of God

“HAIL, from us, Mary, Mother of God, majestic common-treasure of the whole world, the lamp unquenchable, the crown of virginity, the staff of orthodoxy, the indissoluble temple, the dwelling of the Illimitable, Mother and Virgin, through whom He in the holy Gospels is called the ‘Blessed Who cometh in the name of the Lord.’”

~St. Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376 – 444 AD): Homilies, 4.

“IF anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is true God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is Mother of God (Dei genetricem—Theotokon), since she bore, after the flesh, the incarnate Word of God, let him be anathema.”

~Council of Alexandria: Anathema 1 of St. Cyril. (430 AD)

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