St Augustine: Do You See the Surpassing Glory of the City of God?

Feast of St Onesimus of the 70

Augustine_Square_2.jpgTHE GLORIOUS city of God is my theme in this work, which you, my dearest son Marcellinus, suggested, and which is due to you by my promise. I have undertaken its defense against those who prefer their own gods to the Founder of this city – a city surpassingly glorious, whether we view it as it still lives by faith in this... Continue Reading

Rt. Rev. H. B. Whipple: Are Your Words & Acts Hastening or Retarding the Reunion of Christendom?

Feast of St Anastasios, Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Saturday of Souls

Henry_Whipple_Square.jpegMOST REVEREND and Right Reverend Brethren: No assembly is fraught with such awful responsibility to God, as a council of the Bishops of His Church. Since the Holy Spirit presided in the first council of Jerusalem, faithful souls have looked with deep interest to the deliberations of those whom Christ has made the shepherds of His flock,... Continue Reading

St Ambrose: Are You Willing to Rebuke Your Friend?

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Ambrose_Square_2.jpgNOTHING, then, must be set before virtue; and that it may never be set aside by the desire for friendship, Scripture also gives us a warning on the subject of friendship. There are, indeed various questions raised among philosophers; for instance whether a man ought for the sake of a friend to plot against his country or not, so as to serve his friend?... Continue Reading

St Clement of Alexandria: Are You A Friend Who Does Good to Others?

Feast of St Anthony the Great

Clement_of_Alexandria_Square_3.jpegWE HAVE been taught that there are three forms of friendship. The first and best of these is based on virtue, since the love which proceeds from reason is firmly based. The second stands between the others and is based on mutuality. It involves mutual sharing and is beneficial to life. Friendship on the basis of free giving is mutual. The third, and... Continue Reading

St Aelred of Rievaulx: What Is Friendship?

Feast of St Dominica the Righteous

Aelred_Square_2.jpegAELRED: You and I are here, and I hope that Christ is between us as a third. Now no one else is present to disturb the peace or to interrupt our friendly conversation. No voice, no noise invades our pleasant retreat. Yes, most beloved, open your heart now and pour whatever you please into the ears of a friend. Gratefully let us welcome... Continue Reading

St Augustine: Do Your Friends Repair & Remake You?

Feast of the Synaxis of the 70 Holy Apostles

Augustine_Square_3.jpgTHE COMFORT I found in other friends – and the pleasure I had with them in things of earth – did much to repair and remake me. […] All kinds of things rejoiced my soul in their company – to talk and laugh and do each other kindnesses; read pleasant books together, pass from lightest jesting to talk of the... Continue Reading

St Ignatius: Are You Loudly Proclaiming the Incarnation?

Feast of St Ignatius the God-Bearer, Bishop of Antioch

Ignatius_Square.jpgMY SPIRIT is a humble sacrifice for the cross, which is a stumbling block to unbelievers but salvation and eternal life to us. Where is the wise? Where is the debater? Where is the boasting of those who are thought to be intelligent? For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: What Kind of Images Are the Sounding Heralds in Your Home?

Feast of St Daniel the Stylite

John_Damascene_Square_3.jpegI SAY THAT everywhere we use our senses to produce an image of the Incarnate God Himself, and we sanctify the first of the senses (sight being the first of the senses), just as by words hearing is sanctified. For the image is a memorial. What the book does for those who understand letters, the image does for the illiterate; the word appeals to... Continue Reading

Fr Brian Daley: Do We Desire Unity Enough to Let Our Dialogue of Love Change Us?

Feast of the Holy Martyr Diogenes

Francis___Barth_Square.jpegECUMENICAL theological dialogue is a uniquely demanding, as well as a uniquely consoling form of religious conversation. To be successful at it – to engage in dialogue that is not only congenial but fruitful for those involved – requires time, expertise, and learning on the part of its participants, a commitment to doing the necessary homework in preparation for each meeting, a great deal... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Are You Preparing Yourself to Accept the Heavenly Seed?

Feast of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle

Gregory_Palamas_Square_2.jpgTHE WORD which brings about the salvation of our souls is analogous to seed. Just as farmers first cultivate the earth with the plough, then sow seed, so must we prepare ourselves beforehand to accept the heavenly seed, by which I mean the word of spiritual teaching. But we are not inanimate, unfeeling earth which is cultivated and sown by others, but living,... Continue Reading

Fr Thomas Hopko: Why Celebrate the Entrance of Mary into the Temple?

Feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple

Entrance_Theotokos_Square_1.jpegDURING THE first days of the Christmas fast the Church celebrates the feast of the entrance of the child Mary into the Jerusalem temple. Called in the Church The Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, this festival, which is not among the biblically recorded events, is one of the twelve major feasts of the Orthodox... Continue Reading

St Gregory: Do You Dishonor Education by Rejecting Secular Literature?

Feast of St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

Gregory_Theologian_Square_2.jpgI TAKE IT as admitted by men of sense, that the first of our advantages is education; and not only this our more noble form of it, which disregards rhetorical ornaments and glory, and holds to salvation, and beauty in the objects of our contemplation; but even that external culture which many Christians ill-judgingly abhor, as treacherous and dangerous, and keeping us afar from God. For as we ought not to neglect... Continue Reading

St Basil: Are You Purging Your Soul by Nourishing It with Divine Thoughts?

Feast of St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

Basil_Square_7.jpegTHE DISCIPLINE of piety nourishes the soul with divine thoughts. What then is more blessed than to imitate on earth the anthems of angels’ choirs; to hasten to prayer at the very break of day, and to worship our Creator with hymns and songs; then, when the sun shines brightly and we turn to our tasks, prayer attending us wherever we... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Can East & West Remember Their Original Kinship?

Feast of Sts Cleopas & Artemas of the 70

Florovsky_Square_3.jpgFOR MANY centuries, the Eastern and Western Churches lived in almost complete separation from one another. Yet this separation is always to be understood in the light of the complementary truth that these differing blocks of insights and convictions grew out of what was originally a common mind. The East and the West can only meet and find one another only... Continue Reading

St Augustine: Are You Seeking Things Above & Forsaking Things Below

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Terrence and Eunice

Augustine_Square_2.jpgTHE READER of these reflections of mine on the Trinity should bear in mind that my pen is on the watch against the sophistries of those who scorn the starting-point of faith, and allow themselves to be deceived through an unseasonable and misguided love of reason. Some of them try to transfer what they have observed about bodily things to incorporeal and... Continue Reading

J. R. R. Tolkien: Do You Value Food & Cheer & Song above Hoarded Gold?

Feast of Hosea the Prophet and Andrew the Righteous Monk-martyr of Crete

Bilbo_Square.pngIT'S ME, Bilbo Baggins, companion of Thorin!” he cried, hurriedly taking off the ring.

“It is well that I have found you!” said the man striding forward. “You are needed and we have looked for you long. You would have been numbered among the dead, who are many, if Gandalf the wizard had not said that your voice... Continue Reading

C. S. Lewis: Does Deep Space Bewilder You by its Size or Satisfy You by its Harmony?

Feast of St Domnina the Martyr and her Daughters

Cellarius_ptolemaic_system_Square_1.jpegTHE ARCHITECTURE of the Ptolemaic universe is now so generally known that I will deal with it as briefly as possible. The central (and spherical) Earth is surrounded by a series of hollow and transparent globes, one above the other, and each of course larger than the one below. These are the “spheres”, “heavens”, or (sometimes) “elements”. Fixed in each of... Continue Reading

St John Chrysostom: How Is it Possible to Imitate Martyrs?

Feast of Conception of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

John_Chrysostom_Square_5.jpegHOW IS IT possible,” you ask, “for us to imitate martyrs now? After all, it isn’t a time of persecution.” Yes, I know. Yet while it isn’t a time of persecution, it is a time of martyrdom. It isn’t a time of wrestling matches of that sort, but it is a time of crowns. Human beings aren’t in pursuit, but... Continue Reading

John Henry Newman: What Is a University?

Feast of the Consecration of the Church of the Holy Resurrection

Newman_Square_4.jpegA UNIVERSITY is a place of concourse, whither students come from every quarter for every kind of knowledge. You cannot have the best of every kind everywhere; you must go to some great city or emporium for it. There you have all the choicest productions of nature and art all together, which you find each in its own separate... Continue Reading

John Henry Newman: Have You Been Catechized by a Living Voice?

Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos

Newman_square_2.jpegRELIGIOUS teaching itself affords us an illustration of our subject to a certain point. It does not indeed seat itself merely in centers of the world; this is impossible from the nature of the case. It is intended for the many not the few; its subject matter is truth necessary for us, not truth recondite and rare; but it concurs in the principle... Continue Reading