St Athanasius: Are You Virtuous Like Christ?

Feast of Sts Nathaniel, Luke & Clemente the Apostles

Athanasius_Square.jpgBUT IN ADDITION to the study and true knowledge of the scriptures, there is needed a good life and a pure soul and the virtue which is according to Christ, so that the mind, guided by it, may be able to attain and comprehend what it desires, as far as it is possible for human nature to learn about the Word of God. Without a pure mind and a life modeled on the saints, no one can comprehend the words of the saints. For just as, if someone would wish to see the light of the sun, he would certainly wipe and clear his eyes, purifying himself to be almost like that which he desires, so that as the eye thus becomes light it may see the light of the sun; or just as if someone would wish to see a city or a country, he would certainly go to that place for the sight; in the same way, one wishing to comprehend the mind of the theologians must first wash and cleanse his soul by his manner of life, and approach the saints themselves by the imitation of their works, so that being with them in the conduct of a common life, he may understand also the things revealed to them, and thenceforth, as joined to them, may escape the peril of the sinners and their fire on the day of judgment, but may receive what has been laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven, “which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have they entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor. 2.9), whatsoever things have been prepared for those who live a virtuous life and love the God and Father, in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom and with whom, to the Father and the Son himself in the Holy Spirit, be honor and power and glory to the ages of ages. Amen.”

—St Athanasius, On the Incarnation

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