Feast of the Holy Martyrs Acindynus, Pegasius, Aphthonius, Elpidephorus & Anempodistus
PUBLIC and advertised acts are not the only things to be shunned. There are those acts also which lead astray by the weaving of a clever deceit. Our enemy is very clever and very devious. He was exposed and overthrown by the coming of Christ after His light had come to the pagans and His lamp of salvation had shown upon redeemed humanity. In that light the deaf were allowed to hear of spiritual grace, the blind to open their eyes to God, the sick renew their strength with eternal health, the lame to run into the Church, the dumb to pray with clear voices their prayers of supplication.
Our Satanic enemy, seeing idols forsaken and their pedestals and temples deserted by a people that forsook their faith in them, devised accordingly a new deception in order that, under the label of the name of Christian, he might lead the unwary astray. He devised heresies and schisms by means of which he could undermine the faith, by means of which he could corrupt the truth and tear our unity asunder.
Those whom he could not keep imprisoned in the blindness of their old way of life, he entrapped and beguiled by a new method of deception. He snatched men away from the Church itself. While they thought that they had approached near to the light itself and had escaped the night of this age, Satan spread again another darkness amongst those who took no notice of it. In consequence, while not standing fast on the foundation of the gospel of Christ and the observance of His law, they still call themselves Christians.
Though wandering in the darkness, they conclude that they have the light. Meanwhile the adversary is seducing and deceiving them, who, according to the Apostle’s statement, transfigures himself as if an angel of light, and grooms his own as though they were ministers of righteousness, introducing night instead of day, destruction for salvation, hopelessness under the guise of hope, betrayal under the cloak of trust, Antichrist under the name of Christ. As a result, while they lie with words pretending truth, they drain the truth of any effect through their artful contrivance. This is done, my beloved brothers, as long as there is no return to the birthplace of truth, nor is its capital sought, nor is the doctrine of the heavenly Master preserved.
—St Cyprian of Carthage, The Unity of the Catholic Church