St Vincent of Lerins: Do You Constantly Read the Holy Fathers?

Feast of St Vincent of Lerins

Vincent_Lerins_Square_1.jpegI, PEREGRINUS, who am the least of all the servants of God, remembering the admonition of Scripture, “Ask thy fathers and they will tell thee, thine elders and they will declare unto thee” (Deut. 32.7), and again, “Bow down thine ear to the words of the wise” (Prov 22.17), and once more, “My son, forget not these instructions, but let thy heart keep my words” (Prov 3.1): remembering these admonitions, I say, I, Peregrinus, am persuaded, that, the Lord helping me, it will be of no little use and certainly as regards my own feeble powers, it is most necessary, that I should put down in writing the things which I have truthfully received from the holy Fathers, since I shall then have ready at hand wherewith by constant reading to make amends for the weakness of my memory. […]

Now, in the Lord’s name, I will set about the object I have in view; that is to say, to record with the fidelity of a narrator rather than the presumption of an author, the things which our forefathers have handed down to us and committed to our keeping, yet observing this rule in what I write, that I shall by no means touch upon everything that might be said, but only upon what is necessary; nor yet in an ornate and exact style, but in simple and ordinary language, s that the most part may seem to be intimated, rather than set forth in detail. Let those cultivate elegance and exactness who are confident  of their ability or are moved by a sense of duty. For me it will be enough to have provided a Commonitory (or Remembrancer) for myself, such as may aid my memory, or rather, provide against my forgetfulness: which same Commonitory, however, I shall endeavor, the Lord helping me, to amend and make more complete by little and little, day by day, by recalling to mind what I have learnt.

~St Vincent of Lerins, A Commonitory

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