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Author Topic: Early Church Fathers  (Read 38298 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #180 on: July 26, 2012, 02:12:21 PM »

Why do a lot of the earlier posts have these strange characters in them?

At one point I think they did something with the database, like had to reset everything and reload all the data, and some of the data got garbled. Not sure if that was after a hack or what. Anyway, for a while you could report it and they'd fix it, if I remember correctly, but eventually they just had to move on.
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« Reply #181 on: July 26, 2012, 02:14:23 PM »

Why do a lot of the earlier posts have these strange characters in them?

At one point I think they did something with the database, like had to reset everything and reload all the data, and some of the data got garbled. Not sure if that was after a hack or what. Anyway, for a while you could report it and they'd fix it, if I remember correctly, but eventually they just had to move on.
Thank you.
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« Reply #182 on: July 28, 2012, 08:39:25 AM »

And therefore, first in the holy Synod of Nicæa, the gathering of the three hundred and eighteen chosen men, united by the Holy Ghost, as far as in him [ie. St. Athanasius] lay, he stayed the disease. Though not yet ranked among the Bishops, he held the first rank among the members of the Council, for preference was given to virtue just as much as to office. Afterwards, when the flame had been fanned by the blasts of the evil one, and had spread very widely (hence came the tragedies of which almost the whole earth and sea are full), the fight raged fiercely around him who was the noble champion of the Word.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian (d. c. 391), Oration 21.14
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« Reply #183 on: July 28, 2012, 09:40:45 AM »

Why do a lot of the earlier posts have these strange characters in them?

At one point I think they did something with the database, like had to reset everything and reload all the data, and some of the data got garbled. Not sure if that was after a hack or what. Anyway, for a while you could report it and they'd fix it, if I remember correctly, but eventually they just had to move on.

Strange characters = mostly Greek but some Cyrillic letters.
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« Reply #184 on: July 29, 2012, 12:41:57 PM »

There are two kinds of humility, as there are two kinds of pride. The first kind of pride is when a man reproaches his brother, condemns and reviles him as someone of no account, regarding himself as his superior. If such a man does not speedily come to his senses and try to mend his ways, he comes, little by little, to the second kind of pride, which puffs itself up in the face of God Himself and ascribes to itself its achievements and virtues, as though the man has done it all himself, with his own intelligence and knowledge, and not with the help of God. From this can be seen what constitutes the two kinds of humility. The first humility consists in considering that one's brother has better judgment and is in all things superior to oneself—or in considering oneself below all men. The second humility consists in ascribing one's achievements to God. This is the perfect humility of the saints.

-- St. Dorotheus of Gaza (d. c. 565), Directions on the Spiritual Life (Source)
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« Reply #185 on: July 30, 2012, 04:47:42 PM »

You see what sort of person a widow is said to be, the wife of one man, tested also by the progress of age, vigorous in religion, and worn out in body, whose resting-place is the temple, whose conversation is prayer, whose life is fasting, who in the times of day and night by a service of unwearied devotion, though the body acknowledge old age, yet knows no age in her piety. Thus is a widow trained from her youth, thus is she spoken of in her age, who has kept her widowhood not through the chance of time, nor through weakness of body, but by large-heartedness in virtue.

-- St. Ambrose of Milan (d. 397), Concerning Widows, 22 (Source)
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« Reply #186 on: July 31, 2012, 11:32:06 PM »

Some members we can dispense with and yet live: without others life is an impossibility. Some offences are light, some heavy. It is one thing to owe ten thousand talents, another to owe a farthing. We shall have to give account of the idle word no less than of adultery; but it is not the same thing to be put to the blush, and to be put upon the rack, to grow red in the face and to ensure lasting torment. Do you think I am merely expressing my own views? Hear what the Apostle John says: 'He who knows that his brother sinneth a sin not unto death, let him ask, and he shall give him life, even to him that sinneth not unto death. But he that hath sinned unto death, who shall pray for him?' You observe that if we entreat for smaller offences, we obtain pardon: if for greater ones, it is difficult to obtain our request: and that there is a great difference between sins.

-- St. Jerome (d. 420), Against Jovinianus, 2, 30
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« Reply #187 on: August 01, 2012, 11:22:03 PM »

Let Presbyters and Deacons do nothing without the consent of the Bishop. For he is the one entrusted with the Lord’s people, and it is from him that an accounting will be demanded with respect to their souls.

-- 39th Apostolic Canon



As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavour that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.

-- St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. c. 107), Epistle to the Magnesians, 7
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« Reply #188 on: August 02, 2012, 05:42:35 PM »

Now the demon of envy could not control his envy so he found an instrument worthy of his evil designs. A certain harlot,* Basiane, who had lately come to Constantinople from the East, entrapped many of those who hunted after women of her sort. The sons of some heretics summoned her and made the following suggestion to her: 'If you can in any way bring a scandal upon the man who stands on the pillar in Anaplus* or upon any of those who are with him, we will pay you a hundred gold pieces.' The shameless woman agreed and went up to the holy man with much parade and took with her a crowd of young men and prostitutes and simulated illness and remained in the suburb opposite the Saint's enclosure. And though she stayed there no little time she spent her time in vain.

As she was anxious to get possession of the money she went down to the city and plotted after this fashion. To her lovers she said, 'I managed to seduce the man, for he became enamoured of my beauty and ordered his disciples to bring me up to him by means of the ladder; but as I would not consent, the men there planned to lie in wait and kill me; and it is with difficulty that I have escaped from their hands'. When her lovers heard this they thought they had gained their object and imparted the news to all their fellow conspirators. And thereupon as the report spread you could have seen a war between the believers and unbelievers. While matters were in this state, God Who rejoices in the truth and ever defends His servants, brought it about that the abandoned woman, Basiane, should be tormented by an evil demon in the middle of the City and then and there should proclaim her plot and the wrong which the licentious men had suggested to her against the righteous Daniel, promising her money if she were successful. And not only did she make public their names, shouting them for all to hear, but their rank also. Then could be seen a change in the ordering of affairs, for the faithful now rejoiced, whilst the faithless who had threatened to throw stones against the just man were put to shame.

While she was being chastised terribly for many days, the Christ-loving inhabitants of the City took pity upon her and led her away to the Saint and importuned him to pray to God on her behalf that she might obtain healing. But the servant of God said to them, 'Believe me, beloved, the former calumnies have now become as it were blessings to me; for neither does a man who is praised falsely benefit thereby nor does he sustain any injury who is slandered unjustly. For he who has entrusted his soul to God rejoices rather in false calumnies-for they procure a reward for him-than in true praises which swell and puff up the mind'. After these words as they all besought him to bear no malice against her, because they saw the wretched woman being so afflicted before the column, he bade them all stand for prayer. And stretching out his hands to heaven in the sight of them all, he besought God with tears for many hours that she might be healed. And it came to pass, as he prayed, that the demon cast her to the ground and came out of her in that same hour; and he bade them give her to drink from the oil of the saints. And when she came to herself she stood up and embraced the pillar weeping and praising God. And all those who were present gave thanks to God Who had granted such grace to the holy man: and they took her and went away with rejoicing.

-- The Life and Works of our Holy Father St. Daniel the Stylite, 39-40 (Source)
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« Reply #189 on: August 03, 2012, 05:57:35 PM »

Christ's gifts therefore raise men to a hope long looked for, and to a most dear joy. The woman who was guilty of many impurities, and deserving of blame for most disgraceful deeds, was justified, that we also may have confidence that Christ certainly will have mercy upon us, when He sees us hastening to Him, and endeavouring to escape from the pitfalls of wickedness. Let us too stand before Him: let us shed the tears of repentance: let us anoint Him with ointment: for the tears of him that repenteth are a sweet savour to God. Call him to mind who saith, "Awake, they who are drunken with wine: weep and howl all they who drink wine to drunkenness." For Satan intoxicates the heart, and agitates the mind by wicked pleasure, leading men down to the pollutions of sensuality.

-- St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444),  Sermon 40 on the Gospel of Luke
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« Reply #190 on: August 04, 2012, 01:52:00 PM »

If then the prophets prophesied that the Son of God was to appear upon the earth, and prophesied also where on the earth and how and in what manner He should make known His appearance, and all these prophecies the Lord took upon Himself; our faith in Him was well-founded, and the tradition of the preaching (is) true: that is to say, the testimony of the apostles, who being sent forth by the Lord preached in all the world the Son of God, who came to suffer, and endured to the destruction of death and the quickening of the flesh: that by the putting away of the enmity towards God, which is unrighteousness, we should obtain peace with Him, doing that which is pleasing to Him.

-- St. Irenaeus (d. 202), The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 86
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« Reply #191 on: August 05, 2012, 07:53:39 PM »

But it will be said, If the words, the sentiments, the promises of Scripture, are appealed to by the Devil and his disciples, of whom some are false apostles, some false prophets and false teachers, and all without exception heretics, what are Catholics and the sons of Mother Church to do? How are they to distinguish truth from falsehood in the sacred Scriptures? They must be very careful to pursue that course which, in the beginning of this Commonitory, we said that holy and learned men had commended to us, that is to say, they must interpret the sacred Canon according to the traditions of the Universal Church and in keeping with the rules of Catholic doctrine, in which Catholic and Universal Church, moreover, they must follow universality, antiquity, consent.

And if at any time a part opposes itself to the whole, novelty to antiquity, the dissent of one or a few who are in error to the consent of all or at all events of the great majority of Catholics, then they must prefer the soundness of the whole to the corruption of a part; in which same whole they must prefer the religion of antiquity to the profaneness of novelty; and in antiquity itself in like manner, to the temerity of one or of a very few they must prefer, first of all, the general decrees, if such there be, of a Universal Council, or if there be no such, then, what is next best, they must follow the consentient belief of many and great masters. Which rule having been faithfully, soberly, and scrupulously observed, we shall with little difficulty detect the noxious errors of heretics as they arise.

-- Vincent of Lerins (d. mid-5th century), The Commonitory, 27
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« Reply #192 on: August 07, 2012, 02:16:57 PM »

Make your mind contrite, humble your soul by the memory of the offenses committed by you, and wrath will not be able even to trouble you. But the cause of all these evils is this, that we scrutinise the sins of all others with great exactitude; while we let our own pass with great remissness. Whereas we ought to do the contrary--to keep our own faults unforgotten; but never even to admit a thought of those of others. If we do this we shall both have God propitious, and shall cease cherishing immortal anger against our neighbours, and we shall never have any one as an enemy; and even if we should have at any time we shall both quickly put an end to his enmity, and should obtain speedy pardon for our own sins.

-- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren, 12
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« Reply #193 on: August 08, 2012, 05:10:15 AM »

Christ therefore must be received that He may beget, for thus saith the Apostle John, 'As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.' But these things cannot otherwise be fulfilled except by the Sacrament of [baptism], and of the Chrism, and of the Bishop. For by [baptism] sins are washed away, by Chrism the Holy Spirit is poured out, but both these we obtain at the hand and the mouth of the Bishop. And so the whole man is born again and renewed in Christ, that 'like as Christ was raised up from the dead, even so we also should walk in newness of life;' that is, that having laid aside the errors of our former life, the serving of idols, cruelty, fornication, wantonness, and all other vices of flesh and blood, we should through the Spirit follow new ways in Christ, faith, modesty, innocence, chastity.

-- St. Pacian of Barcelona (d. 391), Discourse on Baptism, 7
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« Reply #194 on: August 08, 2012, 11:54:57 PM »

Therefore, let them not deceive themselves who suppose that by giving alms--however profusely, and whether of their fruits or money or anything else--they purchase impunity to continue in the enormity of their crimes and the grossness of their wickedness. For not only do they do such things, but they also love them so much that they would always choose to continue in them--if they could do so with impunity. "But he who loves iniquity hates his own soul." (Ps. 10:6) And he who hates his own soul is not merciful but cruel to it. For by loving it after the world's way he hates it according to God's way of judging. Therefore, if one really wished to give alms to himself, that all things might become clean to him, he would hate his soul after the world's way and love it according to God's way. No one, however, gives any alms at all unless he gives from the store of Him who needs not anything. "Accordingly," it is said, "His mercy shall go before me." (Ps. 58:11)

-- St. Augustine (d. 430), Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love, 20
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« Reply #195 on: August 09, 2012, 09:09:12 PM »

Everyone who has fallen away from divine love is ruled through sensual pleasure by the carnal law. With such a law, he cannot keep a single divine commandment, nor does he wish to: preferring a life of pleasure to a life ruled by virtue and lived in the Spirit of God, he embraces ignorance instead of knowledge.

A person who does not penetrate with his intellect towards the divine and spiritual beauty contained within the letter of the Law develops a propensity for pleasure - that is, an attachment to the world and a love of worldly things; for his knowledge derives merely from the literal expression of the Law.

-- St. Maximus the Confessor (d. 662), Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice, 20-21

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« Reply #196 on: August 10, 2012, 04:59:48 PM »

Hatred against the demons contributes greatly to our salvation and helps our growth in holiness. But we do not of ourselves have the power to nourish this hatred into a strong plant, because the pleasure-loving spirits restrict it and encourage the soul again to indulge in its old habitual loves. But this indulgence--or rather this gangrene that is so hard to cure--the Physician of souls heals by abandoning us. For He permits us to undergo some fearful suffering night and day, and then the soul returns again to its original hatred, and learns like David to say to the Lord: 'I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them my enemies' (Ps. 139: 22). For a man hates his enemies with perfect hatred when he sins neither in act nor in thought--which is a sign of complete dispassion.

-- St. Evagrius the Solitary (d. 399), Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts, 9
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« Reply #197 on: August 11, 2012, 07:25:00 PM »

Someone once said to blessed Arsenius, 'How is it that we, with all our education and our wide knowledge get nowhere, while these Egyptian peasants acquire so many virtues?' Abba Arsenius said to him, 'We indeed get nothing from our secular education, but these Egyptian peasants acquire the virtues by hard work.'

One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, 'Abba Arsenius, how is it that you with such a good Latin and Greek education ask this peasant about your thoughts?' He replied, 'I have indeed been taught Latin and Greek, but I do not know even the alphabet of this peasant.'

-- Abba Arsenius the Great (d. 445), Selections From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, 5-6 (Source)
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« Reply #198 on: August 12, 2012, 08:51:29 AM »

Dispassion is a state in which the soul does not yield to any evil impulse; and it can be realized only through Christ’s mercy.

Christ is the savior of both soul and body, and the person who follows in His footsteps is freed from evil.

-- St. Thalassios the Libyan (d. 7th century), On Love, Self-control and Life in Accordance with the Intellect, 1.40-41
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« Reply #199 on: August 12, 2012, 07:21:54 PM »

That Christ is True God and True Man Simultaneously

+"Although he was God, he took flesh; and having been made man, he remained what he was: God."

-Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines, 225 A.D.


+"We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man."

-(Saint?) Tatian the Syrian, Address to the Greeks; Chapter 21, 170 A.D.


+"The origins of both his substances display him as man and as God: from the one, born, and from the other, not born."

-Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ Chapter 5:6–7, A.D. 210




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« Reply #200 on: August 12, 2012, 07:27:35 PM »

That Christ is Truly Present in the Holy Eucharist

+"We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving."

-Saint Justin Martyr, First Apology, 155-157 A.D.
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« Reply #201 on: August 12, 2012, 08:13:47 PM »

The Holy Trinity

There are too many passages to post here, but this webpage has a large collection of quotations from Ante-Nicene (and Post-Nicene) Fathers regarding the doctrine of the Trinity:

http://www.bible.ca/H-trinity.htm
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« Reply #202 on: August 13, 2012, 12:09:00 PM »

From this we may understand that virtue is a thing most delicately balanced, and that if neglected it quickly turns into its opposite. Scripture seems to refer to this symbolically, saying: 'The land into which you go so as to inherit it is a land subject to change through the movement of the peoples' (Ezra 9:11 LXX). For as soon as someone who has attained the state of virtue inclines towards its opposite, his virtue is thereby altered, being ‘a land subject to change'. So from the moment that harmful fantasies appear we should deny them entry into our mind. We should not allow it to 'go down into Egypt', for from there it is led away into captivity by the Assyrians (cf. Jer. 42:19; 43:2-3). For when the mind descends into the darkness of impure thoughts — and that is what Egypt means — then the passions drag it forcibly and against its will into their service.

-- St. Neilos the Ascetic (d. c. 430), Ascetic Discourse (Philokalia, Vol. 1, p. 226)
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« Reply #203 on: August 14, 2012, 03:57:16 AM »

That We Do Not Inherit Adam's Guilt
 
+"What has Adam’s guilt to do with us? Why are we held responsible for his sin when we were not even born when he committed it? Did not God say : “The parents will not die for the children, nor the children for parents, but the soul which had sinned, it shall die.” How then shall we defend this doctrine? The soul, I say, which had sinned, it shall die. We have become sinners because of Adam’s disobedience in the following manner.... After he fell into sin and surrendered to corruption, impure lusts invaded the nature of his flesh, and at the same time the evil law of our members was born. For our nature contracted the disease of sin because of the disobedience of one man, that is Adam, and thus many became sinners. This was not because they sinned along with Adam, because they did not then exist, but because they had the same nature as Adam, which fell under the law of sin. Thus, just as human nature acquired the weakness of corruption in Adam because of disobedience, and evil desires invaded it, so the same nature was later set free by Christ, who was obedient to God the Father and did not commit sin."

-Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Explanation of the Letter to the Romans: Migne PG 74, col 788-89 in: Romans By Gerald Lewis Bray, Thomas C. Oden pp 142-143


+"The sin of those who engendered us, viz. the sin of Adam and Eve, is not naturally (kata phusin) mixed with our substance (ousia), as the evil and impious opinion of the Messalians, in other words the Manichees, claims, but because they (Adam and Eve) had lost the grace of immortality the judgment and the sentence reach down to us, when, following a natural disposition. We are born mortal insofar as [we are born] of mortal parents. but not sinners insofar as we are of sinful parents. For it is not true that sin is a nature (phusis) and that it naturally passes from parents to their children."

-Saint Severus of Antioch, Correspondence with Julian of Halicarnassus
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« Reply #204 on: August 14, 2012, 03:57:58 AM »

That We Are Not Saved By Faith Alone

+"Then, in the tenth place, work that which is good upon this foundation of dogma; for faith without works is dead, even as are works apart from faith."

-Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 40; On Holy Baptism, 381 A.D.

Some other Patristic quotes concerning the heresy of Sola Fide:

http://www.catholic-forum.com/members/catholictracts/tract44.html
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« Reply #205 on: August 14, 2012, 02:59:34 PM »

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. But it your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23)

The single eye is the love unfeigned; for when the body is enlightened by it, it sets forth through the medium of the outer members only things which are perfectly correspondent with the inner thoughts. But the evil eye is the pretended love, which is also called hypocrisy, by which the whole body of the man is made darkness. We have to consider that deeds meet only for darkness may be within the man, while through the outer members he may produce words that seem to be of the light: for there are those who are in reality wolves, though they may be covered with sheep's clothing. Such are they who wash only the outside of the cup and platter, and do not understand that, unless the inside of these things is cleansed, the outside itself cannot be made pure. Wherefore, in manifest confutation of such persons, the Saviour says: “If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!” That is to say, if the love which seems to you to be light is really a work meet for darkness, by reason of some hypocrisy concealed in you, what must be your patent transgressions!

-- St. Gregory of Neocaesarea (d. c. 275), On Matt. 6:22-23
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« Reply #206 on: August 15, 2012, 05:20:03 PM »

The first degree of humility, then, is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes and beware of ever forgetting it. Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded; let his thoughts constantly recur to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins those who despise God, and to the life everlasting which is prepared for those who fear Him. Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices, whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet, or the self-will, and check also the desires of the flesh. Let a man consider that God is always looking at him from heaven, that his actions are everywhere visible to the divine eyes and are constantly being reported to God by the Angels... As for self-will, we are forbidden to do our own will by the Scripture, which says to us, "Turn away from your own will" (Eccles. 18:30), and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God that His will be done in us. And rightly are we taught not to do our own will when we take heed to the warning of Scripture: "There are ways which seem right, but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell" (Prov. 16:25)

-- St. Benedict of Nursia (d. 543), Rules of St. Benedict (Source)
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« Reply #207 on: August 16, 2012, 12:58:19 PM »

But now, after all this bondage to death and corruption of the manhood, God has visited His creature, which He formed after His own image and similitude; and this He has done that it might not for ever be the sport of death. Therefore God sent down from heaven His incorporeal Son to take flesh upon Him in the Virgin's womb; and thus, equally as you, was He made man; to save lost man, and collect all His scattered members. For Christ, when He joined the manhood to His person, united that which death by the separation of the body had dispersed. Christ suffered that we should live for ever.

-- St. Alexander of Alexandria (d. 326), On the Soul and Body and the Passion of the Lord, 5
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« Reply #208 on: August 17, 2012, 11:33:13 AM »

A brother asked an old man, "How do people get on when seeking remission of their sins?" The old man replied, "Before they become filled with the grace which comes with their labour they are ineffectual and overburdened. But when through patience the grace of Christ comes upon them they flourish, their souls rejoice, their faces shine like the sun coming out of the clouds. Just as the sun pales when covered with clouds, so does the soul when hidden by passions and temptations. When cleansed by the grace of God they shine, as it is written, "Great is the glory of him who lives in your salvation" (Psalms 21.1).

Vitae Patrum, 7.28.2 (Source)
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« Reply #209 on: August 18, 2012, 07:42:37 PM »

He learnt that some people who were in dispute with their enemies had been refraining from putting their case to him as they wished, for they were intimidated by the officials and other staff who surrounded him. He took thought as to what he might do which would be acceptable to God, and on the fourth and fifth days of the week put a desk and two chairs outside the church, where he sat holding the Gospels in his hands. In order to show that anyone who wished might approach him with confidence, he allowed none of his staff near him except one of the church guards. He had the church guards announce this to the people, and gave orders that none of them should endeavour to dissuade their unworthy head priest.

Leontius of Neapolis (d. 7th century), The Life of St John the Almsgiver
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« Reply #210 on: August 20, 2012, 02:01:13 AM »

Now, if they ask, Why then did He not appear by means of other and nobler parts of creation, and use some nobler instrument, as the sun, or moon, or stars, or fire, or air, instead of man merely? Let them know that the Lord came not to make a display, but to heal and teach those who were suffering. For the way for one aiming at display would be, just to appear, and to dazzle the beholders; but for one seeking to heal and teach the way is, not simply to sojourn here, but to give himself to the aid of those in want, and to appear as they who need him can bear it; that he may not, by exceeding the requirements of the sufferers, trouble the very persons that need him, rendering God's appearance useless to them.

Now, nothing in creation had gone astray with regard to their notions of God, save man only. Why, neither sun, nor moon, nor heaven, nor the stars, nor water, nor air had swerved from their order; but knowing their Artificer and Sovereign, the Word, they remain as they were made. But men alone, having rejected what was good, then devised things of nought instead of the truth, and have ascribed the honour due to God, and their knowledge of Him, to demons and men in the shape of stones. With reason, then, since it were unworthy of the Divine Goodness to overlook so grave a matter, while yet men were not able to recognise Him as ordering and guiding the whole, He takes to Himself as an instrument a part of the whole, His human body, and unites Himself with that, in order that since men could not recognise Him in the whole, they should not fail to know Him in the part; and since they could not look up to His invisible power, might be able, at any rate, from what resembled themselves to reason to Him and to contemplate Him.

-- St. Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation, 43.1-4
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« Reply #211 on: August 22, 2012, 10:04:06 PM »

Wearing the monastic habit once more, she passed her days in humility of mind and body, her eyes bathed in tears, disciplining herself with the strictest abstinence, declaring unceasingly with untroubled confidence before the Lord that her tears were offered in sure hope of the forgiveness of her sins. She cried out for mercy so powerfully that he would be hard hearted indeed who would not have been overcome with compassion at the sound of her weeping. Who is there so devoid of mercy that would not have wept in sympathy with her in her lamentation? And who in true compunction of heart would not have given thanks to God?  Her penitence was beyond measure, compared to ours. So zealously did she pray to the Lord to pardon what she had done, that she was bold enough to ask God for a sign that her sins were indeed forgiven. And the most merciful Lord who wills no one to perish but rather come to repentance (1 Tim. 2:4), so graciously accepted her penances, that after three years salvation began to come to many other people through her prayers. For crowds of people began to flow eagerly towards her, begging that she might pray to the Lord for their salvation.

From: Life of St Mary the Harlot (Source)
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« Reply #212 on: August 23, 2012, 05:10:13 PM »

And so on the manner of fasting a uniform rule cannot easily be observed, because everybody has not the same strength; nor is it like the rest of the virtues, acquired by steadfastness of mind alone. And therefore, because it does not depend only on mental firmness, since it has to do with the possibilities of the body, we have received this explanation concerning it which has been handed down to us, viz.: that there is a difference of time, manner, and quality of the refreshment in proportion to the difference of condition of the body, the age, and sex: but that there is one and the same rule of restraint to everybody as regards continence of mind, and the virtue of the spirit.

-- St. John Cassian (d. c. 435), Institutes 5.5
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« Reply #213 on: August 24, 2012, 06:47:02 PM »

‘According to the blameless faith of the Christians which we have obtained from God, I confess and agree that I believe in one God the Father Almighty; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; I adore and worship one God, the Three. I confess to the economy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.’
 
~St. Basil the Great
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Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite
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« Reply #214 on: August 24, 2012, 07:39:40 PM »

Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the [blessed] bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love bears all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the love He bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls.

-- St. Clement of Rome (d. c. 96), First Epistle to the Corinthians, 49
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« Reply #215 on: August 25, 2012, 07:05:08 PM »

Let us not therefore remain craving after the things of this life, neither after the luxury of the table, or costliness of raiment. For you have the most excellent of raiment, you have a spiritual table you have the glory from on high, and Christ has become to you all things, your table, your raiment, your home, your head, your stem. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27) See how he has become raiment for you. Do you wish to learn how he becomes a table for you? “He who eats me,” says He, “as I live because of the Father, he also shall live because of me;” and that he becomes a home for you, “he that eats my flesh abides in me, and I in him;” (John 6:56)

-- St. John Chrysostom, Instruction to Catechumens, 2.2
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« Reply #216 on: August 26, 2012, 03:55:32 PM »

Hear and be comforted, beloved, how merciful is God. To the sinful woman He forgave her offenses; yea, He upheld her when she was afflicted. With clay He opened the eyes of the blind, so that the eyeballs beheld the light. To the palsied He granted healing, who arose and walked and carried his bed. And to us He has given the pearls; His holy Body and Blood.

-- St. Ephraim the Syrian (d. 373), Homily on the Sinful Woman
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« Reply #217 on: August 27, 2012, 05:27:35 PM »

Considering His love and mercy, we ought not to be so bitter, nor cruel, nor inhuman in cherishing the brethren, but to mourn with those that mourn, and to weep with them that weep, and to raise them up as much as we can by the help and comfort of our love; neither being too ungentle and pertinacious in repelling their repentance; nor, again, being too lax and easy in rashly yielding communion. Lo! A wounded brother lies stricken by the enemy in the field of battle. There the devil is striving to slay him whom he has wounded; here Christ is exhorting that he whom He has redeemed may not wholly perish. Whether of the two do we assist? On whose side do we stand? Whether do we favour the devil, that he may destroy, and pass by our prostrate lifeless brother, as in the Gospel did the priest and Levite; or rather, as priests of God and Christ, do we imitate what Christ both taught and did, and snatch the wounded man from the jaws of the enemy, that we may preserve him cured for God the judge?

-- St. Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258), Epistles, 51.19
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« Reply #218 on: August 28, 2012, 12:39:22 PM »

But granted that a man is free from vice, and has reached the greatest heights of virtue: I do not see what knowledge or power would justify him in venturing upon this office. For the guiding of man, the most variable and manifold of creatures, seems to me in very deed to be the art of arts and science of sciences. Any one may recognize this, by comparing the work of the physician of souls with the treatment of the body; and noticing that, laborious as the latter is, ours is more laborious, and of more consequence, from the nature of its subject matter, the power of its science, and the object of its exercise. The one labours about bodies, and perishable failing matter, which absolutely must be dissolved and undergo its fate, Genesis 3:19 even if upon this occasion by the aid of art it can surmount the disturbance within itself, being dissolved by disease or time in submission to the law of nature, since it cannot rise above its own limitations. The other is concerned with the soul, which comes from God and is divine, and partakes of the heavenly nobility, and presses on to it, even if it be bound to an inferior nature.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian (d. c. 391), Oration 2.16-17
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« Reply #219 on: August 30, 2012, 11:21:10 AM »

I may be permitted at the end of this little treatise to ask those who do not know the extent of their possessions, who adorn their homes with marble, who string house to house and field to field, what did this old man in his nakedness ever lack? Your drinking vessels are of precious stones; he satisfied his thirst with the hollow of his hand. Your tunics are of wrought gold; he had not the raiment of the meanest of your slaves. But on the other hand, poor though he was, Paradise is open to him; you with all your gold will be received into Gehenna. He though naked yet kept the robe of Christ; you, clad in your silks, have lost the vesture of Christ. Paul lies covered with worthless dust, but will rise again to glory; over you are raised costly tombs, but both you and your wealth are doomed to the burning. Have a care, I pray you, at least have a care for the riches you love. Why are even the grave-clothes of your dead made of gold? Why does not your vaunting cease even amid mourning and tears? Cannot the carcasses of rich men decay except in silk?

-- St. Jerome (d. 420), The Life of Paulus the First Hermit, 17
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« Reply #220 on: August 31, 2012, 01:42:42 PM »

And this was the rule of life they had, and which they all observed -- neither to talk to one another, nor to know how each one lived and fasted. If they did happen to catch sight of one another, they went to another part of the country, living alone and always singing to God, and at a definite time eating a very small quantity of food. In this way they spent the whole of the fast and used to return to the monastery a week before the Resurrection of Christ, on Palm Sunday. Each one returned having his own conscience as the witness of his labour, and no one asked another how he had spent his time in the desert. Such were rules of the monastery. Everyone of them whilst in the desert struggled with himself before the Judge of the struggle -- God -- not seeking to please men and fast before the eyes of all. For what is done for the sake of men, to win praise and honour, is not only useless to the one who does it but sometimes the cause of great punishment.

St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (d. 638), The Life of Our Venerable Mother Mary of Egypt (Source)
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« Reply #221 on: September 01, 2012, 01:43:27 PM »

The next condition is, that the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly shall not stand in the way of sinners. For there are many whose confession concerning God, while it acquits them of ungodliness, yet does not set them free from sin; those, for example, who abide in the Church but do not observe her laws; such are the greedy, the drunken, the brawlers, the wanton, the proud, hypocrites, liars, plunderers. No doubt we are urged towards these sins by the promptings of our natural instincts; but it is good for us to withdraw from the path into which we are being hurried and not to stand therein, seeing that we are offered so easy a way of escape. It is for this reason that the man who has not stood in the way of sinners is happy, for while nature carries him into that way, religious belief draws him back.

-- St. Hilary of Poitiers (d. 368), Homily on Psalm 1
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« Reply #222 on: September 26, 2012, 07:22:25 AM »

112. ... But let them suppose, if it pleases them, that, for certain intervals of time, the punishments of the damned are somewhat mitigated. Even so, the wrath of God must be understood as still resting on them. And this is damnation--for this anger, which is not a violent passion in the divine mind, is called "wrath" in God. Yet even in his wrath--his wrath resting on them--he does not "shut up his mercy." This is not to put an end to their eternal afflictions, but rather to apply or interpose some little respite in their torments. For the psalm does not say, "To put an end to his wrath," or, "After his wrath," but, "In his wrath." ... 113. The eternal death of the damned--that is, their estrangement from the life of God--will therefore abide without end, and it will be common to them all, no matter what some people, moved by their human feelings, may wish to think about gradations of punishment, or the relief or intermission of their misery. In the same way, the eternal life of the saints will abide forever, and also be common to all of them no matter how different the grades of rank and honor in which they shine forth in their effulgent harmony.

-- Arch-Heretic Saint Blessed Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love XXIX 112-113
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« Reply #223 on: September 26, 2012, 08:34:08 AM »

Good to see this topic.  Grin
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« Reply #224 on: September 26, 2012, 09:04:22 AM »

113. The eternal death of the damned--that is, their estrangement from the life of God--will therefore abide without end, and it will be common to them all, no matter what some people, moved by their human feelings, may wish to think about gradations of punishment, or the relief or intermission of their misery. In the same way, the eternal life of the saints will abide forever, and also be common to all of them no matter how different the grades of rank and honor in which they shine forth in their effulgent harmony.

I'd like to emphasize that my point in quoting this was that according to Augustine Hell is first of all "estrangement from the life of God" not physical punishments and even though the estrangement from the life of God will be eternal we are free to believe in "gradation of punishmens, or the relief or intermission of their misery" which correspond to "the grades of rank and honor" in Heaven.
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