Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FRIENDSHIP, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church – On Friendship “We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit.”

Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church – On Friendship “We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen
On 2 January the Roman Catholic Church honours the memory of two friends from an area of what is now Turkey that was called Cappadocia.   These men began their friendship while away at school and later became bishops who were the backbone of Catholic Orthodoxy during a period of doctrinal struggle and confusion.   Gregory presided over the 2nd ecumenical council, held at Constantinople, whose great achievement was the completion of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that the Catholic Church recites each Sunday and the definition of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. These Cappadocian Fathers, both Fathers and Doctors of the Church, proved to be some of the most influential Christian teachers of all time, honoured by both East and West, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.   Gregory here shares some memories of their friendship.

“Basil and I were both in Athens.   We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it.

I was not alone at that time in my regard for my friend, the great Basil.   I knew his irreproachable conduct and the maturity and wisdom of his conversation.   I sought to persuade others, to whom he was less well known, to have the same regard for him. Many fell immediately under his spell, for they had already heard of him by reputation and hearsay.

What was the outcome?   Almost alone of those who had come to Athens to study he was exempted from the customary ceremonies of initiation for he was held in higher honour than his status as a first-year student seemed to warrant.

Such was the prelude to our friendship, the kindling of that flame that was to bind us together.   In this way we began to feel affection for each other.   When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognised that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other:   we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires the same goal.   Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper.

The same hope inspired us – the pursuit of learning.   This is an ambition especially subject to envy.   Yet between us there was no envy.   On the contrary, we made capital out of our rivalry.   Our rivalry consisted, not in seeking the first place for oneself but in yielding it to the other, for we each looked on the other’s success as his own.

We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit.   Though we cannot believe those who claim that everything is contained in everything, yet you must believe that in our case each of us was in the other and with the other.

Our single object and ambition was virtue and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come;  we wanted to withdraw from this world before we departed from it.   With this end in view we ordered our lives and all our actions.   We followed the guidance of God’s law and spurred each other on to virtue.   If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong.

Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements.   But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”

Learning of these two great Doctors of the Church, St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen and their lifelong friendship, their collaboration, most especially against the battle against Arianism, cannot help but call to our minds a similar and immensely brilliant collaboration and personal friendship, which yielded endless fruit for the life of the Church.

Do you know of whom I speak?   Of course – St Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI – one already in the Halls of Heaven and raised to the Community of our Saints.  Both these great modern fathers are “Doctors” of the Church – whether yet recognised officially or not and the one blessedly still with us is a saint amongst the faithful.st john paul and benedict - 2016

Sts Basil and Gregory Pray for us!   St John Paul, Pray for us!   Beloved Papa Benedict continue to keep us all in your prayers.   Pray that our friendships may be as Godly as yours was!st basil and st gregory - pray for us - 2 jan 2018st john paul pray for us

 

 

Posted in DEVOTIO, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ABORTION, QUOTES on CHARITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”the hairsplitting difference - st basil the great - 2 jan 2018

“The bread which you use
is the bread of the hungry;
the garment hanging in your wardrobe
is the garment of him who is naked;
the shoes you do NOT wear,
are the shoes of the one who is barefoot;
the acts of charity that you do NOT perform,
are so many INJUSTICES that you commit.”the bread whioch you use - st basil the great - 2 jan 2018

“A tree is known by its fruit;
a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost;
he who sows courtesy reaps friendship
and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churcha-tree-is-known. - st basil the great - 2016

“Give something, however small,
to the one in need.
For it is not small to one who has nothing.
Neither is it small to God,
if we have given what we could.”give-something however small - st gregory of nazianzen - 2016

“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”if anyone does not believe - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2018

“God accepts our desires as though
they were of great value.
He longs ardently for us to desire and love Him.
He accepts our petitions for benefits,
as though we were doing Him a favour.
His joy in giving, is greater than ours in receiving.
So let us not be apathetic in our asking,
nor set too narrow bounds to our requests;
nor ask for frivolous things
unworthy of God’s greatness.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchgod accepts our desires - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their toil.
If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one.
But woe to the solitary person!
If that one should fall, there is no other to help…Ecclesiastes 4:9-10ecc 4 - 9-10

REFLECTION – “Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”…St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) (from his writings on his friendship with St Basil).different men - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2018

PRAYER – God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory. Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love. Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, amen.sts basil and gregory - pray for us - 2 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Our Morning Offering – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Prayer of St Basil the Great (329-379)

O Lord our God,
we beseech You,
and ask for the gifts we need.
Steer the ship of our life to Yourself,
the quiet harbour of all storm-stressed souls.
Show us the course which we are to take.
Renew in us the spirit of docility.
Let Your Spirit curb our fickleness;
guide and strengthen us to perform
what is for our own good,
to keep your commandments
and ever to rejoice in Your glorious
and vivifying presence.
Yours is the glory and praise for all eternity.
Amenprayer of st basil the great - 2 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers and Doctors of the Church

Saint/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers and Doctors of the Church – two bodies one spirit!

Great-Eastern-Fathers-e1480804176965
L to R: St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. John Chrysostom, Painting (Icon) by Viktor Vasnetsov

st gregory and st basil my snip

St Basil was born in 329 at Caesarea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and he died on 1 January 379 at Caesarea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) of natural causes.   He is known as the Father of Eastern Monasticism, was a Monk, Bishop, Confessor, Theologian, Reformer, Apostle of Charity, Lawyer, Teacher, Writer and Doctor of the Church.   Patronages – Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists.

basil_the_great__basilica_window_

St Gregory was born in 330 at Arianzus, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and he died on 25 January 390 of natural causes.  He is known as “The Theologian” was a Monk, Bishop, Confessor, Theologian (because of his outstanding teaching and eloquence), Orator, Rhetorician, Philosopher, Writer, Poet, Reformer and Doctor of the Church.   Patronages – • for harvests• poets.gregory_nazianzen__basilica_window_

St Basil the Great, was born of a noble Christian family at Caesarea in Cappadocia in 330.  His was a pious family – his mother, father and four of his nine siblings were canonised, including Saint Gregory of Nyssa.    He was the Grandson of Saint Macrina the Elder.   As a youth Basil was noted for organising famine relief and for working in the kitchens himself, quite unusual for a young noble.   He studied in Constantinople and Athens with his friend Saint Gregory Nazianus.   He then ran a school of oratory and law in Caesarea. Basil was so successful, so sought after as a speaker, that he was tempted by pride.   His life changed radically after he encountered Eustathius of Sebaste, a charismatic bishop and ascetic.   Abandoning his legal and teaching career, Basil devoted his life to God.   A letter described his spiritual awakening:
“I had wasted much time on follies and spent nearly all of my youth in vain labors, and devotion to the teachings of a wisdom that God had made foolish.   Suddenly, I awoke as out of a deep sleep.   I beheld the wonderful light of the Gospel truth and I recognised the nothingness of the wisdom of the princes of this world.”St. Basil the Great

He sold all that he had, gave away the money and became a priest and monk together with his best friend St Gregory of Nazianzen.

He founded monasteries and drew up rules for monks living in the desert;  he is considered as key to the founding of eastern monasticism as Saint Benedict of Nursia was to the west.   He became the Bishop and Archbishop of Caesarea.   Conducted Mass and preached to the crowds twice each day.   He fought Arianism and assisted St Gregory at the council of Constantinople, which completed the Nicene Creed.   He is considered a Father of the Church and is one of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church.

St Gregory of Nazianzen was the best friend of St Basil the Great.   After studying together in Athens, they returned to their native Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) to serve the Lord.   It was during the time of the Arian heresy which contested the full divinity of Christ and orthodox bishops were sorely needed who could teach the true doctrine of the Church with clarity and depth.   Gregory, who admirably met these requirements, was made the bishop of the small town of Nazianzen but later was elevated to the highest ecclesiastical see after Rome, becoming the Patriarch of Constantinople.   As such, he presided over the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 which completed the creed that we commonly call the Nicene Creed, recited in Sunday worship by Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

St Gregory’s teaching was so profound and accurate that he is one of the few teachers in the history of the Church known as “the theologian.”St.-Gregory-of-Nazianzus-e1480804203636

Basil and Gregory were defining figures as the early Church which sought to figure out just how to describe Jesus as fully human and fully divine.   They helped the Church articulate this mystery and refute persistent strains of thought that would emphasise one aspect of Jesus’ nature over another.   Both were largely responsible for safeguarding the faith that has guided the Church for thousands of years.   Their doctrinal contributions are codified in the Nicene Creed we recite at Mass.

Both Basil and Gregory were declared doctors of the Church, a title given to 36 saints who are known for elucidating the faith by their words or example.   Their relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica, and their images are captured in stained glass windows there.

Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, friends and scholars who defended the faith, pray for us!

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

2 January – Memorials of the Saints

St Basil the Great (Memorial)  (329-379) Doctor of the Church
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Doctor of the Church (Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwe8voh3H_4

St Adelard of Corbie
Bl Airaldus of Maurienne
St Asclepius of Limoges
St Aspasius of Auch
St Blidulf of Bobbio
St Gaspare Bufalo
Bl Guillaume Répin
St Hortulana of Assisi
St Isidore of Antioch
St Isidore of Nitria
St Laurent Bâtard
St Macarius the Younger
St Maximus of Vienne
Bl Odino of Rot
St Paracodius of Vienne
St Seraphim of Sarov
St Seiriol
Bl Stephana de Quinzanis
St Telesphorus, Pope
St Theodota
St Theopistus
St Vincentian of Tulle

Many Martyrs Who Suffered in Rome: There were many martyrs who suffered in the persecutions of Diocletian for refusing to surrender the holy books. Though we know these atrocities occured, we do not know the names of the saints and we honour them as a group. c 303 in Rome, Italy.

Martyrs of Antioch – 5 saints: A group of Christian soldiers martyred together for their faith. We know the names of five – Albanus, Macarius, Possessor, Starus and Stratonicus. They were born in Greece and were martyred in Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey).

Many Martyrs of Britain: The Christians of Britain appear to have escaped unharmed in the earlier persecutions which afflicted the Church but the cruel edicts of Diocletian were enforced in every corner of the empire and the faithful inhabitants of this land, whether native Britons or Roman colonists, were called upon to furnish their full number of holy Martyrs and Confessors. The names of few are on record but the British historian, Saint Gildas, after relating the martyrdom of Saint Alban, tells us that many others were seized, some put to the most unheard-of tortures and others immediately executed, while not a few hid themselves in forests and deserts and the caves of the earth, where they endured a prolonged death until God called them to their reward. The same writer attributes it to the subsequent invasion of the English, then a pagan people, that the recollection of the places, sanctified by these martyrdoms, has been lost and so little honour paid to their memory . It may be added that, according to one tradition, a thousand of these Christians were overtaken in their flight near Lichfield and cruelly massacred and that the name of Lichfield, or Field of the Dead, is derived from them.

Martyrs of Ethiopia – 3 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know the names of three – Auriga, Claudia and Rutile.

Martyrs of Jerusalem – 2 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know the names of two – Stephen and Vitalis.

Martyrs of Lichfield: Many Christians suffered at Lichfield (aka Lyke-field, meaning field of dead bodies), England in the persecutions of Diocletian. Though we know these atrocities occured, we do not know the names of the saints, and we honour them as a group. Their martyrdom occurred in 304 at Lichfield, England.

Martyrs of Piacenza: A group of Christians who died together for their faith in the persecutions of Diocletian. No details about them have survived. They were martyred on the site of church of Madonna di Campagna, Piacenza, Italy.

Martyrs of Puy – 4 saints: Missionaries, sent by Saint Fronto of Périgueux to the area of Puy, France. Tortured and martyred by local pagans. We know the names – Frontasius, Severinus, Severian and Silanus. They were beheaded in Puy (modern Puy-en-Velay), France and buried together in the church of Notre Dame, Puy-en-Velay by Saint Fronto, their bodies laid out to form a cross.

Martyrs of Syrmium – 7 saints: Group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. We know the names of seven – Acutus, Artaxus, Eugenda, Maximianus, Timothy, Tobias and Vitus – but very little else. This occurred in the 3rd or 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).

Martyrs of Tomi – 3 saints: Three brothers, all Christians, all soldiers in the imperial Roman army, and all three martyred in the persecutions of emperor Licinius Licinianus. We know their names – Argeus, Marcellinus and Narcissus – but little else.
They were martyred in 320 at Tomi, Exinius Pontus, Moesia (modern Constanta, Romania).