Tuesday, May 02, 2006

St. Athanasius

It is a shared admiration that all of the Apostolic Churches share for this great saint. I realized, during the Liturgy of the Hours this morning, that for Roman Catholics today is the Memorial of St. Athanasius.

St. Athanasius was a defender of our Lord. He stood against the Arian Heresy like a rock. Unwavering in the service of the truth. We know:

Athanasius of Alexandria (also spelled "Athanasios") (c.298–May 2, 373) was a Christian bishop, the Patriarch of Alexandria, in the fourth century. He is revered as a saint by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, and regarded as a great leader and doctor of the Church by Protestants. Roman Catholics have declared him one of 33 Doctors of the Church, and he is counted as one of the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Chuch.

It is also due to him that we have the biograpy of St. Anthony of Egypt. But it is the defense against Arianism, and his faithfulness to the truth that helps define this great saint:

The humility, modesty, and charity of this great saint; his invincible meekness towards his enemies, who were the most implacable and basest of men, and the heroic fortitude, patience, and zeal by which he triumphed over the persecutions of almost the whole world confederated against him, and of four emperors, Constantine, Constantius, Julian, and Valens, three of whom employed wiles, stratagems, and hypocrisy, and sometimes open force to destroy him; these, I say, and all other eminent virtues, have rendered his name venerable in the church to the latest ages, which he ceases not to instruct and edify by his writings.

These and other virtues, Saint Athanasius learned and practiced in the most heroic degree, by studying them devoutly and assiduously in the sacrerl life, and in the divine heart of Jesus. And in the simplicity of faith he adored the incomprehensible greatness of the Divinity, his infinite wisdom, justice, and sanctity, with the boundless treasures of his love and mercy, in the mystery of his adorable Incarnation. If we have a holy ambition to improve ourselves in this saving knowledge, in this most sublime and truly divine science, which will not only enlighten our understanding, but also reform all the affections of our hearts, and be in us a source of unspeakable peace, joy, love, light, and happiness, we must study in the same school.

We must become zealous lovers and adorers of our most amiable Redeemer; we must meditate daily on his admirable life, penetrating into the unfathomed abyss of his love, and his perfect sentiments of humility, meekness, and every virtue in all his actions, and join our homages with those which he paid in his divine heart, and still continues to offer to his Father: we must sacrifice to him our affections in transports of joy and fervor, adoring, praising, loving, and thanking him, and must continually beg his mercy and grace, that we may be replenished with his spirit of humility and every virtue; and, above all, that his love may take absolute possession of our hearts, and of all our faculties and powers.

"The Son of God," says St. Athanasius, "took upon him our poverty and miseries, that he might impart to us a share of his riches. His sufferings will render us one day impassible, and his death immortal. His tears will be our joy, his burial our resurrection, and his baptism is our sanctification, according to what he says in his gospel: "

There is just too much that St. Athanasius went through while standing strong for the truth to fit into a blog post. He died peacefully after being a rock for the Church of Alexandria (and the whole Church) for 46 years. The world and most of it's powers were set against St. Athanasius, but God was with him. The truth was with Him. And as always, it was enough.

The life of St. Athanasius:

1 comment:

Bent El Neel said...

aaah!!! one of my favorites :D, St Athanasious the brave is what i like to call him. Great post!