Wednesday, May 2, 2007

St. Athanasius

Today is the feast day of St. Athanasius. I don't really know much about him, just that he is a Doctor of the Church and he fought for the acceptance of the Nicene Creed. But that's pretty much it. So I decided to post a part of a letter he wrote.

Brethren, how fine a thing it is to move from festival to festival,
from prayer to prayer, from holy day to holy day. The time is now at hand when
we enter on a new beginning: the proclamation of the blessed Passover, in which
the Lord was sacrificed. We feed as on the food of life, we constantly refresh
our souls with his precious blood, as from a fountain. Yet we are always
thirsting, burning to be satisfied. But he himself is present for those who
thirst and in his goodness invites them to the feast day. Our Savior repeats his
words: If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He quenched the thirst
not only of those who came to him then. Whenever anyone seeks him he is freely
admitted to the presence of the Savior. The grace of the feast is not restricted
to one occasion. Its rays of glory never set. It is always at hand to enlighten
the mind of those who desire it. Its power is always there for those whose minds
have been enlightened and who meditate day and night on the holy Scriptures,
like the one who is called blessed in the holy psalm: Blessed is the man who has
not followed the counsel of the wicked, or stood where sinners stand, or sat in
the seat of the scornful, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who
meditates on his law day and night. Moreover, my friends, the God who first
established this feast for us allows us to celebrate it each year. He who gave
up his Son to death for our salvation, from the same motive gives us this feast,
which is commemorated every year. This feast guides us through the trials that
meet us in this world. God now gives us the joy of salvation that shines out
from this feast, as he brings us together to form one assembly, uniting us all
in spirit in every place, allowing us to pray together and to offer common
thanksgiving, as is our duty on the feast. Such is the wonder of his love: he
gathers to this feast those who are far apart, and brings together in unity of
faith those who may be physically separated from each other.

-from a letter by St. Athanasius

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