Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cappadocian Fathers twice in 24 hrs.

Today we went to see the Ukrainian village just east of Edmonton; also, we saw the bison herd in Elk Island National Park up close.

In the Ukrainian village you can visit a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. There were a number of interesting features to note. One was a painting of Basil the Great. I was trying to think: was he one of the Cappadocian fathers? The guide was not sure. She thought maybe there were three of them. I thought maybe there were six of them... Ignorance... According to Wikipedia the Cappadocian Fathers are three men: Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea (330-379); Basil's brother Gregory of Nyssa (335-post 394); and a close friend Gregory Nazianzus, Patriarch of Constantinople (330-c.390). Aha. There we go.

I was a little primed for the Fathers because last night we, coincidentally, had read from Gregory Nazianzus and I was still wondering about him. This was our reading from the Treasury of Daily Prayer. I was quite impressed.

We read 2.Cor. 1:23-2:17 and to this related the Gregory Nazianzus quote. How nicely put together by those who produced the Treasury. Read it slowly and out loud.

Consider by St. Paul's example how important a matter is the care of souls... The manifold character of his ministry? Consider his loving-kindness and, on the other hand, his strictness and the combination and blending of the two in such a way that his gentleness should not weaken nor his severity exasperate... On behalf of some he gives thanks; others he upbraids. Some he names his joy and crown; others he charges with folly. Some who hold a straight course he accompanies, sharing in their zeal; others who are going wrong he checks. At one time he excommunicates; at another he confirms his love. At one time he grieves; at another rejoices. At one time he feeds with milk; at another he handles mysteries. At one time he condescends; at another he raises to his own level. At one time he threatens a rod; at another he offers the spirit of meekness. At one time he is haughty toward the lofty; at another lowly toward the lowly. Now he is least of the apostles, now he offers a proof of Christ speaking in him; now he longs for departure and is being poured forth as a libation, now he thinks it more necessary for their sakes to abide in the flesh. For he seeks not his own interests, but those of his children who he has begotten in Christ by the gospel this is the aim of all his spiritual authority, in everything to neglect his own in comparison with the advantage of others.

Very nice.

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