Patristic Wisdom For Daily Living
During the Advent and Christmas season, I shared with some friends and family, as well as my church members, daily meditations by Brian Zahnd and Dietrich Bon Hoffer. I felt led to continue sharing weekly meditations in 2023 and I wanted to share them with you, my subscribers, as well.
This year I felt led to share weekly portions from Mike Aquilinas book- A Year with the Church Fathers.
Several days a week, I will send out a mediation on Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living. The only pause will come as I switch to a more Lenten focused meditation in a few months.
"The council of the church Fathers is reliable. It was from the ancient Fathers themselves that the church learned to revere the teachings of the Fathers. Christians of those first generations did not look for novelties- innovation was the furthest thing from their minds. When the bishops met for the ecumenical councils at Nicaea and Constantinople and Ephesus and Chalcedon, they sought not to propose a new agenda, but to confirm the teachings of the Holy Fathers, who had gone before them......"They held to what they found in the church," said Saint Augustine in 421 A.D. "They taught what they had learned. What they had received from the fathers, they passed on to the children."
Mike goes on to say in the book- "The teachings of these men were precious to their contemporaries. Consider that relatively little was written down in those days. Literacy was rare. There were no means of mechanical mass production, no printing presses, and the media, was papyrus, parchment and wood. Those items were expensive. One generations wisdom often crumbled to dust before the next generation could take it up. So the preservation of words required tremendous effort. Someone had to care enough to write them down, and then many more people had to care enough to copy them over. For a teacher to gain a following over centuries, and across continents as Chrysostom did, and Augustine, and Jerome- this had to happen almost continuously."
In light of this, I encourage us all to slow down before reading the meditations. Slow down to the speed of now, and always begin with prayer, so as to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
Even the simple prayer of...come Holy Spirit, come.
Todays Meditation ....
PUT GOD AT THE BEGINNING
No matter what scientific explanation you come up with for the origin of the universe, says Saint Basil, you'll go far wrong if you don't put God at the beginning of it.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth."
I stop struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I say first? Shall I demonstrate the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I praise the truth of our faith?
The philosophers of Greece have tried very hard to explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm and unshaken. They are enough in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of God, cannot allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the universe ~ a primary error, that trapped them in sad consequences.
Some fell back on material principles and attributed the origin of the universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and invisible bodies, molecules and tubes, unite to form the nature of the visible world.
It is because they did not know how to say, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth." Fooled by their inherent atheism, they thought that nothing governed, or ruled the universe, and that everything was given up to chance.
To keep us from this error, the writer on creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding, with the name of God: "In the beginning God created." St. Basil, Hexameron, 1.2
IN GOD'S PRESENCE, CONSIDER....
In a world where science has made so much progress, what does it mean to put God at the beginning?
Father, you alone are eternal, and you alone live in unapproachable light. Thank you that you have made me in your image; have mercy on my sins, and save me through your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.