S. Athanasius| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church.
Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism.
When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul.
After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters.
Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism.
Among his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.
Athanasius suffered many trials while he was bishop of Alexandria. He was given the grace to remain strong against what probably seemed at times to be insurmountable opposition. Athanasius lived his office as bishop completely. He defended the true faith for his flock, regardless of the cost to himself. In today’s world we are experiencing this same call to remain true to our faith, no matter what.
The hardships Athanasius suffered in exile, hiding, fleeing from place to place remind us that Paul said his ministry took him: “[O]n frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:26-28).
Take the Leap:
The Lord invites you to have confidence not in yourself but in His Holy Spirit. With Him, you can do it. Take the leap and do not stop until you are in the arms of the Father, who is waiting for you.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
How fine a thing it is...to be able to live according to what the Lord disposes!
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Two: 112-188
We now enter into Notebook Two of the six notebooks that make up the Diary of Saint Faustina. The reason for having more than one notebook is simply that when one notebook was filled by Saint Faustina she began with a new one. Therefore, there is nothing particularly different from one notebook to the other. However, for the purpose of this current book of daily reflections, each reflection will begin to be lengthened, starting here with Notebook Two, so as to help you, the reader, enter more deeply into the beautiful mysteries of faith and our shared spiritual life that have been revealed in these writings of Saint Faustina.
You are invited once again to take one reflection each day and to ponder it throughout the day. Try to pray the prayer for each reflection each morning, noon and evening. Allow each mystery reflected upon to become a source of wisdom and understanding for you.
Reflection 122: If You Could Choose
If you could choose between all the wealth in the world or an intimate and loving relationship with Jesus, which would you choose? Do not answer that too quickly. We may know that choosing Jesus is the right answer, but would you choose Him? Imagine the power and worldly “freedom” you would enjoy if you had unlimited earthly wealth. And yet, the truth is that all the wealth in the world cannot produce one bit of happiness. It may make life easier in some ways, but far more complicated and burdensome in others. Many holy men and women have chosen a life of complete poverty because they discovered the riches produced by an authentic and transforming relationship with Jesus and they wanted nothing to get in the way. He offers this wealth to all of us. But most do not accept. Will you? (See Diary #587)
Do you understand the riches bestowed upon you if you choose to allow the abundant love of Jesus to flood your soul? Do you believe that this relationship is worth abandoning all else so as to attain it? Is your one desire in life the burning love of Jesus? If it is, this love will utterly transform you and the love from that relationship will flow forth from you, affecting every action you do and every other relationship you have. Choose our Lord as your most intimate lover and make Him the true center of your life.
Lord, I am aware of the fact that I can never fully grasp the depths of Your perfect love for me. Nonetheless, I choose Your love this day and I desire to make You the center of my life. Come fill my heart with such a burning love that I come to realize that You are all I need in life. For in coming to know You, my Lord, I come to love You and all your creatures. Jesus, I trust in You.