S. Gregory Nazianzen| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Gregory Nazianzen
After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism. At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians. An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese. Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.
When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades. Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.
His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”
It may be small comfort, but post-Vatican II turmoil in the Church is a mild storm compared to the devastation caused by the Arian heresy, a trauma the Church has never forgotten. Christ did not promise the kind of peace we would love to have—no problems, no opposition, no pain. In one way or another, holiness is always the way of the cross.
“God accepts our desires as though they were a great value. He longs ardently for us to desire and love him. He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a favor. His joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving. So let us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God’s greatness.”
The Path of Jesus:
Becoming a dwelling place for God begins with our commitment-- our commitment to transformation. Our commitment to free ourselves from egos places us directly on the path of Jesus.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Holiness means getting above ourselves; it means perfect mastery of all our passions.
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 129: Do Not Be Afraid
“Do not be afraid; just have faith” (Mark 5:36). These four words, “Do not be afraid,” are spoken countless times throughout the Scripture. We should pay attention to them. Fear can paralyze us and lead us into many forms of foolish thinking and acting. The person who acts out of fear truly acts like a fool. That may seem harsh at first, but it’s not if you understand what it means. It simply means that a person acting out of fear cannot act rationally. Fear does great damage to a person’s ability to stay calm, remain focused and think clearly. That’s why the Scriptures speak so directly regarding this important spiritual point. Fear must give way to faith and trust in God (See Diary #626-627).
What is it that causes you the most anxiety, worry and fear? It’s a struggle we all deal with. There is no shame in admitting it. So what is it? Identify that which overwhelms you the most and you will identify that which God wants you to surrender in trust the most. Go to the heart of the struggle. Sincerely place that worry and fear into the Hands of God and trust. Trust that God is All-Powerful and capable of handling every situation. He may not change things the way you think they should be changed, but He will lift your burden and enable you to move forward without the fear that can easily paralyze and confuse you. Do not let fear dominate your life. Trust in God and let that trust transform you.
Jesus, I do want to trust You and to entrust all my many burdens to You. I especially turn to You with (pause and state that which causes the most fear and anxiety). Please enter into this burden and lift it by Your gentle hand, replacing it with peace and great inner calm. Jesus, I trust in You.