St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor, on Baptism

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St. Hilary of Poitiers, who’s memorial we celebrate on January 13, was, like St. Athanasius, a great defender of the belief that Jesus Christ is “true God and true man”, particularly against the Arian heretics in the 4th century.  In the quote from St. Hilary below, we see a developed understanding explained that, by our baptism, we have a blessed relationship with God.

“Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God.” In Matth. 2, 5: PL 9,927.

It screams “OPPORTUNITY!”

So here’s the question for you:

  • Do you live in such a way that our Heavenly Father can say about you, “This is my son (my daughter), in whom I am well-pleased.”?

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

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St. Athanasius, Doctor, on Mary the Mother of God

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St. Athanasius. source, www.1902encyclopedia.com

St. Athanasius. source, http://www.1902encyclopedia.com

January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.  St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the church wrote a letter on how the Word made flesh took on human nature from Mary, his mother. St. Athanasius makes an important point concerning Jesus physical relationship to his mother, and thus to all of humanity.  Here’s what he said,

“The Apostle tells us: The Word took to himself the sons of Abraham, and so had to be like his brothers in all things. He had then to take a body like ours. This explains the fact of Mary’s presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake. Scripture records her giving birth, and says: She wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Her breasts, which fed him, were called blessed. Sacrifice was offered because the child was her firstborn. Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth. He did not speak of “what will be born in you”to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from outside; he spoke of “what will be born from youso that we might know by faith that her child originated within her and from her.

  • Imagine the difference the relationship would be if Mary were simply a “surrogate mother”.
  • A very holy priest explained Mary the Mother of God this way.  She was the:
  •           Daughter of the Father
  •           Mother of the Son
  •           Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Augustine, Doctor, on The Holy Family

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St. Augustine.1.Wikip.

St. Augustine, in just a few sentences, brilliantly explains how the Holy Family simply works. In his Harmony of the Evangelists [ca. 400 AD]:

“Matthew, therefore, follows out the human generation of Christ, noting His ancestors from Abraham onwards, carrying them on to Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom jesus was born.  For in this way it was not allowed that He should be thought of as apart from the marriage of Mary, although she bore Christ not from intercourse in that marriage but as a virgin.  By this example it is strongly intimated to the married faithful that even when continence is observed by their common consent, their marriage can still perdue and still be called a marriage, not by a physical joining of the sexes but by the maintaining of the affections of the mind.”

So this prescription calls for:

  • Meditate on the first and second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel to better appreciate this understanding of the Holy Family.

St. Mary and St. Joseph, pray for us.

Jesus, have mercy on us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Basil the Great, Doctor, on Stewardship of the Conscience

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St. Basil the Great, who lived from 330 AD – 379 AD is one of the four original Doctors declared by the Eastern Church.  In addition to exegetical and doctrinal works dozens of his homilies are preserved.  Today’s daily prescription of St. Basil, Doctor, is a short edited excerpt from his homily on Deuteronomy 15: 9.  He prescribes the following:

     “We are to be diligent guardians of the resources given to us by God, ever shunning sin as brutes shun poisons, and ever hunting after righteousness, as they seek for the herbage that is good for food. Take heed to yourself, that you may be able to discern between the noxious and the      wholesome.

This taking heed is to be understood in a twofold sense.  Gaze with the eyes of the body at visible objects.   ‘Take heed to yourself.’Look at yourself from every point of view.  Keep your soul’s eye sleepless.  Hidden nets are set for you in all directions by the enemy.

Look well around you, that you may be delivered ‘as a gazelle from the net and a bird from the snare.  It is because of her keen sight that the gazelle cannot be caught in the net.  And the bird, if only she take heed, mounts on her light wing far above the wiles of the hunter.”

And so:

  • Have you thought of your conscience as a resource, that which you are to be a “guardian”?
  • Have you thought of your conscience in terms of “stewardship”?
  • Do you exercise the resource each day in an examination of conscience?

St. Basil, pray for us.

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor, on Chrism

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St. Gregory Nazianzen, whose Memorial we celebrate on January 2, was a 4th century Patriarch (Bishop) of Constantinople and known as a great teacher and orator.

St. Gregory was one of the first four Doctors named by the Eastern Church, (along with St. Athenasius, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom.)

Of his many theological works and impressive letters is a clear treatment of the meaning and importance of the Chrism used at a Christian baptism.  This small excerpt, from (paragraph 4) the Lecture on Chrism, as a prescription, is a worthy assignment.

“For as Christ after His Baptism, and the visitation of the Holy Ghost, went forth and vanquished the adversary, so likewise you, after Holy Baptism and the Mystical Chrism, having put on the whole armour of the Holy Spirit, are to stand against the power of the adversary, and vanquish      it, saying, I can do all things in him who strengthens         me.” (Phil 4:13)

So consider the following:

  • Have you ever considered the receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, those who have been baptized, as a “putting on the whole armour of the Holy Spirit” as taught by St. Gregory?
  • What is your responsibility as one who is baptized?
  • When you examine your conscience daily, do you plot ways to avoid and, when necessary, stand against Satan the adversary?

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

 

St. Basil the Great, Doctor, on Virtue

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St. Basil the Great, who’s feast we’ll celebrate on January 2, is the son of a saint (St. Basil, the Elder), the brother of two saints (St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Peter of Sebaste) and one of his best friends is a saint and also Doctor of the ChurchSt. Gregory Nazianzen.) St. Basil the Great defended the faith against the Arian Heresy (which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.)  He also preached on the Psalms.

Today’s prescription is a snippet of a homily by St.Basil the Great on Psalm 1

“…the exercise of piety is rather like a ladder, that ladder which once was seen by Blessed Jacob, of which one end was near the earth and reached to the ground, while the other end extended above and reached to heaven itself.

What is necessary is that those who are being introduced to the virtuous life should put their feet on the first steps and from there mount ever to the next, until at last they have ascended by degrees to such heights as are attainable by human nature.”

  • Is taking that first, or next step in virtue a difficulty?  If so, what is it that makes growth in virtue difficult?
  • Change toward virtue is often very difficult and may mean changing friends. for the head of a family, however, much humility and patience may be the virtues prayed for the most so as to allow for growth in overall holiness.
  • Moving a whole family toward holiness might seem, for quite some time, like turning a great ship 180 degrees

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Peter Canisius, Doctor, on Peace, Love and Perseverance

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Prescription of the Day

St. Peter Canisius wrote beautiful prayers drawn from his spiritual experiences.  We share an excerpt of a prayer of his to Jesus below.

So, after daring to approach your most loving heart and to plunge my thirst in it, I received a promise from you of a garment made of three parts: these were to cover my soul in its nakedness, and to belong especially to my religious profession.  They were peace, love and perseverance.  Protected by this garment of salvation, I was confident that I would lack nothing but all would succeed and give you glory.”

Three amazing gifts he received from the Lord:

  • peace
  • love
  • perseverance

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/