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

St. Athanasius. source,

St. Athanasius. source,

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.


Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.


St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor, on Chrism


St. Basil the Great.2

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.


Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.


St. Ambrose, Doctor, on Prayer



Prescription of the Doctor:

“O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ: all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son…. Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: “Our Father….” But do not claim any privilege.  he is the Father in a special way only on Christ, bu he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us.  Then also say by his grace, “Our Father,” so that you may merit being his son.”

And then ask yourself:

  • In what way does saying, “Our Father…” reveal you to yourself?
  • How does the Father reveal himself to you when you pray, “Our Father…”?


Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at