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MEMORIAL OF SAINT ATHANASIUS, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH


"Jesus answered them, 'I told you and you do not believe.

The works I do in my Father's name testify to me.

But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.

My sheep hear my voice;

I know them, and they follow me.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.'" (John 10:25-28)



REFLECTION

Today is the Memorial of 4th Century Bishop St. Athanasius, who later was given the title Doctor of the Church. St. Athanasius was raised by devout Christian parents in Alexandria, Egypt. He lived in the 4th Century. During his life, a priest named Arius began teaching that Jesus was created by God the Father and was not divine but was God's perfect creation. This heresy began to spread among many Greek Christians.


It was Athanasius during the First Ecumenical Council in Nicea who defended the dogma that Jesus is God by using the apostolic tradition. He did this in his writings and speeches. He taught that Jesus Christ has no beginning like the Father and IS the image and likeness of God the Father. This is different from man who was created ACCORDING to the image and likeness of God the Father.


During the reign of Emperors succeeding Constantine, St. Athanasius was sent into exile five times for his faithful teaching that the Nicene Creed was the "authoritative rule of faith" in the Church. In an attempt to stop him, he was accused of many things like assault, theft, and murder. The Arians even accused him of causing a famine, but their attacks and threats on his life did not deter St. Athanasius. He would not allow the heretic Arius to receive communion.


St. Gregory Nazianzen in the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople said that St. Athanasius was a "true pillar of the church" and "whose life and conduct were the rule of bishops and his doctrine was the rule of the orthodox faith." St. Gregory also said that "when we praise Athanasius we praise virtue."


Let us pray for all priests and bishops to be staunch in the defense of the doctrines of the Catholic Faith and as zealous as St. Athanasius in upholding them.


Let us pray the PAPA Prayer for Priests.




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