St. Athanasius, one of the great Doctors of the Eastern Church, earned the title of “Father of Orthodoxy” for his strong and uncompromising defense of our Catholic Faith against the Arian Heresy which affected most of the hierarchy, including the pope. Athanasius was banned from his diocese at least five times, spending a total of seventeen years in exile.
He sent the following letter to his flock which is a powerful lesson for our times:
“What saddens you is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important? The place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle? The one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith?”
Let us reflect upon this stated above quotation of one of the great Doctors of the Catholic Faith and come to our own conclusions. God awaits our love towards Him during the time of our greatest trials, discomforts, physical and /or spiritual suffering rather than during our greatest triumphs.
Life is short — and death is sure;
The hour of death — remains obscure.
A soul you have — and only one;
If that be lost, all hope is gone.
Waste not your time – while time shall last;
For after death, ’tis ever past.
The all-seeing God your Judge will be —
Or heaven or hell, your destiny.
All earthly things will fleet away.
Eternity shall ever stay.
Brother Andrew TOSF