St. Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria – Church Father

St. Athanasius is a favorite “all time tough guy” of Fr. Jeff Wharton.  Fr. Jeff comments that Athanasius lived in a time of errant teaching among priest and bishops and didn’t flinch in defending the Son as “homo-ousios” (meaning “of the same substance, or nature, or essence”) with the Father.  The term, itself, is one that grew out of the Council of Nicea to clarify the Church’s understanding of the Nature of Son as one with the Father. St Athanasius was to spend his life defending the full deity of Christ against emperors, magistrates, bishops, and theologians; James Kiefer explains that for this, he was regarded as a trouble-maker and banished from Alexandria a total of five times by various emperors. Hence the expression “Athanasius contra mundum,” or, “Athanasius against the world.”

James E. Kiefer writes of St. Athanasius:

Outside the pages of the New Testament itself, Athanasius is probably the man to whom we chiefly owe the preservation of the Christian faith. He was born around AD 298, and lived in Alexandria, Egypt, the chief center of learning of the Roman Empire.

In 313 the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which changed Christianity from a persecuted to an officially favored religion. About six years later, a presbyter (elder, priest) Arius of Alexandria began to teach concerning the Word of God (John 1:1) that “God begat him, and before he was begotten, he did not exist.” Athanasius was at that time a newly ordained deacon, secretary to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, and a member of his household. His reply to Arius was that the begetting, or uttering, of the Word by the Father is an eternal relation between Them, and not a temporal event. Arius was condemned by the bishops of Egypt (with the exceptions of Secundus of Ptolemais and Theonas of Marmorica), and went to Nicomedia, from which he wrote letters to bishops throughout the world, stating his position.

The Emperor Constantine undertook to resolve the dispute by calling a council of bishops from all over the Christian world. This council met in Nicea, just across the straits from what is now Istanbul, in the year 325, and consisted of 317 bishops. Athanasius accompanied his bishop to the council, and became recognized as a chief spokesman for the view that the Son was fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

Those were tumultuous times, the bishops gathered by Constantine were men who lived through the persecutions of the time and bore the scars of living martyrdom in testimony to their faith. Can you imagine their meeting one another in one great hall after their years of torture, lonely exile and torment suffered for the defense of  the Faith?

Athanasius is the perfect model for our day.  As best I can remember, Fr. Wharton said, “So much is not right in this world.  Let it lead us to a zeal for the work and Word of God.”  We, too, can bring Truth to the fore with love, leaving off anger that distresses our balance and prayer, that the Holy Spirit may use us mightily, doing great things even in little ways.

Gird Your Loins

Yesterday, Michelle Malkin in speaking of the possibilities for our next Supreme Court nominee, advised “gird our loins.” Last night I talked about how low Germany’s population numbers had fallen, perhaps to irrevocable levels.  This morning the world wakes up to find the German people must suffer even lower levels of poor taste and irreverence.  I say irreverance for our leaders are those who of old we hold in high regard for the good of society and the nation. The Huffington Post reported that the AFP revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears in a lingerie ad wearing nothing more than a purple matching bra and panties set.

The 1,000-square-foot image of the half-naked world leader is part of a nationwide advertising campaign for an underwear company aiming to cash in on the success of a “cash-for-clunkers” scheme for old cars.
Punters trading in old underwear will get a $7 discount on a new pair, the ad promises, under the slogan: “The country needs new undies.”

We’ve had to bear bare-chested Obama and Putin.  Now female leadership is made spectacle with little more than girded lions. Who suffers for the sale of panties?  I think we all do.  We might as well be laughing at the debauchery of a fallen Rome, or fiddling with Nero as Rome burned and we wink.

In our day, decency takes the hit.  We’re expected to believe the young are deaf and blind. In the Roman Era, “Gird your loins” related to a practice of tucking and tying excess material out of the way to prevent a fall and help with agility, mobility and readiness, lest one slip on one’s undergarments.  In scripture, it has to do with purity and applying the righteousness of Truth.

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, “Be holy because I (am) holy.” 1 Peter 1: 16-17

We are not in for a fall, we are falling.  When our leaders wink at lies and license, who hears our cries? Fortunately, there is One with an inclined ear ready to make us ready.

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one.And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.” Ephesian 6:10-18