Mike Aquilina

The Fathers Are Back

Thursday August 09th 2007, 7:22 am

Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI resumed his audience talks on the Fathers with a gem on St. Gregory Nazianzen. The Vatican has not yet published full text in English. But Italian is up, and so is the English summary:

Today I want to reflect with you on Saint Gregory of Nazianzen, a great theologian, preacher and poet from fourth-century Cappadocia. A friend and admirer of Saint Basil, Gregory was inspired to seek Baptism and to enter monastic life, devoting himself to prayer, solitude, and meditation. He loved to leave behind the things of this world and enter into intimate communion with God, so that the depths of his soul became like a mirror reflecting the divine light. Reluctantly, but in a spirit of obedience, he accepted priestly ordination. He was sent to Constantinople, where he preached his five Orations: beautifully reasoned presentations of the Church’s teaching. Known as “The Theologian”, he stressed that theology is more than merely human reflection: it springs from a life of prayer and holiness, from wonder at the marvels of God’s revelation. Gregory was elected Bishop of Constantinople and presided over the Council that took place there in the year 381, but he encountered so much hostility that he withdrew once more to lead a life of solitude. His spiritual autobiography from this final period includes some of his most beautiful poetry. As we admire the wisdom with which he defended the Church’s doctrine, let us be moved by the love that is conveyed in his poetry.

You’ll find Catholic News Service’s coverage here.

You’ll find a fine edition of St. Gregory’s poetry (shamefully low-priced) here.