St. Gregory Nazianzen

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzen.
St. Gregory, called the “Theologian” by the Greeks, was born at Nazianz in Cappadocia in 339. He was one of the “Three Lights,” the 3 great saints from Cappadocia. Gregory was educated at the famous schools of his time, in the cities of Caesarea, Alexandria, and Athens. It was at Athens that he formed the famous friendship with St. Basil. It was a true and great friendship in Christ. Gregory was still full of this youthful enthusiasm and love for his friend, when he gave the funeral homily for Basil in 381.
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St. Gregory was baptized in 360, and for a while he lived the quiet life of a monk, like his friend Basil. If you ever go to Turkey, go inland to the region of Cappadocia; when I was there with some seminarians, I saw in the distance on the side of a mountain, all kind of black dots. ‘What are those, I asked the guide? ‘Those are caves!’ he said. It was a monastery in a mountain, made up of caves. As we walked through these caves, many were cells of the monks, but others were very large, made into chapels, with paintings on the walls and ceiling.
So, St Gregory the monk.
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But the needs of the times would take him from his monastery. In 372 he was reluctantly consecrated a bishop. He did not want it. In 381 he accepted the see of Constantinople, but the terrible Arian heresy was raging at that time. The controversies and stress led Gregory to return to the monastic life which he cherished so much.
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He was certainly one of the greatest orators of Christian antiquity. But he longed for solitude, yet the situation of the times called him repeatedly to do pastoral work and to participate in the battle for the truth of our faith.
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We ourselves may sometimes feel like St. Gregory: we wish to live a serene life, but then the demands of the world press us. The demands of the faith sometimes.
We MUST have that discussion with our teenage son, we need to step in to heal a family squabble.
We are ON at the workplace for explaining the Catholic faith YET AGAin.
I have to take a stand with my peers.
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We wish for peace, but the Lord says, ‘Keep going!’ ‘You will have peace when you reach heaven.’
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St. Gregory tried to do what God wanted, whether in the active life or the contemplative, but it wasn’t easy for him. His writings on the faith are some of the most beautiful, and for this reason he is considered a “Doctor of the Church.”

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