It is interesting how many people have never read the Church Fathers, those who wrote about the early developments of the faith, since they lived in the time of Jesus. I am aware of a tiny Christian congregation that started to study the Church Fathers, and they all became Catholic! Each Friday we offer a short bit of reflection on something written by the Fathers.
I think there is tremendous value to become more familiar with the Church Fathers. They lived shortly after the time of Jesus, and because of that, they offer unique insights into the faith. Moreover, the Church Fathers experienced many of the same challenges Christians face all over the world. They were persecuted. They wrestled with their faith. There were sharp divisions about the faith and other important issues during their time. (Imagine bishops being exiled from their diocese today!)
This is not meant to be an academic study, though we will rely on some scholarship. Rather, it is designed to help us to pray with the Fathers, to deepen our faith, and to seek greater holiness with the Lord Jesus himself. The Church Fathers were themselves seeking holiness. They were flawed human beings, and so they also needed God’s grace. They reflected on God and his love for them. Time and again they sought to encounter God more fully, more deeply, and in a way that leads to more holiness.
The goal is to take a small section from a Church Father and to read it, pray with it, and reflect on it. Also, like our other features, it is a podcast so you will have the chance to listen to it, rather than only to read it. So if you are out doing yardwork, you are able to hear and pray the reflection. If you find it easier to read, we will work to provide the text for you to see. We will start next Friday, June 4.