Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/3/2013 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

They knew who they were as men because they knew who Jesus is. Do we know who we are as men?

Friendship participates in the Love of God from which it derives. Greek, the original language of the New Testament, differentiates between the forms of love.English is limited in that regard. Friendship is a form of love. Those who are Baptized into Christ and choose to live their lives in Him are His Friends. (John 15:15) Friendship between men who bear the name Christian is a witness to the eternal truth of the fullness of Love .

Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, friends

Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, friends

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/3/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - I proclaimed the Gospel on the morning of January 2, 2013,  the Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Doctors. I would hasten to add these two men were also true friends. The Gospel passage featured a familiar character from our Christmas season, John the Baptizer. Here is a portion:

"This is the testimony of John: When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, "Who are you?" He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, "I am not the Christ." So they asked him, "What are you then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not."

In my Morning Prayer before Mass, after reflecting on the readings in preparation for Mass, I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. The passage in the Office of Readings was an excerpt from an account by St Gregory Nazianzen in which he spoke of his friendship with Basil.

Theirs was a friendship which began as children and lasted throughout their entire lifetime. It is a testimony to the beauty of authentic, manly, Christian friendship. In an age which is relationally confused and has lost an understanding of the gift of friendship between men, it provides us with a reminder that friendship is a form of love.

Thus, as with all love, friendship participates in the Love of God from which it derives. Greek, the original language of the New Testament, differentiates between the forms of love.English is limited in that regard. Friendship is a form of love. Those who are Baptized into Christ and choose to live their lives in Him are His Friends. (John 15:15) Friendship between men who bear the name Christian is a witness to the eternal truth of the fullness of Love .

Here is a portion of this beautiful tribute to a friend: "Basil and I were both in Athens. We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning, and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it."

"I was not alone at that time in my regard for my friend, the great Basil. I knew his irreproachable conduct, and the maturity and wisdom of his conversation. I sought to persuade others, to whom he was less well known, to have the same regard for him."

"The same hope inspired us: the pursuit of learning. This is an ambition especially subject to envy. Yet between us there was no envy. On the contrary, we made capital out of our rivalry. Our rivalry consisted, not in seeking the first place for oneself but in yielding it to the other, for we each looked on the other's success as his own."

"Our single object and ambition was virtue, and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come; we wanted to withdraw from this world before we departed from it. With this end in view we ordered our lives and all our actions. We followed the guidance of God's law and spurred each other on to virtue. If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong."

"Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians."

As I sat down after proclaiming the Gospel from the Ambo I was struck by the common thread which characterized the three men about whom I was invited to reflect by Holy Mother Church, John, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen. They knew who they were as men because they knew who Jesus is. Do we know who we are as men? Do we know who Jesus is? The two questions - and the answers which they invite - will determine the path of our lives.

This age cries out for authentic Christian men. We use an expression to refer to men who are comfortable in their skin and content with being men. We say of such a man "He is a man's man". In the past I have reflected on the greatest example, next to Jesus Himself, of such a man. His name was Joseph. On this Feast we are offered three more, John, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen.

The Lord is still inviting Christian men to become all we can be in Jesus Christ and to spur one another on in heroic virtue. In an age so desperately in need of men of courage and Christian conviction, we are given examples out of the pages of our own Christian history. We need to follow their example by courageously, humbly and faithfully loving Jesus Christ and learning to be friends, in Him, and with one another.

Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, along with Basil's younger brother Gregory of Nyssa, are collectively referred to as the  Cappadocians because they came from the same "hometown", a region in what is now Turkey. They went on to become not only holy and heroic Christian men, but three of the finest theologians of the early Church.

Gregory  Nazianzen once proclaimed in his teaching on the implications of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, "whatever was not assumed was not healed". In that extraordinarily important theological insight we understand one aspect of the danger of the denial of the sacred humanity of Jesus. Redemption would not be complete without Jesus, the New Adam, assuming the entirety of the human experience.

Part of what was assumed and healed in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ was our capacity to love - in all of the beautiful expressions of that sublime word. It was the beloved disciple John who made it all so clear in his first Letter, "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (Jn. 4:16) The love of friendship reveals and participates in the Love of God.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Here's 3 reasons why the canonization of Mother Teresa matters to you Watch

Image of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an example for all to follow, even the nonbeliever.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Her canonization is an important event for Catholics and all people around the world. Here's 3 reasons why. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Mother Teresa is ... continue reading


Bet you didn't know these 10 things about St. Patrick and Ireland!

Image of Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading


After the Corned Beef: St. Patrick Challenges Modern Christians to be Missionaries

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he went for the next generation with all his efforts, preaching the ... continue reading


Who was the man named Saint Patrick?

Image of Saint Patrick not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, but it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites.

By Catholic Online

Saint Patrick - remembered with parades, the wearing of green and feasts throughout the world wherever there are people of Irish descent, or wish to be -- was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country. ... continue reading


Pope Francis continues tradition of blessing two lambs in memory of St. Agnes Watch

Image of St. Agnes is honored with the blessing of two lambs (Wordpress).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Thursday Pope Francis celebrated St. Agnes' feast day in the Vatican by continuing the centuries-old tradition of blessing two lambs in her honor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Traditionally, the lambs blessed on January 21 are under a year old and their first ... continue reading


Jennifer Hartline: Trying to Learn Humility From St. Therese Watch

Image of St. Therese of Lisieux

By Jennifer Hartline

St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading


Saints and Heroes of the Faith: Fr Dwight Longenecker On The Day I Met St Therese Watch

Image of St. Therese

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I was an Anglican priest the summer I met St Therese of Lisieux. I was living in England and had three months free between jobs, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was going to hitch hike and stay in monasteries and religious houses on the way. ... continue reading


Vocation to Love. Memorial of Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus, Virgin

Image of St. Theresa died on September 30, 1897. As a result of her sanctity and the many miracles which were accounted to her intercession, the cause for her canonization was introduced only seventeen years later.

By F. K. Bartels

The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a ... continue reading


A Promise to God: St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle Watch

Image of Michael is also represented in icons as standing on a horizontal body and with his left arm held high, holding a small image of a

By Youngsun Jun

Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading


Prayer to St. Junipero Serra: 'Help me deliver the light of Christ...'

Image of Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us! Saint Junipero Serra, your missionary zeal brought the light of Christ to millions. You endured so many hardships, and labored so much that your work resonates today in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics. Saint Serra, I ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • EXCLUSIVE - America, King of Propaganda: U.S. government spends ...
  • St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • A Marriage Blessing Prayer HD Video
  • 5 tips for Catholics to stay positive
  • Daily Readings for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, May 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:22-31
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 57:8-9, 10-12
8 Awake, my glory, awake, lyre and harp, that I may awake the ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:12-17
12 This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 29th, 2016 Image

St. Catherine of Siena
April 29: St. Catherine of Siena was born during the ... Read More