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Divine Word holds the Universe Together--St. Athanasius

The Divine Word Holds the Universe Together

 

St. Athanasius

Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church

 

 

St. Athanasius, The Trinity, The Holy Spirit, Catholic Church

This excerpt from a discourse Against the Pagans (nn. 42-43: PG 25, 83-87) by St. Athanasius is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Friday in the 1st week of Ordinary time.  St. Athanasius was one of the eloquent defenders of the full divinity of Christ during the Arian controversy of the 4th century AD.

 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made."

 

In these words John the theologian teaches that nothing exists or remains in being except in and through the Word.


Think of a musician tuning his lyre. By his skill he adjusts high notes to low and intermediate notes to the rest, and produces a series of harmonies. So too the wisdom of God holds the world like a lyre and joins things in the air to those on earth, and things in heaven to those in the air, and brings each part into harmony with the whole. By his decree and will he regulates them all to produce the beauty and harmony of a single, well-ordered universe. While remaining unchanged with his Father, he moves all creation by his unchanging nature, according to the Fatherís will. To everything he gives existence and life in accordance with its nature, and so creates a wonderful and truly divine harmony.


To illustrate this profound mystery, let us take the example of a choir of many singers. A choir is composed of a variety of men, women and children, of both old and young. Under the direction of one conductor, each sings in the way that is natural for him: men with menís voices, boys with boysí voices, old people with old voices, young people with young voices. Yet all of them produce a single harmony. Or consider the example of our soul. It moves our senses according to their several functions so that in the presence of a single object they all act simultaneously: the eye sees, the ear hears, the hand touches, the nose smells, the tongue tastes, and often the other parts of the body act as well as, for example, the feet may walk.


Although this is only a poor comparison, it gives some idea of how the whole universe is governed. The Word of God has but to give a gesture of command and everything falls into place; each creature performs its own proper function, and all together constitute one single harmonious order.

 

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Early Church Fathers - Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio The Early Church Fathers

A society characterized by the loss of respect for life, violence, exotic religious cults, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Sound familiar?

 

Early Church Fathers like St. Athanasius succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!

 

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