Archive for January 9th, 2008

On Prayer continues, with encouragement from Origen to focus on praying for the higher things. (However, it’s important to remember that Jesus had no problem with people asking for daily bread. And yes, I know Origen’s going to explain that in a spiritual sense, too. But Origen explains everything in a spiritual sense, including his big toe. Pray for what you need.)

Chapter 11: The Objects of Prayer


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“Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature” concludes, with encouragement to the young students to focus their studies on the goal of eternal life.

Part 3


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“Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature” continues. St. Basil the Great talks about ways in which pagan literature and tradition teaches virtue. He also talks about the proper use of resources, like the body.

Part 2


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“Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature” begins with a bishop using a flourish of literary references. And if Tertullian asked, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” St. Basil the Great replies, “Quite a lot!”

This is a very important talk from one of the great theologians. It helped clear the way for Christians to study both the pagan classics and scripture and theology; and not by compartmentalizing them, either. This was of course not the first time Christians had advocated this position; philosophers like St. Justin Martyr and St. Clement of Alexandria had done similar things to show that philosophy was not alien to a religion that worshipped Truth Himself. But it is a position that needed reiteration and broadening, and still does.

There is a natural and not unhealthy tension between a Christian appreciation of the good things of God found in the world, and a Christian focus solely on the things of the next world. Different people find themselves called to different things. The same person may find himself called to write horror movies for God at one point and to fix his eyes solely on God at a later time in life. There’s room for both cloistered ascetics and glamorous divas married with children in the Christian life.

Part 1


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