Thursday, May 3, 2007

St. Athanasius

Let's hear it for St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, whose feast day was yesterday. Although he is called the "Father of Orthodoxy," I wonder if he would much care for the title today, given the way orthodoxy is used--can be used--to oppress those who are suffering.

I doubt Athanasius would have put up with that. The rather conservative New Advent online encyclopedia (RC) says "he was conspicuous for two other [qualities] to which even his enemies bore unwilling testimony. He was endowed with a sense of humour that could be as mordant--we had almost said as sardonic--as it seems to have been spontaneous and unfailing; and his courage was of the sort that never falters, even in the most disheartening hour of defeat."

I glanced at some of his Easter letters yesterday as well, and particularly loved the ones that said something along the lines of "Sorry this letter is late; I'm in exile." Being exiled five times does put a crimp on one's correspondence.

Sense of humor. Courage. Sounds good to me.

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