St. Apollinaris of Hierapolis, Bishop

Fellowship of the Minds

St. Apollinaris

Today, the Church honors Saint Apollinaris, the illustrious second century Bishop of Hierapolis-Phrygia.  The great Church historian, Eusebius, and St. Jerome, both acknowledge him as a great apologist famous for his treatises against the heresies of his day, showing the error of the heresies to be borrowed from the pagans.  Most unfortunately, his writings cannot be found, and only some extracts of his writings are available.

He lived during the time of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.  In or about 177, he addressed a defense of Christianity to the emperor, the Apologia, who shortly before this defense, had obtained an important victory over the Quadi, a people inhabiting the country which is now called Moravia.

By way of background, one of the emperor’s legions, the twelfth legion, was composed primarily of Christians.  The army began to perish because of the lack of water.  Accordingly, the Christian soldiers fell upon their knees and invoked…

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Punctuation Graveyard: The Hedera

TheWordict.com

Today in Punctuation Graveyard, we resurrect the curious mark known as the hedera.

hedera

What exactly is the hedera, and why was it used?
The hedera is a lovely piece of punctuation primarily found in early Latin and Greek texts. Its purpose was to signify a break between paragraphs, as well as to look nice upon the page. Also known by some as a fleuron, the mark had a strictly ornamental use, perhaps the reason for its extinction. Whereas in these modern times we use simpler symbols such the asterisk and the pilcrow to show breaks, the more complicated hedera was a predecessor to these modern markings, albeit a more aesthetically pleasing one.

What does it look like?
The hedera can be described essentially as a floral heart, but can appear differently depending on the variant used. The word itself is Latin for ivy, and this origin clearly shows in…

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On the Grace of Final Perseverance – Part 1

HOPE IN THE STORM

The Germans have a saying, Anfangen ist leicht, beharren eine Kunst.

This translates, “To begin is easy, to persist is an art.”

When speaking of the grace of final perseverance, I would add, “to persist is to have a particular grace.”

There are at least seven different types of graces. I think someone on this blog has referred to the basic one of salvation, labelled, salvific grace.

There is actual grace, which helps us respond correctly, morally, spiritually, to a specific action, event, need, or so on.

There is sanctifying grace, which is given in the sacraments; the first gift is at baptism. Those who are not baptised are not in sanctifying grace, and are still under the darkness of Original Sin. God is the cause of salvation, not men or women willing it so.

There is sufficient grace, which gives each one of us the power to do good…

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Courage

Steve McCurry's Blog

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela

Tibet

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin,
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Helsinki, Finland

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.” 

– Victor Hugo

Kolkata (Calcutta), India

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
– Honoré de Balzac

Peshawar, Pakistan

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Kampala, Uganda

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Kashmir

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
– Mark Twain

Los…

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Facing the chaos within

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Mindfulbalance

File:Slow down sign, Reed College, Portland, Oregon (2013).JPG

Even if a person does not observe Lent, the themes are universal and necessary :

Sometimes the etymology of a word can be helpful. Linguistically, lent is derived from an old English word meaning springtime. In Latin, lente means slowly. Etymologically, then, lent points to the coming of spring and it invites us to slow down our lives so as to be able to take stock of ourselves.

Lent has always been understood as a time to metaphorically spend forty days in the desert unprotected by normal nourishment so as to have to face “Satan” and the “wild animals” and see whether the “angels” will indeed come and look after us when we reach that point where we can no longer look after ourselves. For us, “Satan” and “wild animals” refer particularly to the chaos inside of us that normally we either deny or simply refuse to face – our paranoia…

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…..and feel trapped in our lives

Mindfulbalance

Treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. Rumi, The Guest House

Sometimes the things that are weighing us down in our lives can feel pretty big. We feel pinned down by them, constantly burdened. It could be confusion over  where our career is going; we could have financial worries; often it is family or relationship issues that cause restless nights; we can feel lonely and afraid. All that used to give us some joy has slipped away. At moments like these life seems to be sucked out of us, and we feel physically tired, unable to find real rest. We give up, not wanting to put ourselves in the position to be hurt again, or to grieve again, or   to be frustrated and angered, humiliated, disappointed. One image used in the Christian liturgy today – that of the boulder blocking the tomb –…

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Developing a secure sense of self: 1

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Mindfulbalance

Being comfortable with our life as it is, does not just mean that we are ok with the external elements in our life, such as our job, where we live, our relationships.  It also means that we have some degree of comfort and security in our sense of self. The self can be understood as the system that organizes our experience. It consists of the sensations, feelings, thoughts, and attitudes we have toward ourself and towards the world.

Our emotional health is related to us having a cohesive, strong, balanced and joyful sense of self. When this is not so strong,  and we are constantly uncertain of ourselves, we may find that we are always looking for approval and the validation of others. We can get unduly knocked down by their criticism. In other words, when we feel we are disapproved of, we feel crushed, and when we are…

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