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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Selected quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa

"God made all things exceedingly beautiful as the Genesis story of creation testifies. Among such exceedingly beautiful things is man; rather, he was adorned with a beauty better than other created beings. What can be better than the image of incorruptible beauty? If everything is exceedingly beautiful, and man was among them and created above them, death certainly was not present in him. Man would not have been beautiful if the sullen stamp of death were in him. However, man was the image and likeness of eternal life, truly beautiful and exceedingly good, adorned with the radiant form of life."

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"The knowledge of God is a mountain steep indeed and difficult to climb - the majority of people scarcely reach its base. If one were a Moses, he would ascend higher and hear the sound of trumpets which, as the text of the history says, becomes louder as one advances. For the preaching of the divine nature is truly a trumpet blast, which strikes the hearing, being already loud at the beginning but becoming yet louder at the end."

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"By this, therefore, one can see how greatly He loves man, that He bestows the precious reward not on pain and sweat, but, so to speak, on the enjoyment of happiness. Peace is indeed the greatest of the joy-giving things; and this He wishes each of us to have in such a measure as to keep it not only for himself, but to be able to dispense from the overflow of his abundance also to others. For He says, 'Blessed are the peacemakers.' Now a peacemaker is a man who gives peace to another; but one cannot give another what one does not possess oneself. Hence the Lord wants you first to be yourself filled with the blessings of peace, and then to communicate it to those who have need of it."