April 3, 2017

St. Isidore of Seville — His Wisdom in 20 Quotations

Saint Isidore of Seville

St. Isidore of Seville was a 7th century bishop and Doctor of the Church, whose brilliant scholarship gave insight into the knowledge of men and the ways of God. Nearly two decades after his death, the bishops of Spain recognized him as, “an illustrious teacher of our time and the glory of the Catholic Church.” For your consideration, here are 25 quotations from the last of the early Church Fathers, who combined Christian faith and classical education in his remarkable ministry.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. 
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Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.
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War with vices, but peace with individuals.
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The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assurance in the next; the more sorrow in the present, the greater will be our joy in the future.
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If a man wants to be always in God's company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.
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Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy.
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Nothing exists without music, for the universe itself is said to have been framed by a kind of harmony of sounds, and the heaven itself revolves under the tone of that harmony.
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The more you devote yourself to study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest.
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Letters are signs of things, symbols of words, whose power is so great that without a voice they speak to us the words of the absent; for they introduce words by the eye, not by the ear.
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Mary signifies Light-giver or Star of the Sea; for she gave birth to the Light of the World. In the Syriac tongue, however, Mary means ‘Lady’, and beautifully so, since she gave birth to the Lord.
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Tolle numerum omnibus rebus et omnia pereunt.
Take from all things their number and all shall perish.
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In the active life all the vices are first of all to be removed by the practice of good works, so that in the contemplative life a man may, with now purified mental gaze, pass on to the contemplation of the Divine Light.
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Teaching unsupported by grace may enter our ears, but it never reaches the heart. When God's grace does touch our innermost minds to bring understanding, then his word, which is received by the ear, can sink deep into the heart.
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Indeed, just as we must love God in contemplation, so we must love our neighbor with action. It is therefore impossible to live without the presence of both the one and the other form of life, nor can we live without experiencing both the one and the other.
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We, as Catholics are not permitted to believe anything of our own will, nor to choose what someone has believed of his. We have God's apostles as authorities, who did not themselves of their own wills choose anything of what they wanted to believe, but faithfully transmitted to the nations, the teachings of Christ.
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The suffering of adversity does not degrade you but exalts you. Human tribulation teaches you; it does not destroy you. The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assurance for the next. The more we sorrow in the present, ..the greater will be our joy in the future.
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Number is divided into even and odd. Even number is divided into the following: evenly even, evenly uneven, and unevenly uneven. Odd number is divided into the following: prime and incomposite, composite, and a third intermediate class (mediocris) which in a certain way is prime and incomposite but in another way secondary and composite.
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All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by reflection we retain what we have learned. The conscientious reader will be more concerned to carry out what he has read than merely to acquire knowledge of it. In reading we aim at knowing, but we must put into practice what we have learned in our course of study.
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The name of medicine is thought to have been given from 'moderation', modus, that is, from a due proportion, which advises that things be done not to excess, but 'little by little', paulatim. For nature is pained by surfeit but rejoices in moderation. Whence also those who take drugs and antidotes constantly, or to the point of saturation, are sorely vexed, for every immoderation brings not health but danger.
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It is agreed that all sound which is the material of music is of three sorts. First is harmonica, which consists of vocal music; second is organica, which is formed from the breath; third is rhythmica, which receives its numbers from the beat of the fingers. For sound is produced either by the voice, coming through the throat; or by the breath, coming through the trumpet or tibia, for example; or by touch, as in the case of the cithara or anything else that gives a tuneful sound on being struck.
St. Isidore of Seville, help us to revere the wisdom of God as you did.

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