June 28, 2017

Twenty Quotations on God from Saint Irenaeus

Saint Irenaeus

St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, a Doctor of the Church and 2nd century martyr, was a disciple of St. Polycarp. The spread of Gnosticism in Gaul prompted him to successfully combat its errors. As the first great Western ecclesiastical writer, he defended and explained the unity of Scripture and Jesus' humanity and divinity.

The glory of God is a man fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God.
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Through a tree we were made debtors to God; so through a tree we have our debt canceled.
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He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man ... might become the son of God.
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Because of his boundless love, Jesus became what we are that he might make us to be what he is.
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The business of the Christian is nothing else but to be ever preparing for death.
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As long as any one has the means of doing good to his neighbours, and does not do so, he shall be reckoned a stranger to the love of the Lord.
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Since it is impossible, without God, to come to knowledge of God, he teaches men through his Word to know God.
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The initial step for us all to come to knowledge of God is contemplation of nature.
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For where the church is, there is the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit of God, there is the church and all grace.
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The church has been planted as a paradise in this world.
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The preaching of the Church truly continues without change and is everywhere the same. It has the testimony of the Prophets and Apostles and all their disciples.
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Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order not to be discovered. On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be led to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself. 
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A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
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But we do now receive a certain portion of His Spirit, tending towards perfection, and preparing us for incorruption, being little by little accustomed to receive and bear God.
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But following the only true and steadfast Teacher, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.
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We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.
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When we stand in the light it is not we who illumine the light and cause it to shine but we are illuminated and made shining by the light... God grants his blessings on those who serve him because they are serving him and on those who follow him because they are following him, but he receives no blessing from them because he is perfect and without need.
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He [Jesus] fought and conquered. On the one hand, he was man who struggled for his fathers and through his obedience cancelled their disobedience. On the other hand, he bound the strong one and freed the weak and bestowed salvation on his handiwork by abolishing sin. For he is our compassionate and merciful Lord who loves mankind...
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Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, in that case, to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?
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He [Jesus] came to save all through himself; all, I say, who through him are reborn in God: infants, and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age... [so that] he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, perfect also in respect to relative age

St. Irenaeus, help us to foster unity and grow in our desire to do God's will.

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