Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390)
for January 2
Saint Gregory of Nazianzus was a friend of Saint Basil the Great, and accepted his invitation to join him in monastic life at Basil's newly founded desert monastery. Saint Gregory enjoyed a life of prayerful solitude at the monastery, but hesitantly became a priest at his father's request. He opposed Arianism, and worked diligently to prevent an Arian schism in his diocese. Saint Gregory was appointed bishop of Caesarea and clashed with the Emperor Valens, an Arian. These disagreements affected his friendship with Saint Basil the Great, and Saint Gregory was reassigned to a remote village. After the death of Valens, Saint Gregory became bishop of Constantinople, and worked hard to bring the Arians back to the faith. Against extreme opposition and violence, Saint Gregory successfully rebuilt Constantinople. He spent his last days in solitude and simplicity as a hermit. Saint Gregory is known for his religious poetry and his moving sermons on the Trinity. He is often referred to as "the Theologian."
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"And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them" (1 Thessalonians 5:14). When we witness one young person fighting with or bullying another, we are called to respond in a faithful way. However, it can be difficult to know what to do. In these final words to the Thessalonians, Paul is encouraging the community to help one another and support one another in faith and love. If we take our role as community members seriously, we understand that we can’t ignore violence when we see it. We must constantly encourage others to be their best and to behave in ways that reflect the faith we claim. When we are confronted with violence, or when we witness violence occurring in the lives of others, we can ask: What is the best way to actively respond to this situation in a way that does not endanger myself? How can I continually help to build a community of faith and love?” (Taken from “By My Side: A Teen Prayer Companion.”)
God, as I learn your ways, help me to respond in a faith-filled way to violent and abusive situations I may witness. (Taken from “By My Side: A Teen Prayer Companion.”)