Drawing Him On

From “Funeral Oration for His Father” (374)

I have heard the Scripture say, who can find a valiant woman and declare that she is a divine gift, and that a good marriage is brought about by the Lord… I think that, had anyone from the ends of the earth and from every race of men attempted to bring about the best of marriages, he could not have found a better or more harmonious one than this…

She indeed who was given to Adam as a help-meet for him, because it was not good for man to be alone, instead of an help-meet became an enemy… But she who was given by God to my father became not only his help-meet, but even his leader, drawing him on by her influence in deed and word to the highest excellence…

What time or place for prayer ever escaped her?  To this she was drawn before all other things in the day… Who reduced the flesh by more constant fast and vigil?  Or stood like a pillar night and day in psalmody?… Who was a better patron of the orphan and the widow?  Who aided as much in the alleviation of the misfortunes of the mourner?… These were the discoveries of her faith and the undertakings of her spiritual fervor.

St. Gregory Nazianzus (329-390) was among the most influential theologians and orators of the early church, and is ranked among the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. An uncompromising champion of the Nicene Faith, he went to Constantinople in 379, aiming to reconvert the city to orthodoxy, and was made its archbishop. He led the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, which affirmed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. Gregory preached this funeral oration after the death of his father, also named Gregory, who had been converted to Christianity through the witness of his wife, Nonna, and later became Bishop of Nazianus. Gregory is commemorated on January 2 by most Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and on January 25 by the Orthodox churches.  


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