Iberian Fathers, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 62)

Iberian Fathers, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 62)

Translated by CLAUDE W. BARLOW
Copyright Date: 1969
Pages: 262
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Iberian Fathers, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 62)
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1162-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
      (pp. 3-16)

      About the year 550, a ship from the Holy Land arrived at a harbor on the western coast of what is now Portugal, carrying among its passengers a young missionary named Martin who was destined to play an important role in the history of the Catholic Church among the people called Sueves. Of Martin’s earlier life, we know only that he was born in Pannonia, part of which is now Hungary, and that he was educated in the East, where Greek was the common language. His training as a monk was based on the model of the ascetics in the...

      (pp. 17-34)

      (1) Abbot John used to say to the brothers: “The fathers eating only bread and salt became strong in the work of God, while they constrained themselves. Let us also confine ourselves to this same bread and salt. For he who serves God must be constrained in these things, since the Lord Himself said: ‘Narrow and close is the way that leads to life.’ ”²

      (2) A brother asked the same old man: “The fasts and watches which we perform, what do they do?” The old man replied: “They cause the soul to become humble. For it is written: ‘Behold...

      (pp. 35-42)

      There are many kinds of vices by which human frailty is attacked and by whose wounds almost all men are hurt. Just as these vices, moreover, are committed by everyone, so are they recognized by everyone. To mention only a few of many, there is one man who is overcome by wrath and is a servant to murder, homicide, uprising, and sedition. Another man is driven on by greed, and practices cruelty, avarice, false testimonies, violence, perjury, theft, lying, and cheating.² Another man is debased with lust and succumbs to obscene language, mockery, scurrilous talk, adulteries, and fornication. Another man...

    • PRIDE
      (pp. 43-50)

      How great a prophet and king David was when chosen among the people of God, and with what great endowment of mercy and generosity he was blessed, I believe that you, my dearest friend, have become acquainted through the testimony of the sacred writings. Let your wisdom, then, reflect how this beloved man of God feared that he might be overtaken by the wicked spirit of vainglory. For as he beheld the quality and the quantity of the good grace of God daily bestowed upon him—so many victories over foreign nations, such great affluence of wealth, punishment of his...

      (pp. 51-58)

      Whoever you are that excel in dignity of some office through the will of God and rank above other men in the useful service of provident governance, I ask you to accept worthily this little exhortation of mine without looking in it for the pompous foaming utterances of rhetoricians, since the virtue of humility is sought in purity of mind rather than in high-sounding words. If I happen to appear to say anything harsh, this is the fault of truth rather than my own. That is why some things are hard and others are easy, but, even though all men...

    • ANGER
      (pp. 59-70)

      Bishop Martin to my most blessed and most beloved lord, brother in Christ, Bishop Vittimer.

      While we were recently together and enjoying a mutual exchange of conversation, you urged me with love and affection to arrange a brief discussion of the passion of anger and of its mutual effects. I was delighted to comply immediately, and I have written at your desire these brief remarks on how to avoid anger or, if this cannot be accomplished, how to assuage it. Certain wise men have called anger a brief period of insanity, for it is powerless to control itself, even as...

      (pp. 71-86)

      Bishop Martin to my most blessed and most beloved lord, brother in Christ, Bishop Polemius.

      I have received your kind letter, in which you write me that I should send you something on the origin of idols and their sins, or, if I like, a few selections from the abundant material available, in order to chastise the rustics who are still bound by the old pagan superstition and offer more veneration to demons than to God. Since it is necessary to offer them some small explanation for these idols’ existence from the beginning of the world to whet the appetite,...

      (pp. 87-98)

      Martin, humble bishop, to King Miro, most glorious and most serene and endowed with outstanding piety towards the Catholic faith.

      I am not unaware, most clement king, that the burning thirst of your mind is insatiably eager for the cups of wisdom, and that you ardently require those liquids which fill the streams of moral wisdom, and that for this reason you often write to my humble self and ask me to keep sending your worthiness some letter of advice or exhortation, whatever words I may have to offer. But although your praiseworthy zeal for piety demands this of me,...

      (pp. 99-102)

      Bishop Martin to Bishop Boniface, most blessed and most revered lord, worthy of honor for the perfection of apostolic charity, lord and father in Christ.

      The much hoped-for letter from your apostolic dignity has overwhelmed me doubly with the gift of holy inspiration; first, that you look upon my abject, insignificant, and humble self with your usual episcopal favor; then, that you combine this very kind epistolary exchange with the ardent warmth of pure charity. This series of desirable events makes it proper that we, too, who now grasp the full measure of your consummate charity, should undertake to continue...

    • EASTER
      (pp. 103-110)

      Many have tried to unravel the mystery of Easter and at the same time to make it understandable by a calculation of the month, the moon, and the day; but either because it is impossible to know or because it is difficult to put into words, they have left it rather obscure, as if they had said nothing about it. I know that many have tried to investigate in great detail why we celebrate Easter on different days according to a computation of the moon, following Jewish custom; they declare that it seems more correct to them that the commemoration...

      (pp. 113-116)

      Few men in the Middle Ages succeeded as well as Paschasius of Dumium in leaving but a single mention of their name to posterity, yet at the same time one that gives a wholly favorable impression of their character and scholarly interests. This Paschasius translated from Greek into Latin an extensive collection of material concerning the Desert Fathers of Egypt, as already indicated under discussion of the earliest work of St. Martin of Braga, which was taken from the same source.¹ The translation reveals the author only occasionally where we are able to compare his Latin with such Greek texts...

      (pp. 117-172)

      Paschasius to my venerable lord and father Martin, priest and abbot.

      When you asked me, most holy father, to translate into the Latin language the Lives of the Greek Fathers, which are carefully and eloquently composed, like many other works of the Greeks, I should have refused this unaccustomed task, if I had been allowed. I have never yet fashioned anything to be either written or read, being prohibited by my lack of ability and self-conviction. Lest I should be stealing an expression from the very wise Socrates, I dare not say that I know that I know nothing. Since...

      (pp. 175-182)

      St. Leander of Seville, brother of the more famous Isidore, was the eldest of four children of one Severianus, all born in Cartagena, all having attained high church connections.¹ The father held a position of importance in either the civil or military branch of the government, and there are unproved traditions that he was related to the royal family. He was probably of Roman stock. Besides Leander and Isidore, the other children were Fulgentius and a sister, Florentina. In 554 King Athanagild ceded several seaport towns to the Byzantines, who proceeded to seize more territory than they had been granted,...

      (pp. 183-228)

      As I was reflecting, dearest sister Florentina, to what heaps of wealth I might make you heir and by what sort of inheritance I might enrich you, many images of false blessings came to mind. Rejecting these ideas from my thought as one drives away annoying flies with his hand, I reflected: gold and silver are of the earth and return to the earth; estates, inheritances, and incomes are worthless and transitory, “for this world, as we see it, is passing away.”¹ Anything that I have seen beneath the sun, sister, I have not considered worthy of you; nothing have...

      (pp. 229-236)

      The novelty of the present occasion makes this festivity more solemn than all previous festivities, for not only is the conversion of so many peoples a new experience, but also the joy of the Church is newer than usual. For the Church celebrates many festivities during the course of a year, in which, of course, it has the customary joy, but not a new cause for celebration as at present. It is one thing to rejoice in things always possessed, another to rejoice in these great gains recently discovered.

      Wherefore we are exalted with even greater joy because we see...

    (pp. 239-254)