Thursday, May 17, 2018

Homily for Wednesday, Week 7 of Easter

Homily for Wednesday
7th Week of Easter

May 16, 2018                             
Acts 20: 28-38
Don Bosco Cristo Rey, Takoma Park, Md.

Like some people Fr. Dennis knows, St. Paul could talk for a long time.  What we hear in the 1st reading this morning began yesterday morning:  Paul’s address to the elders of the church of Ephesus, whom he has summoned to meet him at Miletus on his “farewell tour” (20:17).  He may well have sent also for the leaders of other nearby churches.[1]  That Ephesus was 30 miles away indicates Paul’s authority in the churches of Asia Minor, at least some of which he’d founded, as well as the esteem and affection in which the community held him, further stressed by their tears as he departs for the last time (20:37-38).

Statue of St. Paul
St. Peter's Square, Rome
Paul reminds the elders—whom he also calls “overseers”—episkopoi in Greek—of the main point of his preaching, namely that Jesus Christ redeemed the Church by his own blood (20:28).  He reminds them further of their grave responsibility for God’s flock, entrusted to them not by Paul but by the Holy Spirit (20:28).  And he warns them of the danger that will come from those who “pervert the truth to draw the disciples away after themselves” (20:30)

In our time, as in every age of the Church, terrible things happen when those with responsibility for the flock forget who is the true master of the flock, the true shepherd, and the price he paid for the flock’s salvation.  The Church suffers terribly still when false teachers divide the Church.  So Paul’s words remain timely, and they are addressed to us, whether we hold the office of elder—presbyter—or are teachers of the young:  the young at DBCR or in our families.  May we always be as vigilant, hardworking, self-sacrificing, and faithful to the Gospel as Paul and his co-workers were (20:31,33-35).



     [1] Josef Kürzinger, The Acts of the Apostles, trans. Simon & Erika Young, vol. 2 (NY: Crossroad, 1981), 98. Cf. 20:18,25.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spiritual Portrait of St. Mary Mazzarello

Spiritual Portrait of St. Mary Mazzarello

by Fr. Morand Wirth, SDB

Normally, May 13 is celebrated as the feast of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello (1837-1881), co-foundress (with Don Bosco) of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMAs), better known as the Salesian Sisters.  Since the 13th is Sunday this year, the feast doesn’t get observed by most of the Salesian Family.  But the sisters, for whom it’s a solemnity (not merely a feast), will observe the transferred celebration on the 15th. 

This selection comes from Don Bosco and the Salesians, trans. David de Burgh, SDB (New Rochelle: Don Bosco Publications, 1982), p. 159, slightly edited.

Mother Mazzarello (front and center) with FMAs leaving for the missions, 1879. (ANS)
Forthright in temperament but reserved in manner, Mary Mazzarello possessed ardent faith, fortitude, and a great good judgment in spite of her very limited education; she was a woman of the fields with a natural dignity that commanded respect. Although according to Pius IX she knew how to rule, it was easy to obey her, because, as one Sister said, “she exercised the office of superior like a true mother with genuine concern and without pretense. Firm as well as persuasive, she was obeyed by all without resentment.”

Since early childhood her love of God had developed into a profound spirituality which found expression in working for Him. “Let every stitch be an act for the love of God,” the young seamstress had told her friend at the start of their workshop. With the passing of time her piety became more and more Eucharistic and Marian.

Later, on becoming superior, she remained free of vanity and pride to the point of requesting that someone “more educated and capable” take her place. She never forgot her humble origin and willingly shared the menial tasks, losing herself in her search for God.

Mother Mazzarello’s charity came from the heart, as she strove to be of service of all. “Concerned about everybody, she cared for each one of us as if there were no one else in the Institute!” Her fine tact was well known; it came from her sensitivity and great respect for others, which, in turn, sprang from her own purity.

The aura of sanctity which surrounded her was neither artificial nor mechanical, and it remained always within the limits of Salesian dignity and moderation. The Magnificat exalts this virtue of the humble.

Mary Domenica Mazzarello died on May 14, 1881, at the age of 44. She was beatified by Pius XI on November 30, 1938, and canonized by Pius XII on June 24, 1951. In the meantime, that small group of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians has developed into the largest congregation of women religious in the Church.


Homily for the Ascension of the Lord

Homily for Ascension of the Lord

May 13, 2018
Collect
Nativity, Washington, D.C.

“The ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope” (Collect).

You could call this Trifecta Sunday.  Were I to ask you what today is, most of you would respond, “Mother’s Day.”  And we’re glad to honor, celebrate, and pray for our mothers.

Christ's Ascension
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, upper church sacristy
Many of you would add, “It’s Ascension Day.”  You might still tend to say “Ascension Thursday,” but the vast majority of American dioceses now celebrate this feast on Sunday.

I’d bet no one would tell me, “It’s World Communications Sunday.”  This is the 52d annual observance of this WCD, the only new Church observance called for by the 2d Vatican Council.  Every year since 1967, the Pope has issued a message for the observance, choosing a timely theme.

This year Pope Francis chose the theme, “The truth will set you free:  Fake news and journalism for peace.”  That sounds timely, all right.  “Fake news” has become a mantra, but the phenomenon is nothing new, whether we’re talking about commercial advertising—the Romans advised us caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware”; or talking about world politics, e.g., the Communist Party in the Soviet Union called its official newspaper Pravda, “Truth,” and North Korea calls itself the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea while it’s neither a democracy nor a republic nor at the service of the people; or talking about domestic politics, for which every politician learns to “spin” the news, giving at best an incomplete picture of an issue if not a deliberate distortion or outright lie.

“Fake news” even affects the Church.  To speak only of the Holy See, in recent weeks there have been stories about a doctored photograph and misleading presentation of a letter from Benedict XVI, which led to the reassignment of a high-ranking Vatican official; about Pope Francis’s denial of the reality of hell, which he has not denied but in fact repeatedly affirmed; and about the Vatican and Saudi Arabia striking a deal for the Saudis to build churches where Christians who live there can worship, such as foreign workers from India, the Philippines, and the U.S.—a report that was a complete fabrication.

The Holy Father writes at some length about the damage that “fake news” does.  He affirms the importance of truth because, he says, God made us to know and to share all that is true, good, and beautiful.  Truth orients us toward God, and here I affirm that it does this whether it’s the truth of science, the truth of history, the truth of philosophy, the truth of the Gospel, or the truth of a mother’s love.  Falsehood—including “fake news”—comes from Satan, whom Jesus calls “the father of lies” (John 8:44) and who aims not at our happiness and fulfillment but at our misery.

Today’s feast celebrates one of the truths of our faith, a truth about our happiness and fulfillment:  Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, has in his human body been exalted to the glory of heaven, and in the glorification of his humanity, we too are involved.  “Where the Head—Christ—has gone, the body—us, the Church—“is called to follow.”  Christ is incomplete until his people join him in risen splendor, eternal gladness.  This is the heart of the Good News, and there’s nothing fake about it.  The Son of God became human to join himself inseparably to us, and he aims to pull us after himself into heaven so that we may live with him as sons and daughters of God.

He will do that if we let him, if we make an effort to follow him.

And that’s the truth!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Novena Videos Now Online

Global Novena to Mary Help of Christians
Videos Now Online

(ANS – Rome – May 11) – A few days from the beginning of the novena to Mary Help of Christians on Tuesday, May 15, the first videos are being made available on Salesian internet channels. As of May 11, all nine videos in Italian, English, and Spanish are online.

“I will give you the teacher,” little John Bosco was told in his dream as a nine-year-old boy. “She did everything,” a mature Don Bosco would later say, near the end of his life, as he thought back to the many challenges he had faced and overcome for his youngsters. Our Lady had always been a close presence in Don Bosco’s life, and he never tired of repeating it and encouraging people’s devotion to her.

This year, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, the novena proposed by the Rector Major to the whole Salesian Family focuses on the dreams of Don Bosco wherein the figure of Mary Help of Christians emerges, and follows the same thread of the reflections being used for the procession in honor of our Lady which, as per tradition, is held on the evening of May 24 in the streets of Turin.

In each video, the Rector Major presents one of Don Bosco’s dreams, which is then discussed and supplemented with Marian testimonies by different members of the Salesian Family. Discussed are themes such as the Salesian mission, the spiritual life, the missions to the farthest corners of the earth, and Salesian holiness, always from a Marian point of view.

Finally, on the last day of the novena, the Rector Major will present his dream for the Congregation and the Salesian Family.

The videos can be found at www.sdb.org and at the ANSChannel on YouTube.

As of May 14, videos in French, Portuguese, and Polish will begin to be uploaded and made available to users.

Thanks to the collaboration between the Communications Department and the Communications Team of the Southern Italy Province, a written Italian-language aid was also produced featuring the all the texts of the novena.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Homily for Wednesday, 6th Week of Easter

Homily for Wednesday
6th Week of Easter

May 9, 2018                                      
Acts 17: 15, 22—18: 1

I didn’t actually preach this homily, which I prepared after misreading our liturgical assignments for this week.

In Acts 17 we read of St. Paul’s brief mission in Athens.  This most sophisticated Greek city makes a startling contrast with Corinth, Paul’s next destination (18:1-11).  Corinth was a moral sewer, yet Paul was welcomed there and stayed 18 months, whereas he made only a handful of converts and stayed a very short time in “wise” Athens.

St. Paul Preaching at Athens (Raphael)
In Athens Paul uses a different approach than his usual one.  We don’t hear that he began by presenting Jesus in the synagog but among the cultural elite, the philosophers.  He uses a tactic that today we call “see, judge, act.”  That is, he observes the religious practices of the Athenians, evaluates what he observes, and preaches according to his assessment of their religiosity.

The Athenians are pagans, not Jews.  But Paul thinks he finds in them an openness to the truth of a single Creator God (18:23-27); he doesn’t think those intellectual sophisticates really believe the foolishness of Greek mythology.  He even quotes some of their own cultural heritage (18:28), as among the Jews he quotes the Scriptures.

Unfortunately, Paul misreads what the Greek sophisticates are open to.  With very few exceptions (18:34), they reject out of hand the idea that someone has been raised from the dead (18:32).  They’re amused at such silliness.  They can’t imagine that God really cares so much about people.  Maybe they can’t even accept the idea of personal sin, for Paul has also spoken of judgment (17:30-31).  Paul’s Athens experience, especially in contrast to what will come in Corinth, evidences the truth of Jesus’ words:  “I praise you, Father, … for altho you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike” (Matt 11:25).

Paul models evangelization for us, however.  He attempts to lead people from their own experience toward the Gospel, and he speaks plainly the truth of the Gospel—in this case, that God created us, that we are morally responsible creatures, and that Jesus Christ, risen, is the Savior.

This is the mystery mentioned in our Collect this morning, the mystery in which we participate at this altar, the mystery we pray to be worthy of when Jesus comes in judgment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"How can we follow a God whom we don't listen to?"

“How can we follow a God whom we don’t listen to or appreciate?”

Fr. Juan José Bartolomé speaks of God’s call to young people


(ANS – Madrid- May 7) – Fr. Juan José Bartolomé, SDB, extracts “Three stories of vocation” of the Holy Scriptures – those of Samuel, Jeremiah, and the rich young man – to show that “God speaks also to young people.”  Dios habla también a los jóvenes is the title of his latest book, published by Madrid’s Editorial CCS.  These are pieces that, according to this New Testament teacher, currently professor at the Salesian Theological Institute of Tlaquepaque, Mexico, share an “obvious” message:  “In times of crisis, God can make adolescents prophets ... if they dedicate themselves to listening to him.”

Why does it cost so much today to listen to God’s call?

Because we live with many entertainments, but with little interior life; with much noise, more in the heart, than in the environment (which is saying everything); worried more about ourselves than about God and his living image, the neighbor who needs us.  Fearing that God asks us for things we don’t want to or can’t give him, we refuse to listen to him.  A God so detached, who says nothing anymore, who means so little, ends up being an idol, as harmless as he’s easy to deal with.

To what extent is the “vocations crisis” a sign of the times?

I don’t believe, sincerely, there is a vocations crisis.  God always calls as many as he wants; another thing is whether we want to listen to him.  In the Christian community, it seems to me that something very serious is happening:  among us believers, even the best, we live in a state of permanent disobedience.  Engaged as we are in solving social problems, ours or those of our loved ones, what God says to us in what happens to us doesn’t matter to us.  It’s more urgent for us to intervene in the world than to allow God to intervene in our hearts.  How can we follow a God whom we don’t listen to or appreciate?

Does vocations ministry need renewal?

Of course, vocations ministry needs a profound renewal, but not in its recipients, the world of youth, but in its “pastors,” those sent by God.  Because have we forgotten that Jesus, before sending the Twelve, two at a time, to evangelize, first ordered them to pray to the Lord for the harvest?  A life of personal prayer and the authentic witnessing of those faces transfigured for having conversed with God are the best way to arouse and take care of the possible vocations. Only those who have encountered the Lord become his effective propagators.

Religiously Engaged Adolescents Get Better Grades

Religiously engaged adolescents demonstrate habits that help them get better grades

Stanford study suggests that being religious helps adolescents get better grades because they are rewarded for being conscientious and cooperative.

April 15, 2018
By Carrie Spector


Stanford education researcher finds that adolescents
who are religiously engaged do better in school.
(Photo: franckreporter/iStock)

Adolescents who practice religion on a regular basis do better in school than those who are religiously disengaged, according to new research from Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE).

The findings indicate that religious communities socialize adolescents to cultivate two habits highly valued in public schools: conscientiousness and cooperation. Religious engagement may influence grades more than researchers realize.



Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Calm Courage of Dominic Savio

The Calm Courage of Dominic Savio

by Fr. Morand Wirth, SDB

The Salesian Family ordinarily celebrates May 6 as the feastday of St. Dominic Savio, adolescent. Since May 6 falls on Sunday this year, the feastday’s omitted.

Each year I try to present something a little different for the province newsletter on our Salesian saints and blesseds. Usually that means copying and editing something published elsewhere. This post is an example of that.

The steady energy of this saintly young lad was obvious. At a tender age he willingly undertook difficult tasks like assisting at Mass early in the mornings in the middle of the winter, long hikes to and from school, or silent acceptance of undeserved reproach. At Valdocco his strength of mind found many opportunities for expression. Without faltering he endured “the rather hard life at the Oratory, not only the scarcity of food but also the hardships of a winter without heat.” In spite of his own great courtesy and amiability, he sometimes had to put up with “insolence and threats and even insults” from his companions. He would blush deeply yet remain calm and forgive quickly. His courage in suffering, so evident during his last illness, made him, according to Don Bosco, “a model of sanctity.”

This strength of character was not just passive. It manifested itself in the exact performance of all his duties and, when necessary, in actions which greatly impressed all who witnessed and recorded them. We have already mentioned the brave intervention when he stopped a duel with stones between two students, at the risk of getting hurt himself, or his remark to a soldier who refused to kneel when the Blessed Sacrament was passing by, an act that could have been considered very provocative, or when he reproached Don Bosco himself with regard to a misdeed that ought to have been punished.

Dominic had enormous will power. Don Bosco says that he had found in him “a great human strength supported by grace.” This strength of will was directed toward a great ideal: “to become a saint,” a strong expression which well illustrates his attitude.

Having learned from Don Bosco that penance was necessary for a boy who wanted “to preserve his innocence,” he voluntarily practiced all kinds of mortifications with regard to food, rest, conversation, and strict control over his senses to the point of “suffering bad headaches.” Eventually his director had to intervene in order to moderate this thirst for penance and to help him regain his usual cheerfulness that he had been about to lose. Dominic valued his advice highly.

This devotee of the crucified Christ left behind him a memory of a smiling lad, kind and serene, with an unalterable purpose behind his smile.

From Don Bosco and the Salesians, trans. David de Burgh, SDB (New Rochelle: Don Bosco Publications, 1982), pp. 65-66.

Homily for 6th Sunday of Easter

Homily for the
6th Sunday of Easter

May 8, 1994
Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48
John 15: 9-17
St. Vincent, Hunters, Grand Bahama Island
St. Agnes, Eight Mile Rock, GBI

“The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also” (Acts 10:45).

Peter baptizing Cornelius (Wikipedia)
We read in the 1st chapter of Genesis (v. 27) that God created human beings in his own image.  Sinners that we are, we often try to reverse that, to make God in our image.  So it is in the story of Cornelius and his household.  Unfortunately, in their concern for brevity the editors of our lectionary have hacked the story to pieces (so we have read it in its entirety straight from Acts).

Cornelius, tho personally devout and a friend of the Jews, was one of the Roman occupiers, a Gentile, not part of God’s covenant, not an heir of God’s promises.  He was inspired to send for Peter, and Peter saw a vision in which God declared all things clean, in contrast to the Jewish law.  Peter went to Caesarea and preached Jesus to Cornelius and his whole household and friends, and they believed.  For Peter had begun to grasp what some of his companions did not:  that God is in love with every person and plays no favorites.  “The man of any nation who fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to him” (10: 35).

And God bore out Peter’s words by pouring out the Spirit upon these despised Romans, these foreigners, these people whose empire so oppressed the Jews.  They were the 1st Christians who were not Jews.  No longer would Christianity be just another sect or party with Judaism, like the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots.  Christ is meant for the whole world.

It took a while for many Jewish Christians to accept that basic.  In fact, we read in Acts 15 that a council of all the apostles and elders met to decide the issue after long and serious debate.

You see, many people believe in their hearts, and speak and act accordingly, that God has chosen them specially and looks down on everyone else.  They may be one tribe butchering another, as in South Africa and Rwanda; or Moslems killing Christians, as in the Sudan; or Christians killing Moslems, as in Bosnia; or Catholics and Protestants going at each other in Northern Ireland; or Arabs and Jews shooting each other in Palestine; or whites putting down blacks, Latinos, and Asians in the U.S.; or Bahamians putting down Haitians.  But the truth of the Gospel is crystal clear.  No Christian can discriminate against any person.  Every man is our brother, every woman our sister—especially if, like most of the Haitians, they profess the same faith we do.  And all the more if they are the poorest of the poor.  If God does have a special liking for anyone, it’s the poor; that’s written on almost every page of the Gospel, from Mary’s Magnificat to Jesus’ parable of the last judgment in Matt 25.

The world would undoubtedly be a much improved place if professed Christians would only start to treat their fellow men and women as images of God, children of God, beloved of God.  And that’s as true of the Bahamas as of anywhere else.  In any case, we live in the Bahamas, and this is the world in which we have to be Christians.

“God shows no partiality,” plays no favorites.  In fact, God in Christ calls everyone, Jew and Gentile, male and female, black and white, young and old, rich and poor, to friendship.  “There is no greater love than this:  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I no longer speak of you as slaves….  Instead, I call you friends…” (John 15:13-15).

Part of the scandal of Christianity to Jew and Gentile alike was that God could come close to us.  Sure, he walked with Abraham and spoke face to face with Moses like an old friend.  But would God do that with just anybody?  with smelly fishermen and dirty farmers and a traitorous tax collector from Galilee, for instance?  or with you and me?

Jesus has answered that question for us.  God not only would come close to us, but he has actually done it.  God not only loves us, but he even likes us.  “Greater love than this no one has….”

If God is our friend, we can talk to him anytime.  We can speak as informally as we like.  We don’t have to put on an act.  We can open our hearts to him.

If God is our friend, we respect him.  What belongs to him—his name, his house, all his children—is sacred.  We treat them all with reverence.

If God is our friend, we trust him.  We don’t always understand him, but we know we can count on him to have our best interests at heart.  Not everyone will lay down his life to save our lives.  But the Son of God has done just that.

If God is our friend, we listen to him.  In our prayer we don’t do all the talking.  We listen quietly, too.  That’s why we have quiet moments at Mass, why we all need some quiet time every day.

Listening includes obeying.  God commands, but as a friend, not as a master.  He commands what is best for us, and we trust that.  He commands like a parent telling a child to stay out of the street or not to touch the stove.

If God is our friend, we thank him for his gifts and praise him for his accomplishments.  We ask his pardon when we offend him—which, of course, we try not do to.

If God is our friend, we love him and everyone whom he loves.  “This command I give you:  love one another.  Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:17,12).  He loves us all, without partiality, without limit.  “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

"Global" Novena to Mary Help of Christians

“Global” Novena to Mary Help of Christians


(ANS – Rome – May 3) – This year the Salesian Family celebrates the 150th anniversary of the consecration and opening of Turin’s basilica of Mary Help of Christians (1868-2018). To mark this important anniversary, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, with the support of the Communications Department, has launched an initiative to unite the whole Salesian Family in prayer around Mary: a “global” novena to Mary Help of Christians in view of the festivities (May 24) via videos to be made available in the next few days on various channels.

Each day the structure of the novena will include:

  • the presentation of the daily theme by the Rector Major;
  • the narration of one of Don Bosco’s dreams, selected among the main dreams in which the Virgin Mary appears, published in texts edited by Fr. Bruno Ferrero, director of the Italian Salesian Bulletin;
  • the Rector Major’s commentary on the dream;
  • a brief testimony of a member of the Salesian Family;
  • concluding invocations.
Produced thanks to the collaboration of the communications team of the Southern Italy Province, the videos have been designed to be shared, broadcast, and used in moments of community prayer in Salesian and Salesian Family houses all over the world, as well as in the traditional moments of the Salesian “good morning” or “good night” in parishes and youth centers.

The novena videos will be available in Italian, English, and Spanish as early as May 10 on various channels: the sdb.org site, the ANS page on Flickr and the ANS channel on YouTube.

Starting May 14, they will be placed daily on the ANS website and made available also in French and Portuguese.

On ANSChannel there is a video presentation of the novena.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Homily for Memorial of St. Athanasius

Homily for the Memorial of St. Athanasius

May 2, 2018
Collect
Our Lady of Lourdes, Bethesda, Md.

“Almighty ever-living God, you raised up the Bishop St. Athanasius as an outstanding champion of your Son’s divinity” (Collect).

If you think there’s been a lot of contention in the Catholic Church since Vatican II, it’s nothing compared to the unhappy experience of the Church after the very 1st ecumenical council, the Council of Nicaea, which took place in 325.

Nicaea was convened so that the Church could settle a debate over just who Jesus Christ was.  A priest named Arius from Alexandria, Egypt—the 2d-most important city in the Roman Empire—was teaching that Christ was more than an ordinary man but less than God. Arius and his followers, in the words of Pope Benedict, “reduced [Christ] to a creature ‘halfway’ between God and man,” which is something many people today also like to do because they can’t grasp how God himself could become a human being, or how a human being could at the same time be truly the Son of God.

The bishops who assembled at Nicaea didn’t agree with Arius.  They confirmed as the belief of the Church that Jesus Christ was fully divine:  “God from God, true God from true God, consubstantial with the Father,” as they stated in what we now call the Nicene Creed.  By “consubstantial,” the Church means that whatever God the Father is by his nature, his substance, that also is God the Son, who became human as Jesus of Nazareth.

Unfortunately, that didn’t settle the issue, partly because the Arians—including a good number of bishops—refused to go along with what the council had said, and partly because theology became also a political issue.  The Emperor Constantine and his successors wanted a united empire—no dissension in politics or religion—and thought that Arianism was easier for people to understand and accept.  So those who held to the orthodox teaching of the Church—the creed of Nicaea—had a hard time of it.  Theological arguments very often led to riots and bloodshed—a 4th-century Christian version of what we see going on in parts of the Islamic world today as Shiites, Sunnis, and adherents of other forms of Islam fight each other.

Athanasius took part in the Council of Nicaea as a young priest, and not long after was made bishop of Alexandria. He became “the pillar of the Church,” a model of orthodox teaching for the whole Church in both its Eastern and Western branches.  Pope Benedict called him “the impassioned theologian” of the Word made flesh, “the most important and tenacious adversary of Arianism.”  Altho some bishops and the emperors would settle on a theological compromise, there could be no compromise on the truth of the Creed with Athanasius, in his preaching, his pastoral letters, and his theological writings.  He and the Arians became implacable enemies, and it cost Athanasius greatly.  The threat of violence and imperial hostility forced him into exile from Alexandria 5 times in 30 years, sometimes running for his life.  Only in 366 was he finally able to settle down in his diocese and live his last 7 years in peace.

In his book The Incarnation of the Word, Athanasius wrote that the divine Word was made flesh, becoming like one of us for our salvation—“was made man so that we might be made God … and he endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality.”  Thru our communion with Christ we can truly be united to God; he has really become God-with-us and God-for-us.