Saturday, August 18, 2007

Athanasius Contra Mundum

I discovered a quote over at Reasoning Repaired that really hit me. Its a quote by the doctor of the Church, St. Athanasius:
"If the world is against truth, then I am against the world."
Not only is it a great quote from any moral standpoint of simply standing up for what is right and just, but the word truth (at least for me) takes this to a much deeper and indeed a theological level.
By "Truth" I think he may have meant Jesus Christ. It seems like Martin Luther's quote: "I can do no other" (except minus the heresy, cause even heresiarchs have great quotable moments). It is the statement of a man who loves God so much that he must continue loving Him in the face of everything and everyone. It is the statement of a man who knows that fulfilment and joy come only from Christ and he is willing to suffer anything to attain it.
It also made me think of that famous Latin phrase: Athanasius Contra Mundo (Athanasius Against the World). He was the salmon swimming upstream; Athanasius stood against impossible odds for the truth that Jesus Christ is true man AND true God, that is of the same substance of God the Father (I used to know the Greek term in the sem, but I forgot.) Despite, exile, mocking and the impossible odds Athanasius won out. Christianity survived the Arian Heresy. Which further proves the validity of the Christian religion, since nothing (not even Arius and his many followers) could cause it to stray from the same truths taught since Jesus walked the Earth.
The truth that Athanasius stood for was affirmed at the Council of Nicea and the Nicene Creed has always been considered the basic definition of what Christians believe. I quoted an English translation of it below (emphasis mine of course):

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary , and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's nice to have another (orthodox) Catholic blog from Idaho! We were in the Army, too. I've been enjoying reading it. One little suggestion: since contra takes the accusative, it should be Athanasius contra mundum.

Muscovite

Athanasius contra mundum said...

I have very little Classical training so I don't know anything about Latin grammar. Thanks for the correction.
Btw, do you go to St Mary's or St Augustine's?

Muscovite said...

The first 3+ years after our conversion we went to St. Mary's. This last year, we've been going to St. Auggie's a lot (especially this summer when they were desperate for choir singers/song leaders) but we really like to get out to St. Patrick's in Colfax when we get a chance.

I'm sorry it's a belated answer to your question, but I've been trying to post this for some time without success.