Nazianzus, 330-390. Doctor of Theologians. Feast Jan
Theologians, justices, and lawyers involved in all types
of law should heed the advice and wisdom of Gregory when it comes to
justice. Jury members, judges and those who make decisions regarding
the sentencing or passing judgment on others have a valuable lesson
to learn from St Gregory. He wrote marvelously about the justice of
God and clearly explained it. He said that no one could adequately
explain God or the divine attributes without expressing and
discovering a distinct depth to the infinite justice of God. For
some explanations about catholic social justices click:
is the rational interpretation about God, religion and the
relationship of people and religion together. It is also the study
of God. However, how is it possible to explain God rationally when
God is beyond all rational explanation? When we attempt to study the
divine we do so in human terms. Therefore, all that study or have an
interest in theology might implore "the theologian" for a blessing
and insight in the study of God. It is principally through God's
light that we receive inspiration to truly know about the Godhead’s
intrinsic nature, which is grace.
Gregory was a personal
friend of St. Basil and took up his offer to join him in a newly
founded monastery. It is perhaps fitting that their feast day is
celebrated together. No other doctors have that same distinction. He
was a gifted writer and, in addition to his theological writing
about the Trinity, he also wrote poetry, some of it autobiographical
of great depth and beauty. He also wrote many letters and prayers. Not only did he write about the Trinity
but also later he would give great sermons on the Three Persons of
God for which he is mostly remembered.
This famous theologian
had a clear insight into the nature of God both from a theological
and practical viewpoint. He was famous for his writings on the
Trinity and loved to write about the mysteries of the Father, Son
and Holy Spirit. He could not have received this gift had he not
spent considerable time in prayer for no one can understand the deep
things of God but the Spirit who bestows wisdom. God quite lavishly
bestows abundant supernatural light on those who seek and search
wholeheartedly for the truth. According to Gregory, the desire for
God is a precious jewel that fascinates God as if it were the only
thing in the world. God can't resist inundating us with grace
through our sincere requests almost to the point that nothing will
be refused if we ask with confidence, expectation and hope.
Listen to his words: "God accepts our desires as though they
were a great value. He longs ardently for us to desire and love Him.
He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a
favor. God's joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving. So let
us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our
requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God's
These words were learned as a monk in a monastery
and Gregory would have stayed there if he had anything to say about
it, but he didn't. Gregory's father was a bishop and he wanted
Gregory in his own diocese and out of the monastery.
The precious jewel that fascinates
God that we possess: our desire for God, is a gift. In proportion of our desire for God, it is nothing compared
to God's desire for us. God desires us infinitely and has shown that in his Son becoming one of us. Christ is
God's precious jewel although this may be unknown, or the mere idea of it has been lost or never truly
discovered yet. How can we know or find this precious jewel and how can we keep it and maintain it?
One way a precious jewel is found, shown, kept, and maintained is to have the jewel placed in the proper setting as
a diamond or precious stone would be set on a ring. To draw an analogy of this subject and to awaken the
realization of the importance of our desire for God and God for us, open the below link and scrool down the page
to the section marked SPIRITUAL and under that THE BRIDE AND THE RING. By reading this graceful story you will understand God's grand plan
for each of us. Know, that this is a true reality that God desire for each of us to possess most fully, if we are
willing to venture out in faith.
CATHOLIC SACRED MUSIC
great struggles as a leader of the church. He perhaps was more drawn
to the writing field but he didn't flinch when God asked him to
serve as a bishop. Gregory was not talented as an administrator as
he was in theological research and writing. Cardinal Newman
indicated that he was frequently struggling with his natural fear
and tendency toward irritability and other passions. The Cardinal
noted that none of these human weaknesses interfered with him
becoming a saint. Gregory would have been the first to tell you that
he wasn't a good administrator and because of that, in a short time,
he resigned due to contradictions and controversy.
Nazianzus was also caught up in the Arian controversy. He received
lots of slander, insults and even personal violence. An interloper
even tried to take over his bishopric. We today can not even imagine
what the early, faithful Christians went through and the sufferings
they had to endure due to the Arians and its heresy. Gregory was a
biblical exegete. That is one who explains or offers critical
interpretation about the bible.
Gregory was unafraid of the appearance of failure. True Christians do not accept failure.
It is merely an allowance that God permits. It is only a setback, not a failure,
designed to enable one to become more successful in the art and
science of serving God and others.
Another glowing example of
one who suffered at least eleven, serious setbacks or defeats before
he assumed the presidency was Abraham Lincoln. Imagine how Lincoln
could have easily given up his quest for his higher calling had he
permitted failures and setbacks to deter him. Where would this world
be without Lincoln’s monumental contributions in making this earth a
better place? Where would we find the dignity, freedom and
integration that we have without Lincoln? Think of his pluck and
backbone to forge ahead with confidence and zeal despite the 1 to 11
There is a famous quotation whose source I do not know
“Nothing in this world can take the place of
persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than
unsuccessful men with talent; genius will not; unrewarded genius
is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of
educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are
Lest we think that Gregory became too wrapped up
in God from a theoretical aspect and forgot his neighbor let us read
the beautiful words attributed to him: “Whenever we have the
opportunity, let us visit Christ, let us feed him, clothe him,
welcome him and honor him”. Those who pursue God are first pursued
by God (God is always the original mover). He reveals the Deity most
frequently in others than in himself. It is easier that way and God
is profoundly simple. God is not in the abstract but in the
concrete-especially the flesh. Those who are engaged in the corporal
works of mercy are performing the spiritual works of
For a glance at the difference between the corporal
and spiritual works of mercy that Gregory is referring to click on
the below link to the Doctor of Doctrine, St Leo the Great:
united to firm commitment to do God's will is what characterized
Gregory's life. Everything in life is designed by God to lead us to
a holy union and peace of soul. This can happen despite
contradictions, controversies and many incompatibilities that were
superabundant in Gregory’s life. One might ask: how can this happen?
How can the church hold up as the theologian doctor, par excellence,
and as a model, one who resigned and appeared to disobey his
superior when it came to an assignment? Wasn’t he unsuccessful in
fulfillment of his duties?
The church’s one vocational title
in addition to "Spiritual Mother and Bride of Christ" might be
called "The Theologian for the Faithful". Among the doctors, the
church gives this title to St Gregory Nazianzus both for how Gregory
thought and on what he achieved. Many famous theologians might say
with great subtlety that it is difficult to know God but quite
impossible to express what that knowledge is. Gregory would say in a
deeper dimension that it is impossible to express the greatness of
God in words or to give God a name, but still more impossible-not
difficult-to understand the nature of God.
that God is better known by nescience-the science of ignorance. God
is ineffable. Although the doctors of the church were all eminent
theologians in the pure sense and expressed God clearly and
accurately, they would all subscribe to Gregory’s comment. He said:
“One should not speak much in this life. One can discourse upon the
world on matter and on the soul, on rational creatures whether good
or bad, on judgment, rewards and penalties, and on the sufferings of
Jesus Christ. But when one undertakes to consider God, not in what
he has said or done, but in what God is, restraint and sobriety are
to commended”. This last quote is taken from the chapter entitled,
the ineffable God, in Henri de Lubac’s book entitled The Discovery
of God." Cardinal DeLubac was a leading figure on ressourcement in
twentieth century. He labored to rediscover the whole church’s rich
past. This subject is listed in the sources.
The French word,
Retrouvaille, also means rediscover. It too represents a program in
the catholic Church for renewing marriage.
matter our state or calling in life, we need renewal because human
nature is noteworthy for getting into trouble. It happened in the
“Garden of Eden” and time hasn’t changed since then. Based on
statistics, marriage is the most troubled vocation or profession. It
is also that vocation which God calls most of us. The Retrouvaille
program, Marriage Encounter and other similar involvements are
invaluable for ensuring growth and sanctity.
There is additional information about marriage and marriage encounter
groups in the link below under St Hilary, Doctor of the Church. He is the only married doctor and his optional memorial
is Jan., the 13th.
St. Hilary of Poitiers 1/13
and continual marriage is impossible without sound theology because it helps us to understand and be prepared to enter
into this most holy sacrament. The lives and writings of both Gregory and Hilary gives us insight and undertanding
into the sacredness of union between two persons exactly as God is united with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Gregory writes to us of this
Trinitarian Truth. The invisible God has become visible in time to
sanctity us now. Eternity is now for us. Eternity is for us now and
later. If we share our earthly life with God, God will share the
eternal life with us now and later. We do not have to wait to
experience heaven and the hereafter. We have it now in faith, hope
and love. The theological virtues are for us to experience the human
and divine to achieve God’s will for us. Why do we not know how to interpret the present time?
We do not need
to be a theologian as Gregory to grasp basic facts. Our Creator has
endowed us with an intellect to comprehend that we are more than
human beings. We are spiritual beings too. We are both body and
soul. We experience the natural and the supernatural. We need to be
reminded that many of our experiences are both human and divine. We
feel the spiritual and the earthly.
The church has always
had brilliant lay theologians. St Prosper of Aquitaine who lived in
the 5th century stated that “ the law of prayer is the law of
faith.” This phrase explains that the authentic liturgical prayer of
the church always points to authentic doctrine. The church believes
as it prays. Gregory and Prosper both remind us that sincere prayer
is belief in God and vice-versa.
Jesus came to be one of us
as a human and divine Being, one for us as a Redeemer and one in us
as a Sanctifier so that we can aspire to be united to him in our
thoughts, words and actions. This unification means that we become
one in intention, feeling, hope and goodwill to all as he did for
us. Jesus is the God-Man. Our Supreme Being has no sex. Our Jewish model, born of a woman, had all of our
feelings and temptations that we experience and he directed them
to his Father and our Father too, to encourage us to do the same. He
promised the Spirit in full measure after he left to remain with us
in a spiritual manner.
Ponder the words
taught us by the most exalted theologian, Jesus: “Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven”. The Our Father prayer binds together all
brotherhood and sisterhood into one, united humanity. It links and
unites all angelic spirits in heaven with all angelic spirits given
to souls on earth. When we have sincere faith in God, our guardian
angel will merge our thoughts into kind and loving thoughts toward
all creation and creatures in an angelic-human unselfish
The ordinary sign of the cross we make reminds us of
the Trinity. Gregory helped write of the Nicene Creed and probably
helped to formulate it. We need to be reminded of who dwells in all
creatures because of our absentmindedness and God’s invisible
mystery and non-absence. The cross also reminds us that God sent his
Son into the world to die on the cross for all people. The cross
points in all directions as Christ was and is extended for all.
Christ’s crucifixion (and all that have been persecuted, injured,
abused, humiliated and destroyed) is a sign and a crime of our
failure to act justly.
The justice of man is not the justice
of God. We still need to learn better the justice of God. Jesus has
come to usher in the new law of Trinitarian truth to set us free. An
eye for an eye belonged to the past. Jesus brings the “Good News”
with his presence and futuristic outlook. If any person was ahead of
his time and not appreciated, Jesus had to head the list. One of the
reasons that Jesus understood the future is because he read the
past. He was constantly quoting the prophets. He spoke admirably
about the major (most known and lengthy) and the minor (least known
and shortest) prophets. He knew his history thoroughly and
understood the difference between the justice of God and man’s
The themes of justice run through all forty-six
books of the Old Testament. Jesus often referred to Genesis, the
first book of the Old Testament. Jesus constantly lived out the last
book in the Old Testament, the book of Malachi. Three things only
are what God wants according to Micah. They are to act justly,
to love tenderly, and walk humbly with God that follows acting
Jesus merged together the justice of God and the love
of God by his Crucifixion. Vengeance belongs to the Lord-leave it
alone. Naturally, we must defend ourselves but taking other’s lives
through the court system will one day bring us before the heavenly
court of God’s judgment.
The spirit of God is present in all
living souls in spite of corruption, crimes and misdemeanors. As
Gregory was a vigorous opponent of those principles that oppose
faith and belief, each person must exercise that same opposition of
principles that violate Trinitarian principles. Do we have the right
to take other’s life? Does anyone have the right to take another
life? Who is the author of life? The bible tells us that even if a
mother forgets her child, the Lord will not abandon us. Gregory
imparts Trinitarian truths, beliefs and principles that all
creatures have access to if they petition God for insight and help.
Some may never discover the “light” but that doesn’t mean that the
“light” is not there.
Life remains a mystery despite all the
explanations. Jesus’ surrender on the cross, despite all of its
horrors especially with his mother standing and looking up to the
cross with her Son affixed to it, is a lasting testament to his
unspeakable love he showed to his Father. It is a vivid reminder how
necessary we ought to heed the famous words of St Gregory and ponder
its meaning. Restraint and sobriety are to be commended in all we do
or say. Sobriety in this context means solidness, steadiness and
We can not fully understand the mystery of God or
man’s infinite dignity. St Gregory, please pray for us to act as
Mary standing and looking up into Christ’s face in total abandonment
and acceptance to God’s will. His bloody death sanctified us in
justice but it was not the justice of man but the justice of God
over the hatred of men. Jesus warned the Scribes and the Pharisees
and us today that if our justice does not exceed theirs, we would
not enter into his kingdom.
Gregory went so far as to state
that “if anyone does not believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the
Mother of God, that person is separated from the Deity”. Thus we
realize that without faith in God and the acknowledgement of Mary as
the Mother of God, a separation from God occurs. The Mother and her
Son unites us to God when we believe. A wall of separation exist
without adherence to this central belief of the catholic faith. Of
course, non-catholics or anyone who does not know through instructions, or special graces, that Mary is
the actual Mother of God, by reason of the Incarnation, are not separated from God if they possess
charity, which is the life and existence of God in his soul.
teachings about our Lady and confirmed by the doctors and the
magisterium and her role as Mother of God is found in A Short
Catechism of Mary written by Charles Cardinal Journet and printed by
Catholic Book Publishing Co. in 1990. This book will enable the
reader to learn at a glance the essential Catholic teaching about
Our Lady and what she means to the life of all
Christians. Obviously, the most recent updated version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
is more comprehensive. There is an additional link below on comments from all the Doctors of the Catholic Church about Mary.
THE DOCTORS AND ST. MARY
Gregory, and his dear friend Basil, who he joined
in his monastery at the beginning of his spiritual journey, both
adhered to Mary ever Virgin. This has become a part of the church’s
teachings. Mary is the model for all creatures in order that we
allow her to put in order that which is disordered in us. Our
thoughts, feelings and even our aspirations are frequently
disarrayed due to original sin. Mary was singularly privileged and
exempted from that curse. Thus, our life-long goal can be to receive
in time what Mary received immediately. Once again, our divine
Theologian, Jesus, said: “Blessed are the pure of heart (immaculate)
for they shall see God”. Mary, emulated by the doctors and
proclaimed immaculate in dogma, was made for God and us. For Jesus
because it was fitting and for us because God is just and will
distribute divine justice orderly, properly and fairly to all
without exception. We can say that what God gave to Mary instantly
he gives to us in time with grace and our cooperation and
willingness. It may sound 'crazy' but we can become immaculate in
thought, word and action in our own unique manner through grace,
belief, mercy, and prayer.
According to how we live, God will attract
and draw each of us to want to learn and know more about life and
the things of the Spirit and be more in tune with our spirit. We are
called as Gregory to be a theologian in spirit. That is what praying
and doing good is all about: uniting our hearts, minds and souls to
God and assisting others according to their needs. Gregory, among all
the doctors, wrote that Mary was always central to the gospels in
the acts and devotion of Eastern Christians. Basil revered virgins
and taught that Mary was ever virgin in his homilies regarding the
birth of Jesus. He insisted that virginity should be honored and
marriage not despised.
The bishop of Nazianzus, St Gregory, is one of the first
earliest Fathers from whom we have any mention of prayers addressed
to Mary for obtaining her protection and assistance.
theologian’s body formerly rest in St Peter’s basilica in Rome. As the Church
of St Peters is considered the Mother of all other Catholic
Churches, the church honors this saintly doctor’s theology in the
highest esteem by given him the title among all the other doctors as
The Theologian. In Joan Carroll Cruz’s book entitled: Mysteries,
Marvels and Miracles , listed in the sources, she writes that St Gregory’s body is said to
have been identified by its sweet fragrance from those of other
members of his family who had been buried in the same vault. When we
practice the theology that St Gregory Nazianzus held, we too, will
emanate with God’s pleasing fragrance in life in the same manner as
Gregory in his death.
Anyone able to think or act kindly and
justly is a theologian. We are created in the image and likeness of
God. Whether we acknowledge that presence through our mind or heart,
we become a visible sign of God's greatness and gift. All have a
unique gift. The gifted, Gregory, reminds all that theology is not
only the study of God but the acting out of our own particular gifts
that reveal God to others by our thoughts, words and actions. The
greater the gift, the greater is our accountability to share that
favor and grace from God. Gregory was not matched for his job as
bishop but he cooperated with God's plan and tried to accept his
situation. God sometimes permits impossible situations to test and
help us surrender to his will. We need but to strive sincerely and
all will be well.
We mustn't think that the study of Theology is only an intellectual endeavor. Theology involves the head and
the heart. Whether we are in the scientific, business or artistic field we are called to use our own personal theology through the basic theological
virtues of faith, hope and charity. These are the eminent virtues. These enable and empower us to become 'doctors'. One of the requirements of
becoming a Doctor of the Church is to possess eminent virtues-that's towering virtue.
Theology is a sacred science, (church) business and
(performing) art. Listen to a quote from St Gregory Nazianzus which is taken from a Dominican brochure
(Blackfriars Repertory Theatre) for one of their apostolates that proclaims the saving power of the Gospel via the medium of theatre:
"The scope of our art is to provide the soul with wings, to rescue it from the world and give it to God, and to watch over that which is in his
image-if it abides, to take it by the hand; if it is in danger, to restore it; if it is ruined, to make Christ dwell in the heart by the Spirit;
and in a word, to deify and bestow heavenly bliss upon one who belongs to the heavenly host".
A fascinating link of St Gregory Nazianzus taken from the web site below from the ministry of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio plus much more.
Saint Gregory Nazianzen
Under the below link on both Fathers and Doctors we have Greogry's orations and letters:
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.
The Church has made St Gregory Nazianzus "The Theologian of the Universal Church, both East and West,
for his holiness, penetrating writings on the mystery of God and his profound wisdom in discerning true knowledge.
Nothing of his own personal weaknesses, character or sinfulness impeded his tremendous quest and desire to please God despite
his setbacks, disappointments and human failures. Gregory's faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ allowed God's grace
to motivate, penetrate and impart his life, message and gifts to the church and civilization. Many holy men and women have learn from St Gregory
despite tremendous opposition and many crosses. We have the same opportunity to grow in holiness. He has left us a precious legacy that he learned
from God. Through prayer God gave St Gregory Nazianzus true knowledge and charity.
Toward the end of 2004, in Rome, John Paul II
released the holy relic and gift of Gregory Nazianzus to the Eastern Orthodox Church. His aim was always for the One, Holy, Apostolic, Universal Church
to unite all people from all nations and it was for that very reason he did this generous giving of the relic as a gesture of goodwill, harmony and unity.
This noble gesture is a holy manifestation toward accord, oneness of churches and a sincere movement toward unity among all people of different
Our saint had always belonged to the East and the West of the Universal Catholic Church.
However, the West had full possession of his relic. There was some controversy about this issue and the Pope with his profound wisdom,
as St Gregory, decided to be moved by the Spirit of God in this delicate manner and return his holy relic to the Eastern Orthodox to end this controversy
and promote peace, goodwill and unity.