Monday, May 11, 2009

St. Gregory of Nazianzus

I just finished a massive biography of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. He was one of the three whom we’ve come to call the Cappadocian Fathers and he, according too the author, is most responsible for the church’s formulation of the Trinity. It took several months to read with a little chunk here and a page or two there, but I’m glad I did. I think the most valuable insight gleaned (besides marking the pages on great Trinitarian theology) was the universal frailty of humanity. Gregory was brilliant and a fantastic communicator, but he struggled with insecurities and pettiness that limited his influence and wore on people. He spent a lot of time defending his own honor and would not hesitate to use his pen to skewer his opponents. Despite his imperfections, however, God used him in profound ways. Ironically, a man who spent many of his last days defending himself never saw his work respected to the degree that it has formed our theology even today. He died long before the Trinitarian controversies were laid to rest, but his work went on to give voice to our faith today. May all of us trust God to do His work in our lives in His time, not necessarily our own.

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