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Fr. John and I were recently visiting our families in New Brunswick for a few weeks so I haven’t blogged lately. Here is a picture of my immediate family (my mum, sister-in-law, brother, father, husband, myself and my sister) at church in NB and a quotation I really love. St. Ignatius’ words help me feel less home-sick and more at peace with God’s will.

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‘Whether I desire it or not, death will come. Other situations may arise that separate me from those whom I consider my own, and they will no longer be mine. They were never mine in actual fact. There was some sort of relation between us, and I, being fooled by this relation, called and considered them my own. But if they were truly mine, they would forever remain in my possession. The creature belongs only to the Creator. He is their God and Lord. My Lord, to you I give Your own. 

-St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

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constantin-fresca-protaton-s-14-manuil-panselinos-inChrist is risen!

Today is the feast of St. Constantine the Great. St. Constantine is the kind of saint whose name all too often provokes people to say critical things about him and the history surrounding some of the events that transpired in his lifetime.

In the past I have been asked what “response” I would give to his detractors. I’ve just said I would say something about the example of the Prophet and King David who both fell and repented. But truth be told, St. Constantine needs no defense. There may or may not be all sorts of explanations we could give to explain away this or that detail, event, decision, etc., in his life or person. However, I stand by the fact that, “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself judged by no one” (1 Corn. 2:15).

There are two things I think are important for us to keep in mind: St. Constantine did not receive baptism until eight days before his blessed repose, and, it does not benefit our soul to try and appeal to modern man’s sensibility (or lack thereof) in order to offer a defense for the Christian Emperor. Our time, energy, and conviction are better spent trying to emulate all the ways in which he was a noble ruler and a firm Christian believer.

St. Constantine holds the title “Equal to the Apostles” as well as “the Great” but he could have just as easily been given the title “Peacemaker”. His whole reign was focused on unifying both the Empire and the Church. He is an incredible inspiration. He lived a life committed to  Christ even though he was unbaptized; he worked diligently to establish the Christian faith throughout the Empire. His writings are very illuminating, his words very persuasive, and his attention to detail as a conscientious Christian emperor is very impressive. As an example I will offer the following: the historian Eusebius says “Constantine witnessing the excesses of battle and bloodlust, was unwilling to have any of his enemies slain unnecessarily. In order to insure their safety, Constantine put a bounty of gold upon the head of every enemy solider spared.” (Great Synaxarion, May 21, p. 1032). This is simply one of countless examples of how he diligently sought out every opportunity to fulfill the spiritual law. As a result we have his awesome example as an inheritance.

So, I wrote this post to say St. Constantine needs no defense but I sort of tried to give him one and have failed miserably. He is so much greater than I can express with my fumbling words. At the end of the day if by bearing his name I bring even one ounce of the honour he brought to the name ‘Christian’ I will consider myself blessed.

Through the prayers of St. Constantine the Great, Equal to the Apostles, the first Christian Emperor, the “Peacemaker”, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me!

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