This past year, I used Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers as my daily devotional.  It wasn’t perfect – they still needed an editor to sort the names into alphabetical order (surprisingly enough, Dionysius should come after Cyril [p. 372]), they miss cross-referencing Clement of Alexandria (on Oct 16, Nov 8, Nov 11, and Dec 9), they explain

The anonymous sermon known as 2 Clement has sometimes been attributed to Clement of Rome, but scholars do not believe that he was its author, so in this book excerpts from it are labeled “anonymous”

and then label them Pseudo-Clement, and they missed undeserved in this quote from March 6

This is deserved glory: when the soul abandons the One it should cling to for sufficiency and becomes self-reliant.

though they got it right in the text.  Not major things – more sloppiness and the lack of proofreading.

They did include some surprisingly modern thoughts from back in the times when years had three digits.  Or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, and the thoughts aren’t so modern.  They’re still good.

There is no need to speak if we shine through our lives.  There is no need for teachers if we only demonstrate through our works.  There would be no unbelievers if we were the Christians we should be.  Everyone would convert to Christianity if we generally kept the commandments of Christ, suffered through insults, allowed others to take advantage of us, blessed when we were cursed, and did good when treated poorly.

Has this guy, John Chrysostom (May 14) been spying on us?  Or what board meetings (or hallway conversations) did Theonas hear before writing (Aug 15)

For nothing refreshes a person who is wearied by weighty cares as well as the timely cheerfulness and gentle patience of an intimate servant.  On the other hand, nothing annoys and distresses a person as much as the gloomy disposition, impatience, and grumbling of a servant.

Or how about Augustine from Oct 4:

We were made to do God’s will and not our own.  To not live as we were made to live is to live a lie.  . . .  Therefore, all sin is a lie.  All sin is committed by our desire for a good life and our fear of pain.  But the things we do for a good life are lies that make us even more miserable than ever before.

This guy has been reading the headlines this past year.  And I think Hilary of Poitiers (Oct 25) was seeing a preview of Dan Brown and his DaVinci Code:

Faith lies in simplicity, righteousness in faith, and true godliness in confession.  For God doesn’t call us to the blessed life through tiring investigations.  He doesn’t tempt us with rhetoric.  The way to eternity is plain and easy: believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess that He is the Lord.

Basil (Dec 2) cuts to the core:

None of us have been torn by lashes from the whip.  None of us have suffered from confiscation of our houses.  We haven’t been driven into exile.  We haven’t suffered imprisonment.  What great sufferings have we undergone?  Unless perhaps the fact that we haven’t suffered anything and aren’t considered worthy of Christ’s sufferings is in itself a source of pain?

Ouch!  And yet there is joy.  Rufinus, from Dec 11:

Could I doubt that He who made me from the dust of the earth can make me, a guilty person, innocent?  Could I doubt that He who made me see when I was blind, or hear when I was deaf, or walk when lame, can recover my lost innocence for me?

and

God has restored me to innocence and life.  It is the same with all other crimes.  As a result, we can’t find any contradiction between our faith and natural reason.  For forgiveness of sins isn’t given to deeds that can’t be changed once they’re done, but to the mind, which can change from bad to good.

Not shabby for a guy who’s been dead for 1600 years!

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