*Update: (Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Amy B from California.)
St. Athanasius is my absolute favorite saint. He is awesome, he is unique – he’s pretty much my BSF (Best Saint Forever). You may be asking yourself: “Self, what is so cool about St. Athanasius?” I’m glad you asked. Here are the top three reasons.
1. St. Athanasius fought for truth when others wouldn’t. He was born in 296 AD at a time where heresy was spreading throughout the Church. This heresy (started by Arius) stated that Jesus was only human, not divine. St. Athanasius understood something called homoousion, which means that Jesus Christ was, as we hear in the creed, “one in being with the Father.” St. Athanasius was so convinced Jesus was truly divine that he suffered greatly from it. He was banished from his own hometown several times and was mocked by others. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for Christ even when it made him unpopular.
2.He is relevant. Pope Benedict XVI has done a considerable amount of work regarding Christology where he says Jesus’ very identity is the fact that He was in constant communion with the Father. We can share in this divinity when we pray the Our Father. Without St. Athanasius this idea wouldn’t make very much sense. Think of it this way: If Athanasius had not spoken out against Arianism; some people might think Jesus was just “like” the Father and not of the same substance as the Father. The danger with this thought process is that if Jesus wasn’t one in being with the Father, then we could not share in his divinity.
3.He had a sense of humor.This is not a fact per se, but after reading about St. Athanasius in Scott Hahn’s essay “The Person and Prayer of Jesus,” I read everything I could find online about him. Quite a few sources noted his sardonic and unyielding sense of humor. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t consider any day a “good day” until I have genuinely laughed, but it’s always kind of cool to know that your Catholic hero liked to laugh as well.
We can remember St. Athanasius of Alexandria on his feast day, May 2nd.
- Amy B.