~ Words of the Church Fathers ~
~ On the great desire of God
‘God will have all men to be saved’ (I Tim; 2:4).
God desires that all men be saved; for this the Lord Jesus descended into hell, to save those also who had lived on earth before His coming. For, if He had not descended into hell, an enormous number of righteous souls would have perished for ever. And further: if He had not descended into hell, it, the greatest abode of evil against God and the human race, would have remained undestroyed. These two reasons, therefore, woke Christ the life-Giver and sent Him down in spirit into hell: firstly, to destroy the nest of the powers of hell; and secondly, to lead forth from hell to Paradise the souls of our forefathers and the prophets and righteous men and women, who had fulfilled the ancient Law of God and had thus been pleasing to Him. Before Satan had done exulting in Christ’s humiliation and death on the Cross, Christ appeared, living and almighty, in the midst of hell, the chief abode of Satan. What unexpected and devastating tidings for Satan! For three years he had plaited a noose for Christ on earth, and in three days Christ destroyed his kingdom and led out the most precious booty in the form of a swarm of righteous souls.
Thou desirest that all men be saved, O Lord. We pray Thee: save us also, for there is neither salvation nor a Saviour apart from Thee. In Thee only do we hope, and Thee alone do we worship, Thee and the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
~ On Thomas’s proof by experience
My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28).
When the Apostle Thomas touched the wounds of the Lord Jesus, he cried: ‘My Lord and my God!’
When Mary Magdalene heard the voice of the Risen One in the garden, she exclaimed in her soul: ‘My Lord and my God!’
When Saul saw the light and heard the words of the Risen One, he acknowledged: ‘My Lord and my God!’
When the pagans beheld how innumerable martyrs endured their sufferings with joy, and asked them who was this Christ, they each answered: ‘My Lord and my God’.