St Apollinaris

Bishop of Hierapolis (in modern day Turkey), (entered heaven in 179)

Dear Polly,

You baffle me.  How is  it that you send me such frequent and eloquent descriptions of your campus culture’s unjust treatment of Catholic faith and morality, but you don’t come to their defense?  It would be as easy as a letter-to-the-editor every week, or an article in the campus paper – you could whip up such literary salvos in no time. Why don’t you? Is it just laziness?  You were never lazy. Is it fear of reprisal? Fear that you would be tagged “conservative” or “close-minded” or “disruptive” or “ignorant”? Fear that you might lose an argument or two?  You might. But is that any reason to shy away from the fight? For every person who ridicules or disagrees with you, there will be two others bolstered in their faith by your courage. Come now, share the wealth!  St Apollinaris did (happy saint’s day, by the way). Of course, we don’t have any of his writings, but such luminaries as Eusebius, St Jerome, Photius, and Theodoret had them, and they praised them exceedingly.

It seems that Apollinaris was a thoroughly educated Hellenist, and he wrote amply in defense of the true faith, which was being buffeted by heresies of all types even in the second century.  In these defenses, he traced the origin of each heresy to a particular philosophical school or trend, exposing it at its roots, and giving Christians solid rational grounds for intellectual discussion.  At one point, he even wrote an explanation of the Christian faith to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who had recently been rescued by the prayers of Christians in his final battle against the Quadi (Apollinaris was quick to point this out).  In my humble, avuncular opinion, you would do well to take up without delay a similar apostolate. The devil would love to keep you from doing so by stirring up all kinds of fears and excuses – don’t give him the pleasure. God will take the few loaves and fish you give him and multiply them exceedingly.

Sincerely, Uncle Eddy

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