Apr 01st - Melito of Sardis
God wants us to be great saints, that is, residing forever with in Him in Heaven. The events of our lives, great and small, direct our steps. Without free will, we are mere puppets of salvation; with it, we can become the puppets of sin. God constantly intervenes in our lives to bring us to him, like the father with the prodigal son.
I also want to mention Mary of Egypt, whose feast is also today, for this same reason. Rich and spoiled, she thought her life and her body were her own, to do with as she pleased until she was forced by God to see otherwise. God often shows us up to be the fools that we are.
As for Melito, we know little of his life and ministry, other than he the fact that he was the Bishop of Sardis, Lydia (part of modern Turkey). What we do know for sure is that he wrote several pieces including an Apology addressed to emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was a Stoic and deep thinker himself. Melito was adamant that God is above our personal desires and vanities and that the two should never be confused. God is God and we are His creation; nothing we create is God. We belong to Him; those who think otherwise are fooling themselves.
Additionally I offer up prayers to Tewdrig ap Teithfallt, just because I love Welsh names.
But you, a person of liberal mind, and familiar with the truth, if you will properly consider these matters, think of your own self; though they should clothe you in the garb of a woman [that is, say that you as emperor are god, or that your statue should be worshiped], remember that you are a man. Believe in Him who in reality is God, and to Him lay open your mind and to Him commit your soul. He is able to give you immortal life forever, for everything is possible to Him. Let all other things be esteemed by you just as they are – images as images, and sculptures as sculptures; let not that which is human made be put by you in the place of Him who is not made, but let Him, the ever-living God, be constantly present to your mind. For your mind itself is His likeness: for it too is invisible and impalpable, and not to be represented by any form, yet by its will is the whole body moved. Know, therefore, that if you constantly serve Him who is immovable, He who exists for ever, so you also, when you have put off this body which is visible and corruptible, shall stand before Him forever, endowed with life and knowledge and your works shall be to your wealth, inexhaustible and unfailing possessions. And know that the chief of your good works is this: that you know God and serve Him. Know, too, that He asks not anything of you: He needs nothing [unlike the gods/emperor who demands sacrifices]. Who is this God? He who is Himself truth, and His word truth. And what is truth? That which is not fashioned, nor made, nor represented by art: that is, which has never been brought into existence, and is on that account called truth. If, therefore, a man worship something that is made with hands, it is not the truth that he worships nor the word of truth.
– From a discourse before Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Caesar
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