Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Our catechetical journey through the early Church brings us to the remarkable figure of Origen of Alexandria. This great teacher of the faith was highly esteemed by his students not only for his theological brilliance, but also for his exemplary moral conduct. His father, Leonides, was martyred during the reign of Septimius Severus. Though Origen himself always had a deep yearning to die a martyr’s death, he decided that the best way to honour his father and glorify Christ was by living a good and upright life. Later, under the emperor Decius, he was arrested and tortured for his faith, dying a few years later. Origen is best known for his unique contribution to theology: an "irreversible turn" which grounded theology in Scripture. He emphasized an allegorical and spiritual reading of the word of God, and demonstrated how the three levels of meaning—the literal, the moral, and the spiritual—progressively lead us to a deeper prayer life and closer relationship with God. Origen teaches us that when we meditate on God’s word and conform our lives to it, we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us to the fullness of truth. May we follow Origen’s example by praying with scripture, always listening attentively to God’s word.