We celebrate St. Gregory of Nyssa's feast today. His younger brother was St. Basil The Great. Both St. Gregory and St. Basil defended the faith against the attacks and heresies of the Arians. Arians believe that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from and inferior to—God the Father.
From News Advent: In a letter to Eustathius St. Gregory of Nyssa stated ". . . O especially at this time in this indescribable malice of our enemies, which you skilfully dispersed when it swept like some evil flood over our life, dispelling this violent inflammation of our heart by your fomentation of soothing words. I thought it right, indeed, in view of the continuous and varied effort of our enemies against us, to keep silence, and to receive their attack quietly, rather than to speak against men armed with falsehood, that most mischievous weapon, which sometimes drives its point even through truth. But you did well in urging me not to betray the truth, but to refute the slanderers, lest, by a success of falsehood against truth, many might be injured.
"I may say that those who conceived this causeless hatred for us seemed to be acting very much on the principle of Æsop's fable. For just as he makes his wolf bring some charges against the lamb (feeling ashamed, I suppose, of seeming to destroy, without just pretext, one who had done him no hurt), and then, when the lamb easily swept away all the slanderous charges brought against him, makes the wolf by no means slacken his attack, but carry the day with his teeth when he is vanquished by justice; so those who were as keen for hatred against us as if it were something good (feeling perhaps some shame of seeming to hate without cause), make up charges and complaints against us, while they do not abide consistently by any of the things they say, but allege, now that one thing, after a little while that another, and then again that something else is the cause of their hostility to us. Their malice does not take a stand on any ground, but when they are dislodged from one charge they cling to another, and from that again they seize upon a third, and if all their charges are refuted they do not give up their hate. They charge us with preaching three Gods, and din into the ears of the multitude this slander, which they never rest from maintaining persuasively. Then truth fights on our side, for we show both publicly to all men, and privately to those who converse with us, that we anathematize any man who says that there are three Gods, and hold him to be not even a Christian. Let the inspired Scripture, then, be our umpire, and the vote of truth will surely be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.
"What, then, is our doctrine? The Lord, in delivering the saving Faith to those who become disciples of the word, joins with the Father and the Son the Holy Spirit also; and we affirm that the union of that which has once been joined is continual; for it is not joined in one thing, and separated in others. But the power of the Spirit, being included with the Father and the Son in the life-giving power, by which our nature is transferred from the corruptible life to immortality, and in many other cases also, as in the conception of
Good,and "Holy," and
Mighty,and in fact everywhere, has an inseparable association with them in all the attributes ascribed in a sense of special excellence. And so we consider that it is right to think that that which is joined to the Father and the Son in such sublime and exalted conceptions is not separated from them in any. For we do not know of any differences by way of superiority and inferiority in attributes which express our conceptions of the Divine nature, so that we should suppose it an act of piety (while allowing to the Spirit community in the inferior attributes) to judge Him unworthy of those more exalted. For all the Divine attributes, whether named or conceived, are of like rank one with another, in that they are not distinguishable in respect of the signification of their subject. For the appellation of
the Gooddoes not lead our minds to one subject, and that of
the Righteousto another, but the thing to which all the attributes point is one; and, if you speak of God, you signify the same Whom you understood by the other attributes."
I think we can take a lesson from St. Gregory of Nyssa for Today's times. As Christianity is attacked by those who want to tear down Christ, Christian values, and the Truth we must not be silent but in fact we must stand up for Truth, our Faith, and the Church. We need to fight and stand up against our enemies. We need to continue to stand up for Jesus and Christian principles. It is very important that we defend the Church against both heresies and scandals.