Thursday, 7 August 2014

True Miracle Worker on the Third Century

St. Gregory Wonder Worker
St. Gregory 
which means 
"Wonder Worker"

Feastday: November 17

Patron Saint against earthquakes, desperate causes, floods, forgotten causes, impossible causes, lost causes

Birth: 213

Death: 270

Taken from Catholic online  

I, the writer of this blog, must say I did not know anything about this great saint until I read his name in the book "Uniformity with God's Will & the Practice of the Love of Jesus" in which it states, "...So even should a person have faith strong enough to remove mountains, like St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, but had not love, it would profit him nothing..."

I was curious to know more about this Wonder Worker, so of course I 'googled' his name.  The following are excerpts from what I found that I wanted to share.  Please read the full accounts on all the sites for the full impact which is St. Gregory Thaumaturgus.  He truly was a great saint!  I plan to pray to him often.

“Originally he was known as Theodore (the gift of God), not an exclusively Christian name. Moreover, his family was pagan, and he was unacquainted with the Christian religion till after the death of his father, at which time he was fourteen years old. 

He had a brother Athenodorus, and, on the advice of one of their tutors, the young men were anxious to study law at the law-school of Beirut, then one of the four of five famous schools in the Hellenic world. 

St. Origin
At this time, also, their brother-in-law was appointed assessor to the Roman Governor of Palestine; the youths had therefore an occasion to act as an escort to their sister as far as Caesarea in Palestine. On arrival in that town they learned that the celebrated scholar Origen, head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, resided there. 

Curiosity led them to hear and converse with the master, and his irresistible charm did the rest. Soon both youths forgot all about Beirut and Roman law, and gave themselves up to the great Christian teacher, who gradually won them over to Christianity. 

In his panegyric on Origen, Gregory describes the method employed by that master to win the confidence and esteem of those he wished to convert; how he mingled a persuasive candour with outbursts of temper and theological argument put cleverly at once and unexpectedly. Persuasive skill rather than bare reasoning, and evident sincerity and an ardent conviction were the means Origen used to make converts. 

Gregory took up at first the study of philosophy; theology was afterwards added, but his mind remained always inclined to philosophical study, so much so indeed that in his youth he cherished strongly the hope of demonstrating that the Christian religion was the only true and good philosophy. For seven years he underwent the mental and moral discipline of Origen (231 to 238 or 239).  In 238 or 239 the two brothers returned to their native Pontus...

St. Gregory and brother meeting St. Origin
Gregory returned to Pontus with the intention of practising law. His plan, however, was again laid aside, for he was soon consecrated bishop of his native Caesarea by Phoedimus, Bishop of Amasea and Metropolitan of Pontus….  When Gregory was consecrated he was forty years old, and he ruled his diocese for thirty years. Although we know nothing definite as to his methods, we cannot doubt that he must have shown much zeal in increasing the little flock with which he began his episcopal administration. From an ancient source we learn a fact that is at once a curious coincidence, and throws light on his missionary zeal; whereas he began with only seventeen Christians, at his death there remained but seventeen pagans in the whole town of Caesarea. The many miracles which won for his the title of Thaumaturgus were doubtless performed during these years…”

Excerpts taken from New Advent  Catholic Encyclopedia


“According to Saint Basil, Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (the Wonderworker) is comparable to Moses, the prophets and the apostles.
Indeed, his works were many. He moved a huge boulder that was in his way preventing the building of a church. He dried out a pond that was a cause of discord between two brothers. In order to stop the River Lycus from its frequent and damaging floods, Gregory planted his staff at a safe point near the river bank. He then prayed that the river would never rise past the staff. The staff took root, grew into a large tree, and the river never flooded past it again. He drove out the demons from idols and people … and a great many more miracles....

For his doctrine and holiness, and also for the number and brilliance of the extraordinary miracles that he performed, he was called the “Wonderworker.” …  At the time of his death, he asked how many infidels were left in his diocese of New Caesarea and was told there were only seventeen. Giving thanks, he said: 'This is the same number of believers in the beginning of my episcopate.'

St. Gregory the Wonder Worker
He wrote several works which, along with his miracles, illuminated the faithful of the Church of God. He also had the spirit of prophecy, and foretold the future. He died between 270 and 275…
Here is a man who seems to have been chosen to show that the great gift of miracles of the Old Testament as well as that of the early Church, are still maintained in the third century in which he lived. What is interesting about his miracles is that none of them can be “explained” by experts as miracles caused by suggestion or illusion..."

"What is the great lesson of these miracles? It is that if God heeds the request of a saint for these trifles, we also can be heeded when we ask for much more important things. 

He who can do much, can also do less. In this case, it is a more extraordinary miracle when and because it is worked over a trifle than when worked for something more important.

For the needs of our spiritual life, how many boulders need to be removed, how many ponds need to be dried, how many floods that overspill need to be remedied? How confidently we must therefore turn to Our Lady, asking her for these favors!"

Excerpt taken from an extremely wonderful writing by PLINIO CORREA DE OLIVEIRA  I highly recommend it.

Blessed Virgin Mary

Excerpts taken from the writings of PLINIO CORREA DE OLIVEIRA

“…Through his prayer, he moved a mountain that prevented the construction of a church. He dried a lake that was the cause of dissension between two brothers. He stopped the flooding of the Icus River that was devastating the fields by planting his staff along the border of the river. His staff took root, and was transformed into a great tree beyond whose limits the water would not pass.
Many times he expelled devils from the idols and the bodies of possessed persons. These are some of the many miracles he worked, which caused multitudes to enter the Catholic Faith. He also had the spirit of the Prophets, foretelling many future events….”