God our Father, Saint Gregory, your bishop, praised you by the splendor of his life and teaching. In your kindness, as we forget what is past and reach out to what is before us, help us to attain that vocation to which we are called.
Saint Gregory Nyssa converted to Christianity in his early twenties and at the urging of his brother, Saint Basil, he was ordained bishop of Nyssa. He is the author of many theological works but he’s also known to be a mystic and a humanist. His final work, the Life of Moses, is mystical reflection on the life of Moses, Israel’s great leader and prophet.
Saint Gregory understood his life –indeed all of life– as unending progress of discovering what God is doing in us and how sin is refusal to keep on growing in this discovery, for “the one thing truly worthwhile is becoming God’s friend.”
Some of Saint Gregory’s famous sayings are the following:
“So we say to God: Give us bread. Not delicacies or riches, nor magnificent purple robes, golden ornaments, and precious stones, or silver dishes. Nor do we ask Him for landed estates, or military commands, or political leadership. We pray neither for herds of horses and oxen or other cattle in great numbers, nor for a host of slaves. We do not say, give us a prominent position in assemblies or monuments and statues raised to us, nor silken robes and musicians at meals, nor any other thing by which the soul is estranged from the thought of God and higher things; no–but only bread! . . .
“But you go on business to the Indies and venture out upon strange seas; you go on a voyage every year only to bring back flavourings for your food, without realizing that . . . [it] is above all a good conscience which makes the bread tasty because it is eaten in justice. . .
“‘Give Thou bread’–that is to say, let me have food through just labor. For, if God is justice, anyone who procures food for themselves through covetousness cannot have his bread from God. You are the master of your prayer if your abundance does not come from another’s property and is not the result of somebody else’s tears; if no one is hungry or distressed because you are fully satisfied. For the bread of God is, above all, the fruit of justice.”
For more about Saint Gregory, a Cappadocian, read this article.