Why Read the Fathers of the Church?

If the ordinary reader must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old.
-C.S. Lewis (20th cen.)

I read Macarius and sang.
-John Wesley (18th cen.)

Sell everything and buy Mark the Monk.
– Anonymous (14th cen.)

The writings of the holy Fathers: whoever would decide to frequent them wisely and use them with vigilance would soon fill his mind with divine light.
– Cyril of Alexandria (5th cen.)

Unknown to me, it was you who led me to Ambrose, so that I might knowingly be led by him to you.
– Augustine of Hippo (4th cen.)

Ambrose of Milan preached the Gospel and led Augustine to God. The holy Fathers taught the Faith and filled Cyril’s mind with light. Mark the Monk pursued the Lord and became a treasure hidden in a field. Macarius the Great was filled with the Spirit and made John Wesley sing. The writings of the Fathers have weathered the test of time and held pride of place with C.S. Lewis.

Who are the Fathers of the Church? They are the saints who lived after the Apostles and before the Middle-Ages, who dwelt in places as far-flung as, what are now, modern-day England, France, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India, and China.

Why read the Fathers? Read the Fathers because they are closer to the Apostles than any other Christians.  Read them because they read the Scriptures more like the Apostles than anyone else you know. Read them because after doing so, the Scriptures will make more sense and you will see things that you never saw before.

Why read the Fathers? Read the Fathers because their writings have endured many centuries and crossed many cultures and continue to call people to the love of Jesus Christ.  Read them because Christians throughout the ages have read them.

Thomas Merton read the Fathers. C.S. Lewis read the Fathers. Karl Barth read the Fathers. Fyodor Dostoevsky read the Fathers. John Wesley read the Fathers. John Calvin read the Fathers. Martin Luther read the Fathers. Thomas Aquinas read the Fathers.

Why read the Fathers? Because in reading the Fathers, you will be called to grow in total conversion, in the ever deepening transformation of your mind, heart, soul, and body – that you might take every thought captive to Christ, that the whole world might be conformed to Him.