Here’s an imaged conversation between two great saints.
A tall, bearded man sat under the shade of a tree to protect against the beaming noon sunlight. He had a quill and a parchment in hand. Uttering a few words while crossing himself he continued to formulate a message on half-written scroll:
“He became what we are that he might make us what he is.”
Thoughts such as this were the cause for the man’s exile (this being his third). The emperor deemed such words blasphemous and cause for discord as it ran counter to the majority of the religious leaders’ opinions at the time.
The man stopped writing because he heard a sudden whirling sound. Looking around he didn’t immediately see anything out of the ordinary.
Standing up now, he walked towards to east wall of the monastery. The ascetic monks took him in during a previous banishment, so the man got used to the normal weather patterns of this area. The whirling transformed into a whooshing sound. Like rushing of a river but with air instead of water. But still he saw nothing unusual. The sun remained high in the sky and only a few white clouds existed against the blue background.
Thinking he was dehydrated, the man went to the well, located several yards in front of the monastery’s front entrance. His lips felt parched, and beads of sweat dropped from his brow. “This probably affected my senses,” he thought. Lowering the bucket down took longer than normal because of limited rainfall recently. He heard the splash of the bucket on the water and felt it fill up. He started to pull it up when the man heard a woman’s voice.
Catherine: “Servant of the Lord make haste and come here.”
He continued to think dehydration was the culprit for these strange happenings, so the man ignored the woman’s words. Grabbing the bucket, he brought the water to his mouth when the woman exclaimed, this time louder, “Athanasius! Listen, for I bring a message of hope.”
Athanasius: Who’s there?
Catherine: I am a humble servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. He sent me to give you a message of hope.
Athanasius: Do you believe He is fully divine? It’s popular opinion nowadays to think of our Lord as a creation of the Father.
Catherine: Yes. And He is also fully human. It’s the great Mystery of the Incarnation. “God became man so that…
Athanasius: …man might become god”. You must be from God because you know about the doctrine of theosis. Why haven’t I not heard of you before?
Catherine: I come from a time different, yet not so different from yours. False teaching abounds where I come from. But what remains is hope and help. The Furnace of Divine Love tests and forms those He loves most into great witnesses for the faith.
The Paraclete sent me console you in your time of exile. Don’t give up hope. Maintain the faith. The great heresy of your time will fall. Orthodoxy will prevail.
Athanasius: How can this happen? I’ve been exiled several times by the Emperor. I have continued to spread the Gospel and am gracious for the aid of these holy monks who harbored me.
Catherine: Continue your work. I simply was sent to give your reassurance and a spark to help you keep the faith. You are a profound witness for the faith and model of orthodoxy. ““Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
[Catherine is suddenly taken up into the clouds on a fiery chariot. If Athanasius blinked he would have missed this wonderful moment.]
This holy encounter gave Athanasius the resolve to continue with his work on defending the divinity of Jesus Christ. He went on to write an important theological treatise titled On the Incarnation and the Holy Spirit worked through him as a catalyst to defeat the Arian heresy.
Centuries later a young Catherine is seen reading a book under the shade of her favorite tree. She smiles and thanks God for His goodness.