The Plague of St. Cyprian

St. Cyprian lived during a pandemic (which has been named for him, since he is a key historical witness).

I just discovered some of his writings about it which describe his considerations for Christians in such a time. It’s likely not nearly as bad in our time, but these are probably still good things to think about. Here’s the whole thing:

An interesting excerpt:

  1. And further, beloved brethren, what is it, what a great thing is it, how pertinent, how necessary, that pestilence and plague which seems horrible and deadly, searches out the righteousness of each one, and examines the minds of the human race, to see whether they who are in health tend the sick; whether relations affectionately love their kindred; whether masters pity their languishing servants; whether physicians do not forsake the beseeching patients; whether the fierce suppress their violence; whether the rapacious can quench the ever insatiable ardour of their raging avarice even by the fear of death; whether the haughty bend their neck; whether the wicked soften their boldness; whether, when their dear ones perish, the rich, even then bestow anything, and give, when they are to die without heirs. Even although this mortality conferred nothing else, it has done this benefit to Christians and to God’s servants that we begin gladly to desire martyrdom as we learn not to fear death. These are trainings for us, not deaths: they give the mind the glory of fortitude; by contempt of death they prepare for the crown.

Thank you very much for this thread.
I also remembered that there is the experience of the church in those ancient times when the plague several times struck and devastated Europe, and there were no precautions like modern ones.

Great words by St Cyprian. I also think that the reality of untimely death brings the thoughts of judgment and punishment closer to us.
‘He who loves God with all his heart does not fear death or punishment or judgment or hell,
because perfect love assures access to God. It is no wonder that he who still delights in sin fears death and judgment. It is good, however, that even if love does not as yet restrain you from evil, at least the fear of hell does. The man who casts aside the fear of God cannot continue long in goodness but will
quickly fall into the snares of the devil.’ - The Imitation of Christ


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