May 2 is the Feast of Saint Athanasius, whose defense of the orthodox view of the Trinity and the nature of Christ in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds inspired the phrase Athanasius contra mundum ("Athanasius against the world"). For his theological acumen and his ability to explain the orthodox view to the faithful, Saint Athanasius is regarded as one of the four original Eastern doctors of the Church.
As we look at the state of Christianity in the world today, we see Arianism, the heresy Athanasius combated at the Council of Nicaea, rearing its ugly head everywhere. Sometimes it's explicit, as, for instance, among the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons; but much more disturbing is a practical Arianism found among the people in the pews (and even in the pulpits) of many mainline Protestant and even Catholic churches. Christ is regarded as a man to be emulated, rather than as the incarnate Son of God; and the failure to follow Him thus becomes an ethical problem, not a question of our salvation.
In light of such a world, Saint Athanasius is surely busy interceding for us before the throne of God. And as we prepare to celebrate his feast, I have chosen a Novena to Saint Athanasius as our novena of the week. Begin praying it on April 23 to complete it on the eve of his feast.