The words of holy people are precious to us; they reveal the experience of a rich inner life and express the depth and purity of love. We should also quote them with love for our neighbor. However, there are moments when the words of the saints are used to satisfy our own pride, to condemn others. One modern Orthodox priest described the situation as follows: "We generally adopt from the saints what is convenient for us, what we like."
In a similar way, the words of Bishop Cyprian of Carthage are sometimes quoted: "He who does not have the Church as his mother, does not have God as his father." I think many have heard this phrase. Some parishioners use it to condemn those who do not attend church or participate in the sacraments. And they come to the conclusion: "God is no longer your Father." But the authentic words of St. Cyprian, spoken with love for the person and great caution in wording, are: "He cannot have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his Mother." This statement of the bishop can be found in his book entitled "On the Unity of the Church."
Look at how the meaning of words changes when they are filled with love! It turns out that the Church is a mother to everyone, and the Lord is a father to each one. Only a person can voluntarily refuse the maternal embrace of the Church and the fatherly blood of God. But not the other way around!When we read and speak the words of St. Cyprian of Carthage with a loving heart, we can understand and feel their profound meaning and convey it correctly to others.