- Tuesday, 04 January 2011 13:50
But we lack
courage to keep a continual watch over nature, and therefore, year after year,
with our thousand graces, multiplied resolutions, and fair promises, we run
around in a circle of misery and imperfections. After a long time in the
service of God, we come nearly to the point from whence we set out, and perhaps
with even less ardor for penance and mortification than when we began our
consecration to him.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Divine Office, Office of
There are very few American women who have had an impact on civil and religious society because today’s saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, with the work of education and hospitals and other institutions of culture that her order, the Sisters of Charity, did for all of us.
Ask Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede for us right now to help us to make Jesus known through acts of charity and mercy.
- Friday, 31 December 2010 10:28
The feast day of Saint Sylvester, located so close to the Christmas liturgical cycle was an early decision of the Fathers of the Church, but it has no relation to the Mystery of the Incarnation. Today’s feast Saint Sylveser, according to Pius Parsch is among the oldest in the Church’s liturgical life because his memory was among the first to receive public recognition by the laity due to his exemplary holiness and concern for the welfare of the faithful, especially the poor. He’s considered to be a confessor of the faith but also acknowledged as a martyr. Sylvester’s feast day was for a long time a holy day of obligation.
Sylvester was elected bishop of Rome in AD 314. He succeeded Saint Miltiades who was pope for 2 years (July 2, 311 – 10 January 314) and was succeed by Saint Mark who only served for 263 days. One of the first things he did as pope was to teach the virtue of peace and to live by example.
Notable about Pope Sylvester was that he lived in Rome as its bishop when the Council of Nicea I was held; recall that the Council of Nicea called to order not by the pope by the emperor, who by the way was a friend of Sylvester’s. During his papacy the great churches of St John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, St Paul’s, St Lawrence’s and the first St Peter’s were built, among others.
Several things are attributed to Sylvester:
- taught the orthodox Catholic faith in the face of heresy and schism
- taught that the sign of the Cross was given to him by the Lord
- cared for the poor and expected the clergy to do the same
- cared for those in the Order of Virgins and Widows
- determined that bishops had the exclusive right to consecrate chrism
- instructed priests, when baptizing, also were to anoint with chrism
- determined that deacons were to wear the dalmatic with a linen maniple
- determined that bread was to be consecrated as Eucharist only a linen corporal
- determined those ordained should be stable in that order before taking a higher order
- instructed the laity should not sue the clergy
- instructed the clergy should not sue another in civil court
- called the 1st and 7th days of the week the “Lord’s Day” and the “Sabbath”
- among the first use the word “feria” (a free day) for weekdays of the liturgical calendar without a commemoration.
Some of these things perdure today.
When Pope Sylvester died in AD 335 he served the Church as bishop of Rome for 21 years, 11 months, 1 day. He was first lair to rest in the catacomb of Saint Priscilla and later moved to the church of Saint Symmachus.
- Wednesday, 29 December 2010 06:20
Today is the feast of King David, the revered Old Testament king and prophet. The Orthodox Church remembers King David on December 26th. The Latin Church, however, does not typically commemorate David as a saint on the universal calendar but he is listed in the Roman Martyrology (2005). It is the Eastern Church that recalls and commemorates more seriously King David in the Liturgy than the Latin Liturgy does. In any event, the Roman Martyrology says:
Commemoratio sancti David, regis et prophetae, qu, filius Iesse Bethlehemitae, gratiam invenit ante Deum et oleo sancto a Samuele propheta unctus est, ut populum Israel regeret; in civitatem Ierusalem Arcam foederis Domini transtulit ac Dominus ipse mox ei iuravit semen eius in aeternum mansurum esse, eo quod ex ipso Iesus Christus secundum carnem nasciturus esset
The commemoration of Holy David, king and prophet, who, the son of Jesus of Bethlehem, found favor before God was anointed with holy oil by the prophet Samuel, so that he might rule the people of Israel; he brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant into the city of Jerusalem and the Lord vowed to him that his seed would endure forever; thus from it Jesus should be born according to the flesh.
We should recall what the Catechism
says, “the shepherd who prays for his people and prays in their name” (2579), pointing to the figure of David at an OT figure of Jesus.
- Monday, 27 December 2010 07:51
This is John who reclined on the Lord’s breast at the Supper. O blessed Apostle, to whom were revealed heavenly secrets! (Magnificat antiphon)
The Roman Martyrology speaks of John in this way: “Sixty-eight years after the passion and death of His Lord, he died at a ripe old age. He was buried near Ephesus.” He was the lone of the 12 Apostles to die of natural causes, though he did suffer for Christ.
Perhaps no other of the Twelve than John has anyone been so close, so well-attuned to the Lord’s life, love and mission. To John was given the responsibility to mind Mary, the Mother of Jesus and thus to guide the Church in her in abiding in the Lord. It is not lost on us that the symbol of Saint John the Evangelist is the eagle who scales the heights and keenly aware of all things. In John’s case, he so sharply looks into reality and sees with profound depth the meaning of things.
About Saint John’s self-giving sacrifice we read:
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