Category Archives: Saints

Saint Basil the Great & Saint Gregory Nazianzian


Sts Basil, John Gregory.jpg

Saint Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea was one of the
most distinguished Doctors of the Church. He lived c. 329 to January 1, 379.
Theologians place Saint Basil after Saint Athanasius as a defender of the
Church against the heresies of the fourth century (the most destructive of the
faith was the Arian heresy).

Saint
Gregory of Nazianzus
(c. 325-389) was also from Cappadocia and a friend of Basil, followed
the monastic way of life for some years. Eventually the Church called Nazianzus to be a priest and later bishop of Constantinople (in 381). Saint
Gregory was given the title “The Theologian” because of his learning
and oratory.

Many icons of Saints Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil include
Nazianzus’ brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa. The group is known as “The
Three Cappadocians.” Some make the claim that Basil outshines Nazianzus and
Nyssa in practical genius and actual achievement. BTW, the icon presented here does not include Nyssan but Saint John Chrysostom.

The liturgical prayer for today’s memorial may be found here.

Saint Basil the Great writes on life’s journey:

We read in the Book of
Psalms: ‘Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor
follows in the way of sinners.’ Life has been called a ‘way’ because everything
that has been created is on the way to its end. When people are on a sea
voyage, they can sleep while they are being transported without any effort of
their own to their port of call. The ship brings them closer to their goal
without their even knowing it. So we can be transported nearer to the end of
our life without our noticing it, as time flows by unceasingly. Time passes
while you are asleep. While you are awake time passes although you may not notice.

All
of us have a race to run towards our appointed end. So we are all ‘on the way’.
This is how you should think of the ‘way’. You are a traveller in this life.
Everything goes past you and is left behind. You notice a flower on the way, or
some grass, or a stream, or something worth looking at. You enjoy it for a
moment, then pass on. Maybe you come on stones or rocks or crags or cliffs or
fences, or perhaps you meet wild beasts or reptiles or thorn bushes or some
other obstacles. You suffer briefly then escape. That is what life is like.

Pleasures
do not last but pain is not permanent either.

The ‘way’ does not belong to you
nor is the present under your control. But as step succeeds step, enjoy each
moment as it comes and then continue on your ‘way’.

Commentary
on Psalm 1, 4
(PG 29, 220)

Pope Saint Sylvester I

Pope Sylvester and the dragon.jpg

The liturgical prayer for Saint Sylvester may be found here.
The Church’s Liturgy commemorates the death of Pope Saint Sylvester, a pope we rarely think about other than on the day of his memorial. Many of the hagiographical materials available seem to be more apocryphal narratives surrounding the saintly pope than factual occurrences: for example, the Sylvester’s slaying a dragon (note the image above) and raising the dragon’s victims

to life; or the curing of Constantine of leprosy; and the Donation of Constantine. It is recorded that Pope Sylvester baptized Constantine. The historical evidence for this pontificate for this era is sorely lacking for such an important time in Church history. What is known of Sylvester is given to us through the Vita beati Sylvestri.

The lack of historical record, however, does not mean the events of history did not happen, it just means we don’t have reliable sources. However, given that the narratives are recorded in ecclesiastical memory and the liturgical patrimony of the Church, means that their was a historical man who followed Christ, ordained priest and elected Pope, and worked for the good of the Christian faith given in Tradition. Post-modern people often place too much emphasis on the manuscript tradition (what is absolutely verifiable) and too little weight on hagiographical materials, including homilies and pious legends, to give  us a sense of Church history.

The son of Rufinus and Justa, Sylvester was ordained a priest by Pope Marcellinus and elected bishop of Rome in AD 314, after the death of Pope Saint Miltiades.

During his twenty-one year pontificate, in addition to the various churches honoring the martyrs, he oversaw with Constantine and Helena as patrons, the construction of three of the greatest

Roman churches: Saint John Lateran, Holy Cross of Jerusalem, and the first Saint Peter’s. Sylvester’s pontificate also saw the development of the Roman Liturgy, the foundation of a school of singers for the Liturgy and the publication of the first Martyrology. Further, Sylvester was instrumental in stemming the spread of Arianism throughout the Western church, as well as the promulgation of orthodox christology (homousion of the Son) in the wake of Nicea I (325).

Saint Thomas Becket

St Thomas Becket3.jpg

Our prayer today is one asking the Lord for the grace being a courageous witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The liturgical prayer (used at Mass) is found here.

Read Butler’s life of Becket and/or the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the martyred archbishop.

I’m multi-media here at Communio blog, so I found a montage of scenes from the movie “Becket” (1964) with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole creatively put together. The acting is superb, dress is stunning and the drama insightful.
You like to read the piece on transferral of Becket’s relics here.

Saint Stephen

St Stephen ACarracci.jpg

Stephen saw the heavens opened; he saw and entered; blessed is the man for whom the heavens were opened.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, grant us to imitate what we revere, so that we may learn to love also our enemies; for we celebrate the birth to immortality of him who interceded even for his persecutors with Thy So our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Stephen is known as a deacon and the Protomartyr (the first among all martyrs who witness to Christ). Chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles give us an understanding of Stephen. Saint Stephen is the patron of deacons, permanent and transitional, bricklayers and of Hungary.

A news item from the Pope on Saint Stephen and those those suffer for their faith.

Pope says John Paul lived a life of heroic virtue & makes others saints

JP the Pilgrim.jpgPope Benedict recognized John Paul II as living a life of heroic virtue upon the recommendation of the Congregation for Saints. There are various steps the Church takes when she investigates someone for possible canonization. This is the second of four of the steps, next being “beatification.” The Church will now refer to John Paul as the “Venerable Servant of God …” but there is no public ceremonial for bestowing this title as there is when a person is beatified or canonized.

Also, in an extraordinary move, the Pope recognized the the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII

Mary Mackillop.jpg

The Holy Father also acknowledged that God has made a new saint for the Church: Blessed Mary Mackillop. Blessed Mary was an Australian sister, foundress and educator born in 1842 and died in 1909. In the face of great hardship encountered as the result of a nasty bishop, she was excommunicated for about year but Mother Mary of the Cross was virtuous  throughout the ordeal. The bishop, an alcoholic received Mother Mary back into full communion on his deathbed. John Paul beatified Mother Mary in 1995 and she has wide acclaim. She is Australia’s first saint.
A canonized saint in the Catholic Church is a declaration of moral certitude and therefore an infallible statement of the Church, that that person does enjoy, as far as it’s humanly possible to say, beatitude with the Blessed Trinity. Hence, a saint is “made.”
A Wiki article on Mary Mackillop is found here.
Also, made a saint is Blessed Andre Bessett!!!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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