Blog Post - April 13th
Pope S. Martin I| S. Hermenegild| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Pope St. Martin, I
When Martin I became pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. The struggles that existed within the Church at that time were magnified by the close cooperation of emperor and patriarch.
A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had no human will. Twice emperors had officially favored this position, Heraclius by publishing a formula of faith and Constans II by silencing the issue of one or two wills in Christ.
Shortly after assuming the office of the papacy (which he did without first being confirmed by the emperor), Martin held a council at the Lateran in which the imperial documents were censured, and in which the patriarch of Constantinople and two of his predecessors were condemned. Constans II, in response, tried first to turn bishops and people against the pope.
Failing in this and in an attempt to kill the pope, the emperor sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople. Already in poor health, Martin offered no resistance, returned with the exarch Calliopas and was then submitted to various imprisonments, tortures and hardships. Although condemned to death and with some of the torture imposed already carried out, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas of a repentant Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill.
Martin died shortly thereafter, tortures and cruel treatment having taken their toll. He is the last of the early popes to be venerated as a martyr.
The real significance of the word martyr comes not from the dying but from the witnessing, which the word means in its derivation. People who are willing to give up everything, their most precious possessions, their very lives, put a supreme value on the cause or belief for which they sacrifice. Martyrdom, dying for the faith, is an incidental extreme to which some have had to go to manifest their belief in Christ. A living faith, a life that exemplifies Christ's teaching throughout, and that in spite of difficulties, is required of all Christians. Martin might have cut corners as a way of easing his lot, to make some accommodations with the civil rulers.
The breviary of the Orthodox Church pays tribute to Martin: “Glorious definer of the Orthodox Faith...sacred chief of divine dogmas, unstained by error...true reprover of heresy...foundation of bishops, pillar of the Orthodox faith, teacher of religion.... Thou didst adorn the divine see of Peter, and since from this divine Rock, thou didst immovably defend the Church, so now thou art glorified with him.”
Today in the Latin Calendar we celebrate the Feast Day of S. Hermengild, Martyr. A story about this Feast Day can be found by Clicking Here.
Today is the feast of St. Hermenegild, eldest son of Levigild, the Visigothic king of Spain, and his first wife, Theodosia. Levigild shared his kingdom with his sons, placing Hermenegild on the throne at Seville.
Hermenegild and his brother Recared were Arians like their parents and like their stepmother, Gosvint, but when Hermenegild married Ingondes, a Catholic, her example and the "instructions and exhortations of St. Leander, bishop of Seville" caused the Arian Hermenegild to be "received into the church by the imposition of hands, and the unction of chrism on the forehead".
Levigild was enraged by his son's conversion and "divested him of the title of king, and resolved to deprive him of his possessions, his princess, and even his life, unless he returned to his former sentiments".
Instead of returning to Arianism, Hermenegild revolted against his father, seeking support from the few Catholics in Spain, from the Roman remnants, and from Constantinople. But the revolution failed, and Levigild had him "stripped of his royal robes, loaded with chains, and conducted prisoner to the tower of Seville".
On the eve of Easter, April 13, 586, the king sent an Arian bishop to Hermenegild's cell, "offering to take him into favour, if he received the communion from the hand of that prelate, but Hermenegild rejected the proposal with indignation".
Then the king sent soldiers who "found the saint fearless and ready to receive the stroke of death, which they instantly inflicted on him, cleaving his head with an axe, whereby his brains were scattered on the floor. St. Gregory the Great attributes to the merits of this martyr, the conversion of his brother, king Recared, and of the whole kingdom of the Visigoths in Spain".
Even his father "was stung with remorse for his crime" and "on his death-bed, he recommended his son Recared to St. Leander, desiring him to instruct him in the same manner as he had done his brother Hermenegild, that is, to make him a Catholic".
Where in the past I would get frustrated, I think I am able now to be more loving. I really do not know what is going on in another person's heart, and I do not know the pain others are going through. I pray for the grace to not judge others.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
How is it that when I am with Jesus I do not remember everything I had firmly resolved to ask Him?
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook One: 11-111
This first notebook of Saint Faustina begins her private revelations given from the Heart of Jesus to her. She writes in a beautiful and simple way. Though, as mentioned in the introduction to this book, her actual words are not quoted in these reflections that follow, the messages that she received and articulated are presented.
In truth, her messages are those contained in Sacred Scripture and in the Tradition of our Church. And if you were to read through the lives and teachings of the saints, you would find the same revelations. God has always spoken to us throughout the ages. He speaks the one Message of Truth, and He reveals that Message in love. The revelations to Saint Faustina are one new way that God continues to speak and reveal Himself to us, His sons and daughters.
The reflections in this first chapter, based on the first notebook, are intentionally short and focused. They are a way for you, the reader, to slowly and carefully listen to the Heart of God spoken to this great saint. Read these reflections slowly and prayerfully. Ponder them throughout the day and allow the Lord to speak to You the message He wants to give.
Reflection 103: Knowledge of God is Beyond Words
Communion with the Trinity must be the central purpose of our lives. And though we may converse and speak words to Them, the deepest form of communication is beyond words. It’s a union, a giving of ourselves and a basking in Their Mercy. Knowing and conversing with the Trinity must take place in the depths of our souls through a language that is understood in a way that words cannot contain (See Diary #472).
Do you know God? Do you know the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Are you in daily communion with Them, speaking to Them, hearing Them? Reflect upon your knowledge of the Divine Persons of the Trinity. Each “speaks” in His own way. Each one calls to you, communing with you, loving you. Let your soul come to know the Persons of the Holy Trinity. A relationship with Them will fulfill the deepest longings of your soul.
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, please come and dwell within my soul. Help me to know You and love You in the depths of my being. I desire to be in communion with You and to hear You speak Your mysterious language of love. Most Holy Trinity, I trust in You.