Pope S. Damasus I| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Damasus I
To his secretary St. Jerome (September 30), Damasus was “an incomparable person, learned in the Scriptures, a virgin doctor of the virgin Church, who loved chastity and heard its praises with pleasure.”
Damasus seldom heard such unrestrained praise. Internal political struggles, doctrinal heresies, uneasy relations with his fellow bishops and those of the Eastern Church marred the peace of his pontificate.
The son of a Roman priest, possibly of Spanish extraction, Damasus started as a deacon in his father’s church, and served as a priest in what later became the basilica of San Lorenzo in Rome. He served Pope Liberius (352-366) and followed him into exile.
When Liberius died, Damasus was elected bishop of Rome; but a minority elected and consecrated another deacon, Ursinus, as pope. The controversy between Damasus and the antipope resulted in violent battles in two basilicas, scandalizing the bishops of Italy. At the synod Damasus called on the occasion of his birthday, he asked them to approve his actions. The bishops’ reply was curt: “We assembled for a birthday, not to condemn a man unheard.”
Supporters of the antipope even managed to get Damasus accused of a grave crime—probably sexual—as late as A.D. 378. He had to clear himself before both a civil court and a Church synod.
As pope his lifestyle was simple in contrast to other ecclesiastics of Rome, and he was fierce in his denunciation of Arianism and other heresies. A misunderstanding of the Trinitarian terminology used by Rome threatened amicable relations with the Eastern Church, and Damasus was only moderately successful in dealing with that challenge.
During his pontificate Christianity was declared the official religion of the Roman state (380), and Latin became the principal liturgical language as part of the pope’s reforms. His encouragement of St. Jerome’s biblical studies led to the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Scripture which the Council of Trent (12 centuries later) declared to be “authentic in public readings, disputations, preachings.”
The history of the papacy and the Church is inextricably mixed with the personal biography of Damasus. In a troubled and pivotal period of Church history, he stands forth as a zealous defender of the faith who knew when to be progressive and when to entrench.
Damasus makes us aware of two qualities of good leadership: alertness to the promptings of the Spirit and service. His struggles are a reminder that Jesus never promised his Rock protection from hurricane winds nor his followers immunity from difficulties. His only guarantee is final victory.
"He who walking on the sea could calm the bitter waves, who gives life to the dying seeds of the earth; he who was able to loose the mortal chains of death, and after three days' darkness could bring again to the upper world the brother for his sister Martha: he, I believe, will make Damasus rise again from the dust" (epitaph Damasus wrote for himself).
Alone with God:
When you pray gather up your whole self, with your Beloved into the chamber of your heart, and there remain alone with Him, forgetting all exterior concerns; and there remain aloft with all your love and all your mind, your affections, your desires and devotion.- S. Bonaventure
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
The Lord never ceases to visit us in times of trial and to send graces into our souls...
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Six: 327-365
We enter, now, the last of the six notebooks that Saint Faustina filled with revelations from our Lord about His unfathomable and perfect Mercy. At this point, the Message of Mercy should be clear and evoking of a deep trust in the incomprehensible love of God. All that has been shared to this point reveals that God is relentless in His pursuit of you, seeking only to love you unconditionally and to draw you into His glorious life for all eternity.
The greatest obstacle to this call to holiness is sin. But it is abundantly clear that sin is no match for the Mercy of God. His Mercy dispels your sin in an instant, disposing of your past errors forever. God’s only desire is the present moment, for in this present moment He comes to you, descending from the heights of Heaven, entering into the inner core of your soul so as to form a perfect communion with you, lifting you up to share in His divine life.
This final notebook will be reflected upon as a summary of all that has been reflected upon thus far. Just like the reflections on the first notebook, the reflections for this notebook will be short and to the point. Once you finish this chapter you are invited to return to it often as a way of quickly and easily reminding yourself of the abundant Mercy of God. The Lord’s love is perfect in every way. Allow Him to speak this truth to you with clarity and conviction.
Reflection 345: Drowned in God
Do you ever soak in God? This is a rare and even non-existent experience for most people. Soaking, or drowning in God means that you become immersed so deeply in prayer that it’s as if you are lost in His presence. When this happens, the Lord fully takes you over and possesses your soul for that moment. You may not remain this way and you may soon return to your sins, but moments of pure contemplation are treasures in this life beyond anything else. It’s a way that God gives you a taste of His glory so that you are left desiring Him all the more (See Diary #1669).
Consider the question of whether or not you have ever allowed yourself to be so drawn into the presence of God that you lose track of time and space. It’s as if you were transported to the Heart of Christ and rested in His bosom. If you have never entered this depth of prayer know that it awaits you. The Lord’s love is so deep and so perfect that, when you experience but a taste, you will be coming back for more as often as you can.
Lord, draw me into Your presence. Help me to know You and Your perfect love. Help me to experience You in perfect adoration and praise. May I receive but a glimpse of Your glory and savor that delight evermore. Jesus, I trust in You.