S. Hilary| S. Felix of Nola| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
We celebrate the Traditional Feast Day of the Baptism of Our Lord in the Latin Liturgical Calendar on January 13th. This is a movable Feast Day from year to year. This posting is for 2020. Please insert the proper date for future years from the Liturgical Latin Calendar. Then, the Feast Day of St. Hillary, which traditionally is on January 13th, will fall on the following day, January 14th. This posting is for 2020. Please insert the proper date for future years from the Latin Liturgical Calendar for the Feast Day of St. Hilary.
This staunch defender of the divinity of Christ was a gentle and courteous man, devoted to writing some of the greatest theology on the Trinity, and was like his Master in being labeled a “disturber of the peace.” In a very troubled period in the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship and controversy. He was bishop of Poitiers in France.
Raised a pagan, he was converted to Christianity when he met his God of nature in the Scriptures. His wife was still living when he was chosen, against his will, to be the bishop of Poitiers in France. He was soon taken up with battling what became the scourge of the fourth century, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ.
The heresy spread rapidly. St. Jerome said “The world groaned and marveled to find that it was Arian.” When Emperor Constantius ordered all the bishops of the West to sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the great defender of the faith in the East, Hilary refused and was banished from France to far off Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey). Eventually he was called the “Athanasius of the West.” While writing in exile, he was invited by some semi-Arians (hoping for reconciliation) to a council the emperor called to counteract the Council of Nicea. But Hilary predictably defended the Church, and when he sought public debate with the heretical bishop who had exiled him, the Arians, dreading the meeting and its outcome, pleaded with the emperor to send this troublemaker back home. Hilary was welcomed by his people.
Christ said his coming would bring not peace but a sword (see Matthew 10:34). The Gospels offer no support for us if we fantasize about a sunlit holiness that knows no problems. Christ did not escape at the last moment, though he did live happily ever after—after a life of controversy, problems, pain and frustration. Hilary, like all saints, simply had more of the same.
Also today in the Latin Calendar is the Feast Day of S. Felix of Nola, Confessor and Martyr. A story about this Feast Day can be found below:
Today, January 14, marks the death and martyrdom of Saint Felix of Nola (born early third century, died 255). Born in Campania, Italy, Felix joined the clergy, giving all he had to the poor, shortly following the death of his father. Working under the guidance of Bishop Maximus of Nola, both underwent persecution and torture at the hands of Roman Emperor Decius.
Shortly following the imprisonment of Bishop Maximus, Felix was taken into custody by Roman soldiers, imprisoned, scourged and tortured, and wrapped with heavy chains in his prison cell. He miraculously escaped from his cell, following visitation from an angel who instructed him to go to the aid of his ailing bishop. As the angel encouraged Felix, his chains fell off and his prison cell was opened. Felix rescued Maximus, bearing him on his back (despite weakness and small stature), and effectively hiding both men from Roman authorities until the end of Decius’ reign.
The second attempt to imprison Felix and Maximus was miraculously prevented by a spider! Upon hearing Roman soldiers approaching, Felix crawled into a small hole in the building he was staying, where it is said a spider immediately spun a web over the opening. The guards saw the spider web and ceased searching for the men, assuming that the room had been undisturbed for some time.
Felix was a humble and giving servant of the Lord. Following the death of Maximus, he was called to be the next Bishop of Nola, but refused, indicating that one of his more experienced brothers (ordained only seven days prior to Felix) was more deserving. He refused to reclaim his possessions and land seized during the persecution, instead renting a meager plot, tilling it by hand, and sharing his goods with the poorest around him. It is said that whatever Felix possessed, he gave away to those in need, oftentimes to his own detriment. He died in 255, and is considered a Church martyr due to the torture, imprisonment, persecution, and suffering he endured for his faith. Buried in Nola, numerous miracles have been reported at his tomb.
Felix received a clear call to action from the angel in his prison cell, just as the Blessed Virgin received the Archangel Gabriel’s message of her extraordinary role in the Incarnation of Jesus. Felix heard the call, and risked his life and unimaginable suffering to answer it. While the messages we receive from the Lord are not always heralded by angels, we still need to listen for them—and perhaps listen all the more closely. These are the quiet urgings of our hearts, which bring us closer to our God. How often are we too busy and too wrapped up in our wants and needless anxieties to hear the call of God? Might slowing down and creating some silence in our lives enable a deeper communion with Christ? Today, we pray for that silence—the silence in which we hear and understand what the Lord wishes for us, and the courage to stand up and put the call into action!
Imagine how puffed up with pride you would be to find out that you were the son of Caesar, and all the empire would be yours. How much more than to find out that you are the child of God!
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Keep your soul at rest, as far as possible, in contemplation of the infinite treasures of the heavenly Spouse which He is pouring with lavish hand into your soul.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook One: 11-111
The 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, 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 based on her 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 13: An Invitation Within the Silence
Within our souls we must seek to hear God speak. He speaks in the silence and in the depths. He speaks, first, an invitation. He speaks an invitation to know Him and to encounter The Divine Mercy flowing from His Heart. The invitation is only that: an invitation. Jesus’ Mercy is not imposed or forced. For that reason, the invitation requires a response and our response will determine the depth of Mercy we open ourselves up to receive. The response must be that of loving and holy obedience to Him Whom we hear speaking (See Diary #7).
Ponder two things: 1) Do I hear the invitation from Jesus to receive His Mercy? Hearing is the first step. Without hearing we cannot respond. 2) How do I respond to that invitation when I hear it? Am I willing to accept it on the deep and all-consuming level that it was offered? If so, it will change your life.
Lord, I know You constantly speak to me in the silent depths of my soul. Help me to be attentive to Your voice amidst the noise of this world. And as I hear You speak, help me to be generous in my response accepting Your gift of unlimited Mercy and grace. Jesus, I trust in You.