Blog Post - July 29th
S. Martha| Pope S. Felix III| SS. Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother’s death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death.
No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner.
Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an “unrecollected activist.” The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: “...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); “One does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4b); “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6a).
Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27).
Scripture commentators point out that in writing his account of the raising of Lazarus, St. John intends that we should see Martha’s words to Mary before tLazarus was raised as a summons that every Christian must obey. In her saying “The teacher is here and is asking for you,” Jesus is calling every one of us to resurrection—now in baptismal faith, forever in sharing his victory over death. And all of us, as well as these three friends, are in our own unique way called to special friendship with him.
“Encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses, we may run as victors in the race before us and win with them the imperishable crown of glory through Christ our Lord" (Roman Missal, Preface of Saints I).
Patron Saint of:
Also today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate Pope S. Felix III, Martyr not to be confused with the anti-pope of the same name, although he is identified with him because of his name.
The 48th Pope Saint Felix III
Pope St. Felix III (483-492)
This pope's notoriety surrounded a document known as the Henoticon. The work was the initiative of the emperor Zeno and the patriarch of Constantinople, Acacius as an attempt to resolve the contention between orthodoxy and the heresy of Monophysitism which taught that Jesus Christ did not have both a divine nature and a human nature, but only a divine nature. The Henoticon was cleverly constructed to try to placate all the parties involved with the intent of offending no one. It affirmed Catholic orthodoxy and yet avoided the particular catchwords and phrases surrounding the Monophysite heresy. Pope Felix was outraged over the replacement of the orthodox bishop of Alexandria with a Monophysite bishop and the support given to this heretical bishop by Acacius. The pope summoned Acacius to Rome to acquit himself before the pope regarding this matter. In an example of the adage: "If you want something done right, do it yourself," the representatives of the pope botched their mission so badly that Acacius and many in Constantinople actually thought that the Pope was in favor of the patriarch's viewpoint. The pope responded by excommunicating his legates and Acacius himself. With the fall of the Western empire, Constantinople as the see of the Eastern Church was "feeling its oats" and the excommunication resulted in a decades long schism between the East and West. With the death of Acacius and the restoration of an orthodox bishop in Alexandria, the termination of the schism was expected. The pope, however, would not entertain any progress toward establishing harmony once again between East and West until the name of the late patriarch was expunged from mention in the liturgy.
This intractable pastoral modus operandi was evident also in his dealings with the priests and laity of North Africa who acquiesced to the act of re-baptism required by the conquering Arian barbarians. Reconciliation was accomplished for some after the performance of rigorous penance and for the priests and deacons who gave in to the pressures of the Arians, reconciliation was possible only at the point of one's death.
Pope Felix was buried within Saint Peter's Basilica.
Also today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate SS. Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, Martyrs.
SS. Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix were siblings who died in Rome during the persecutions under Emperor Diocletian in the fourth century. In 303, upon learning they were Christians, the emperor ordered the torture of Simplicius and Faustinus. They were beaten with clubs and finally beheaded. Their bodies were thrown into the Tiber River, but their sister, Beatrice, had the bodies drawn out of the water and buried. For seven months after her brothers’ martyrdom, Beatrice lived with a pious woman named Lucina. Together they secretly helped persecuted Christians.
Finally, Beatrice was discovered and arrested. Her accuser was her neighbour Lucretius who wished to obtain possession of her property. When ordered before the judge, she announced that she would never sacrifice to demons because she was a Christian. She received a martyr’s crown when she was strangled in prison.
Beatrice’s friend, Lucina, buried her with her brothers in the cemetery Ursum Pileatum on the road to Porto near Rome.
Divine punishment soon overtook Beatrice’s accuser, Lucretius, who at a feast mocked the martyrs. A small child cried out, “Thou hast committed murder and hast taken unjust possession of land. Thou art a slave of the devil.” The angry citizens grabbed and tortured Lucretius for three hours, eventually throwing him into a bottomless pit. The terror of those present was so great that they became Christians.
St. Simplicius is represented in art with a pennant, on the shield of which are three lilies, called the crest of Simplicius; the lilies are a symbol of purity of heart. St. Beatrice is portrayed with a cord in her hand, because she was strangled.
Be a Witness:
“People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories. The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission: Christ, whose mission we continue, is the ‘witness' par excellence and the model of all Christian witness.” -John Paul II
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
All that you feel within you at the sight of so many holy people around you, all of them devoted to loving and serving the Lord, is a sign that your soul is itself ardently seeking its Creator.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236
We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord. As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far. Has it changed your perspective on life? Has it changed you? If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life. If it has not, reflect upon why!
Sometimes we need more than the words we read. We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.” Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper. Read them prayerfully and carefully. Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did. Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.
The Lord wants to do great things in your life! Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!
Reflection 210: Good Works in the Light of Divine Love
Do you work hard? Do you strive to be good? Do you want to make a positive difference? It is certainly good to try to be good. But in so doing, we must never think that our “goodness” is truly good in the eyes of God, unless it is Divine Love that has become the source of all activity in our lives. Humility enables us to turn our eyes to the One and Only source of goodness in our lives. And that source is the abundant Mercy of God. We cannot decide, on our own, to do even one single act that is good or beneficial to others. We cannot please God by our own effort, and most certainly, cannot attain Heaven or any eternal reward by our works. All is a gift and all is grace. Only the humble soul sees this and believes it. But when it sees it and believes it, great things will happen for the Kingdom of God (See Diary #1092).
Reflect upon the good works you do. As you do, see them for what they are, nothing less and nothing more. If there is goodness in your life, humble honesty will enable you to understand that this goodness is 100% dependent upon the Goodness of God. Without Mercy, you cannot do any good work. With Mercy, you can do every good work. God, at work in your soul, produces abundant blessings in this world. Reflect upon your desire to be an instrument of the abundant blessings of God in this world and rejoice, humbly, that God has chosen to use you. Say “Yes” to Him and you will see beautiful fruits for all.
Lord, please give me a humble heart. Help me to see that all good things begin with You and are only accomplished by You and Your Mercy. I give myself to You so that You may use me for Your glory. And I thank You for the privilege of being used as an instrument of Your unfailing Love. Jesus, I trust in You.