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Blog Post - October 14th

Pope S. Callistus I| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection

St. Callistus I

(d. 223?)

Both Calendars

The most reliable information about this saint comes from his enemy St. Hippolytus, an early antipope, later a martyr for the Church. A negative principle is used: If some worse things had happened, Hippolytus would surely have mentioned them.

Callistus was a slave in the imperial Roman household. Put in charge of the bank by his master, he lost the money deposited, fled and was caught. After serving time for a while, he was released to make some attempt to recover the money. Apparently he carried his zeal too far, being arrested for brawling in a Jewish synagogue. This time he was condemned to work in the mines of Sardinia. He was released through the influence of the emperor's mistress and lived at Anzio (site of a famous World War II beachhead).

After winning his freedom, Callistus was made superintendent of the public Christian burial ground in Rome (still called the cemetery of St. Callistus), probably the first land owned by the Church. The pope ordained him a deacon and made him his friend and adviser.

He was elected pope by a majority vote of the clergy and laity of Rome, and thereafter was bitterly attacked by the losing candidate, St. Hippolytus, who let himself be set up as the first antipope in the history of the Church. The schism lasted about 18 years.

Hippolytus is venerated as a saint. He was banished during the persecution of 235 and was reconciled to the Church. He died from his sufferings in Sardinia. He attacked Callistus on two fronts—doctrine and discipline. Hippolytus seems to have exaggerated the distinction between Father and Son (almost making two gods) possibly because theological language had not yet been refined. He also accused Callistus of being too lenient, for reasons we may find surprising: (1) Callistus admitted to Holy Communion those who had already done public penance for murder, adultery, fornication; (2) he held marriages between free women and slaves to be valid—contrary to Roman law; (3) he authorized the ordination of men who had been married two or three times; (4) he held that mortal sin was not a sufficient reason to depose a bishop; (5) he held to a policy of leniency toward those who had temporarily denied their faith during persecution.

Callistus was martyred during a local disturbance in Trastevere, Rome, and is the first pope (except for Peter) to be commemorated as a martyr in the earliest martyrology of the Church.


The life of this man is another reminder that the course of Church history, like that of true love, never did run smooth. The Church had to (and still must) go through the agonizing struggle to state the mysteries of the faith in language that, at the very least, sets up definite barriers to error. On the disciplinary side, the Church had to preserve the mercy of Christ against rigorism while still upholding the gospel ideal of radical conversion and self-discipline. Every pope—indeed every Christian—must walk the difficult path between "reasonable" indulgence and "reasonable" rigorism.


His contemporaries, Jesus said, were "like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.' For John [the Baptist] came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners'" (Matthew 11:16b-19a).

Daily Meditation

The Christian Response:

The Christian response to real harm is forgiveness; the greater harm is the breach of communion that will ensue if forgiveness is missing.

Quote by S. Padre Pio:

You have built badly. Destroy and rebuild well.

Divine Mercy Reflection

Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326

As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.

It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.

As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.

Reflection 287: The Cloak of Ignominy

“Ignominy” could mean public shame, disgrace, humiliation and embarrassment. But it takes on special meaning when applied to Jesus. The “cloak of ignominy” refers to the public humiliation that Jesus endured as a result of His Cross. He was condemned as a sinner and liar. He was charged with deceiving the people and attempting to undermine the civil authorities. He was the object of extreme hate and ultimate persecution by the religious leaders of His day. This was a brutal blow. If Jesus would have had the sin of pride He would clearly not have been able to endure their scorn and mistreatment. He would have brought forth a myriad of angels to destroy His persecutors. But He didn’t. Instead, He endured every humiliation with confidence and integrity. The sufferings Jesus endured never evoked in Him even a single feeling of hatred or revenge. In fact, from the Cross itself He cried out, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” This powerful witness must influence you and strengthen you to pay no attention whatsoever to the false judgment of others. God has no concern about false judgments and the public humiliation that these judgments impose. Embracing the “cloak of ignominy” means you ultimately allow every worldly humiliation to dissipate before the Mercy and truth of God (See Diary 1418).

Reflect upon this struggle within you. It requires great humility to ignore false opinions. Seek to embrace that humility and allow the truth to make you free. Jesus’ “cloak” must cover you since it is ultimately a cloak of His grace and Mercy.

Lord, I take upon myself Your cloak of ignominy. I wear it with confidence and trust. Help my only care to be Your truth and to shed all other opinions that are contrary. My happiness rests in You alone, dear Lord, and all my hope is in You. Jesus, I trust in You.

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