St. Peter Chrysologus
A man who vigorously pursues a goal may produce results far beyond his expectations and his intentions. Thus it was with Peter of the Golden Words, as he was called, who as a young man became bishop of Ravenna, the capital of the empire in the West.
At the time there were abuses and vestiges of paganism evident in his diocese, and these he was determined to battle and overcome. His principal weapon was the short sermon, and many of them have come down to us. They do not contain great originality of thought. They are, however, full of moral applications, sound in doctrine and historically significant in that they reveal Christian life in fifth-century Ravenna. So authentic were the contents of his sermons that, some 13 centuries later, he was declared a doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIII. He who had earnestly sought to teach and motivate his own flock was recognized as a teacher of the universal Church.
In addition to his zeal in the exercise of his office, Peter Chrysologus was distinguished by a fierce loyalty to the Church, not only in its teaching, but in its authority as well. He looked upon learning not as a mere opportunity but as an obligation for all, both as a development of God-given faculties and as a solid support for the worship of God.
Some time before his death, St. Peter returned to Imola, his birthplace, where he died around A.D. 450.
Eutyches, the leader of the heresy denying the humanity of Christ, sought support from church leaders, Peter Chrysologus among them, after his condemnation in ad 448. Peter frankly told him: “In the interest of peace and the faith, we cannot judge in matters of faith without the consent of the Roman bishop.” He further exhorted Eutyches to accept the mystery of the Incarnation in simple faith. Peter reminded him that if the peace of the church causes joy in heaven, then divisions must give birth to grief.
Quite likely, it was St. Peter Chrysologus’s attitude toward learning that gave substance to his exhortations. Next to virtue, learning, in his view, was the greatest improver of the human mind and the support of true religion. Ignorance is not a virtue, nor is anti-intellectualism. Knowledge is neither more nor less a source of pride than physical, administrative or financial prowess. To be fully human is to expand our knowledge — whether sacred or secular — according to our talent and opportunity.
Today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate SS. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs. A story about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
The emperor Decius, enemy of Christians, had defeated the king of Persia and become master of several countries over which he reigned. He had already condemned to torture and death Saint Polychrome, with five members of his clergy. Saint Abdon and Saint Sennen, illustrious Persian dignitaries of the third century whom the king of Persia had highly honored, were secretly Christian. It was they who had taken up the body of the martyred bishop, which had been cast contemptuously before a temple of Saturn, to bury them at night, with honor.
The two royal officials, now fallen under the domination of Rome, were grieved to witness the emperor's cruelty towards the faithful, and believed it their duty to make known their love for Jesus Christ; thus, without fear of their new sovereign, they undertook by all possible means to spread and fortify the faith, to encourage the confessors and bury the martyrs.
Decius, learning of their dedication, was extremely irritated. He sent for the two brothers to appear before his tribunal, and attempted to win them over to sacrifice to the gods. The Saints replied that they could never adore any but Him. Decius imprisoned them. Soon afterwards, when he learned of the death of the viceroy he had left to govern in his place at Rome, he returned to Rome and took his two captives with him to serve as splendid trophies of his Persian victory.
He arraigned them before the Senate, in whose presence they again testified to the divinity of Christ, saying they could adore no other. The next day they were flogged in the amphitheater; then two lions and four bears were released to devour them. But the beasts lay down at their feet and became their guardians, and no one dared approach for a time. Finally the prefect sent out gladiators to slay them with the sword, which with the permission of God was done. Their bodies remained three days without burial, but a subdeacon, who afterwards wrote their history, took them up and buried them on his own terrain. Their glorious martyrdom occurred in the year 254.
In the reign of Constantine their relics were removed to the burying-place of Pontian (called also, from some sign, the “Bear and Cap” Ad Ursum Pileatum), situated near the Tiber on the road to Porto; this translation took place in consequence of a vision wherein the martyrs revealed their place of burial. These particulars are derived from their late and unreliable “acts”, but the veneration of SS. Abdon and Sennen in Rome can be traced back to the fourth century.
Evangelization, however, can and should be new in its methods and its expression. It must be proclaimed with new energy and in a style and language adapted to the people of our day.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
The fact that you feel ashamed of yourself on seeing so many souls who love God is a good sign.
No Trust in God
On the initial day of the retreat, I was visited by one of the sisters who had come to make her perpetual vows. She confided to me that she had no trust in God and became discouraged at every little thing. I answered her, "It is well that you have told me this, Sister; I will pray for you." And I spoke a few words to her about how much distrust hurts the Lord Jesus, especially distrust on the part of a chosen soul. She told me that, beginning with her perpetual vows, she would practice trust.
Now I know that even some souls that are chosen and well-advanced in the religious life, or the spiritual life, do not have the courage to entrust themselves completely to God. And this is so because few souls know the unfathomable mercy of God and His great goodness. - (Diary No. 731)