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ST SYLVESTER GOZZOLINI, ABBOT

ST SYLVESTER GOZZOLINI, ABBOT

ST SYLVESTER GOZZOLINI, ABBOT – MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 26

Sylvester, born of a noble family at Osimo, in Picenum, was remarkable, even as a boy, for his keen intelligence and upright conduct. Being duly instructed in sacred learning and made a Canon, he benefited his people by his example and his sermons. At the funeral of a relative, who was also a nobleman and a very handsome person, on seeing the disfigured corpse in the open tomb, he said: “What this man was, I am now; what he is now, I shall be.”

WITH THE DESIRE FOR GREATER PERFECTION, HE SPENT HIMSELF IN VIGILS, PRAYER AND FASTING 

He soon retired to a lonely place with the desire for greater perfection, and there spent himself in vigils, prayer and fasting. To hide himself better from men, he kept changing his dwelling place. At length, he arrived at Monte Fano, at that time a solitary place, built a church in honour of St Benedict and laid the foundations of the Congregation of Sylvestrines. There he strengthened the monks with his wonderful holiness. He shone with the spirit of prophecy, and possessed power over the demons and other gifts, which he always tried to hide with deep humility. He fell asleep in the Lord in the year of salvation 1267.

PRAYER:

Most merciful God, who, when the holy Abbot Sylvester was devoutly meditating upon the vanity of this world beside an open grave, graciously willed to call him into the desert and enrich him with unusual merits, we humbly pray that, following his example, despising the things of earth, we may thoroughly enjoy your everlasting presence. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP

ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP

ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP – MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 14

St Laurence O’Toole, Patron of the Diocese and City of Dublin, was born near Castledermot, County Kildare, in 1127. His father was Maurice O’Toole, prince of the territory now called South Kildare, and his mother was daughter of O’Byrne, prince of the north-eastern portion of Co. Kildare.

The cross was his portion from childhood, for from ten years old till he was twelve, he was a hostage of Dermot MacMurrough, who treated him with relentless cruelty. Ferns, then a wild and desert place, was probably the scene of the hardships and privations of our Saint. Here, no doubt, the foundation was laid of that wonderful mortification, and spirit of contemplation and prayer, which distinguished his later life.

At the demand of Maurice O’Toole, our Saint was transferred to the custody of the Bishop of Glendalough, under whose care his health, impaired by privation and neglect, returned, and he engaged in a course of study with the greatest ardour. Some time after he became a monk of St Kevin’s Monastery, Glendalough, was ordained priest, and later, in 1153, was chosen Abbot by the monks.

On the death of Gregory, Archbishop of Dublin, 1161, St Laurence was elected to succeed him, and was consecrated by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh, in the Church of the Holy Trinity (now Christ Church), Dublin, 1162. In 1179 he attended the Third General Council of the Lateran, and Pope Alexander III made him Delegate Apostolic of the Holy See for the Kingdom of Ireland.

Full of virtues and labouring for the peace of his beloved but afflicted country, he died at the age of 53, on the 14th November, 1180,at the Abbey our Lord, at Eu, Normandy. At the moment of his holy death the Abbey was so flooded with celestial light that it was thought to be on fire. St Laurence was canonised by Pope Honorius III, in 1225, who mentions in the Bull of Canonisation that seven dead persons were restored by his intercession.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR

ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR

ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: AUGUST 25

Louis IX, King of France, was reared by his mother Blanche in the high ideals of sanctity. For the sake of recovering Jerusalem, he crossed the sea with a very large army and put the Saracens to flight in his first battle. But, since a great number of his soldiers perished from the plague, he was himself conquered and captured. A treaty was made and he was set at liberty.

HE RANSOMED NUMEROUS CHRISTIAN SLAVES

In the East, he ransomed many Christians who were slaves of the barbarians and also converted many of the infidels to the faith of Christ. After returning to France, he built many monasteries, and hospitals for the poor. He relieved the needy by his beneficence and frequently visited the sick, even waiting on them.

HE WAITED ON THE SICK

He wore plain garb and constantly afflicted his body with a hairshirt and much fasting. When he once more crossed over to wage war against the Saracens and had already pitched his camp in sight of them, he died of pestilence [in 1270] saying this prayer: “I will go into your house, I will worship at your holy temple and I will give glory to your name.

PRAYER:

O God, who transported your blessed Confessor, Louis, from an earthly throne to the glory of the heavenly kingdom, by his merits and intercession we beseech you to make us of the company of the King of kings, Jesus Christ your Son. Who with you…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, 1964

 

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ST ALBERT THE GREAT: PATRON SAINT OF SCIENTISTS

ST ALBERT THE GREAT: PATRON SAINT OF SCIENTISTS

ST ALBERT THE GREAT (ALBERTUS MAGNUS), BISHOP, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – FEAST DAY: NOVEMBER 15

Albert, called the Great, because of his extraordinary learning, was born at Lauingen on the Danube in Swabia, and was carefully educated from boyhood. To pursue higher studies, he left his native land and went to Padua. At the urging of blessed Jordan, Master General of the Order of Preachers, and against the futile opposition of his uncle, he sought admission into the family of Dominic.

After being elected to membership among the brethren, he was conspicuous for his piety and for his strict observance of the rule. He had the greatest love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and burned with zeal for souls. He was sent to complete his studies at Cologne. Afterwards he was appointed professor at Hildesheim, Fribourg, Ratisbon and Strasbourg, successively. In the chair at Paris, he gained great fame. Among his beloved pupils was Thomas Aquinas and he was the first to recognise and acclaim the greatness of that intellect.

One of his pupils was St Thomas Aquinas

At Anagni, in the presence of the Supreme Pontiff Alexander IV, he refuted that William who had impiously attacked the mendicant Orders. He was later appointed Bishop of Ratisbon. In giving counsel and in settling disputes, he bore himself so admirably that he earned the title of Peacemaker.

He wrote many things on almost every branch of learning, especially on sacred subjects, and composed some magnificent works upon the Sacrament of the Altar. Most famous for virtue and miracles, he fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1280. As, by the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, he had been venerated for a long time in many dioceses and in the Order of Preachers. Pope Pius XI gladly acceded to the wish of the Congregation of Sacred Rites and, adding the title of Doctor, extended his feast to the universal Church. Pius XII constituted him the heavenly patron with God of all students of the natural sciences.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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“EMMANUEL, JUST AS THE ANGEL UTTERED”

(From the early medieval Old English Advent Lyrics)

“Emmanuel, just as the angel uttered it
first in Hebrew! It was afterwards explained
amply, recording its hidden meaning:

‘Now the Keeper of the heavens,
God himself, is with us.’
Thus in days gone by
people spoke truly of the King of all kings
and also the pure priest who was to come.
So once the famous one, Melchizedek,
discerning in spirit, revealed the divine glory
of the eternal All-ruler.
He was the lawgiver,
the bringer of lore to those who long
hoped for his coming here as was promised them,
that the Wielder’s Son himself wanted
to cleanse the kin of the earth,
likewise also seek out even the abyss
by the power of the Spirit.

Now softly they abided
in bonds till the Son of God
should come to those in care.
Therefore they spoke thus, disabled by distress:

‘Now come, heaven’s high King, yourself,
and bring us a life of health,
weary ones, slaves of pain, worn down by weeping,
by bitter, burning tears.
The remedy belongs only to you
for those who bear overmuch pain.
Seek here with eager spirit us captives.
Do not leave thus behind you a big crowd
when you turn away from here, but have mercy on us,
according to your kind, Christ the Saviour, glory’s prince.
Let not the wretched have power
over us.
Give us eternal gladness
in your wondrous glory,
so that we may worship you,
marvellous King of hosts, whom you once made
with your own hands.
You have a home
in the heights forever with the ruling Father.'”

 
 

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PRAYER TO ST BRIDGET OF SWEDEN

St Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303, married in 1316; she was a member of high Swedish Society. She had eight children. She and her husband lived devout lives. After her husband’s death in 1344 she lived with even greater asceticism; she received revelations and appealed to the kings of Europe and the Pope for peace and the restoration of the papacy to Rome. She journeyed to Rome for the Holy Year in 1350, and lived there for the rest of her life in poverty. She asked the Pope to approve the foundation of a religious community (now known as thr Bridgetines), but this was not approved until after her death, in 1373.

PRAYER:

Lord our God,
you revealed the secrets of heaven to Saint Bridget
as she meditated on the suffering and death of your Son.
May your people rejoice in the revelation of your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

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THE GREAT FORERUNNER OF THE MORN (HYMN)

The great forerunner of the morn,
the herald of the Word, is born;
and faithful hearts shall never fail
with thanks and praise his light to hail.

With heav’nly message Gabriel came,
that John should be that herald’s name,
and with prophetic utt’rance told
his actions great and manifold.

John, yet unborn, gave still aright
his witness to the coming Light,
and Christ, the Sun of all the earth,
fulfilled that witness at his birth.
– “Praecursor altus luminis”,
by Bede the Venerable (7th century)
tr. John Mason Neale

 

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“YOU WILL BE SANCTIFIED THROUGH FAITH AND MEEKNESS”

THE CONSTANT AND FEARLESS FAITH OF MOSES

You will be sanctified through faith and meekness. And your meekness will remain unblemished, if faith precedes it. But it must be a faith that is true and unfeigned; a faith not dead but living and vigorous. And not only living and vigorous, it must be the constant and fearless faith of Moses of which Saint Paul writes: “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the fierceness of the king.” Kings are fierce but faith is fiercer, for it sees that their power has no foundation. Because of this it scorns all the folly of those who persecute it, secure in its own superiority. It is more ready and strong to endure to the end than their fury is to persecute…

EVERLASTING GOODS

Faith is laid down as the groundwork and foundation upon which those everlasting goods we hope for are to rest. Without this faith it is impossible to please God, with it, it is impossible to displease him. “Your eyes, O Lord, are upon faith,” said he who forever stood in your sight through faith. And indeed it is only right and fitting, in fact you owe it to us, that your eyes, Lord, should return the gaze of faith, because my eyes are always upon the Lord who replies in all sincerity: “You understand what faith is.”

BEING SANCTIFIED THROUGH FAITH AND MEEKNESS

The faith which now stands before God anxious to behold his will, will then stand before him serenely to behold his glory. Be watchful, brethren, stand firm in your faith. The man whom faith arouses with sense of wonder and awe is not able to slumber through negligence; the one whom faith establishes in hope cannot falter through lack of confidence. But let all that you do be done in love so that meekness is joined in faith until it may be said of each one of you: “The Lord sanctified him through his faith and meekness.” May the Holy of Holies grant you this, who lives and reigns through endless ages. Amen.
– Bl. Guerric of Igny, 12th century

 

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A VERY SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF ST GREGORY VII

ST GREGORY VII, POPE; MEMORIAL: MAY 25

Gregory VII was born in Tuscany about 1028; until his election as pope in 1073, he was known as the monk Hildebrand. The over-ridind concern of his life, both as monk and as pope, was the reform of the Church. This brought him into conflict with the emperor, Henry IV, and he was forced to flee to Salerno, where he died in 1085.

PRAYER:

Lord,
give your Church
the spirit of courage and love for justice
which distinguished Pope Gregory.
Make us courageous in condemning evil
and free us to pursue justice with love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

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TO KNOW GOD IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF KNOWLEDGE

BY ST BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX

To know God is the highest form of knowledge, and it constitutes that blessedness for which we put ourselves in God’s service, so that we may know him and Jesus Christ, whom he sent. Jesus Christ cannot be known, however, except as he was hanging on the cross, when the thief beside him confessed his sins and exclaimed: “Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom.”

We are thieves who try to steal ourselves from God and desire instead to turn to nothingness, even though we are not able to be nothing. We wish to hide from God’s sight, even though it has been written of him: “If I ascend into heaven”, and so on.

Thieves also kill, and they bury the corpse in the ground to conceal the murder. Likewise we too are murderers, since we kill our soul, which is far dearer than our body. We put earth over it by gazing longingly at earthly things to hide the fact that when we are occupied with earthly desires, we are actually dead. Nor can we come to our senses, so long as we delude ourselves by blaming what we do on the weakness of the flesh, or indulge ourselves by depending too much on God’s mercy.

Putting aside our thievery, therefore, let us hang on the cross of Christ, confessing our wretchedness to him and, with full devotion of heart, begging his mercy.

 

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