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ST CLEMENT I – THE POPE WHO WAS MARTYRED BY BEING DROWNED

ST CLEMENT I – THE POPE WHO WAS MARTYRED BY BEING DROWNED

While holy Clement was praying, there appeared to him the Lamb of God, with the river of water of life, whose streams make glad the city of God, proceeding from under his feet.

ST CLEMENT, POPE AND MARTYR – FEAST DAY: NOVEMBER 23 (DIED A.D.100)

Clement, a Roman, was a disciple of blessed Simon Peter. He allotted the seven districts of the City to seven notaries, one to each, assigning them the task of diligently investigating and recording the sufferings and deeds of the Martyrs.

He very carefully wrote many books himself, in the spirit of holy zeal and in order to explain the Christian religion. But when, by his teaching and holiness, he converted great numbers to the faith of Christ, the Emperor Trajan exiled him across the Black Sea to the solitude of the city of Cherson, in which he found two thousand Christians who had likewise been condemned by Trajan.

When he there converted many infidels to the faith of Christ, by order of the same emperor an anchor was tied about his neck and he was cast into the sea, and thus he was crowned with martyrdom. His body was brought back to Rome by Pope Nicholas I and was buried in honour in a church which had previously been dedicated in his name.

St Clement I, pray for us.

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

 

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NEITHER TIME NOR PLACE COULD KEEP AWAY THE MULTITUDE FROM JESUS (ON Lk 5:5-11)

NEITHER TIME NOR PLACE COULD KEEP AWAY THE MULTITUDE FROM JESUS (ON Lk 5:5-11)

On Luke 5:1-11 (for this Gospel reading, please click here.)

Since the Lord bestowed health upon so many, no matter what their disease, neither time nor place could keep back the multitude of those who wished to be healed.

Evening fell, and still they followed him; he came to the borders of the lake, and still they pressed on; therefore, the Lord went up into Peter’s boat. This is the ship which, according to Matthew, is still tossing about in the sea, but according to Luke it is filled with fishes.

From this we learn how in the beginning the Church was tossed about by storms, but afterwards was filled to overflowing. The fish signify men swimming through the waters of this life. In the ship of Matthew, Christ sleeps in the midst of his disciples, in the ship of Luke he gives commands; for he sleeps with the lukewarm, but watches with the perfect.

– St Ambrose, Bishop, Book 4 on Luke, Ch. 5, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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STS CLETUS AND MARCELLINUS – “HEALTH AND APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION”

STS CLETUS AND MARCELLINUS – “HEALTH AND APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION”

Sts Cletus and Marcellinus, Popes and Martyrs; [Memorial: April 26]

Cletus, a Roman, governed the Church when Vespian and Titus were emperors. By order of the Prince of the Apostles he ordained twenty-five priests in the City. He was the first who used the salutation in his letters: “Health and Apostolic benediction.” He put the Church in admirable order and, while Domitian was emperor, in the second persecution after that of Nero, he was crowned with martyrdom and was buried in the Vatican, near the body of St Peter.

Marcellinus, a Roman, ruled the Church in the frightful persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. He suffered many hardships from the unjust severity of those who reproached him. This blessed Pope was beheaded for confessing the faith, together with three other Christians, Claudius, Cyrinus and Antonius.

Prayer

Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Shelter and safeguard it for evermore through blessed Cletus and Marcellinus, Martyrs and Supreme Pontiffs, whom you constituted shepherds of the whole Church. 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.

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

 

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ST MICHAEL, ARCHANGEL – DEFENDER OF GOD’S PEOPLE FROM OF OLD

Both in the Old and the New Testament, the holy Archangel Michael is called the “guardian angel of the people of God”. He is also honoured as the “Herald of the General Judgment” and the “Guardian of Paradise”. It is his office to lead all the elect into the Kingdom of Eternal Glory.

Defender and leader of God’s people in Paradise

The world’s history is replete with instances of St Michael’s solicitude for the children of men during the time of their earthly pilgrimage. He began to fulfil his office as defender and leader of God’s people in the Garden of Paradise. St Ambrose says that God commissioned St Michael to lead Adam into Paradise, to explain to him the purpose of his creation, to guide him and to associate with him in visible form. After the fall of Adam and Eve, this same glorious Archangel stood guard at the gate of Paradise with flaming sword, “to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen 3:24).

The Fathers of the Church tell us that even though in many instances the name of St Michael is not mentioned in Holy Scripture, when reference is made to the services of an angel, we may confidently believe that it was either St Michael himself who rendered assistance, or his angelic subjects, who did so at his command.

Important missions

They speculate that it may have been St Michael who warned Noe [Noah] of the coming flood, and that it was through St Michael that Abraham was named the father of the chosen people and received that wonderful promise which Holy Church has immortalised in her prayers for the dead: “May the holy standard-bearerMichael, introduce them into that holy light which thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his descendants.”

The Angel who appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:2) was St Michael, according to the teaching of St Gregory Nazianzen. It was this mighty Angel who performed the wonders which took place at the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and through whom God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. Likewise, the Angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (4 [2] Kings 19:35) was the holy Archangel Michael.

After the death of Moses, according to an ancient Jewish tradition to which St Jude refers to in his Epistle (Jude 1:9), St Michael concealed the tomb of Moses from the people, and also from Satan, who wished to disclose it to the Israelites to seduce them thereby to the sin of false worship.

God revealed to St Michael the designs of His justice and mercy regarding His chosen people. Of this the prophecies of Daniel and Zacharias bear witness. Finally, it was this great celestial prince who aided the Israelites and rendered the army of Judas Macchabeus victorious over their enemies.

(Even to this day the Jews invoke the holy Archangel Michael as the principal defender of the Synagogue and their protector against enemies. On the Feast of the Atonement they conclude their prayers with this beautiful invocation: “Michael, Prince of Mercy, pray for Israel, that it may reign in Heaven, in that light which streams forth from the face of the King who sits upon the throne of mercy.”)

Protector of the Church

Just as the chosen people of the Old Law were marvellously protected by St Michael, so we may believe that this same prince of Heaven protects the Church of God even more wonderfully. Under the New Law, as under the Old, St Michael is the “Vicar of the Most High and the Prince of His people,” ever prepared to render assistance. The Fathers of the Church are of one mind in teaching that St Michael is the guardian angel and the protector of the Catholic Church.

Time and again, in centuries past, St Michael came to the rescue when dreadful wars and persecutions threatened to destroy Christianity. He it was who, at the command of Mary, Queen of Angels, came to the assistance of Constantine the Great in the fourth century and helped his forces to gain a brilliant victory over the pagan Emperor Maxentius. The Archangel himself revealed his identity in this instance. Appearing to Constantine after the completion of a beautiful church, which the latter had erected in his honour in gratitude, he said: “I am Michael, the chief of the angelic legions of the Lord of hosts, the protector of the Christian religion, who while you were battling against godless tyrants, placed the weapons in your hands.” This famous edifice, generally known as the Michaelion, has been the scene of many miracles wrought through the great Archangel.

Many miracles

Later, St Michael proved himself a powerful protector against invasion. The Greek Emperor Justinian erected six churches in his honour, in grateful recognition of his assistance. St Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, who in the fifteenth century saved France, ascribed her vocation and her victories to St Michael. Three times he appeared to her and informed her that she was called to deliver her country. In the sixteenth century, when it seemed that the Turks (Muslims fighting under the Turkish sultan) would conquer all Europe, St Michael at the command of the Blessed Virgin again championed the cause of the Christian (Catholic) Faith, and a glorious victory was gained over the infidels at the Battle of Lepanto.

Thus has St Michael proved himself a valiant warrior for the honour of God, both in Heaven and on earth. And he still wages incessant war with the archfiend Satan in the great Kingdom of God on earth, the Church.

Victorious St Michael

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was reputed to have had visions of the past and future combats of the Church. Repeatedly she saw St Michael, in the form of a warrior, standing above the Church, replacing his bloodstained sword in its scabbard as a sign of victory. She was also shown how, in the present-day struggles of the Church, St Michael would bring about a most glorious victory. This thought should be consoling to all faithful Christians who view with alarm the many shafts of persecution now being directed against the Church.

Pope Leo XIII, realising by divine enlightenment the present and future struggles of the Church against the powers of Hell, felt convinced that through the intervention of St Michael, Hell would be conquered and the Church restored to peace and liberty. He therefore composed a prayer in honour of this warrior Archangel and ordered it to be recited daily after low Mass in all the churches throughout the Christian world.

It is said that one day, having celebrated the Holy Sacrifice, the aged Pontiff was in conference with the Cardinals. Suddenly, he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side feared that he had already expired, for they could find no trace of his pulse. However, after a short interval the Holy Father rallied and, opening his eyes, exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” He had been shown in spirit the tremendous activities of the evil spirits and their ravings against the Church. But in the midst of this vision of horror, he had also beheld consoling visions of the glorious Archangel Michael, who had appeared and cast Satan and his legions back into the abyss of Hell. Soon afterwards, he composed the well-known prayer: “St Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray…”

The Church has special need of St Michael’s powerful protection in our times. On all sides she is assailed by strong and bitter enemies. In one country after another, religious persecution rises to an ever higher pitch of hatred and insolence. The terrible crimes which have been committed in recent times, and are still being committed against the Church, both in her sanctuaries and against her members, surely are instigated by the devil. No human mind could be base enough to conceive and put them into execution.

The gates of Hell shall never prevail

We know that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church, for our Lord has promised to be with her till the End of Time, but we must do our part in defending her cause. God might have cast the rebel down into Hell by a single act of His Will, but he chose rather to send against them His armies of loyal spirits under the leadership of the great St Michael. So too, in the present critical times, He could confound the enemies of the Church by merely willing to do so. But He wills, rather, that we should cooperate in her defence under the leadership of the Great Captain of the heavenly hosts.

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962

 

 

 

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THE DEVIL IS NOT TOSSING FLOWERS AT US, BUT FLAMING ARROWS

Christian life is a daily battle against the Devil

“Christian life is a constant battle against the Devil, who really exists and is not the stuff of legend, Pope Francis said in a homily last week.

The battle is not easy, because the Evil One’s traps and temptations are many, and ‘the Devil is not tossing flowers at us’, but ‘flaming arrows’ aimed to kill, the Pope said at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

There are three ‘enemies of Christian life’, Pope Francis said: ‘The Devil, the world and the flesh’, in other words, the carnal passions that are ‘the wounds of Original Sin’.

‘But this generation, and many others, made people think that the Devil was a myth, a character, an idea, the concept of evil,’ the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

‘The Devil exists and we have to fight against him. Paul says so – I’m not the one saying it. The word of God says it,’ the Pope added, referring to the day’s reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (6:10-20), which calls on believers to ‘stand firm against the tactics of the Devil’.

Even believers ‘are not too convinced’ the Devil exists, he said, or else ‘we are a bit lazy in the fight and we let ourselves be led by our passions, by temptations. It’s because we are sinners – all of us… However, do not be discouraged. [Have] courage and strength because the Lord is with us’ and supplies all we need for battle, the Pope said.

Because the Devil is ‘the father of lies, the father of deception’, Christians must arm themselves with the ‘armour of God – the truth’.

Earlier in the week hundreds of exorcists gathered in Rome for a convention organised by the International Association of Exorcists. In a message Francis said their work showed the Church’s care for ‘those who suffer because of the work of the Devil’.”

– This article was published in the Catholic Herald newspaper, issue November 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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THEY DENY THAT THERE IS ANY SUCH THING AS HOLY SCRIPTURE, THEY SEE ONLY THE FORGERIES OF MEN

“We must now, Venerable Brethren, as Our purpose demands, impart to you such counsels as seem best suited for carrying on successfully the study of biblical science.

What are the opponents’ tactics and weapons?

But first it must be clearly understood whom we have to oppose and contend against, and what are their tactics and their arms. In earlier times the contest was chiefly with those who, relying on private judgment and repudiating the divine traditions and teaching office of the Church, held the Scriptures to be the one source of revelation and the final appeal in matters of Faith.

Rejecting even scraps and remnants of Christian belief

Now, we have to meet the Rationalists, true children and inheritors of the older heretics, who, trusting in their turn to their own way of thinking, have rejected even the scraps and remnants of Christian belief which had been handed down to them.

To them, the miracles and wonders of God’s power are not what they are

They deny that there is any such thing as revelation or inspiration, or Holy Scripture at all; they see, instead, only the forgeries and the falsehoods of men. They set down the Scripture narratives as stupid fables and lying stories: the prophecies and the oracles of God are to them either predictions made up after the event or forecasts formed by the light of nature; the miracles and the wonders of God’s power are not what they are said to be, but the startling effects of natural law, or else mere tricks and myths; and the apostolic Gospels and writings not the work of the Apostles at all.

Human attempts to take God out of the equation

These detestable errors, whereby they think they destroy the truth of the divine Books, are obtruded on the world as the peremptory pronouncements of a certain newly-invented ‘free science;’ a science, however, which is so far from final that they are perpetually modifying and supplementing it.

Man-made “free science”, so far from final that it gets changed constantly

And there are some of them who, notwithstanding their impious opinions and utterances about God, and Christ, the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, would fain be considered theologians and Christians and men of the Gospel, and who attempt to disguise by such honourable names their rashness and their pride. To them we must add not a few professors of other sciences who approve their views and give them assistance, and are urged to attack the Bible by a similar intolerance of revelation.

Disguising rashness and pride; striving for human acclaim

And it is deplorable to see these attacks growing every day more numerous and more severe. It is sometimes men of learning and judgment who are assailed; but these have little difficulty in defending themselves from evil consequences. The efforts and the arts of the enemy are chiefly directed against the more ignorant masses of the people.

The spread of the deadly poison

They diffuse their deadly poison by means of books, pamphlets, and newspapers; they spread it by addresses and by conversation; they are found everywhere; and they are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture.

Champions that are needed in this momentous battle 

Should not these things, Venerable Brethren, stir up and set on fire the heart of every Pastor, so that to this ‘knowledge, falsely so called’ may be opposed the ancient and true science which the Church, through the Apostles, has received from Christ, and that Holy Scripture may find the champions that are needed in so momentous a battle?”

– From the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, 18th November 1893 (Pope Leo XIII) [headings in bold added afterwards]

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 16:13-20)

(21. Sunday in Ordinary Time)

YOU ARE PETER, AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is?

But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?

Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

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