Memorial - Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus



“Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.” (Luke 10:18.)

Saint Ephrem the Syrian offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel proclamation:

“I was looking at Satan, who fell like lightning from the heavens.” It was not that he was actually in the heavens. He was not in them when he said, “I will place my throne above the stars,” but he fell from his greatness and his dominion. “I was looking at Satan, who fell like lightning from the heavens.” He did not fall from heaven, because lightning does not fall from heaven, since the clouds create it. Why then did he say “from the heavens”? This was because it was as though it was from the heavens, as if lightning which comes suddenly. In one second, Satan fell beneath the victory of the cross. Ordinary people were anointed and sent out by reason of their mission and were highly successful in a second, through miracles of healing those in pain, sickness and evil spirits. It was affirmed that Satan suddenly fell from his dominion, like lightning from the clouds. Just as lightning goes out and does not return to its place, so too did Satan fall and did not again have control over his dominion. “Behold, I am giving you dominion.” (Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron, 10.)


Collect
O God,
Who open your Kingdom
to those who are humble and to little ones,
lead us to follow trustingly
in the little way of Saint Thérèse,
so that through her intercession
we may see your eternal glory revealed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your So
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen








In the heart of the Church I will be love



Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from her autobiography

MEMORIAL: Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of Saint Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the first epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace.

I persevered in the reading and did not let my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.

When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which Saint Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Father of the Church



“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16.)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“Consider the great authority he gave the holy apostles, how he declared them praiseworthy, and how he decorated them with the highest honors…. “He that hears you,” he says, “hears me, and he that rejects you, rejects me; and he that rejects me, rejects him that sent me.” O what great honor! What incomparable dignities! O what a gift worthy of God! Although men, the children of earth, he clothes them with a godlike glory. He entrusts his words to them that they who resist anything or venture to reject them may be condemned. When they are rejected, he assures them that he suffers this. Then again, he shows that the guilt of this wickedness, as being committed against him, rises up to God the Father. See with the eyes of the mind how vast a height he raises the sin committed by men in rejecting the saints! What a wall he builds around them! How great security he contrives for them! He makes them such as must be feared and in every way plainly provides for their being uninjured.” (Commentary on Luke, Homily 63)



Collect
O God,
Who gave the Priest Saint Jerome
a living and tender love
for Sacred Scripture,
grant that Your people
may be ever more fruitfully nourished
by your Word
and find in it the fount of life.
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.



Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen


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Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ



Priest and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from a
Commentary on Isaiah

MEMORIAL: Saint Jerome

I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

Therefore, I will imitate the head of a household who brings out of his storehouse things both new and old, and says to his spouse in the Song of Songs: I have kept for you things new and old, my beloved. In this way permit me to explain Isaiah, showing that he was not only a prophet, but an evangelist and an apostle as well. For he says about himself and the other evangelists: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news, of those who announce peace. And God speaks to him as if he were an apostle: Whom shall I send, who will go to my people? And he answers: Here I am; send me.

No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of Scripture in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the Lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. I need say nothing about the natural sciences, ethics and logic. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah. Of these mysteries the author himself testifies when he writes: You will be given a vision of all things, like words in a sealed scroll. When they give the writings to a wise man, they will say: Read this. And he will reply: I cannot, for it is sealed. And when the scroll is given to an uneducated man and he is told: Read this, he will reply: I do not know how to read.

Should this argument appear weak to anyone, let him listen to the Apostle: Let two or three prophets speak, and let others interpret; if, however, a revelation should come to one of those who are seated there, let the first one be quiet. How can they be silent, since it depends on the Spirit who speaks through his prophets whether they remain silent or speak? If they understood what they were saying, all things would be full of wisdom and knowledge. But it was not the air vibrating with the human voice that reached their ears, but rather it was God speaking within the soul of the prophets, just as another prophet says: It is an angel who spoke in me; and again, Crying out in our hearts, Abba, Father, and I shall listen to what the Lord God says within me.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

 

 





Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels



“Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back ...” (Revelation 12:7.)

Primasius of Hadrumetum comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“We must not think that the devil and his angels dared to fight in heaven, since he could not even tempt Job without God’s permission. Rather by “heaven” he quite manifestly indicates the church, where each one of the faithful constantly contends against spiritual evils. Therefore the apostle says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers and against the world rulers of this present darkness.”

And so he says here that Michael with his angels fights against the devil, because by praying according to the will of God for the church in this world and by granting her his aid, he is properly understood to be fighting for her. And so the apostle says, “Are not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” Indeed, the name of Michael himself is interpreted to mean “the helper of God,” and so this work is properly assigned to him. Also Daniel said that in the last distress [Michael] would come for the succor of the church: “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who stands for the children of your people. And there shall be a time such as has never been since the nations first began to be. And in that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who shall be found written in the book.” The angels are said to be his by a certain manner of speaking, such as we read, “For their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

And so it speaks of those who by believing began to be citizens in Christ and thus are his angels, because they are regarded as protected by one guardian king and as made glad by one life-giving spirit. The devil and his angels are not only those who are similar to him in nature and will. They are also as men, who after being caught in his traps, became pursuers of such things. Indeed, because of the qualities of his will it is said about the devil, “An evil man has done this,” and about Judas, “[One of you] is a devil.” The devil is said to express himself by way of a twofold body. When he is conquered, he is said to be thrown out by those who have renounced him and have received faith in Christ and so no longer do his errors. Rather, in them “love [remains] from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” Or, since the church is already separated from any admixture of evil and is glorified by the future blessedness, no place is given to the devil and to his angels to seduce the evil or to tempt the good. The psalm refers to him and says, “I passed by, and lo! he was not; and I sought him, but his place was not found.” (Commentary on the Aposcalypse, 12.)




Collect
O God,
Who dispose in a marvelous order
ministries both angelic and human,
graciously grant
that our life on earth may be defended
by those who watch over us
as they minister perpetually
to You in heaven.
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.



Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen


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The word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature



Bishop of Rome and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from Homily 34

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.

And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.

Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.

Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

 





Ordinary Time, Week 26 - Wednesday



“And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.” ” (Luke 9:59.)

Saint Basil the Great offers the following insight on this verse from today's Gospel:

“The man said, “Allow me first to go and bury my father.” The Lord replied, “Let the dead bury their dead; but go and preach the kingdom of God.” Another man said, “Let me first arrange my affairs at home.” He rebuked him with a stern threat, saying, “No man, putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honorable it may appear, if it slows us ever so slightly in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.” (Concerning Baptism)



Collect
O God,
Who manifest Your almighty power
above all by pardoning and showing mercy,
bestow, we pray,
Your grace abundantly upon us
and make those
hastening to attain Your promises
heirs to the treasures of heaven.
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.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

 


Let us run our race in faith and righteousness



Bishop, Apostolic Church Father and Martyr

An excerpt from the Leter to the Philippains

ORDINARY TIME, Week 26: Wednesday


I ask you all to respond to the call of righteousness and to practice boundless patience. Your own eyes have seen it not only in blessed Ignatius, Zosimus and Rufus, but in others from among you as well, to say nothing of Paul and the other apostles. Be assured that all these men did not run their race in vain. No, they ran it in faith and in righteousness and are now with the Lord in the place that they have earned, even as they were once with him in suffering. Their love was not for this present world; rather, it was for him who died for our sakes and, on account of us, was raised up again by God.

Be steadfast, then, and follow the Lord’s example, strong and unshaken in faith, loving the community as you love one another. United in the truth, show the Lord’s own gentleness in your dealings with one another, and look down on no one. If you can do good, do not put it off, because almsgiving frees one from death. Be subject to one another, and make sure that your behavior among the pagans is beyond reproach. Thus you will be praised for the good you have done, and the Lord will not be blasphemed because of you. But woe to that man on whose account the Lord’s name is blasphemed. Therefore, teach everyone to live soberly, just as you live yourselves.

I am greatly saddened on account of Valens who at one time was presbyter among you; he does not understand the position to which he was called. So I urge all of you to be chaste and honest, to avoid avarice and to refrain from every form of evil. If a man cannot control himself in these ways, how can he teach someone else to do so? If he does not avoid greed, he will be defiled by idolatrous practices and will be reckoned as one of the pagans who know nothing of the Lord’s judgment. Or, as Paul teaches: Do we not know that the holy ones will judge the world?

However, I have never seen of heard of anything of that sort among you, for whom blessed Paul labored and whom he commends at the beginning of his letter. For he boasted about you in all the churches which at that time were the only ones that had come to know God; we ourselves had not yet come to that knowledge.

Brothers, I am deeply sorry for Valens and for his wife; may the Lord grant them true repentance. As for yourselves, be self-controlled in this respect. Do not look upon such people as enemies, but invite them back as frail members who have gone astray, so that the entire body of which you are a part will be saved. In doing this you are contributing to your own spiritual development.



Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

 






Memorial — Saint Vincent de Paul



“... and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there ...” (Luke 9:52.)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“It would be false to affirm that our Savior did not know what was about to happen, because he knows all things. He knew, of course, that the Samaritans would not receive his messengers. There can be no doubt of this. Why then did he command them to go before him? It was his custom to benefit diligently the holy apostles in every possible way, and because of this, it was his practice sometimes to test them…. On this occasion, he also tested them. He knew that the Samaritans would not receive those who went forward to announce that he would stay with them. He still permitted them to go that this again might be a way of benefiting the holy apostles.

What was the purpose of this occurrence? He was going up to Jerusalem, as the time of his passion was already drawing near. He was about to endure the scorn of the Jews. He was about to be destroyed by the scribes and Pharisees and to suffer those things that they inflicted upon him when they went to accomplish all of violence and wicked boldness. He did not want them to be offended when they saw him suffering. He also wanted them to be patient and not to complain greatly, although people would treat them rudely. He, so to speak, made the Samaritans’ hatred a preparatory exercise in the matter. They had not received the messengers.

For their benefit, he rebuked the disciples and gently restrained the sharpness of their wrath, not permitting them to grumble violently against those who sinned. He rather persuaded them to be patient and to cherish a mind that is unmovable by anything like this.” (Commentary on Luke, Homily 56)



Collect
O God,
Who for the relief of the poor
and the formation of the clergy
endowed the Priest Saint Vincent de Paul
with apostolic virtues,
grant, we pray, that, afire with that same spirit,
we may love What he loved
and put into practice what he taught.
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.



Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen


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Serving the poor is to be our first preference



Priest and Founder

An excerpt from a Writing by St Vincent de Paul

MEMORIAL: Saint Vincent de Paul


Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: He sent me to preach the good news to the poor. We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause.

Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also loves those who love the poor. For when one person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to understand the poor and weak. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: I have become all things to all men. Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again with these dispositions.

It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out. So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember that this very service is performed for God. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. Since she is a noble mistress, we must do whatever she commands. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.



Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen