Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sts. Peter and Paul

Saints Peter and Paul
Feast: June 29

This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. "Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world" (Ps. 19). These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.

The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, "And I say to you, that you are Peter" (Mat 16:13-20). He himself, you see, had just said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Christ said to him, "And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky”, from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky”. Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.

Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, "To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, "To you I am entrusting," what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained" (Jn 20:22-23).

Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed (Jn. 21: 15-19). It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.

There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labors, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

____from a sermon by St. Augustine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The New and Old Testaments.

What are the truths of the Faith defined and taught by the Church, which must be especially embraced, accepted, and promoted in today’s world?

That God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects.

That the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies are the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion. Also that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even the men of this age.

That the Church—guardian and teacher of the revealed word—was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.

That the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Thus a true disciple of Christ must entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.

That faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blessed Cecilia, Diana, and Amata

Blessed Cecilia, Diana, and Amata

June 8th

Bl. Cecilia, Bl. Diana, and Bl. Amata whose feast day is celebrated presently by the Order of Preachers on June 8th were early companions of St. Dominic and Blessed Jordan of Saxony second Master General of the Order. In the year 1222 Blessed Jordan convinced the d'Andalo family to establish a convent staffed with Diana and four companions and four nuns brought from Rome, two of them Cecilia and Amata. Diana died on January 9, and when Cecilia and Amata died, they were buried with her. All three were beatified in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII.

The following is a letter written to Blessed Diana by Blessed Jordan.

Dear Diana,

I cannot find the time to write you the long letter your love would wish for and I would so gladly send. Nonetheless I do write, I send you a very little word, the Word made little in the crib, the Word who was made flesh for us, the Word of salvation and grace, of sweetness and glory, the Word who is good and gentle, Jesus Christ and him crucified, Christ raised up on the cross, raised in praise to the Father's right hand: to whom and in whom do you raise up your soul and find there your rest unending for ever and ever.

Read over that Word in your heart, turn it over in your mind, let it be sweet as honey on your lips; ponder it, dwell on it, that it may dwell with you and in you for ever.

There is another word that I send you, small and brief; my love, which will speak for me to your love in your heart and will content it. May this word too be yours, and likewise dwell with you for ever.

Farewell, and pray for me, Jordan

Monday, June 2, 2008

St. Charles Lwanga

The martyrs of Uganda

Feast: June 3

St. Charles Lwanga was born in Buddu County in Uganda about 1860 or 1861. He first heard about Jesus Christ from some members of Chief Mawulugungu's household, and he became a catechumen. He was subsequently baptized May 15, 1885.

He had been an assistant to Joseph Mkasa, who was in charge of the pages in the household of the Kabaka, Mtesa, who was friendly toward the Christian missionaries. His successor, Mwanga, however, was very anti-Christian and immoral. When he was rebuked by Mkasa for the murder of some of the missionaries and for his immoral behavior, his hatred boiled over. Mkasa was killed. This was November 15, 1885. Charles Lwanga asked for and was given baptism.

He subsequently replaced Mkasa as Chief of the pages. He had secretly baptized some of the catechumens among them, and often saved them from the Kabasa's unchaste advances. In May of 1886 a rampant persecution began.

He was arrested with many of the Christian pages, aged 13 to about 30, who had publicly professed their Christian faith, and refused the immoral demands of Mwanga. They were killed On June 3, 1886 after weeks of cruel treatment. The youngest martyr was St. Kizito, age 13. Charles Lwanga was 24. Because of his holiness and courage he was was able to give his companions the joyful support they needed to sustain their faith.