• =?UTF-8?Q?On_our_own_Weakness_and_the_Trials_of_This_Life=C2=A0_=5BI?=

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Tue Nov 24 23:20:21 2020
    On our own Weakness and the Trials of This Life  [II]

    Consider my lowness and weakness, O Lord, for You know all things.
    Have mercy on me, and raise me from the mire, that I may not stick
    fast in it, (Ps.25:16; 49:14) nor remain prostrate. It is this that
    often defeats and confounds me in Your eyes -- that I am so prone to
    fall and so weak in resisting my passions. And although I do not yield
    to them entirely, yet their assaults trouble and distress me, so that
    I am weary of living constantly at conflict. My weakness is apparent
    to me, for evil fancies rush in on me more readily than they depart.
    --Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Bk 3, Ch 20

    November 25th - St. Peter of Alexandria

    St. Peter, a man of great virtue and learning, was patriarch of
    Alexandria, his native city. At the time when the Emperors, Diocletian
    and Maximian, endeavored to extirpate the Christian religion, he did
    all in his power to strengthen the Christians in the true faith and
    encourage them to prepare for martyrdom. He himself desired nothing
    more ardently than to give his life for Christ's sake; but the
    faithful forced him to conceal himself until the persecution ceased.
    Hardly had this storm abated, when Meletius, a bishop, gave him new
    trouble, by promulgating heretical dogmas, and committing other
    crimes, for which St. Peter had to depose him from his see and
    excommunicate him. The conduct and the doctrine of Meletius were
    defended, in defiance of St. Peter, by Arius, a proud and ambitious
    priest of Alexandria; and as neither prayers nor threats could move
    Arius to desist from such unjust and wicked proceedings, the zealous
    Patriarch saw himself obliged to separate him also, by
    excommunication, from the Church of Christ.

    During this schism of the Church, an imperial officer arrived at
    Alexandria, seized St. Peter, and cast him into a dungeon. Arius
    thought that, after the death of St. Peter, he would surely succeed to
    the patriarchal chair if he were reconciled to the Church. He
    therefore pretended to repent of his fault, and going to the clergy,
    he requested them to beg the Patriarch to revoke the sentence of excommunication, declaring that he had abandoned the cause of
    Meletius, and was resolved to live and die a Catholic. Achillas and
    Alexander, moved by his deceitful words begged St. Peter to grant the
    request. The Patriarch, enlightened by God, replied with a deep sigh:
    "I know that Arius is full of hypocrisy and blasphemy; how can I
    receive him again into the Church? You must know that in
    excommunicating him, I have not acted of my own accord, but by
    inspiration from the Almighty. Only last night, Christ appeared to me
    in the form of a beautiful youth, clothed in a snow-white garment,
    which was sadly rent. I was terrified, and asked: 'Lord, what is the
    meaning of this? Who has torn Thy robe?' He answered: 'Arius has done
    it; for, by his heresy, he has divided My Church and will make the
    rent still larger.'"

    Peter added that Christ had forbidden him to receive Arius again into
    the pale of the Church, and commanded Achillas and Alexander also to
    reject him, when they would, one after the other, succeed to the
    patriarchal chair. Having said this, the Saint admonished them to
    guard, with fatherly care, the flock of Christ, and then, with his
    blessing, dismissed them. Soon after, by command of the emperor, St.
    Peter was dragged to the place of execution, without having had a
    trial. The Christians endeavored to interfere; but the Saint hastened
    joyfully to the spot where he was to receive the crown of martyrdom.
    His death happened in the year 310. The Christians carried the holy
    body into the Church, clothed it in the pontifical robes, and placed
    it upon the chair of St. Mark, on which Peter's humility and his
    reverence for the holy Evangelist had never allowed him to sit in his
    lifetime, as he always sat down on one of the steps leading to it.
    Having for some time showed all due honors to the holy body, they laid
    it into the tomb.

    Practical Considerations
    St. Peter is one of those glorious martyrs, who joyfully hastened to
    the place of execution to give their lives for the true faith. Have
    you not sometimes desired that you had lived at that period, and given
    your blood for Christ? I praise you for having had such a pious wish.
    But as you have no occasion now to die a martyr for the love of the
    Saviour, endeavor at least to live for Him, and to be a martyr without
    shedding your blood. How can this be done? Origen says: "We can be
    martyrs without shedding our blood, by patiently bearing crosses and
    trials." In like manner speaks St. Bernard, when he says: "By
    preserving true patience continually in your mind, you may become a
    martyr without the sword." St. Gregory says the same, and remarks,
    also: "To bear wrongs and persecutions patiently, and to love our
    enemy, is a kind of martyrdom." "It is martyrdom," says St.
    Chrysostom, "when we bear poverty patiently for God's sake." "If a
    Christian," writes St. Augustine, "lives according to the gospel, his
    entire life is one cross, one long martyrdom." The same holy teacher
    instructed us, on a former occasion, that we are martyrs by conquering
    our passions, by avoiding lust, by preserving justice, by despising
    avarice and by restraining pride.

    In a sermon of St. Lawrence, we read that "martyr," according to the
    Greek, means " witness." "As often, therefore," says he, "as we fulfil
    the commands of Christ, and do good, so often are we witnesses of the
    Lord, and in that sense, martyrs." Hence you may become a martyr of
    Christ, in this manner and you will find frequent opportunity for it.
    Endeavor, therefore, to bear patiently crosses and sufferings; live
    according to the Gospel of the Lord; moderate your passions; be
    chaste, and avoid all vices; let your conduct be witness of your
    fidelity to your Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be a true, though
    bloodless, martyr.

    Saint Quote:
    Do not desire crosses, unless you have borne well those laid on you;
    it is an abuse to long after martyrdom while unable to bear an insult patiently.
    -- François de Sales

    Bible Quote:
     Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal
    unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but
    the things that are of men.  [Matt 16:23]  DRB

    Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    enlighten our minds to perceive the mysteries
    of the universe in relation to eternity.

    Spirit of right judgment and courage,
    guide us and make us firm in our baptismal decision
    to follow Jesus' way of love.

    Spirit of knowledge and reverence,
    help us to see the lasting value of justice
    and mercy in our everyday dealings with one another.

    May we respect life
    as we work to solve problems of family and nation,
    economy and ecology.

    Spirit of God,
    spark our faith,
    hope and love into new action each day.

    Fill our lives with wonder and awe
    in your presence which penetrates all creation.Amen.
    --Prayer of St. Augustine

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