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.
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
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
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