From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Sun Apr 11 23:41:45 2021
Christ bought us
In saying, "Christ bought us," Paul refers to the price of
redemption (cf. 1 Cor 6:20 and 7:23). The Old Testament,
Intertestamental literature, the New Testament, and Rabbinic
literature see that sin is a debt which the Holiness of God wants to
have paid. A comparison given by Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar is helpful:
"He [meaning anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him. He has
tipped the scale to the side of debt for himself and for the world."
The sinner takes from one pan of the two-pan scales what he has no
right to take: the scale is out of balance. It is the holiness of God
that wants it rebalanced. How? If the sinner stole property, he can
begin to rebalance by giving the property back; if he stole a
pleasure, he can begin to rebalance by giving up some corresponding
But we keep saying "begins," for even one mortal sin means an
infinite imbalance, for the Person offended is infinite. The Father
did not have to arrange for this rebalance, but in His holiness, or
love of all that is good, He willed to do so. That He could do only by
sending a Divine Person, His Son, to become man. A divine Person
incarnate could generate an infinite value, to really rebalance the
scale. That is what the redemption was. Christ by His horrible
sufferings put back into the scales more than all sinners had taken.
April 12th - St. Zeno of Verona, bishop
(Also known as Zenone)
(died. C, 372)
There is a 13th century statue of St. Zeno in the magnificent old
Basilica of St. Zeno Major, Verona, Italy, which represents this
ancient bishop, enthroned, holding his crosier with his left hand and
blessing with his right, smiling as he does so.
Why the smile? Most saints’ images are serious-faced. Whatever the
reason, it makes this able prelate, described by his contemporary St.
Ambrose of Milan as “a bishop of holy memory”, seem all the more approachable. Although he ruled a diocese in northern Italy, Zeno was
probably of African origin. (If Zeno was indeed African, that does not
mean he was a black. The most prominent people along the Mediterranean
coast of Africa were usually Caucasian Europeans.)
St. Zeno apparently became bishop of Verona in 362. What he was like
as a bishop, we can gather from snippets of his own writings and from
the development of Catholicism in his diocese.
At his first arrival in Verona, Bishop Zeno found two major problems.
First, there were still many pagans in the vicinity. Second, the
heresy of Arianism (which denied the divinity of Christ) was
widespread. Zeno records that he baptized a large number of pagans
each year. He also countered the Arians vigorously and successfully.
Thus the number of his diocesans grew so large that he had to build a
larger basilica as his cathedral.
Zeno himself was evidently deeply religious. He trained his priests
carefully and treated them in a fatherly style. He founded a convent
of vowed virgins, and in this he became a pioneering figure in the
Italian development of women’s religious congregations. He strongly
opposed abuses that had arisen in connection with religious rites.
But Zeno’s outstanding trait was his charity. In his own lifestyle he
was a poor man, and he successfully inculcated on his people a
Christian concern for the needy. Verona thus became a city noted for
its generosity. Its citizens opened their homes to the shelterless and anticipated other wants. After 378, when the barbarian Goths conquered
Emperor Valens and enslaved many in northern Italy, the inhabitants of
Verona came to the rescue, ransoming some, snatching others from
death, and freeing still others from hard labor.
His writings show St. Zeno to have been a good theologian for his
times. He not only stoutly defended the dogma of the Trinity; he also
insisted that Mary was “ever virgin”: before, during, and after the
birth of her Son.
Reverence for Zeno only increased once he was dead. In 586 Verona was threatened by the flooding of the river Adige. The Veronese crowded
into their cathedral, to beg their 8th bishop for miraculous
preservation. Their prayers were answered. The flood rose to the
height of the windowsills outside, but never broke into the building.
The congregation remained inside for 24 hours, and by then the waters
St. Zeno is usually pictured holding a fishpole with a fish on the
hook. Maybe it is because he was a “fisher of men”. But maybe it was
also because he enjoyed fishing for relaxation – a pleasant thought.
By the way, this “smiling saint” is also invoked for children who are
just learning to speak and talk!
How can a man say he believes in Christ if he doesn't do what Christ
commanded him to do?
--St. Cyprian of Carthage
If anyone does not restrain his tongue, that man's religion is vain.
O my Jesus ! how do I behold Thee weighed down with sorrow and sadness
! Ah, too much reason hast Thou to think that while Thou dost suffer
even to die of anguish upon this wood, there are yet so few souls that
have the heart to love Thee! O my God! how many hearts are there at
the present moment, even among those that are consecrated to Thee, who
either love Thee not, or love Thee not enough! O beautiful flame of
love, thou that didst consume the life of a God upon the cross, oh,
consume me too; consume all the disorderly affections which live in my
heart, and make me live burning and sighing only for that loving Lord
of mine, who, for love of me, was willing to end his life, consumed by torments, upon a gibbet of ignominy! O my beloved Jesus! I wish ever
to love Thee, and Thee alone, alone ; my only wish is to love my love,
my God, my all.
--From The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori: