• You cannot believe in God and keep your selfish ways.

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    You cannot believe in God and keep your selfish ways.

    You cannot believe in God and keep your selfish ways. The old self
    shrivels up and dies, and upon the re-born soul God's image becomes
    stamped. The gradual elimination of selfishness in the growth of love
    for God and your fellow human beings is the goal of life. At first,
    you have only a faint likeness to the Divine, but the picture grows
    and takes on more and more of the likeness of God until those who see
    you can see in you some of the power of God's grace at work in a human
    life. I pray that I may develop that faint likeness I have to the
    Divine. I pray that others may see in me some of the power of God's
    grace at work
    --From Twenty-Four Hours a Day

    August 7th – St. Sixtus II, Pope M, & Companions MM
    (Also Known as Xystus)

    Died August 6, 258; feast day formerly on August 6. Pope Sixtus II was
    a Greek philosopher who embraced the Christian faith, served as a
    deacon in Rome, reached this pinnacle of the church's offices on
    August 30, 257, and lasted in it no more than a year, suffering a
    brave martyr's death. His name is in the canon of the Roman Mass.

    Although Sixtus II was convinced that anyone baptized by a heretic was
    truly baptized, he nevertheless refused to excommunicate or otherwise
    punish those theologians who disagreed with him. In his correspondence
    with Saint Dionysius of Alexandria and Firmilian of Antioch, he upheld
    the Roman position of their validity. Nevertheless, he resumed
    relations with Saint Cyprian and the churches of Africa and Asia Minor
    which had been ruptured by Pope Saint Stephen I, his predecessor. In
    later centuries, the Church decreed that provided a heretic had
    properly used the formulas of baptism, any person so baptized could
    not be held to be outside the Christian faith. Why should a man who
    had embraced the faith be considered a pagan simply because the one
    who performed the rite of baptism was in error in his own beliefs?

    In 253, Valerian, was the chief of the senate, was elected emperor. At
    first he was more favorably disposed toward the Christians than any of
    the emperors before him had been, except Philip; and his palace was
    full of Christians. Thus, the church enjoyed 3½ years of peace.
    Valerian fell under the influence of the Persian archmagician named
    Macrianus, who persuaded the emperor that the Christians, as avowed
    enemies of magic and the gods, obstructed the effects of the
    sacrifices, and the prosperity of his empire.

    According to Saint Cyprian who considered Sixtus an excellent prelate,
    Valerian had set forth his first decree condemning Christianity in
    April 257. Shortly, Saint Stephen I was martyred. This persecution
    lasted 3½ years until he was taken prisoner by the Persians. Valerian
    ordered that the farms and estates, the honors and the goods, the
    freedom and even the lives of those who refused to renounce their
    faith should be sacrificed. When the persecution intensified the
    following year, Cyprian wrote to his fellow African bishops:

    "Valerian has sent an order to the senate to the effect that bishops,
    priests, and deacons should forthwith die [even if they are willing to conform], but that senators, persons of quality, and Roman knights
    should forfeit their honors, should have their estates forfeited, and
    if they still refused to sacrifice, should lose their heads; that
    matrons should have their goods seized, and be banished; that any of
    Caesar's officers or domestics who already confessed the Christian
    faith, or should now confess it, should forfeit their estates to the
    exchequer, and should be sent in chains to work in Caesar's farms. To
    this order the emperor subjoined a copy of the letters which he hath
    dispatched to the presidents of the several provinces concerning us;
    which letter I expect, and hope will soon be brought hither.

    "Sixtus suffered in a cemetery on the 6th day of August, and with him
    four deacons. The Roman officers are very keen on this persecution:
    the people brought before them are certain to suffer and forfeit their
    estates. Please notify my colleagues of these details so that our
    brothers may be ready everywhere for their great conflict, that we all
    may think of immortality rather than death and derive joy rather than
    fear from this confession, in which the soldiers of Christ, as we
    know, are not so much killed as crowned."

    The pope took refuge in the catacombs of Praetextatus on the Appian
    Way. There he was discovered preaching to his flock, seated in his
    chair. According to some accounts he was still seated, when he was
    beheaded. Others say that he was taken away for examination and
    returned to the scene for execution. It is certain that he was
    beheaded in the cemetery. The Roman Martyrology says that he was
    martyred with his deacons (Felicissimus and Agapitus), subdeacons
    (Januarius, Magnus, Stephen, and Vincent), and Quartus. (Quartus owes
    his existence to a bad transcript in which "diaconus Quartus" (the
    deacon, Quartus) was written in place of the original "diacones
    quattuor" (four deacons).) It is likely that Sixtus suffered with all
    seven of the deacons of Rome, the six mentioned today, and Saint
    Lawrence; the four may not have been subdeacons.

    Their bodies were carried across the Appian Way by their mourners, and
    placed in the cemetery of Saint Callixtus. He was one of the most
    highly esteemed martyrs of the early Roman church; however, the
    sayings of a pagan moralist, named Sextus, were wrongly attributed to
    Sixtus in the middle ages (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, White).

    In art, Saint Sixtus is shown holding a money-bag, with his deacon
    Saint Lawrence and Saint John the Baptist. At times he may be depicted
    (1) ordaining Saint Lawrence [Fra Angelico]; (2) giving Lawrence a bag
    of money to give to the poor; or (3) as he is greeted by Lawrence on
    his way to martyrdom (Roeder).

    Saint Quote:
    These symbolize (Proverbs 30:14) the greedy and usurers whose teeth
    are swords and knifes which they use to devour the poor and steal
    their meager possessions. All of them are children of this world who
    consider the children of light to be stupid and believe themselves to
    be the prudent ones. Their prudence is their death.
    --Saint Anthony of Padua

    Bible Quote:
    But the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever: the thoughts of his
    heart to all generations. To deliver their souls from death; and feed
    them in famine.  (Ps. xxxii. 11,19)

    He did all things well.  [Mark 7:37 ]

    1. All our good and all our evil certainly lies in the character of
    our actions. As they are, so are we; for we are the tree, and they the
    fruit, and, therefore, they prove what each one is.
    --St. Augustine

    A servant of God, at the point of death, once spoke thus: "Now I know
    that totum opus nostrum in operatione consistit--our actions are our
    sole concern."

    St. Aloysius Gonzaga set down in writing a resolution that he would do
    all in his power that everyone of his actions might be good, and bring
    him nearer to God.

    St. Bonaventure used to excite himself and others to constant
    occupation in good works by often repeating this beautiful sentiment:
    Every hour that we waste in sloth, we lose a glory equal to the good
    works we might have performed in it.

    ( "A Year with the Saints".  August: Diligence)

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