From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Wed Nov 10 23:49:26 2021
"Here is a brief teaching: you should realize that he gives with mercy
when he gives and takes away with mercy when he takes away. Yet do not
think that you are neglected by his mercy, since he either bolsters
you through his gifts lest you weaken, or corrects you in your pride
lest you perish."
--St. Augustine--Commentary on Psalm 144, 4
Prayer: Lord, you have become a refuge for us, that you might care for
those who deserted you. You are a refuge so that you can encourage and
guide your children.
--St. Augustine--Sermon 55, 6
November 11th - St. Mennas, Martyr
THE outline of the legend of St. Mennas (Menas) is that he was an
Egyptian by birth and a soldier in the Roman army. He was at Cotyaeum
in Phrygia when the persecution of Diocletian began, whereupon he
deserted and hid himself in the mountains, where he led a life of
prayer and austerity. On the occasion of some games at Cotyaeum he
left his hiding-place and displayed himself in the amphitheatre,
announcing that he also was a Christian. He was arrested and brought
before the president who, after having him beaten and tortured,
ordered him to be beheaded. His remains were recovered and brought
back to Egypt, where the miracles reported at his tomb soon made it a
great centre of devotion. The cultus of St. Mennas spread far and wide
in the East, his true history was overlaid and distorted by fictions
and embellishments which brought him into the ranks of the "warrior
saints ", and he was credited with absurd wonders) one of them (which,
however, he shares with SS. Cosmas and Damian) being, in the words of Tillemont, "in the highest degree scandalous ".
Father Delehaye is of the opinion that all that can be fairly
certainly known about St. Mennas is that he was an Egyptian who was
martyred and buried in his native place. Churches were built in his
honour at, among other places, Cotyaeum, and these gave rise to
mythical duplicates of the martyr connected with those cities. The
great shrine of St. Mennas, built over his tomb, was at flumma (Karm
Abu-Mina), south-west of Alexandria, which was a principal pilgrimage
sanctuary until the Arab invasion in the seventh century. Its ruins,
basilica, monastery, baths, secular buildings, were excavated by Mgr
K. M. Kaufmann in 1905-08, who found innumerable traces of the former
popular cultus of the martyr. Among them were numerous phials bearing
such inscriptions as " Souvenir of St. Mennas ", which were shown to
have been made to contain water from a well near the shrine.
Such phials had been long previously found elsewhere in Africa and in
Europe, and had hitherto been supposed to have contained " oil of St.
Mennas taken from the lamps in the church. In 1943 the Orthodox
patriarch of Alexandria, Christopher II, issued an encyclical letter
in which he attributed the saving of Egypt from invasion at the battle
of Alamein to "the prayers to God of the holy and glorious great
martyr Mennas, the wonder-worker of Egypt "; and he put forward a
project for restoring the saint's ruined sanctuary near Alamein as a
memorial to the fallen.
The Roman Martyrology mentions to-day another ST MENNAS, who was a
solitary in the Abruzzi. He was a Greek from Asia Minor whose
holiness and zeal are spoken of by Pope St. Gregory in his Dialogues.
Like the great St. George, we have here to do with a martyr of whose
historical existence, owing to his localized, wide-spread and early
cult, we can hardly entertain a doubt, but whose story has been lost
and supplied at a later date by deliberate fabrication. Starting from
this primitive fiction it has been transmitted to subsequent
generations with endless varieties of detail, and translated into many languages, oriental and western.
<> The Greek passio is known to us in three distinct families, but
the kernel recognizable in all of them has been obtained by the simple
process of borrowing the story of another martyr and giving him a new
name. The martyr in this case was St. Gordius, whose conflict is
described to us in a panegyric preached by St. Basil. An immense
amount of research has been lavished upon St. Mennas by such scholars
as Krumbacher, Delehaye, P. Franchi de' Cavalieri, K. M. Kaufmann and
others. What is of main interest is that the cradle of the cultus of
this Egyptian martyr was brought to light in the present century
through the excavations of Mgr Kaufmann. It has been described in his
folio volume, Die Menas-stadt und das Nationalheiligtum der
altchristlichen Aegypter (1910). Father Delehaye in particular has
written very fully on the subject. See the Analecta Bollandiana, vol.
xxix (1910), pp. 117-150; and vol. xliii, pp. 46-49; Origines du culte
des martyrs (1933), pp. 222-223 and passim; Les passions des martyrs
et les genres litteraires, pp. 388-389 ; and CMH., pp. 595-596. See
also Budge, Texts relating to St. Mena of Egypt (1909) ; P. Franchi
de' Cavalieri in Studi e Testi, vol. xix (1908), pp. 42-108 ; and H.
Leclercq in DAC., vol. xi, cc. 324-397, where also is a full
A slight sabre-cut will separate my head from my body, like the spring
flower which the Master of the garden gathers for His pleasure. We are
all flowers planted on this earth, which God plucks in His own good
time: some a little sooner, some a little later . . . Father and son
may we meet in Paradise. I, poor little moth, go first. Adieu.
--Saint Theophane in a letter to his father just before his martyrdom
Every individual is capable of sin and every individual can by God's
grace repent of sin. As Jesus said in the parable about the rich man,
"For God, everything is possible." (Matt. 19:25-26)
THIRTY-ONE DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SOULS
According to St. Paul, the Apostle, the honor and glory of God
should be the principal motive of all our actions: "Whether you eat or
drink, or whatsoever else you do; do all things for the glory of God"
(I. Cor. x. 31.) "The glorification of God" ought to be our special
aim in our works, most particularly in our acts of charity for the
dead; and justly so, for, by delivering these holy souls, we lead them
to Heaven, where alone God is perfectly known, loved, and glorified.
If St. Teresa and other saints have declared their readiness to
suffer all tortures imaginable for the promotion of God's glory in a
single degree, what should not we do and suffer for the deliverance of
these souls from the flames of Purgatory, since by doing so we
increase His glory by millions of degrees, and not for one moment
only, but for eternity!
Prayer: Increase, O Lord! Thy honor and glory, that all created beings
may praise Thy mercy forever, because Thou hast shown clemency towards
the souls who love Thee and ardently desire to behold Thee. Comfort
them, then, O Lord! Let them behold Thy face in the land of the
blessed, where they shall honor, praise, and glorify Thee, world
without end. Amen.
Special Intercession: Pray for the souls, who, while on earth,
promoted the glory of God.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine
upon them; may they rest in peace. Amen. (Three times)
Practice: Make a good intention before every work which you perform.