From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Tue Dec 14 00:05:35 2021
On Contempt for Worldly Honors [II]
But because I have so often and grievously sinned against Thee,
every creature is rightly in arms against me. Shame and contempt are
my just due; but to Thee, O Lord, be praise, honor and glory. Unless I
am ready, willing and glad to be despised and abandoned by all
creatures and to be regarded as of no consequence, I cannot obtain
inward peace and stability, nor can I become spiritually enlightened
and fully united to You.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Bk 3 Ch 41
December 14th - St. Spiridion
Not much is know in detail about St. Spiridion, a native of Cyprus who
lived in the early fourth century. Certainly he was a married man
(still frequently the case at that time among Catholic bishops); his
means of support was raising sheep and, while he was not a learned
man, he was gifted with courage, devotion and common sense.
One story has come down to us from his lay days that is a little
fabulous but does reflect his character.
One night a gang of thieves invaded Spiridion’s property to steal some
of his sheep. Before they could seize the sheep, however, they were
themselves seized by some invisible power, so that they could neither
grab the animals nor take flight. Spiridion found them thus
immobilized the next morning. He said a prayer and their unseen bonds immediately fell away. The saint did nothing to punish these robbers.
Indeed, feeling a little sorry that they had wasted a whole night, he
gave them a ram to take with them!
After some years, the people of Tremithus chose this decent
sheep-raiser as their bishop. They doubtless knew that he was a simple
man and no genius. Tremithus was a small and impoverished diocese, but
Bishop Spiridion saw to it that his little flock of Christians was
well provided for spiritually. Recompense for his own support didn’t
worry him. He just continued to raise sheep for his livelihood.
In the year 303, the Roman co-emperor Galerius urged Emperor
Diocletian to declare open war on Christians. Luckily, Spiridion did
not become a martyr during this wholesale persecution. He was
arrested, however; they put out one of his eyes, hamstrung his left
leg and sent him off to do hard labor in the mines. Eventually he was
set free, perhaps because the persecution was halted.
Some have said that Bishop Spiridion took in the first ecumenical
council, held at Nicaea in Asia Minor in 325. This does not seem to be
correct. However, a delightful legend arose out of his supposed
En route to the council, he is said to have encountered several other
bishops bound for Nicaea. Because the Bishop of Tremithus was such a
simple soul, these sophisticated bishops were afraid that he might
make a mess of things in the council chamber. To prevent his reaching
there, they told their servants to cut off the heads of the mules of
the saint and his companion, a deacon. When Spiridion arose before
dawn the next day, ready to set out, he saw the dead animals. At once
he ordered his deacon to reattach the severed heads. When this was
done, the animals promptly returned to life. Unfortunately, as the sun
rose, it became evident that the deacon had put the brown head of his
own mule on the bishop’s white mule, and vice versa. It didn’t seem to trouble the mules, so Spiridion was not worried. The two churchmen
rode off at a good clip on their two-toned steeds.
If St. Spiridion was not well educated in many matters, he was at
least deeply acquainted with the scriptures, which he held in the
greatest reverence. Once in a gathering of bishops, St. Triphyllius of
Ledra, preaching on Christ’s healing the paralytic, quoted the
scripture passage, “Take up thy bed and walk,” a little more elegantly
(he thought): “Take up thy couch and walk.” Spiridion asked him,
pointedly, whether the word Our Lord himself had used was not good
Our saint had shown similar good judgment many years before. As a
layman, he and his family had a custom at the beginning of the Lenten
fast, of eating no food at all for the first few days. Early one Lent,
a tired, hungry traveler stopped by and asked for hospitality.
Spiridion’s family, fasting, had no bread to offer. The bishop did
have some salt pork, however, and he ordered this to be cooked and
served to the guest. The guest declined to eat it. “I am a Christian,”
he said, “and I am unwilling to break Lent.” “So am I,” said the shepherd. “Come, I’ll eat with you.”
It was a good point. Church rules are to be interpreted reasonably.
Fasting is pleasing to God, but charity to neighbor pleases him still
It ought to be our principal object to conquer ourselves, and from day
to day to go on increasing in spiritual strength and perfection. But,
above all, it is necessary that we should study to overcome our little temptations to anger, suspicion, jealousy, envy, duplicity, vanity,
foolish attachments, evil thoughts, and so on: for, by so doing, we
shall gain strength to resist more violent temptations.
--St. Francis of Sales
Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you
are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be
able to bear it (1 Cor. 10:13) DRB
God alone is enough.
Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
God alone is enough
--St Teresa Avila