From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Wed Feb 15 00:31:48 2023
The Gifts of God
Since I am not so proud as to pry into the gifts of God, I cannot say
why it is that some people appear to be naturally inclined to
temperance or silence or purity or modesty or meekness or contrition.
Others have to fight hard against their own natures to acquire these,
they have to force themselves on to the best of their ability,
suffering occasional defeat along the way; and it seems to me that the
very fact of having to struggle against their own natures somehow puts
them into a higher category than the first kind.
--Excerpt from sermon of St. John Climacus.
15 February – Saint Sigfrid of Sweden
(Died 11th Century)
Apostle of Sweden, Bishop, Missionary, Miracle-worker – born at
Glastonbury, England in the 10th Century and died in c 1045 at
Vaexjoe, Sweden of natural causes. Patronage – Sweden.
Sigfrid is said to have been born in Glastonbury, England in the
second half of the 10th century. It is said that St Alphege,
Archbishop of Canterbury, converted him to the Christian faith.
Sigfrid was an eminent Priest in York who was sent by the legendary
King Mildred to assist in the Christianisation of Scandanavia.
At the behest of Olaf I Tryggvason, Sigfrid arrived in Norway in 995
with two bishops and his three nephews (Saint Winaman, Saint Unaman
and Saint Sunaman) who were Cluniac monks. There he became a court
Bishop for the Norwegian King and traveled to engage a tenacious
adversary of Christianity, the renowned pagan sorcerer Raud the
Strong. Inclement weather prevented landfall, so Sigfrid took his
liturgical vestments to the prow and, lighting tapers and incense,
placed a cross upon the stern and read from the Holy Gospel before
blessing the vessel with holy water. The sail was ordered to be stowed
away and the king’s ships rowed into the ford, at which point a
miracle occurred wherein their passage stayed calm while a storm raged
Due to the Battle of Svolder of 999-1000, Sigfrid and his nephews left
for Sweden in 1002 where they founded three churches. This area was
already being Christianised by the bishop Odinkar Hvite the Elder, who
was based in Skara. Thus Sigfrid and his nephews went east to the
region of Värend in Småland to continue their missionary efforts,
erecting first a cross and then building a wooden church on the shores
of Växjö Lake. Soon, 11 prominent men of the area were soon brought to
the Christian faith and baptised in a spring near the mountain
Ostrabo. Their influence began a steady stream of pilgrims, who
flocked to hear the Word of God and gaze upon Sigfrid’s silken
vestments, gold and silver vessels and other beautiful objects brought
with him from England. King Olof Skötkonung soon became curious and
sent a trusted councillor to investigate the matter. According to the councillor, as Sigfrid lifted the paten during the Divine Liturgy, the
host became a young Boy, whom he kissed, at which time the vision
disappeared. Astonished by this, the king sent for the holy Bishop
immediately but en route, Sigfrid made a detour in Utvängstorp to
enlighten and Baptise the people there.
In 1008, Sigfrid Baptised the royal family in a spring near the
village of Husaby, making Olof Skötkonung the first Christian King of
Sweden, which marked the beginning of the Christianisation of Sweden.
Sigfrid next traveled north to re-establish the See of Uppsala that
had been founded by St Ansgar but the reversion to paganism was too
strong in the region and he left in failure. During this time, the
English Bishop Gotebald was sent from the Danish frontier city of Lund
to Scania, where he built its first church and was appointed Bishop.
In 1014, Olof Skötkonung assisted Sigfrid in the establishment of the
Diocese of Husaby (later Skara), which became a suffragan of the
Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen. The first Diocesan Dishop, a German
named Thurgaut, was consecrated by Sigfrid.
Entrusting the administration of Växjö to Unaman and his brothers,
Sigfrid left to spread Christianity in Denmark. While he was gone,
however, a local greedy nobleman gathered a group of pagans together
to kill Sigfrid’s nephews and ransack the church in Växjö. When
Sigfrid returned from his mission, he found his nephews’ heads in a
weighted tub at the bottom of Lake Helgasjön near the church. The
bodies were buried deep inside a forest. According to Sigfrid, the
heads still possessed the ability to speak and told him the names of
their murderers. Sigfrid glorified God that He allowed Unaman,
Sunaman, and Winaman to become Martyrs. Soon Olof Skötkonung heard of
the occurrence in Växjö and offered to execute the perpetrators, which Sigfrid refused. The King also offered to extract from them monetary compensation, which the saint also refused. Finally, Sigfrid requested
landed property and was gifted the estates known as Hof and Tjuby. The
laying of foundation remained extremely difficult for the destitute
Bishop but he eventually rebuilt the church and placed inside of it
the relics of his holy kin.
In his old age, Sigfrid had become very forgetful, once, he ordered a
bath drawn during a fasting day and a voice came down and reproached
him, at which point he removed himself from the bath and repented. He
visited Bremen in 1030 and reposed in the Lord in 1045. His relics
were placed below the high altar of the Växjö church and performed
many miracles until the shrine was dismantled after the Swedish
Reformation. Sigfrid’s legacy continued under his disciples, Bishops
David and Eskil, who were later Martyred.
St Sigfrid was Canonised by Pope Adrian IV in c 1158.
Monks and nuns can have a fixed daily rule of life but this is not
possible for everybody.
However, everybody will find it useful to have a general timetable
capable of being varied to suit different circumstances.
In constructing a general rule of life for ourselves, we should keep
two things in mind, namely, the division of the day into periods and
the way in which we shall behave during these periods.
It is hopeless to begin the day without any pre-arranged plan.
Either, there is gong to be order, or disorder.
If there is disorganisation, it will produce two results.
(1) There will be hurry and confusion in fulfilling those duties which
have been left over, until the end of the day.
(2) There will be protracted periods of idleness, during which, we
shall persuade ourselves, that there will be plenty of time to get
everything done before nightfall.
To avoid such a situation, everyone should have a timetable, adapted
to his requirements.
Naturally, it should be capable of any reasonable variations, which circumstances may suggest but, in the meantime, it will help us to get
through our day, calmly and with results.
Antonio Cardinal Bacci
Lord, be the Centre of Our Hearts
by St Claude de la Colombiere
O God, what will You do to conquer
the fearful hardness of our hearts?
Lord, You must give us new hearts,
tender hearts, sensitive hearts,
to replace hearts
that are made of marble and of bronze.
You must give us Your own Heart, Jesus.
Come, lovable Heart of Jesus.
Place Your Heart deep in the centre of our hearts
and enkindle in each heart a flame of love
as strong, as great, as the sum of all the reasons
that I have for loving You, my God.
O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart,
so that I may live only in You
and only for You, so that, in the end,
I may live with You eternally in heaven.
"Neither repentance avails without grace, nor grace without
repentance; for repentance must first condemn sin, that grace may
blot it out. So then John, who was a type of the law, came baptizing
for repentance, while Christ came to offer grace."
--St. Ambrose of Milan.
My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. [James 2:1]