CHRIST THE SAVIOUR MONASTERY - Christminster
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)
New York, USA
November -- December 2015

NOVEMBER 2015

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
SUN119PENTECOST XXII; St. John of Kronstadt, PC, III; St. Frideswide, AB, IV
MON220
TUE321St. Hilarion, AB, III; St. Ursula and companions, MM, IV
WED422F/A
THU523
FRI624St. Raphael, Archangel, II / [Repose of Dom Joseph Del Giorno, 2014]
SAT725Sts. Crispin and Crispinian, MM, IV
SUN826PENTECOST XXIII
MON927F/A*Vigil
TUE1028Sts. Simon and Jude, AP, II
WED1129F/A
THU1230
FRI1331F/A*Vigil
SAT141All Saints, I
SUN152PENTECOST XXIV
MON163All Souls, II (transferred); St. Winifred, VM, IV
TUE174
WED185F/ASts. Zacharias and Elizabeth, III
THU196St. Iltyd, AB, IV
FRI207F/ASt. Willibrord, BC, IV
SAT218Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, II
SUN229PENTECOST XXV; St. Theodore, M, IV; St. Beon, AB, IV
MON2310
TUE2411St. Martin of Tours, BC, III
WED2512F/A*
- THU2613All Monastic Saints, II; (Thanksgiving Day, USA)
FRI2714All Monastic Souls, II
SAT2815
SUN2916PENTECOST XXVI
MON3017St. Gregory of Tours, BC, III; St. Gregory the Wonderworker, BC, IV; St. Hilda of Whitby, AB, IV


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: October 19/November 1

As you walk through a forest or a meadow and see the young sprouts fruits and blossoms, learn a lesson from God's creation - each summer every sapling generates new growth. So then, say to yourself: With the passing of each day and every year, I also must grow, making moving ahead towards the Heavenly Kingdom and the Heavenly Father, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, who lives and moves within me. As a meadow adorned by myriads of flowers, so also my soul is adorned with flowers of virtues. As trees bring forth blossoms and then fruit, so my soul needs to bear the fruits of faith and good deeds.

Archpriest John Sergiev of Kronstadt
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FRIDESWIDE, the Patron Saint of Oxford and the reputed foundress of that city, was born about the year 735, probably of a South Mercian family of noble rank. And she founded a nunnery at Oxford; which same, in the twelfth century, was rebuilt and re-founded as a theological school by the Austin Canons ; and from this beginning, it is believed that the great University of Oxford came into being. Wherefore, on February 11th, in 1180, her relicks were solemnly translated to the church which had been built in her name, whereafter her shrine became one of the chief pilgrimage places of England. * In 1546 Cardinal Wolsey dissolved the Priory of Saint Frides-wide, and made it into a college : which Henry VIII re-established in 1546 as the House of Christ, or Christ College ; whereupon the Church of Saint Frideswide was used as the college chapel, and later became Christ Church Cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford, where her shrine is still shewn, and the faithful still invoke her prayers. * Many stories grew up around the name of this virgin of God, to wit : that after her father had built her a nunnery at Oxford, a South Mercian prince, who loved her, tried to carry her off; and that she was obliged to flee with two companions to Abingdon, where she concealed herself for three years in a pig's cote. And that to rid herself of her suitor's attentions, she invoked God's aid, who struck him with blindness, from which he recovered only when he firmly resolved to leave the maiden in peace. Which story so frightened the men of England that for many years those with similar illicit passions avoided the shrine of Saint Frideswide, who died in the peace of God about the year 735, after having lived in retirement for a long time in a cell near the town of Thornburg.

Daily Posting: October 20/November 2

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 36:

This is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the Catholic Church, which fights against all errors. She may be attacked, but cannot be overcome. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her. [St. Augustine]

The one and only Catholic and Apostolic Church can never be destroyed, though all the world should seek to make war against it. It is victorious over every impious revolt of the heretics who rise up against it. [St. Alexander of Alexandria]

Daily Posting: October 21/November 3

GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Hilarion may commend us unto thee : that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Hilarion, Abbot, October 21/November 3]
O GOD, who among the manifold works of thine almighty power hast bestowed even upon the weakness of women strength to win the victory of martyrdom : grant, we beseech thee, that we, who on this day recall the heavenly birth of blessed Ursula thy Virgin and Martyr ; may so follow in her footsteps, that we may likewise attain unto thee. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Ursula and Companions, October 21/November 3]
HILARION was born of heathen parentage at Tabatha in Palestine, five miles south of Gaza, about he year 291. Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Salarius, knew him well, and wrote his life, from which the following account is largely taken. As a lad he was sent to study at Alexandria, where he bore a fair name for life and wit. There he embraced the religion of Jesus Christ, and made wonderful headway in faith and love. When the name of Anthony became famous in Egypt, Hilarion made a journey into the desert on purpose to see him, and dwelt with him two months, to the end that he might learn his complete rule of life. After the death of his father and mother, he gave all that he had to the poor. And so, before he had completed the fifteenth year of his age, he went into the desert, and built a little house, scarcely big enough to hold him, and wherein he was used to sleep on the ground. He was a comely and delicate youth, and therefore set about to mortify and harden himself. His food was a few figs and some porridge of vegetables, and this he ate not before set of sun, but his prayer was unceasing. Till his time neither Syria nor Palestine knew of the monastic life, so that Hilarion was the founder of it therein, as Anthony had been in Egypt. He had built many monasteries, and become famous for miracles, when, in the eightieth year of his age, he fell sick. As he was gasping for his last breath, he said : Go out, my soul; what art thou afraid of? And so he gave up the ghost. [Life, St. Hilarion, Abbot, October 21/November 3]
On October 21st is also commemorated holy Ursula and her Companion-Martyrs, who are presumed to have died sometime in the third century ; for an ancient inscription at Cologne giveth proof that certain Virgins were there martyred for Christ in the early days ; and from devotion to these same grew the story that they were natives of Britain, returning from Palestine, and many in number, under the leadership of holy Ursula.) [Life, St. Ursula and Companions, October 21/November 3]
Daily Posting: October 22/November 4

St. John the son of Zebedee was one of the twelve disciples chosen by the Lord with His brother St. James the Elder. He preached the Gospel in Ephesus with his disciple Prochorus. He also went to other places in Asia Minor and many people believed in Christ. He was blessed by taking care of the Lord's mother. He was tortured and then banished to Patmos by the Roman Emperor Domitian. At Patmos he saw his vision and wrote the Book of Revelation. He departed in peace at the age of one hundred.

The Orthodox church maintains the Holy Books of the Old Testament because "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" and also because the Lord Jesus witnessed to it at different occasions. He said: "It is written; man shall not live by bread alone" (Mt 4:4). Also He said: 'For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me' (Jn 5:46). Furthermore, He testified to the writings of the Old Testament in the Gospel of St. Mark (12:10)

Question: In this older Roman tradition, I see less emphasis on continuous reading from the Bible. Isn't the habit of repeating the Easter Day readings each Sunday in Paschaltide, the constant replacing of occurring Scripture by stock passages for Saints' days, and the absence of Old Testament readings for most Masses, unfortunate? Answer: With ancient traditions, it is important to keep the original context. Eclipsed readings are not skipped, but chanted at the end of Mass as provided for in the Missal, or at mealtime afterward. With Matins served each day, one will get perhaps forty times the amount of Old Testament scripture! The old Roman rite is full of rich surprises, and a deep meditative penetration into the holy Word of God.

Daily Posting: October 23/November 5

Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

The sinful soul which does not know the Lord fears death, thinking that the lord will not forgive her sins. But this is because the soul does not know the Lord and how greatly He loves us ... The Lord not only forgives but rejoices exceedingly at the return of a sinner. (St. Silouan)

Beloved children, always remember that God commanded you to honor your father and your mother that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on earth (Ex 20:12, Dt 5:16, Eph 6:3). Dishonoring them is punishable by God (Ex 21:18-21, 27:16). Read the pre-mentioned verses, try to memorize some of them, and apply the commandment to please God.

We thank You, Lord, for love today
For willing hands, for hearts that pray,
And though it be a thorny road
Over which we trudge with heavy load,
Yet by the roadside we may find
The handshake of a comrade kind.

Daily Posting: October 24/November 6

Dom Joseph Del Giorno
October 27, 1946 - - November 6, 2014
Memory Eternal!
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THEE, O Christ, the Father's splendour,
Life and virtue of the heart,
In the presence of the Angels
Sing we now with tuneful art:
Meetly in alternate chorus
Bearing our responsive part.

THUS we praise with veneration
All the armies of the sky;
Chiefly him, the faithful healer
And companion heavenly,
Raphael, by whose princely virtue
Helpless bound the demons lie.

BY whose watchful care repelling,
King of everlasting grace,
Every ghostly adversary,
All things evil, all things base,
Grant us of thine only goodness
In thy Paradise a place.

GLORY to the Father sing we
With resounding voices sweet
Glory unto Christ our Saviour,
Glory to the Paraclete:
Standing forth, One God and Trinal,
Ere the ages; as is meet. Amen.

[Vespers and Matins Hymn [Tibi, Christe, splendor Patris], St. Raphael, Archangel, October 24/November 6]
Daily Posting: October 25/November 7

CRISPIN, and his brother Crispinian, were preachers of Christ, who, in imitation of the Apostle Paul, supported themselves by their own handwork. During the day they preached Christ, and at night they worked as shoemakers. According to the story which was widely circulated concerning them in later times, they came from Rome to spread the Faith in Gaul, toward the middle of the third century. And there they abode in Soissons, where they astonished the heathen by their words and lives, and led many to Christ. For which reason they were tortured in divers cruel ways by Rictiovarus, under the Emperor Maximian, by whose order they were beheaded, about the year 285. According to a local tradition at Faversham in Kent, during one time of their persecutions they fled thither, and followed their trade of shoe-making in that place. They are said to have taken no payment for their work, unless it was offered to them. By which means they disposed men to listen to the Gospel. And they are venerated as the Patrons of shoemakers, cobblers, and other workers in leather. [Life, Sts. Crispin and Crispinian, October 25/November 7]

Daily Posting: October 26/November 8

The Seed of the Church
[by] priest Jovan B. Marjanac

Tertullian, having said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church (Apologeticus, Chapter 50), stated a profound truth echoing Christ's words that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for another. (John 15:13) How much more profound this love must be if one lays down their life for their faith, thus expressing their love for God.

Those who had the spiritual strength to bear torture, suffering, and death just because of their love for the Lord are designated martyrs by the Church; the word martyr stemming from the Greek μάρτυς, or witness. The Orthodox Church designates several different categories of martyrs; great-martyrs for those who suffered particularly gruesome torture, new-martyrs for recent passion-bearer for the faith, hieromartyrs for ordained martyrs, venerable martyrs for those who were monastics.

The apostolic era of the Church, the most precise embodiment of the new covenant, was so successful in spreading Christianity because the apostles decisively affirmed their preaching with action. The relics of their incorrupt bodies, enduring immeasurable pain and humiliation, repeat the path our Lord and Saviour embarked upon Via Dolorosa.

In more recent history, millions of Orthodox Christians have jealously guarded their faith and, sometimes at the hands of their very own neighbours, given lives as the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs. The biggest threat to Christianity in the 20th century was communism, dangerously adjoining atheism to socialism and violently acting to destroy any organization having affiliations with the regimes being ousted.

The Church, by its very nature being obedient and prayerful for any authority, especially those who allow Christ's teaching to prosper, was targeted and wrongfully accused of being an apparatus of medieval imperialist pretension. Needless to say that the Church was often the only voice which defended the human rights of farmers, minorities, and the poor and suffering.

To be continued...

[From: Istochnik (Herald of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Canada Diocese / Issue 90 - August 2014 / pages 27 - 28]

Daily Posting: October 27/November 9

The Seed of the Church
[by] priest Jovan B. Marjanac - - continued

The logic of the new "International", deprived of Godly love, was convinced that by slaughtering peaceful and willing-to-compromise believers it would break the back of Christianity. This was most obvious in the Soviet Block, but the Balkans was by no means spared. Today when ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaida call out blood curdling screams, they merely echo the last sounds millions of Christians heard, being martyred at the hands of Muslim extremists from the times of the violent spread of Islam, to the Ottoman Empire which handicapped the Orthodox Church in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece.

Only two decades ago the Serbs were smeared as intolerant butchers of Bosnian Muslims, when in reality thousands of ethnic Arab mujahideen (read terrorists) attempted to annex a Christian part of Europe, merely scattered with remnants of oppressive Ottoman rule in remote regions of the Former Yugoslavian landscape. The pictures of beheaded Serbian Orthodox men circled the world but they found few willing to recognize them for what they are. Today when this happens on a much wider scale in Africa and Asia, the world is in shock and western mass media is mesmerized with the idea of liquidating an "evil" empire.

What is our role in all of this? As Orthodox Christians we are obliged to pray for those who are being persecuted, those who persecute, and those who are being scandalized by these acts of persecution. Certainly we are allowed to support, or not support, political and military actions against various factions. But this is not in the domain of our spiritual obligations.

The martyrs teach us to bear our cross for Christ, and to witness his suffering and passion with love inspired by the Holy Spirit. St. Siluan the Athonite says: "love inspired by the Holy Spirit, sweet and gracious, draws the soul to love the Lord, and in the sweetness of the Holy Spirit the soul loses her fear of suffering." (Wisdom from Mount Athos. 1938)

The death of martyrs is the reward guaranteeing resurrection. They expressed their love for God and his creation so much that they were willing to eliminate hatred in the world by allowing enemies to kill their bodies for Him. We need not be afraid for Christ is risen! Those who share in the pain of Christ shall rejoice in His glory.

[From: Istochnik (Herald of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Canada Diocese / Issue 90 - August 2014 / pages 27 - 28]

Daily Posting: October 28/November 10

SIMON the Canaanite was also called Zelotes. Thaddeus, who is also called Jude the brother of James in the Gospels, was the author of one of the General Epistles. Simon travelled through Mesopotamia, and Jude through Egypt, preaching the Gospel. Afterwards they met in Persia, where they begat innumerable children in Christ Jesus, and spread the faith through these wide regions, instructing the barbarians both by teaching and by miracles. Finally together they magnified the most holy Name of Jesus Christ by glorious martyrdom. [Life, Sts. Simon and Jude, October 28/November 10]
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God's works are great like Himself, they are the products of His infinite wisdom and power. They are entertaining and exercising to those who have pleasure in them. The works of the Lord are a proper subject of our mediation when we are praising Him.

The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. [Ps 111:2]

Daily Posting: October 29/November 11

The light of the soul is the power of its discerning between good and evil, truth and falsehood. If we aim at truth only and seek it the whole body is full of light.

Take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

When the Lord Jesus returns, it will be a time of separation: the wise will be separated from the foolish the faithful servant from the unfaithful, the blessed from the cursed.

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Want to feel happy!!
Live in the future glory that is prepared for you; rejoice in the hope of that which awaits you above. Then the coming glory and all its joy will become a present-day reality. Live in this hope, and sadness will disappear.

Daily Posting: October 30/November 12

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 37:

As there are many rays of the sun, but one light... thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light that is everywhere diffused. [St. Cyprian of Carthage]

Hear this, you of the laity, the elect Church of God. The people were formerly called "the people of God," and "a holy nation." You, therefore, are the holy and sacred Church of God, enrolled in heaven, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people, a bride adorned for the Lord God, a great Church, a faithful Church. [Anonymous (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)]

We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. [Tertullian]

Daily Posting: October 31/November 13

God desires to offer the chance of repentance to His entire beloved, confirming it by His capable will. Therefore, let us obey His great and glorified will; and as we beseech Him asking for His mercy and compassion, forsaking all wrong doing, animosity, and envy that lead to death we get back to Him, casting ourselves under His merciful will. (St. Clement)

The Lord Jesus taught His disciples a good lesson in carrying their duty. Though they have toiled long and caught nothing they have to continue unwearied in their labor and relying on Christ's word they will see the success.

Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.

I won't worry about tomorrow, Lord,
I'll leave that up to You.
I place my faith and trust in You
In whatever You decide to do.

To shine Your light within my heart
Is my heartfelt, earnest prayer.
I'll cast my cares upon You, Lord,
For I know that You are always there.

Daily Posting: November 1/14

Sermon by St. Bede the Venerable, Priest
Homily 70 - - On All Saints

On this day, dearly beloved, we keep the festival of All Saints under one joyful celebration; in whose society heaven rejoices, under whose patronage earth is glad, by whose triumph holy Church is crowned. In their confession, the more grievous was their suffering, so much the brighter now shines their glory; for while the conflict increased, so also did the glory of the contest increase, and the triumph of martyrdom was derived from multiplicity of suffering; and, moreover, the weightier the torments, the weightier were the future rewards.

And now our Mother the Catholic Church, spread far and wide throughout the world, has been taught, in her head, Christ Jesus, to fear neither shame, nor cross, nor death; she had flourished more and more, not by resisting but by enduring: and into all those who have been gloriously united in the bonds of suffering she has breathed a like and equal ardour of courage, inspiring them to enter into battle and to triumph gloriously.

O truly blessed Mother Church, glorified by such grace of divine honour, and adorned with the blood of victorious Martyrs, thou art decked in the spotless purity of unbroken faith. Thou lackest neither roses nor lilies in thy garland. And now, dearly beloved, let each one strive to receive the highest honour of these two awards: either the white crown of virginity, or the red crown of martyrdom. In the heavenly armies, peace and war have each their own garlands, with which the soldiers of Christ are crowned.

For the ineffable great goodness of God provides this, that the time of toilings and sufferings should not be prolonged, should not be drawn out or endless, but short and, in a manner of speaking, momentary; that in this brief and short life there should be sufferings, but in that which is eternal, crowns and rewards for merits; that toils should be quickly ended, but rewards for merits last forever; that after the darkness of this world the Saints should see the light of shining brightness and receive blessedness greater than all their bitter sufferings, the Apostle bearing witness to this in the place where he says: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Daily Posting: November 2/15

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 37:

The Church herself, which should be the appeaser of God in all things, what is she but the exasperater of God? [Salvian]

Remember, Lord, Your Church. Deliver it from all evil and perfect it in Your love; and gather it together from the four winds -- the Church that has been sanctified -- into Your kingdom which You have prepared for it. [Anonymous (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)]

Daily Posting: November 3/16

From: Treatise on Caring for the Dead,
by St. Augustine the Bishop

ALL such things as embalming the body, selecting a fitting place for burial, and bearing the corpse thereto with due dignity, are comfort for the living, rather than help for the dead. Nevertheless, it doth not follow that the bodies of the departed are to be despised, or treated as naught, and specially in the case of just men and faithful ; for the bodies of such men were used by their spirits in this life for godly purposes, that is, as organs and vessels of all good works. [And there is not only the sacredness of the body to consider, but also the demands of filial piety.] Hence, if a father's garment or ring, or any like thing, is dear to his bereaved family because of their natural affections, in no wise ought the dead body of the deceased to be held in dishonour. For man doth wear his body in more familiar and intimate wise than anything he putteth thereon. Furthermore, the body doth not belong to anything which is applied outwardly for its adornment or welfare. Rather the body belongeth to the very nature of man. Wherefore, as we know from the records of just men of old, funeral rites have been wont to be fulfilled as a matter of dutiful piety, and have been reverently celebrated, and decent graves provided. Yea, such men of old, whilst still alive, often charged their children, as a matter of filial duty, with directions concerning their burial, and even concerning the future translation of their bodies.

Daily Posting: November 4/17

O Christ, who art covered with light as though it were a garment, Who for my sake stood naked before Pilate; clothe me with that might which Thou didst cause to overshadow the saints, whereby they conquered this world of struggle. May Thy Divinity, Lord, take pleasure in me, and lead me above the world to be with Thee. [St. Isaac the Syrian]

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. [Ps 42:1]

We cannot be disciples of Jesus unless, like the good soldier, we leave everything behind and endure the hardness which a good soldier of Christ must expect.

Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Daily Posting: November 5/18

O GOD, who didst make blessed Elisabeth and Holy Zacharias illustrious by reason of their patient waiting upon thee in prayer, and that they might not be disappointed of their hope, didst give them a son when they were both well stricken in years : be pleased through the intercession of them both, to grant us such faith in thy promises as never to falter in our waiting upon thee. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth, November 5/18]
Daily Posting: November 6/19

Eternal Memory!

November 17, 2015
HAITI: FR. GREGOIRE LEGOUTE REPOSED IN THE LORD

On Tuesday, November 17, Priest Gregoire Legouté, cleric of the Haitian Mission of the Eastern American Diocese, reposed in the Lord. He was 53 years old. Fr. Gregoire was born in Les Cayes, Haiti in 1962. He converted to Holy Orthodoxy and, in 1996, was tonsured a reader and ordained subdeacon and deacon by Bishop Hilarion of Manhattan. In 2002, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael of Geneva & Western Europe, and served the Haitian Mission with distinction for 13 years, spiritually nourishing the seven parishes of the Mission alongside his brother-priest, Fr. Jean Chenier-Dumais. He is survived by his Matushka Rose, and their two daughters, Anastasia and Chrissy. Memory eternal to the newly reposed Priest Gregoire!

About his school.

To help the school.

To help the family.

Daily Posting: November 7/20

O GOD, who didst vouchsafe to send thy blessed Saint Willibrord to preach thy glory to the Gentiles : we humbly pray thee ; that, by his intercession, we may both see and know the things which we ought to do, and by thy mercy be enabled to perform the same. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Willibrord, November 7/20]

WILLIBRORD was born in Northumberland, being the son of a godly Englishman named Wilgis, who became a monk, and was a most holy man. Before Willibrord was seven years of age, he was taken to the monastery of Ripon, and given in charge to Saint Wilfrid, the founder and ruler thereof, to be trained up in a holy life and learning. There, in a short while, he wonderfully stepped forward, not in knowledge only, but also in grace, and led the life of a monk until the twentieth year of his age. Then he had a desire for a harder life, and with the leave of his Abbot and brethren, went into Ireland to the holy men Egbert and Wigbert, who both had journeyed thither for the love of heavenly things. In their devout companionship and conversation, and amid the most excellent teachers of godliness and sacred learning, with whom the Isle of the Saints then abounded, this future teacher of many nations passed twelve years, and himself gained learning and character.

SOMEWHERE around the age of thirty he was ordained priest, and was sent by Egbert to convert the pagans of Friesland, along with eleven companions of his own countryfolk eminent for learning and holiness of life, among whom were Saints Swithbert and Adalbert. He landed at Utrecht, and was welcomed, along with his companions, by Pepin of Heristal, who had brought Southern Friesland under his power, and who mightily helped the preaching of the Gospel, so that in a short while many were turned from the worshipping of idols unto the Christian Faith. Thereafter Willibrord journeyed to Rome to seek a wider knowledge of missionary work in that great Christian centre, where he was welcomed by Saint Pope Sergius I who sent him back much comforted. Later, when Saint Wilfrid had consecrated holy Swithbert as regionary bishop, Pepin sent Willibrord to Rome to be consecrated Archbishop by the same holy Pope Sergius.

WILLIBRORD returned to Friesland as soon as he could, and established his See at Utrecht. He proclaimed the Word of God with much fruit in Friesland, Holland, Zeeland, and Flanders, (even unto the uttermost tribes of those countries,) brake their idols, destroyed their temples and shrines, dedicated many temples to Christ, and established bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church, eminent for knowledge and grace. He founded houses of religious of both sexes, among which the principal was that for monks at Echternach, in Luxemburg, the government whereof he himself took, and held until his death. At length, after a life of holy and unwearied apostolic labours, he passed away, to be ever with Christ, on November 7th, 739, and of his own age the eighty-first. He is usually reckoned as the Apostle of the Frisians, for it was through his labours and those of his blessed companions, especially of Saint Swithbert, that this barbarous people were made gentle in Christ. He was buried in the Abbey of Echternach. After his death his apostolic labours were taken up by many other Englishmen, eminent among whom were Saints Willehad, Marcellinus, and Lebwin, all of whom are commemorated in the Martyrology.

[Life, St. Willibrord, November 7/20]

Daily Posting: November 8/21

O God who didst show forth thy Divine Wisdom in ancient times through thy patriarchs and prophets, grant that we may imitate their example on earth and enjoy their intercession in heaven. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, November 8/21]

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Those who speak from God will speak for God, and for His glory. False teachers are unrighteous; they are unjust to God and unjust to the souls of men whom they impose upon. Those who pretend a zeal for the church by judging others and by violence are not keepers of the law of God, but are seekers for their self-glory.

He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness in Him.

Daily Posting: November 9/22

Of this Theodore (known as The Tyro, that is, the recruit) a panegyric is extant, attributed to lint Gregory of Nyssa, in which the Saint is thus invoked : As a soldier, fight for us! as a Martyr, win us peace! He is reputed to have been a Christian soldier, who was arrested in the fourth century, during the reign of the Emperor Maximian, for having set on fire a temple of idols, And it is said that the Commander of the Legion offered him pardon if he would but profess repentance for his act, and curse the Christian Faith, and that, as he stedfastly refused, he was cast into prison. And that there he was tormented with iron claws, and yet whilst they tore the flesh off his ribs, he sang joyfully the thirty-third Psalm : I will bless the Lord at all times. And that thereafter he was thrown upon a pile of burning wood, whereupon still praising God and praying, he gave up his soul to Christ, about the year 306. And the Lady Eusebia is said to have wrapped his body in a winding-sheet and buried the same on her own farm. [Collect, St. Theodore, November 9/22]

O God, who hast set about us the protection of the glorious confession of thy blessed Martyr Theodore : grant that we may ever profit by the following of his ensample ; and be sustained by the succour of intercession. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Theodore, November 9/22]

Daily Posting: November 10/23

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 38:

Feed us, the children, as sheep. Yes, Master, fill us with righteousness. Pasture Your own. Feed us, O Tutor, on Your holy mountain, the Church, which towers aloft, which is above the clouds, which touches heaven. [St. Clement of Alexandria]

Follow the custom of the Church where you happen to be. [St. Ambrose of Milan]

Let us choose to belong to the Church of life, that we may be saved. I do not think you are ignorant that the living Church is the Body of Christ. [Pseudo-Clement]

Daily Posting: November 11/24

MARTIN (according to the account written of his life by his friend Saint Sulpicius Severus, from which is taken most of what is herein given for his feast) was born at Sabaria, in Pannonia. When he was ten years old he became a catechumen, in spite of his father and mother, who were heathens. Now his father was an officer in the army, who had risen from the ranks ; and therefore Martin, at the age of fifteen, was forced into the army against his will, and served as a soldier first under Constantius and then under Julian. Once at the gate of Amiens a poor man asked him for an alms for Christ's Name's sake, and since he had nothing to his hand but his arms and his clothes, he gave him half of his cloak. In the night following he dreamt that Christ appeared to him clad in the half of his cloak, and saying to the Angels who bore him company : While Martin was yet a catechumen, he clad me in this garment. Whereupon Martin made haste to be baptized.

He was eighteen years of age when he thus put on Christ, and thereafter he gave up the life of a soldier, and betook himself to Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was placed in the order of acolytes. Being afterwards made Bishop of Tours, and that much against his will, (for he was taken by force and consecrated,) he gave himself to his office with diligence. But for his episcopal residence, he built at Tours a monastery wherein he lived in holiness, in company of four-score monks. Famous for holy works and many miracles, he at last fell sick of a grievous fever at Candes, a remote village in his diocese, and besought God in constant prayer to set him free from the prison of his dying body. But when his disciples expostulated with him, he changed his prayer and said : Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to labour!

When his disciples saw him, in the height of the fever, lying upon his back and praying, they entreated him to turn over and take a little rest upon his side, as much as the violence of his sickness would allow him. But Martin answered them : Suffer me to look heavenward rather than earthward, that my spirit may see the way whereby it is so soon going to the Lord. At the moment of death he saw the enemy of mankind, and cried out : Why hast thou come hither, O beast of blood? In me thou shalt find nothing of thine! With these words on his lips, he gave up his soul to God, being aged eighty years. He is said to have been received by a company of Angels, whereof many men afterwards testified that they heard them singing, among the which was Saint Severinus, Bishop of Cologne. His blessed death took place on November 8th, but his feast is kept on November 11th, being the day of his burial at Tours. Whereto, it is said, two thousand monks and nuns came to honour him, being his disciples in the many religious houses he had founded.

[Life, St. Martin of Tours, November 11/24]

Daily Posting: November 12/25

Money in life can corrupt if used improperly and unwisely. Be wise and invest money, God's gift, in people and in the future. Make friends for the Lord by the wise use of money. The world measures people by how much they get, but God measures them by how much they give.

You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.

Little children have the spiritual attitudes required to enter the kingdom: humility, dependence, lowliness and simplicity.

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Be Careful
When you observe yourself walking with God, practicing good deeds and all the means of grace (confession, Holy Communion, etc), place before your eyes the words of St. Paul: "Do not be haughty but fear." Therefore, be humble. For the Bible says about sin that: She has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men." (Prov 7:26)

Daily Posting: November 13/26

Prayer of Thanksgiving

O Lord my Savior and my Master, I, Thine unprofitable servant, with fear and trembling give thanks unto Thy loving goodness for all Thy benefits which Thou hast poured so abundantly upon me, Thy servant. I fall down in adoration before Thee and offer Thee, O God, my praises; with fervor I cry to Thee:

O God, deliver me from all adversities and mercifully fulfill in me such of my desires as may be expedient for me. Hear me, I entreat Thee, and have mercy, for Thou art the Hope of all the ends of the earth, and unto Thee, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed glory, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

I praise Thee, O God of our Fathers, I hymn Thee, I bless Thee, I give thanks unto thee for Thy great and tender mercy. To Thee I flee, O merciful and mighty God. Shine into my heart with the True Sun of Thy righteousness.

Enlighten my mind and keep all my senses, that henceforth I may walk uprightly and keep Thy commandments, and may finally attain unto eternal life, even to Thee, Who art the source of life, and be admitted to the glorious fruition of Thine inaccessible Light; for Thou art my God, and unto Thee, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be ascribed glory, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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Sermon by St. John Damascene
Life of Barlaam & Josaphat.

BLESSED are they, and thrice blessed, who burn with love of God, and who, for love of him, esteemed all things as nothing. Indeed they shed tears and spent day and night in sorrow; that they might attain unto eternal consolation. They humbled themselves on earth, that they might be exalted in heaven. They consumed their flesh with hunger and thirst and vigils, that they might receive the joys and delights of paradise.

THROUGH their purity of heart they showed themselves to be the tabernacles of the Holy Ghost, as it is written: I will dwell in them, and walk in them. They crucified themselves that they might stand at the right hand of Christ. They girded their loins with truth, and always had their lamps burning, waiting for the coming of the immortal Bridegroom. For, gifted with eyes of the mind, they always had before them that awful day, and so kept in their hearts the contemplation both of good things to come and of coming punishment, so that they were never distracted from it. Thus they strove to toil here, that they might be partakers of eternal glory: free from disquietude here, they were not unlike the Angels, and now they form a choir with them, whose life they imitated.

BLESSED are they, and thrice blessed, for with their mind's eye they wholly perceived the vanity of things present, and the uncertainty and inconstancy of human prosperity. They cast aside these things, and laid up for themselves everlasting goods; and they laid hold on that life which never ends and which is not interrupted by death.

THEN, all unworthy and despicable though we be, let us strive to imitate these admirable and holy men. Though we hardly understand the holy heights of their heavenly lives, yet in the measure of our weakness and poor ability we do copy them; and we wear their habit, even though we may not attain unto their deeds. Indeed, we know that this holy profession drives out sin, and is the ally and assistant of that incorruption granted to us through holy baptism.[All Monastic Saints, November 13/26]

Daily Posting: November 14/27

O God, the Giver of pardon and the Author of man's salvation: we humbly beseech thy mercy to grant that all faithful monastics, who have departed out of this world, blessed Mary ever Virgin and all thy Saints praying for them, may attain to the fellowship of everlasting blessedness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Commemoration of all Departed Monastics, November 14/27]

Daily Posting: November 15/28

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 39:

Though our lips can only stammer, still we chant the greatness of God. [Pope St. Gregory the Great]

We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. [Athanasian Creed]

This Trinity is one God from Whom, through Whom, and in Whom all things exist. [St. Augustine]

Never was the Son wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides forever. [St. Gregory the Wonderworker]

Daily Posting: November 17/30

HILDA was a Northumbrian princess who as Abbess of Whitby inspired men and women in the cause of religion, and through her saintly life Whitby Abbey became a school for missionaries and bishops. She was born in the year 614, and early came under the influence of the Roman missionary, Paulinus, and of her aunt, Queen Ethelburga. She and her uncle, King Edwin, were baptized on Easter Eve at York, she being aged thirteen. The Venerable Bede writes enthusiastically of her life and influence, and says: She lived most nobly in the secular habit, and more nobly dedicated the remaining half of her life to our Lord in the monastic life. She was thirty-three when she took the veil; it was blessed Aidan who persuaded her to remain in her native land. She was first Abbess at Hartlepool, and nine ears later she founded another monastery at Whitby, for both men and women, which soon became famous as a school of learning and religion, six of its men becoming bishops. She displayed a rare capacity for the government of souls; her advice was sought from far and wide, by princes and bishops, by rich and poor. It was that all who knew her called her Mother, for her singular piety and grace. In her two communities she achieved, during a rule of more than thirty years, the supremacy of order, union, charity and equality, of which the Northumbrians were justly proud. She is especially remembered historically for her encouragement of the Saxon poet, Caedmon, and for her championship of the Celtic usages concerning the date for the keeping of Easter. {Life, St. Hilda, November 17/30]

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GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we, who rejoice in the yearly Solemnity of blessed Hilda thy Virgin, may by her intercession, be led from our old nature to newness of life. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Hilda, November 17/30]

DECEMBER 2015

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
TUE118
WED219F/A
THU320St. Edmund, KM, IV
FRI421Presentation of BVM, I; St. Columban, AB, IV
SAT522St. Cecelia, VM, III
SUN623CHRIST THE KING, I; (Last Sunday of Pentecost) - St. Clement, BM, IV
MON724St. Chrysogonus, M, IV
TUE825St. Catherine of Alexandria, VM, III
WED926F/ASt. Linus, BM, IV
THU1027
FRI1128F/A*
SAT1229St. Andrew, AP, II (transferred)
SUN1330ADVENT I
MON141F
TUE152FSt. Peter Chrysologus, BC, IV
WED163F/A
THU174FSt. Clement of Alexandria, BCD, III; St. Barbara, VM, IV
FRI185F/ASt. Sava, AB, IV
SAT196A*St. Nicholas, BC, III
SUN207ADVENT II; St. Ambrose, BCD, III
MON218Conception of the Mother of God, I
TUE229F
WED2310F/A
THU2411FSt. Damasus, BC, IV
FRI2512St Herman of Alaska, Mk, III: St Peter the Aleut, M, IV [Western Christmas]
SAT2613A*St. Lucy, VM, III
SUN2714ADVENT III
MON2815F/ASt. Nina, III
TUE2916F(THE GREAT "O" ANTIPHONS BEGIN) ["O Wisdom"]
WED3017F/AEmber Day; St. Lazarus, BC, IV (O Adonai)
THU3118F(O Root of Jesse)


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: December 1/18

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 39:

There certainly was not a time when God was not the Father. [Dionysius of Alexandria]

The Father is always the Father. He is the Father, since the Son is always with Him, on account of Whom He is called the Father. [St. Alexander of Alexandria]

God fulfilled the office of a true father. He Himself formed the body; He Himself infused the breath of the soul. Whatever we are, it is altogether His work. [Lactantius]

Daily Posting: December 2/19

Please know that from ignoring small things we proceed to ignore great things. Beware of ignoring minor things, for through this bad habits develop. Virtues and sins begin with little things and later grow into great good or great evil. [St. Abba Dorotheus]

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Does God tempt man? "St. Demetrius of Rostov says that temptation is of two kinds: God tries man and the devil tempts him. But God tries us in one way and the devil in another. Divine trial is a testing of a person's virtues; the devil's temptation is the seduction of a person to sin. God tries man in patience, in obedience to Him, in purity of heart, in love of God. He tests a man because He wants to manifest how virtue is crowned more greatly with glory in heaven, and in order to profit a man's neighbors. The devil, on the other hand, when he tempts a person, offers him the temporary sweetness of sin so as to catch him like a fish on a hook or a bird in a net. But 'God tempts no man' (James 1:13)." [From the Glinsk Patericon]

Daily Posting: December 3/20

EDMUND was born of the noble race of the Old Saxons. He was a Christian worshipper from his early youth, and was chosen King of the East Angles by the voice of all his fellow-countrymen. It is not in us to say how good he was toward his subjects, and how stern toward evildoers. He went straight along the King's highway, neither turning aside to the right hand by puffing himself up by his own good deeds, nor to the left hand by yielding to the weakness of human frailty. When Hinguar, Duke of the heathens of the north, came into East Anglia and the country-folk could not withstand the spoilers, he took King Edmund out of his kingly town of Hoxton, and when he had set him before him, he commanded him to forswear the Christian faith. When he would not, they bound him to a tree and most direfully hided him with stripes, but neither the keenness of the torture nor the threats of the tormentors could change his will. When the savages saw it, they were maddened, and pierced the king's whole body with arrows. He was still alive when they took him away, and a headsman struck off his head with one blow. Holy Edmund offered himself up to God as a burnt-offering of a sweet savour on the twentieth day of November. [Life, St. Edmund, December 3/20]

Daily Posting: December 4/21

JOACHIM married that most virtuous and praiseworthy woman, Anne. Just as in former times another Anne had, by prayer and promise, borne Samuel, although she had been suffering from the affliction of barrenness, similarly this Anne, by prayer and promise, received from God the Mother of God, so that in the matter of childbearing she was far from being inferior to the other virtuous wives. Therefore Grace, (for that is the meaning of the name, Anne) bore the Queen (for thus is the name, Mary, interpreted), and indeed she was made Queen of all things created since she was the Mother of their Creator.

It was in Joachim's house near the pool of Bethesda that Mary opened her infant eyes to the light of this world, and she was presented in the temple as a child. So, planted in the house of God, and nourished by the Holy Spirit, she was made like the olive branches, laden with domestic virtues. So manifestly had her soul been kept from all worldliness and desires of the flesh, so completely had she remained a virgin both in body and in soul, that she was found worthy and prepared to receive God in her breast. [Presentation of St. Mary the Virgin, From the Book by St. John Damascene: On the Orthodox Faith, December 4/21]

Daily Posting: December 5/22

The Virgin Cecilia, of noble Roman birth, was brought up in the Christian faith, and vowed her virginity to God. Against her will she was given in marriage to Valerian, but on the first night of their wedding she addressed him thus: Valerian, I am under an Angel's protection, and he guards my virginity: therefore do nothing to provoke God's wrath against yourself. Valerian, disturbed by these words, did not dare to touch her: moreover, he said that he would believe in Christ if he could see the Angel.

Cecelia told Valerian that it was impossible to see the Angel before baptism, and he was inflamed with such longing to see him that he replied that he was willing to be baptized. Cecilia instructed him, and sent him to Pope Urban, who was in hiding among the tombs of the martyrs on the Appian Way because of the persecution, and he was baptized by him. Returning to Cecilia, he found her at prayer, and beside her was an Angel, radiant in heavenly splendour.

He was amazed at the sight, but when he had recovered from his fear, he hastened to his brother, Tibertius. He also was instructed by Cecilia, and baptized by the same Urban, and he too was vouchsafed the sight of the Angel whom his brother had seen. Soon afterwards they both suffered martyrdom bravely under the prefect Almachius, who then ordered Cecilia's arrest, and demanded of her where the property of Tibertius and Valerian was to be found. The Virgin replied that all their wealth had been given to the poor. The prefect was enraged, and ordered Cecilia to be brought back to her house and burnt in the bath.

Although she was there for a day and a night, the fire did her no harm. Then an executioner was sent, but after three strokes had proved vain and he could not sever her head, she was left half dead. Three days later, on October 16, she took her flight to heaven, adorned with the two-fold palm of virginity and martyrdom. Her body was buried in the cemetery of Callistus by the same Pope Urban, and a church of the name of St. Cecilia was consecrated in her house. Her body, together with those of Popes Urban and Lucius, of Tibertius, Valerian and Maximus, were brought into the City of Rome by Paschal I, and laid in the church of St. Cecilia.

Daily Posting: December 6/23

BRIGHT Image of the heavenly King,
God everlasting, Light of light,
To thee, Redeemer, Lord, we sing
The glory of thy royal might.

THE hope of all created things,
Before creations' radiant morn
The Father crowned thee King of Kings
To rule the nations yet unborn.

FAIN would we kneel before thy throne;
Thy rule all creatures must obey,
For blessedness is theirs alone
Who keep thy laws and own thy sway.

LORD Jesus, be thou glorified,
Ruling the lands in majesty,
Enthroned at the Father's side
With Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.

[Matins Hymn, {Æterna Imago Altissimi}, Our Lord Jesus Christ the King]
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CLEMENT was a Roman, and a disciple of St. Peter. He divided the City of Rome into seven regions, and commissioned seven notaries, one to each region, to make careful inquiries and then to write up the acts and sufferings of the martyrs. He himself produced many writings, all incisive and edifying, to the glory of the Christian religion. Because Clement had turned many to the Christian faith, he was exiled by the emperor Trajan to the remote city of Cherson, on the further shores of the Black Sea. There he found two thousand Christians suffering the same fate at the hands of Trajan. When the emperor heard that Clement had converted a great number of the heathen he had him thrown into the sea with an anchor chained to his neck, and thus he won his martyr's crown. Nicholas I had his body translated to Rome and entombed in the church that had already been named after him.

Daily Posting: December 7/24

OF this Chrysogonus, who hath the distinction of mention in the Gregorian Canon, nothing is certainly known except that he was martyred at Aquileia. There is a popular tradition concerning him which goeth on this wise. He was imprisoned at Rome in the fourth century, during the reign of Diocletian. There he lived for the space of two years upon the alms of that holy Anastasia who likewise is mentioned in the Gregorian Canon, and is also commemorated in the second Mass of Christmas. She was at that time suffering much persecution from her husband Publius for Christ's Name's sake, and was used to write to Chrysogonus to ask for the help of his prayers, and he in return comforted her by his epistles. Presently the Emperor wrote to Rome, commanding the rest of the Christians who were in prison there to be put to death, and Chrysogonus to be sent to himself at Aquileia. When he was brought thither, he said unto him : I have sent for thee, O Chrysogonus, that I may increase thine honours, if only thou wilt bring thy mind to worship the gods. Thereto Chrysogonus answered : With my mind and with my prayers I worship him who is very God, but such gods as are nothing but images of devils, them I hate and curse. Then was the Emperor kindled to fury at this answer, and commanded Chrysogonus to be beheaded. Which done, on the 24th day of November, his body was cast into the sea. A little afterwards the same washed up on the shore, and the Priest Zoilus took it and buried it in his own house. But the Holy Matron Anastasia was burned to death for Christ on December 25th.

Daily Posting: December 8/25

O GOD, who on Mount Sinai didst give the law to Moses, and afterwards, through the ministry of holy Angels, didst mystically give rest thereon to the body of blessed Catherine thy Virgin and Martyr : grant, we beseech thee ; that, by her intercession, we may be brought unto that mountain which is Christ. Who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Catherine, December 8/25]

CATHERINE of Alexandria, since the tenth century, hath been held in great veneration, and that more in the West than in the East. She is regarded as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and is esteemed as the Patroness of learned folk and of wheel-rights and millers, and the Dominicans have adopted her as one of their Patrons. However, no historical records of her life are extant, and we have only the stories which those who love her are wont to tell of her. According to these, she was a noble maiden of Alexandria who became, through her studies, a very learned woman, and prevailed over the chief wits of the day. * And she went boldly to Maxentius, and rebuked him for his savage cruelty toward Christians, bringing forward likewise most sage reasons why the Faith of Christ should be needful for salvation. Maxentius marvelled at her wisdom, and detained her, whilst he gathered together the most learned men from all quarters, and offered them great rewards if they could confute Catherine, and bring her to worship idols. But the event fell contrariwise, for many of the philosophers who had come to dispute with her were overcome by the force and skill of her reasoning, so that the love of Christ Jesus was kindled in them, and they were content even to die for his sake. Then did Maxentius strive to beguile Catherine with fair words and promises, and when he found it was lost pains, he caused her to be cast into prison and starved. * Afterwards Catherine was brought out of the ward, and a wheel was set, wherein were fastened many and sharp blades, so that her virgin body might be most direfully cut and torn in pieces. But when it was set in motion, it flew to pieces, which so enraged Maxentius that he forthwith commanded to behead Catherine So, on November 25th, about the year 310, she attained the twin crowns of martyrdom and virginity. It is said that her body was carried by Angels to Mount Sinai, and there enshrined, in the famous monastery called by her name. And this by some writers is interpreted to mean that it was carried thither by the monks of Sinai, to be their great treasure, for of old times the monastic habit was known as the angelical habit, and those that wore the same were sometimes given the honorific title of Angel, to signify that state of heavenly worship wherein they should live. [Life, St. Catherine, December 8/25]

Daily Posting: December 9/26

BE merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : and keep us in thy continual protection ; at the intercession of thy blessed Martyr, the Holy Father Linus, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Linus, December 9/26]

LINUS was the immediate successor of the Apostle Peter in the Roman See, according to the testimony of Saints Irenaeus and Hippolytus, and others. And according to Irenaeus, blessed Paul maketh mention of him in his second Epistle to Timothy, where he saith : Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus. The Pontifical Book, dating from the sixth century, saith that he was an Italian by nation, of the Tuscan region ; that he sat in the episcopal chair eleven years, three months, and twelve days ; that he lived in the time of Nero ; that he held two ordinations, wherein he made fifteen bishops and eighteen presbyters ; and that he was buried beside the body of blessed Peter at the Vatican on December 23rd. This same book saith that he was crowned by martyrdom. And in the Gregorian Canon he is mentioned amongst the Martyrs. But because, so far as is known, no persecution of Christians took place in Rome during his period, it is supposed that he was given the title of Martyr to describe the great sufferings and labours wherewith he served Christ as a Confessor. He is believed to have gone to God about the year 78. [Life, St. Linus, December 9/26]

Daily Posting: December 10/27

When grace permeates the heart, it masters the body and guides all actions and thoughts.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Conceit, or vain glory, is a common and fatal vice. It hinders spiritual growth. It causes us to despise those who have a different way of life, thinking that we are better than them.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. [Phil. 2:3]

The Lord Jesus warns us against hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is pretending to be pious when we are really not. All pretense and hidden evils will be exposed by God's light.

For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.

Daily Posting: December 11/28

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop

JOHN in his position of friend of the Bridegroom did not seek his own glory, but bore witness to the Truth; that being the case, surely he would not want his disciples to remain with him instead of following the Lord? He preferred to point out to them the One whom they were to follow. Yet they were under the impression that he, John, was the Lamb. Then he said to them: Why stay here with me? I am not the Lamb; behold the Lamb of God. He had said: Behold the Lamb of God, to them before, and perhaps they had replied: What do you mean by the Lamb of God? What is he to us? Behold him, he declared, that taketh away the sin of the world. And when they heard this, they followed him, those two that were with John.

OBSERVE what follows: Behold the Lamb of God, said John. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? Although they followed him, the time had not yet come for them to cleave unto him; that time was clearly shown: it was when he called them away from the ship. One of these two disciples was Andrew, as the Gospel tells us: Andrew was Simon Peter's brother. And again we hear that the Lord called Andrew and Peter away from their ship, saying: Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And it was after this that they followed him to cleave to him without turning back.

THEREFORE when these two first left John to follow him, it was not to abide with him permanently, but only to see where he dwelt, and to fulfil what is written: If thou seest a man of understanding, get thee betimes unto him, and let thy foot wear the steps of his door. He showed them where he dwelt, and they abode with him that day. What a blessed day they spent, what a blessed night! If only we might know what these men heard from the Lord! Come, let us build and furnish, each in his own heart, a home where the Lord may come, and teach us, and talk with us.

Vigil of St. Andrew

Daily Posting: December 12/29

ANDREW the Apostle was born in Bethsaida, a town in Galilee. He was the brother of Peter and a disciple of John the Baptist. When he heard John's words concerning Christ, Behold the Lamb of God, he followed Jesus, bringing his brother along with him. Later on, when Andrew and his brother were fishing in the sea of Galilee, Christ called both of them to be his first followers, before he chose the other disciples, with these words, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. After the Lord's Passion and Resurrection, Andrew went to Scythia the province assigned to him, to propagate the Christian faith; then he spread it through; Epirus and Thrace. By his teaching and miracles he converted countless souls to God.

ANDREW then went to Patras in Achaia, and led many in that city to believe the Gospel truth. The pro-consult Ægeas opposed the preaching of the Gospel, and Andrew rebuked him boldly, for wishing to be acknowledged as a judge of men, while he was hindered by devils from recognizing Christ as the God and Judge of all men. Then Ægeas was enraged. Cease this talk of Christ, he said, for words such as these availed him nothing, since he was crucified by the Jews. Notwithstanding, Andrew continued to preach Christ fearlessly, that he gave himself up to be crucified for the salvation of mankind: Ægeas interrupted him with blasphemous words, and finally ordered him to look to himself and sacrifice to the gods. Andrew answered, I do offer sacrifice every day to Almighty God, who is the One true God; I offer on the altar, not the flesh of bulls, nor the blood of goats, but the spotless Lamb; and when all the faithful have partaken of his flesh, the Lamb that was sacrificed remains whole and living.

ÆGEAS was inflamed with wrath at these words, and ordered Andrew to be cast into prison: the people would have speedily delivered him, had not he himself quietened the multitude, earnestly beseeching them not to hinder his approaching crown of martyrdom for which he so greatly longed. Therefore, after a short time had passed, he was brought before the tribunal. Ægeas could no longer bear Andrew's extolling of the mysteries of the cross and his rebuking of his own wickedness, and gave orders that he was to be crucified, and to follow the death of Christ.

ANDREW was led to the place of martyrdom, and when from afar he saw the cross, he began to cry, O goodly Cross, that hast been honoured by the members of the Lord, so longed for and so dearly loved, ceaselessly sought after, and now made ready for my eager spirit: take me from among men, and give me to my Master; that through thee he may receive me, who through thee hath redeemed me. Thereupon he was fastened to the cross, on which he hung alive for two days, during which time he never ceased to preach the faith of Christ; whose death he had so ardently desired to imitate. All the priests and deacons of Achaia who wrote of Andrew's passion testify that they had seen and heard those things that they recorded. His relics were first brought to Constantinople, during the reign of Constantine, and later transferred to Amalfi. His head was brought to Rome during the pontificate of Pius II, and placed in the Basilica of St. Peter. [Life, St. Andrew]

Daily Posting: December 13/30

HIGH Word of God, who once didst come,
Leaving thy Father and thy home,
To succour by thy birth our kind,
When, towards thine advent, time declined,

POUR light upon us from above,
And fire our hearts with thy strong love,
That, as we hear thy Gospel read,
All fond desires may flee in dread;

THAT, when thou comest from the skies,
Great Judge, to open thine assize,
To give each hidden sin its smart,
And crown as kings the pure in heart,

WE be not set at thy left hand,
Where sentence due would bid us stand.
But with the Saints thy face may see,
For ever wholly loving thee.

PRAISE to the Father and the Son,
Through all the ages as they run;
And to the holy Paraclete
Be praise with them and worship meet. Amen.

Matins Advent Hymn: Verbum supernum

Daily Posting: December 14/1

St. James was a courageous Persian soldier. To keep his honorable position he denounced his Christian faith. His righteous wife sent him a letter blaming him for such shameful act. She reminded him of the love of the Savior. He bitterly wept, repented, and proclaimed his Christian faith. Thus, he was severely tortured and his body were cut to parts but he gained the everlasting eternal glory and honor.

The extraordinary power of Satan must not discourage our faith, but quicken us to a greater intenseness in the acting of it, and more earnestness in praying to God for the increase of it. Fasting and prayer are proper means for the fetching-in of divine power to our assistance Fasting is an evidence of humiliation and dependence on the power of God.

This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

"The blacksmith, who pounds a piece of iron has previously thought about what he wants to make - a sickle, a knife, an ax, and works accordingly. And so let the man of God ponder in advance which virtues he wishes to acquire, in order not to toil aimlessly." (St. Anthony the Great)

Daily Posting: December 15/2

PETER, surnamed Chrysologus, because of his golden eloquence, was of gentle birth, and came from Imola. From his earliest years he showed a leaning towards religion, and was tutored by Cornelius of Rome, then Bishop of Imola, by whom he was deservedly ordained Deacon. He was proclaimed Archbishop of Ravenna, although unwilling, by Xystus III, and was received with great reverence by the people of Ravenna. He was outstanding in the fulfilment of his pastoral office; by his preaching he put an end to the pagan games and performances still prevalent, and a noteworthy saying of his was, He who would jest with the devil will not be able to rejoice with Christ. He received a divine premonition of his approaching death, and retired to his birthplace; there, he entered the Church of St. Cassian and offered a precious gift, humbly beseeching God and St. Cassian his patron graciously to receive his soul. He passed from this life on December 2, in the eighteenth year of his episcopate. His sacred body was honourably entombed near to the body of St. Cassian. [Life, St. Peter Chrysologus, December 15/2]

Daily Posting: December 16/3

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 40:

We speak not as supplying His name; but for want we use good names, in order that the mind may have these as points of support, so as not to err in other respects. For each one by itself does not express God; but all together are indicative of the power of the Omnipotent. [St. Clement of Alexandria]

The God of the Christians is not confined by place, but being unseen fills heaven and earth, and is worshiped and glorified by the faithful everywhere. [Anonymous (Martyrdom of Justin)]

He, indeed, is of an unchangeable nature, perfect in every way and lacking nothing. . . . For what progress can the wisdom of God make? What increase can truth itself and God the Word receive? In what respect can the life and the true light be made better? [St. Alexander of Alexandria]

Daily Posting: December 17/4

Titus Flavius Clement was born about 150, probably at Athens. His parents were pagans, and he did not become a Christian until he had reached manhood. He acquired an extensive knowledge of the system of religion and of the philosophy of divine things as they were known at that time; and after his baptism he sought the society of all the great Christian teachers of his age. Clement was ordained priest of the Church of Alexandria, and Demetrius his bishop appointed him head of the famous catechetical school there from 190 to 203; he became famous as a doctor and writer. Three works of his are extant. At the end of twelve years a persecution broke out under Septimus Severus, and Clement retired to Cappadocia, taking refuge with his disciple, Alexander: when this latter was appointed co-adjutor Bishop at Jerusalem Clement went with him and opened a school there. Two years later Alexander sent him to Antioch to assist in the election of a bishop. In his letter of introduction he describes Clement as, A blessed priest, a man endowed with all virtue and well approved. He died about 217, and has come down to posterity as one of the most noted of the founders of the Alexandrian school of theology.

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On this day is also commemorated the Virgin Martyr Barbara, who is reputed to have been put to death for Christ, in the early days of the Church, by her own father, who was a pagan ; which latter is said to have been killed shortly afterwards by a bolt of lightning. And Barbara is invoked against lightning and fire, and is esteemed as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Daily Posting: December 18/5
GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Sabas, may commend us unto thee : that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Sabas, December 18/5]

Take notice, brethren, of the Commemoration of Saint Sabas, which same is made today throughout the entire Church, East and West, being the memorial of one of the greatest of the early monks ; for this man founded the famous monastery, beyond Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea, which hath his name, and is still inhabited by monks ; wherein Saint John of Damascus was trained for God, and many other great and holy men ; and from whence Sabas himself went to heaven in 532, and after being Abbot-General of all the monks of Palestine, and a great power in the Church against heresy and other evils ; for which he is known in the Eastern Church as The Star of the Desert. [Life, St. Sabas, December 18/5]

Daily Posting: December 19/6

O GOD, who didst adorn thy blessed Bishop, Saint Nicholas, with power to work many and great miracles : grant, we beseech thee ; that by his prayers and merits we may be delivered from the fires of everlasting torment. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Nicholas, December 19/6]

Of Nicholas, little is now certain known except that he was a most holy bishop of Myra in Asia Minor who died about the year 352, and was there buried, and thence onwards held in highest veneration. However, the Greek histories of his life all agree that he suffered imprisonment for the Faith, and made a glorious confession thereof in the latter part of Diocletian's persecution, and that he was one of the conciliar fathers at Nicaea. But the extraordinary devotion to him from the earliest days, which hath but increased with time, in the West as well as in the East, and the extraordinary stories which have grown out of affection for him, as a result of this devotion, would seem to be a witness to his extraordinary holiness, and his consequent glory with God. * In the West he is reverenced as the patron of children, because of his concern, as shewn by his reputed miracles, to protect their innocence, and because of the reputed prodigies of his own precocious devotion ; whereof it is related that as an infant he kept the fasts prescribed for adults, and hence never suckled more than once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that always after sunset, according to the Canon Law of that day. In exemplification of his great charity, it is also related that he secretly helped a certain poor man with three marriageable daughters, who for want of a dowry were in danger of being forced into harlotry ; for it is said that he went to the house by night, and threw in a window money sufficient for a dowry ; and this he did a second and a third time, so that by his charity all three were honourably given in marriage. * In the East he is reverenced as the patron of sailors because he is said, at their behest, to have stilled a great tempest by his prayers whilst journeying by ship on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; so that the eastern greeting to seafarers is : May Saint Nicholas hold the tiller. It is also related that, on his return from this pilgrimage, he came to Myra when the bishops of the province were deliberating as to the choice of a bishop for that See ; and that they were warned from heaven to choose the first man that crossed the threshold of the church, which same was Nicholas, who entered therein to make his devotions. By the Russians he is accounted with Saint Andrew the joint Patron of their nation. In addition to this, he is reckoned as the Patron also of Greece, Apulia, Sicily, and Lorraine. In 1034 his great shrine at Myra passed into the hands of the Saracens, whereat the merchants of Venice and Bari tried to outbid each other for the ransom of his relicks, and in 1087 the latter were permitted to carry them to Bari in Apulia, where they are still venerated by pilgrims from all over the world. [Life, St. Nicholas, December 19/6]


Daily Posting: December 20/7

AMBROSE, Bishop of Milan, was the son of a Roman Citizen, also named Ambrose, and was born when his father was Prefect Gaul. There is a story that during his infancy a swarm of bees settled on his mouth, thus foretelling his future heavenly eloquence. He received a liberal education at Rome. He was made Consular of Liguria and Æmilia by the Prefect Probus, and therefore, commissioned by Probus, he came to Milan with the power and authority of a state official. On the death of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, there arose a strife among the people as to the choice of his successor. Ambrose entered the church in his official capacity to quieten the commotion, and spoke at length and forcibly on the need for peace and tranquillity in the state; whereupon a child's voice proclaimed, Ambrose is Bishop: the cry was taken up, and the whole people demanded Ambrose as Bishop.

AMBROSE refused the office, and withstood their entreaties, but the people's petition was brought to the Emperor Valentinian; it was pleasing to him that men whom he had chosen to be judges should be asked for as bishops. Probus also rejoiced, for when he sent Ambrose to Milan, he had said to him, as though prophetically, Go, and conduct yourself not as a judge, but as a bishop. When the Emperor's will was added to the desire of the people, Ambrose was baptized (for he was still a catechumen), initiated in the holy Mysteries, and admitted to each of the successive orders laid down by the Church. Then, on the eighth day, December 7th, he received the burden of the episcopate.

ON becoming Bishop, Ambrose zealously defended the Catholic Faith and Church discipline; he converted many Arians, and other heretics to the true faith, and amongst them he begat in Christ Jesus that most burning and shining light of the Church, St. Augustine. When the Emperor Gratian was slain, Ambrose was sent as legate to Maximus his murderer: as Maximus refused to repent, Ambrose excommunicated him. He would not allow the Emperor Theodosius to enter the Church, because he had caused the massacre in Thessalonica: when Theodosius remarked that David the King had been guilty of both murder and adultery, Ambrose replied, You have followed him in his sin; follow him also in his repentance. Whereupon Theodosius humbly performed a public penance imposed by Ambrose.

THE saintly Bishop laboured abundantly in the duties and charges of his office, and also wrote many erudite books. He foretold the date of his approaching death, before he was overtaken by illness. Honoratus, Bishop of Vercelli, heard the voice of God three times warning him of this illness, and he hastened to bring the sacred Body of the Lord to Ambrose. When he had received it, he folded his hands in the form of the cross, prayed, and gave back his soul to God, on 4th of April, in the year of our Lord, 397.

Daily Posting: December 21/8

Sermon by St. Jerome, Priest
On the Assumption

The greatness of the blessed and glorious Mary ever Virgin was divinely proclaimed by the Angel, when he said, Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Fittingly were such gifts attributed to the Virgin, that she was full of grace, she who gave glory to heaven, and the Lord to the earth, who caused peace to flow forth again, and poured out faith to the Gentiles, put an end to sins, gave order to life, and discipline to conduct.

Verily she is full, because, whereas to others it is given in part, into Mary the whole fulness of grace is poured. Verily she is full, because although it is believed that grace was given also to the holy patriarchs and prophets, yet in their case it was not in the same degree; for to Mary came the whole fulness of grace that was in Christ, although not in the same way. For that reason the Angel cried, Blessed art thou among women; that is, more blessed than all other women. Thus it is that all the evil that was poured forth through Eve was utterly removed by the blessedness of Mary. As though in her praise, Solomon says in the Song of Solomon, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. And again, Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, come, and thou shalt be crowned.

Not undeservedly is she called to come from Lebanon, for Lebanon means shining whiteness. She was dazzling with her many virtues and merits. Made radiant by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, she was whiter than snow, in all things resembling the simplicity of a dove: in her all was purity and simplicity, in her was all grace and truth, all the mercy and righteousness that looked down from heaven: therefore was she undefiled, for there was no stain in her. She encompassed a man in her womb, as holy Jeremiah testified, and from no-one did she receive him. The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, he said, A woman shall compass a man.

Verily it was a new thing, and a new manifestation of power surpassing all new things, when God (whom the world cannot contain, neither can any man see him and live) entered the dwelling-place of her womb in such a way that he passed through her closed body: so did it happen, that the whole God was in her; and so did he come forth from her, that she was (as Ezekiel testified) a gate shut for ever. Likewise in the Song of Solomon we sing of her as, A garden inclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed, an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits. Truly she is a garden of delights in which are all kinds of flowers and the sweet savour of grace, and so is she inclosed that she knows neither violation nor corruption from any treacherous beguilement. Therefore is she a fountain sealed with the seal of the whole Trinity.

Daily Posting: December 22/9

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 40:

No one can rightly express Him wholly. For, on account of His greatness, He is ranked as the All and is the Father of the Universe. [St. Clement of Alexandria]

The divine nature, whatever it may be in itself, surpasses every mental concept. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

On the threshold of the knowledge of God, one does not seek to know His essence. No human being could arrive at it. No one knows it but God. But, if you can, ponder deeply His attributes -- His eternity, His infinity, His invisibility, His goodness, His wisdom, His power that creates, governs, and judges creatures. For he best merits the name of theologian who seeks to discover, however little, the truth of His attributes. [St. Maximus the Confessor]

Daily Posting: December 23/10

No one should despise humble Christians, because their guardian angels occupy foremost positions before God.

Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

You are important to God and precious in His sight, so never fear what people can say or do.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

When faith is put into action,
Our doubts and fears take wings,
And God gives us the confidence
To try and do all things.
When faith is put into action,
Results are guaranteed,
For we're never disappointed
When we follow His lead.

Daily Posting: December 24/11

The Western Rite now has a Newsletter. It is in PDF format and can be downloaded.

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Be merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : and keep us in thy continual protection; at the intercession of the Holy Father Damasus, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Damasus, December 24/11]

DAMASUS is believed to have been born at Rome, of Spanish parents, early in the fourth century. According to ancient burial inscriptions, he had a sister who died as a consecrated virgin, and his mother, when she went to God at the age of ninety-two, had lived in holy widowhood for sixty years. Anthony, his father, was a priest of the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome, and Damasus himself served therein as a deacon until he was made Pope when he was about sixty years of age. But a faction chose another deacon to be their bishop, and thereby provoked a riot in which an hundred and thirty and seven people were killed.

To heal this schism he laboured for many years, as a true father-in-God, and finally enforced a severe edict against those who sought to make the Church wealthy, whereby worldly men were tempted to seek for preferment therein. He was learned in the Scriptures, and caused Saint Jerome to make that revision of the Bible which is known as the Vulgate, and encouraged him in those holy studies whereby he came to be reckoned as one of the first four holy Doctors of the West. The Church was greatly troubled with heresy at this time, and Damasus bravely and successfully opposed Apollinarianism from Laodicea, Macedonianism from Constantinople, Arianism in Milan, and Priscillianism in Spain.

During his pontificate the Emperor laid aside the title of Pontifex Maximus, which same came afterwards to be given to the Popes. He beautified the tombs of many holy Martyrs, and decorated them with elegant inscriptions in poetry, composed by himself, which same are now of great value as authentic and historical records of the early Saints. He wrote on the subject of virginity both in prose and verse, and composed many other poems. He is said to have established in Rome the usage, already current in some other churches, of singing the Psalter by alternate choirs, and of adding to the Psalms : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. Of him the Council of Chalcedon said : He is the honour and glory of Rome, He died on December 11th, 384, being about eighty years old. He was buried beside his mother and sister in the church which he had himself funded on the Ardeatine Way. His relicks were afterwards taken to the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, which he had also built, probably on the site of his father's house, which same is thence sometimes called Saint Lawrence-in-Damaso. [Life, St. Damasus, December 24/11]

Daily Posting: December 25/12

To those celebrating today the Nativity of Christ - - may today be a blessed and peaceful day and season.

From the OCA web site regarding the martyrdom of Peter the Aleut.

Daily Posting: December 26/13

LUCY was a Virgin of Syracuse, noble by birth and by her Christian faith, which she received in infancy. She went to Catania with her mother who was suffering from an issue of blood, to venerate the body of blessed Agatha; after praying at the tomb with devout supplications, she obtained her mother's cure through Agatha's intercession. Thereupon she besought her mother to allow her to give to Christ's poor the wealth that she would have received as her dowry. Accordingly, on returning to Syracuse she distributed among the poor all the money that she had collected from the sale of her property.

Now the Virgin's parents had promised her in marriage, against her will, and when her future husband discovered what she had done with her dowry, he accused her before the prefect Paschasius, of being a Christian. With neither entreaties nor threats could Paschasius induce her to worship idols: indeed, the more he tried to shake her faith, the more ardent she became in her praise of the Christian religion. Words will cease, he said, when it comes to being scourged. Words will never be lacking to the servants of God, replied the virgin, for Christ the Lord has told them, And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost which speaketh in you.

At that Paschasius asked her, Is the Holy Ghost in you, then? and she answered, All those who live in chastity and piety are the temples of the Holy Ghost. Then, said he, I shall order you to be taken to a brothel, so that the Holy Ghost will leave you. The virgin answered, If you order me to be violated against my will, then in addition to my reward for chastity, I shall gain the crown of martyrdom. At that Paschasius was inflamed with wrath, and ordered Lucy to be dragged away to the place of prostitution: but by divine intervention, the virgin stood so firmly that no force could move her from the place where she stood.

Whereupon the prefect ordered pitch, resin, and boiling oil to be poured upon her where she stood, and set alight: but the flame did her no harm at all, and after many cruel tortures her throat was pierced with a sword. On receiving the wound, Lucy foretold the peace of the Church, that was to come after the death of Diocletian and Maximian, and she gave back her spirit to God on December 13. Her body was buried at Syracuse, and later translated to Constantinople, and finally to Venice.

Daily Posting: December 27/14

Dear Lord, help me to be like the wise virgins. Help me to store good deeds that avails my faith on your second coming day.

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Have no other gods besides the Lord God. He is a jealous and holy God, zealous for His own and He hates divided love. Love Him exclusively and do not love money or worldly possessions, and He will love you in return as though you were the only person in the world. He will bless you and your work in all eternity.

But rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

Daily Posting: December 28/15

The Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd who takes care of His peoples' needs. He also appoints His apostles to continue the work. Those who work with Him face many afflictions but they do not faint because of their assurance for eternal joy.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Cor 4:17)

God's people are His flock, and they must beware of strangers, thieves, and hirelings. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He gives His life for the sheep, so He is not like the hirelings who run away from danger.

I am the Good shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

He leads me from dawn to dusk,
As seasons come and go,
He is my guide to inner peace,
And everything I know.
A little shadow of Himself
Is what I've come to be,
Always safe and warm because
... The dear Lord leads me!

Daily Posting: December 29/16

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 41:

We can know what God is not, but we cannot know what He is. [St. Augustine]

The preeminent excellence of divinity transcends human speech. [St. Augustine]

In what concerns God, the thought is truer than the word, and the reality is truer than the thought. [St. Augustine]

The Godhead is purity, freedom from passion, and separation from all evil. If these are in you, then God is in you. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Daily Posting: December 30/17

Family Life:
The ability to understand each other is what counts in working out marital happiness together. If we don't hear one another, we can't achieve understanding. And without understanding, it's impossible to resolve conflict. So becoming a good listener is a key step toward resolving conflict and opening the lines of communication (Prov 18:2, 13).

Family Life:
Love, commitment, and forgiveness provide the environment for your mate to be willing to be known by you. Affirm your mate when he/she practices transparency. Pray together regularly, openly and honestly to promote transparency and intimacy. Let no ungodly word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment. (Eph 4:29)

Daily Posting: December 31/18

To all friends of Christminster:

Greetings and blessings in this holy season of our Saviour's Nativity.

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, 6 January 2016, for the first Mass of Christmas, at 7:00pm in Saint George's Cathedral, 1910 Falls Street, Niagara Falls, New York.

As in the past the chants, hymns and carols will be sung by the choir-schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada, under the direction of Dr. William Renwick, professor of music at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

We hope you can be with us for this joyous feast.

Dom James M. Deschene
Abbot of Christminster

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An article regarding Mozart.