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Mr Yarble

Saint of the day 20141231

31 December

SAINT SYLVESTER
Pope
(? – 335)

Sylvester was born in Rome toward the close of the third century.

He was a young priest when the persecution of the Christians broke out under the tyrant Diocletian. Idols were erected at the corners of the streets, in the market-places, and over the public fountains, so that it was scarcely possible for a Christian to go abroad without being put to the test of offering sacrifice, with the alternative of apostasy or death. During this fiery trial, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, God preserving his life from many dangers.

In 312 a new era set in. Constantine, having triumphed under the ” standard of the Cross,” declared himself the protector of the Christians, and built them splendid churches. At this juncture Sylvester was elected to the chair of Peter, and was thus the first of the Roman Pontiffs to rule the flock of Christ in security and peace. He profited by these blessings to renew the discipline of the Church, and in two great Councils confirmed her sacred truths. In the Council of Arles he condemned the schism of the Donatists; and in that of Nicæa, the first general Council of the Church, he dealt Arianism its death-blow by declaring that Jesus Christ is the true and very God.

Sylvester died A. D. 335.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Pope St Silvester I (- 335)
He was made Pope in 314 and ruled the Church during the reign of the newly-converted Emperor Constantine. In his time the Donatist schism and the Arian heresy caused great trouble for the Church. He died in 335 and is buried in the cemetery of Priscilla in the via Salaria in Rome. His life has been so accreted with pious legends that very little else is known about him for certain, but his reign as Pope is the eighth longest on record. See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

AppStore link

Catholic Calendar is free.

You may also be interested in the full Universalis app.

The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future.
Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.
AppStore link

Universalis costs £9.99 / $13.99 / €12.99 from the App Store.

Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.

Readings 20151230

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness. Hope grows with prayer and perseverance. Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was found daily in the house of the Lord, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about the Lord’s promise to send a redeemer. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.
Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope placed rightly. Anna’s hope in God and his promises grew with age! She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God’s promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God’s people.
How do we grow in hope? By placing our trust in the promises of Jesus Christ and relying not on our own strength, but on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit. Does your hope and fervor for God grow with age?

“Lord Jesus, may I never cease to hope in you and to trust in your promises. Inflame my zeal for your kingdom and increase my love for prayer, that I may never cease to give you praise and worship”.

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
BREAK THE WORLD RECORD

“Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords.” —1 John 2:15
“If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him” (1 Jn 2:15). If we are set on the things of the world, we are enemies of the cross (Phil 3:18-19). “A man is marked out as God’s enemy if he chooses to be the world’s friend” (Jas 4:4). Therefore, it is a matter of everlasting life or death that we both have no love for the world and be crucified to the world and the world to us (Gal 6:14).

What does the Lord mean by the “world”? “Carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show — all these are from the world” (1 Jn 2:16). Another translation is: “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 Jn 2:16, RSV-CE).

“Who, then, is conqueror of the world?” (1 Jn 5:5)

“the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 Jn 5:5),
the one who receives the Holy Spirit, Who proves the world wrong about sin, justice, and condemnation (Jn 16:8), and
the one who is at the foot of the cross where the Spirit crucifies us to the world (see Gal 6:14).
“The world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever” (1 Jn 2:17).

Prayer: Father, make me a light to the world of darkness (Mt 5:14). Promise: “She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at this moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the Child to all.” —Lk 2:37-38 Praise: Margaret quietly and obscurely prays before the Blessed Sacrament and in so doing is instrumental in calling down God’s graces to change this world for the better.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20141230

30 December

SAINT SABINUS
Bishop
and his Companions
Martyrs
(† c. 303)

The cruel edicts of Diocletian and Maximin against the Christians being published in the year 303, Sabinus, Bishop of Assisium, and several of his clergy, were apprehended and kept in custody till Venustianus, the Governor of Etruria and Umbria, came thither. Upon his arrival in that city he caused the hands of Sabinus, who had made a glorious confession of his Faith before him, to be cut off; and his two deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, to be scourged, beaten with clubs, and torn with iron nails, under which torments they both expired.

Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy, and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterward beheaded for the Faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city, but his relics have been since translated to Faënza.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Readings 20141229

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Who do you love and cherish the most? God did not intend for us to be alone, but to be with others. He gives us many opportunities for developing relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Why does Jesus seem to ignore his own relatives when they pressed to see him? His love and respect for his mother and his relatives is unquestionable. Jesus never lost an opportunity to teach his disciples a spiritual lesson and truth about the kingdom of God. On this occasion when many gathered to hear Jesus he pointed to another higher reality of relationships, namely our relationship with God and with those who belong to God.
God offers the greatest of relationships
What is the essence of being a Christian? It is certainly more than doctrine, precepts, and commandments. It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, mercy, helpfulness, encouragement, support, strength, protection, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity. God offers us the greatest of relationships – union of heart, mind, and spirit with himself, the very author and source of love (1 John 4:8,16).

God’s love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints us. His love is consistent, unwavering, unconditional, and unstopable. Nothing can deter him from ever leaving us, ignoring us, or treating us unkindly. He will love us no matter what. It is his nature to love. That is why he created us – to be united with him and to share in his love and unity of persons (1 John 3:1). God is a trinity of persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a community of love. That is why Jesus challenged his followers and even his own earthly relatives to recognize that God is the true source of all relationships. God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in his love.

The heavenly Father’s offer of friendship and adoption
Jesus Christ is God’s love incarnate – God’s love made visible in human flesh (1 John 4:9-10). That is why Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep and the shepherd who seeks out the sheep who have strayed and lost their way. God is like the father who yearns for his prodigal son to return home and then throws a great party for his son when he has a change of heart and comes back (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus offered up his life on the cross for our sake, so that we could be forgiven and restored to unity and friendship with God. It is through Jesus that we become the adopted children of God – his own sons and daughters. That is why Jesus told his disciples that they would have many new friends and family relationships in his kingdom. Whoever does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family – his sons and daughters who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ.

Our brothers and sisters redeemed in the blood of Christ
An early Christian martyr once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are the saints” – namely those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and adopted as sons and daughters of God. Those who have been baptized into Jesus Christ and who live as his disciples enter into a new family, a family of “saints” here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all of our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God first and to his kingdom of righteousness and peace. Do you want to grow in love and friendship? Allow God’s Holy Spirit to transform your heart, mind, and will to enable you to love freely and generously as he loves.

“Heavenly Father, you bless us with many relationships and you invite us into the community of your sons and daughters who have been redeemed by your son, Jesus Christ. Help me to love my neighbor with charity, kindness, compassion, and mercy, just as you have loved me. In all of my relationships, and in all that I do and say, may I always seek to bring you honor and glory.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
OBEDIENCE: THE ROAD TO LOVE

“Whoever keeps His word, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him.” —1 John 2:5
The purpose of the Christmas season is to grow greatly in love for Jesus. To grow in love requires God’s grace, our willingness to accept His grace, and a process by which we are transformed and made more capable of loving. We go through this process of transformation by taking step after step in obedience. “By obedience to the truth” we purify ourselves “for a genuine love” (1 Pt 1:22). “The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Him is to keep His commandments” (1 Jn 2:3).

By obedience, Mary conceived Christ and loved Him more deeply than anyone has ever loved Him. By obedience, Joseph became the foster-father of Jesus and grew from love to love. By obedience, the shepherds and wise men saw the infant Jesus and began a new life of love forever. By obedience, Simeon “came to the temple” (Lk 2:27) where he met Jesus, the Light to the Gentiles, the Glory of Israel (Lk 2:32), and the God Who is Love (1 Jn 4:16).

Christmas is a journey into “the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love” (Eph 3:18). We do not know the way, but Jesus, the Way (Jn 14:6), will tell us each step to take. Obey Love on the road to love.

Prayer: Abba, lead me to love with a martyr’s love. Promise: “This Child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed — and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.” —Lk 2:34-35 Praise: King Henry II was moved to do public penance for the part he played in the death of St. Thomas. (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Obedience School, or our tape, Obeying God, on audio AV 62-3 or video V-62.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20141229

29 December

SAINT THOMAS OF CANTERBURY
Bishop and martyr
(c. 1118-1170)

St. Thomas, son of Gilbert Becket, was born in Southwark, England, in 1117. When a youth he was attached to the household of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to Paris and Bologna to study law.

He became Archdeacon of Canterbury, then Lord High Chancellor of England; and in 1160, when Archbishop Theobald died, the king insisted on the consecration of St. Thomas in his stead. St. Thomas refused, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be broken. In the end he yielded, and was consecrated. The conflict at once broke out; St. Thomas resisted the royal customs, which violated the liberties of the Church and the laws of the realm.

After six years of contention, partly spent in. exile, St. Thomas, with full foresight of martyrdom before him, returned as a good shepherd to his Church. On the 29th of December, 1170, just as vespers were beginning, four knights broke into the cathedral, crying: “Where is the archbishop? where is the traitor?” The monks fled, and St. Thomas might easily have escaped. But he advanced, saying: “Here I am—no traitor, but archbishop. What seek you?” “Your life,” they cried. “Gladly do I give it,” was the reply; and bowing his head, the invincible martyr was hacked and hewn till his soul went to God.

Six months later Henry II. submitted to be publicly scourged at the Saint’s shrine, and restored to the Church her full rights.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

St Thomas Becket (1118 – 1170)
He was born in London and became a close friend of King Henry II. He was only a deacon when he was appointed chancellor of England. When he was ordained as archbishop of Canterbury, he underwent an abrupt conversion of life and began to defend the Church’s rights against the king. He had to take refuge in a French monastery for six years, and when he returned to his diocese four knights, inspired by careless words from the king, assassinated him in his cathedral on 29 December 1170. He was immediately acknowledged as a martyr and the king later did penance and endowed his shrine. He is remembered for his courage in defence of the rights of the Church. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.
Elijah and Elisha, a reflection on St Thomas
The prophets Elijah and Elisha are a bit of an embarrassment. Not only are the names similar but some of their miracles resemble one another so closely that some scholars have argued that Elijah and Elisha are the same person, with narratives from two different sources of the prophet’s life having been accidentally included one after the other.
Today’s feast reminds us of another historical coincidence:
A learned and worldly man called Thomas, a close and trusted friend of King Henry, is appointed by the king to a high office where he is expected to be loyal and take the king’s part against all others, even the Church. Conscious of his unworthiness for the office he has been given, Thomas suffers an interior conversion and resolves to follow his conscience, God’s voice within him. His upholding of truth and the Church’s rights leads to a conflict with the king, who feels betrayed by his trusted friend. Eventually Thomas is killed; subsequently he is canonized.
Are we talking about Henry II of England and Thomas à Becket? Or Henry VIII of England and Thomas More? The same description applies equally to both.
We can imagine a wise scholar of the 30th century arguing that there was only one Henry and only one Thomas, and that early sources accidentally split them into two. But the wise scholar would be wrong. Whatever doubts we hold about the history and transmission of Scripture, we should never quite forget that what we read about may be what really happened.
You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

AppStore link

Catholic Calendar is free.

You may also be interested in the full Universalis app.

The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future.
Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.
AppStore link

Universalis costs £9.99 / $13.99 / €12.99 from the App Store.

Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.