23 November 2012

Clement I

23 NOVEMBER 2012. Today the Church celebrates as an optional memorial the feast of Pope Saint Clement I, the first Apostolic Father of the Church.

Not much is known of Clement's life. According to Tertullian, writing in A.D. 199, the Roman Church claimed that Clement was ordained by St. Peter. Although there is some discrepancy in the ancient literature, the Church generally acknowledges Saint Clement as the third ruler of the Roman Church after Saint Peter.

Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentions in Philippians 4:3 as a fellow laborer in Christ.

The Liber Pontificalis, which documents the reigns of popes, states that Clement had known Saint Peter. It also states that he wrote two letters (though the second letter, 2 Clement, is no longer ascribed to him) and that he died in Greece in the third year of Emperor Trajan's reign, or 101 AD.

According to apocryphal acta, dating to the 4th century at earliest, Clement was banished from Rome to the Chersonesus (Crimea) during the reign of the Emperor Trajan and was set to work in a stone quarry. Finding on his arrival that the prisoners were suffering from lack of water, he knelt down in prayer. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill, went to where the lamb had stood and struck the ground with his pickaxe, releasing a gushing stream of clear water. This miracle resulted in the conversion of large numbers of the local pagans and his fellow prisoners to Christianity. As punishment, Saint Clement was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown from a boat into the Black Sea. The legend recounts that every year a miraculous ebbing of the sea revealed a divinely built shrine containing his bones. However, the oldest sources on Clement's life, Eusebius and Jerome, note nothing of his martyrdom.

The Inkerman Cave Monastery marks the supposed place of Clement's burial in the Crimea. A year or two before his own death in A.D. 869, Saint Cyril brought to Rome what he believed to be the relics of Saint Clement, bones he found in the Crimea buried with an anchor on dry land. They are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Clemente. Other relics of Saint Clement, including his head, are claimed by the Kiev Monastery of the Caves in Ukraine.

Saint Clement is also the only Pope to have a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to him.

Saint Clement Church, Pyatnitskaya Street, Moscow

The First Epistle of Clement is a letter of Saint Clement to the faithful in Corinth, where certain of the clergy there had been deposed, apparently without moral cause. Saint Clement calls for repentance the reinstatement of the clergy in his letter to the faithful, which was read, along with the Scriptures, to the faithful in Corinth beginning in A.D. 170. Although not a part of the Bible properly, the reading of the First Epistle of Clement by the fourth century had  also spread to other churches.

All-powerful and ever-living God,
we praise your power and glory
revealed to us in he lives of all your saints.
Give us joy on this feast of Saint Clement,
the priest and martyr
who bore witness with his blood o the love he proclaimed
and the gospel he preached.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

22 NOVEMBER 2012. In this land of plenty, where our society often seeks--perhaps even idolizes--not only freedom from want, as epitomized in the famous Norman Rockwell painting, but also accumulation to excess of things, we take this time to give thanks. And, we of faith especially give thanks this day, as we do all days, for the gifts of God and His providential care. Our Lord Jesus Christ is with us this day and every day in the Holy Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit provides us continually with the care and assistance of the Lord. Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin, provides for all of us, her children, with the constant protection and aid of her prayer. And, we can rely on the prayers of all the angels and saints in heaven who sing of God's glory without end.

And, so, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

IMAGE: Freedom from Want, Norman Rockwell, 1943.


19 November 2012

Blessed James Benefatti

19 NOVEMBER 2012. Today the Order of Preachers celebrates the optional memorial of Blessed James Benefatti, friar and bishop.

From the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers we read:
Blessed James was born at Mantua, Italy in the latter half of the thirteenth century. He entered the Order there and came to the notice of Nicholas Boccassini, Master of the Order, who made him his socius. Blessed James continued as his advisor when Nicholas was created cardinal in 1298 and when Nicholas became Pope as Benedict XI he was named bishop of Mantua in 1304. There he fought against the hatred and division which plagued the city. Because of his devotion to the poor during a time of pestilence and famine he was called "Father of the Poor." He died on November 19, 1332.


Eternal God,
you established Blessed James as a model for your flock
and made him renowned for his zeal for peace
and for his mercy towards your people.
By his prayers and example
may we be united in the truth of your word
and ever ardent in your divine love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,]
one God, for ever and ever.


03 November 2012

Prayer for Those Impacted by Natural Disaster

O Lord, our cries rise to you.
Why have these disasters befallen us?
Why have You hidden your face from your beloved?
I trust, I trust in the Lord, my God.
I stay stalwart in my faith and recline in trust
of my God.
Why have You allowed disaster to strike us, O Lord?
Is it because in this moment we can truly be Christ to our neighbor?
Is it because in this moment we can truly comfort the injured?
Give shelter to the homeless?
Clothe the naked?
Feed the hungry?
Give rest to the weary?
Yes. Dear God we have faith in You.
Your yoke is gentle and your burden light.
We sing of your mercy and kindness and love.
And, so, Lord, with your grace,
we persevere.
May we be instruments of your Divine Will.
Destroy our willfulness, O God,
so that in every thought and work of ours,
we may be truly Yours.
Breathe in our breathing.
Work in our working.
Give in our giving.
Console in our consolation of others.
Pray in our prayer.
Circulate in our Blood,
O Holy and Divine Will of God.
May we serve the Lord all our days,
especially in these days of difficulty.
May we remain faithful to Our God, who
will always remain faithful to us, his people.
Thank you Lord for hardship, to show Your love.
Thank you Lord for difficulty, to show Your mercy.
Thank you Lord for this day.
May it be for those for whom I pray,
and in some small measure for myself,
profitable in heaven and at the end of time.