Old Calendar: St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr; St. Leo II, pope and confessor (Hist)
St. Thomas, the disciple who at first did not believe, has become for the Church one of the first witnesses to her faith. She is fond of appealing to his testimony and frequently puts in our mouths those simple words whereby he expressed the fervour of his regained faith: "My Lord and my God." It is known that St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia beyond the frontiers of the Roman Empire, probably in Persia and possibly as far afield as India. St. Thomas' feast was formerly celebrated on December 21.Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar today was the feast of St. Leo II, one of the last Popes of the early Middle Ages. His short pontificate (682-683) was marked by the confirmation of the sixth ecumenical council at which the Monothelite heresy was condemned. St. Leo II also perfected the melodies of the Gregorian chant for the Psalms and composed some new hymns.
There is very little about the apostle Thomas in the Gospels; one text calls him the "twin." Rarely during Jesus' lifetime does he stand out among his colleagues. There is the instance before the raising of Lazarus, when Jesus was still in Perea and Thomas exclaimed: "Let us also go and die with Him." Best-known is his expression of unbelief after the Savior's death, giving rise to the phrase "doubting Thomas." Nevertheless, the passage describing the incident, had as today's Gospel, must be numbered among the most touching in Sacred Scripture.
Often Portrayed As: With a lance (because of his martyrdom) or with a square (because of the legend that he was sent as an architect to the king of India).Things to Do:
- Much has been written and said about Thomas' weakness of faith. St. Gregory the Great saw God's providential ways: The unbelief of Thomas has benefited us more than the faith of Magdalene. Should we not then reflect on our own failings? So often do we make the firmest resolutions to avoid this or that fault, and yet how easily we repeat it. Give some thought to God's ultimate purpose in permitting your faults and to how valuable for our soul's progress is the realization of our weakness and wretchedness.
St. Leo II
Pope Leo II was a Sicilian. He was learned in sacred and profane letters, as also in the Greek and Latin tongues, and was moreover an excellent musician. He rearranged and improved the music of the sacred hymns and psalms used in the Church. He approved the acts of the sixth General Council, which was held at Constantinople, under the presidency of the legates of the apostolic see, in the presence of the emperor Constantine, the patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch, and one hundred and seventy bishops: Leo also translated these said acts into Latin.