Ordinary Time: July 30th
Optional Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor
Old Calendar: Sts. Abdon and Sennen, martyrs; St. Germanus, bishop (Hist)
St. Peter Chrysologus ("the man of golden speech") earned the title of Doctor of the Church for his eloquent sermons, of which some two hundred remain. Made Archbishop of Ravenna by miraculous intervention of St. Peter in 433, he rooted out all remaining traces of paganism, as well as a number of abuses among the Christians. In his sermons he strongly urged frequent Communion. He is supposed to have given us the saying: "He who wants to laugh with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ." St. Peter died about the year 450 in his native city of Imola.According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Abdon and Sennen: two eastern martyrs, probably Persians. Their cult at the Pontian cemetery seems to show that they met their death in Rome. In the ninth century their bodies were translated to the church of St. Mark. St. Peter Chrysologus' feast is observed on December 4.Historically today is the feast of St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, who was instrumental in defeating the Pelagian heresy in Britain.
St. Peter Chrysologus
In the fifth century, Ravenna, not Rome, was the capital of the Roman Empire in the West, and Ravenna itself became a metropolitan see. St. Peter Chrysologus was one of the most distinguished archbishops of that see.
Often Portrayed As: Bishop being presented to Pope Sixtus III by Saint Peter and Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna; bishop holding a dish. Things to Do:
- Liturgical living necessarily includes a loving willingness to read and to listen to homilies and sermons. In this the contemporaries of St. Peter Chrysologus set us a good example; while the saint himself remains an inspiration and a guide for the proper approach to God's holy word. How do you act and react toward God's word as proclaimed in and outside of the liturgy?
Sts. Abdon and Sennen
According to legend Abdon and Sennen were two Persians who, under Emperor Decius (249-251), were accused of burying on their estates the bodies of martyrs; for this reason they were thrown into chains at the Emperor's command. As they persistently refused to offer incense to the gods and candidly confessed Jesus as their Lord and God, their imprisonment was made more and more unbearable, and when Decius returned to Rome they were led bound in his triumphal procession. They were dragged before the idols in the capital city, only to spit upon them. Cast to the bears and lions, they were not attacked. Finally they were put to death with the sword. Their bodies were secretly taken away by Christians, and the deacon Quirinus buried them in his house, near the cemetery of S. Pontian, where an old mural of them may still be seen. They are depicted in Persian clothing, receiving from the Lord the crown of victory.
- The corporal work of mercy, "to bury the dead," today's saints fulfilled to the letter, and it brought them a glorious martyr's death for Christ. They gave burial to martyrs and themselves were lovingly buried as martyrs. In our day, efficiency and commercialism have to a great extent displaced personal and loving service to the bodies of the dead. Is this the Christian ideal?
In his youth Germanus gave little sign of sanctity. He was of noble birth, and at first practised the law at Rome. After a time the emperor placed him high in the army. But his one passion was the chase. He was so carried away as even to retain in his sports the superstitions of the pagan huntsmen. Yet it was revealed to the Bishop of Auxerre that Germanus would be his successor, and he gave him the tonsure almost by main force. Forthwith Germanus became another man, and making ever his lands to the Church, adopted a life of humble penance.
The Ruin and Conquest of Britain (excerpt)
By now the savage host of the enemy was close at hand and Germanus rapidly circulated an order that all should repeat in unison the call he would give as a battle-cry. Then, while the enemy were still secure in their belief that their approach was unexpected, the bishops three times chanted the Alleluia. All, as one man, repeated it and the shout they raised rang through the air and echoed many times in the confined space between the mountains. The enemy were panic-stricken, thinking that the surrounding rocks and the very sky itself were falling on them. Such was their terror that no effort of their feet seemed enough to save them. They fled in every direction, throwing away their weapons and thankful if they could at least save their skins. Many threw themselves into a river which they had just crossed with ease, and were drowned in it. Thus the British army looked on at its revenge without striking a blow, idle spectators of the victory they achieved. The booty strewn everywhere was collected; the pious soldiery obtained the spoils of a victory from heaven. The bishops were elated at the rout of the enemy without bloodshed and a victory gained by faith and not by force.
- Read more of The Ruin and Conquest of Britain here.
- Read more about Pelagianism. See also the Catholic Encyclopedia.
- Read this longer life of St. Germanus
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