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Ordinary Time: February 18th

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Other Commemorations: St. Simeon, bishop and martyr; St. Tarasius, bishop and martyr (RM) ; Other Titles: Taraisius

MASS READINGS

February 18, 2009 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

God our Father, you have promised to remain for ever with those who do what is just and right. Help us to live in your presence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Simeon, bishop and martyr. He was successor to the apostle St. James in the See of Jerusalem and was arrested and probably crucified in about A.D. 110, under the emperor Trajan. He ruled over the Church of Jerusalem for forty years.


St. Simeon
A blood relative of Christ, he was martyred in early apostolic times. Succeeding the apostle James, Simeon, the son of Cleophas, was, it may be said, the first bishop of Jerusalem. Under the Emperor Trajan he was arraigned before Atticus, the governor, on charges of being a Christian and a relative of Jesus. For at a certain period, all descendants of David were apprehended. After enduring all types of torture, he was affixed to a cross, even as His Savior. Those present marveled how a man of such advanced age (he was 120 years old) could so steadfastly and joyously bear the excruciating pains of crucifixion. He died on the 18th of February, 106 A.D.

The siege and the destruction of Jerusalem took place during his episcopacy. He accompanied the Christian community to Pella.

—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Things to Do:

  • In the spirit of the blind man in today's Gospel and mindful of St. Simeon's joy upon his martyrdom, pray for vision to see the Crucified Christ in all your struggles.

  • Saint Josemaria Escriva recommends that the serious Christian carry with him a small crucifix, which he may keep before himself at all times. In your case, this may be the kitchen, the office, the classroom, or any place in which you are fulfilling your duties. When it becomes difficult to persevere, look upon Christ and be reminded of the value of your small trials.

  • Read this account of the martyrdom of St. Simeon by St. Eusebius of Caesarea.

  • If you are interested in genealogy you might like to read about the genealogy of Christ at New Advent.


St. Tarasius of Constantinople
Tarasius was born at Constantinople in the middle of the eighth century, of a noble family. His mother, Eucratia, brought him up in the practice of the most eminent virtues. By his talents and virtue, he gained the esteem of all, and was raised to the greatest honors of the empire, made first a Consul and afterward first Secretary of State to the Emperor Constantine IV and the Empress Irene, his mother. In the midst of the court and in its highest honors, he led a life like that of a religious.

Tarasius was chosen, by the unanimous consent of the court, clergy and people to succeed to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Tarasius declared that he could not in conscience accept the government of a see which had been cut off from the Catholic communion — which had occurred through the fault of his predecessor, who afterward recognized his error in approving a group of dissidents — except on condition that a general Council be convoked to settle the dispute concerning holy images, which was dividing the Church at that time. This being agreed to, he was solemnly declared Patriarch, and consecrated soon afterward, on Christmas Day.

The Council was opened on the 1st of August, 786, in the Church of the Apostles at Constantinople; but, being disturbed by the violence of the Iconoclasts, it adjourned, to meet again the following year in the Church of Saint Sophia at Nicea. The Council declared the positive thought of the Church in relation to the matter under debate, which was whether or not holy pictures and images should be allowed a relative honor. Afterward synodal letters were sent to all the churches, and in particular to the Pope, who approved the council.

The life of the holy Patriarch Tarasius was a model of perfection for his clergy and people. His table contained barely the necessaries of life; he allowed himself very little time for sleep, rising the first and retiring last in his spiritual family. Reading and prayer-filled all his leisure hours.

After the Emperor repudiated his legitimate wife and, with the collaboration of a servile priest, married a servant whom he had crowned as Empress in her place, he used all his efforts to gain the Patriarch of Constantinople over to his desires. Saint Tarasius resolutely refused to countenance the iniquity, even when imprisoned by the irritated monarch. Soon afterward, the emperor lost his empire and his life, having spurned the reproaches of Saint Tarasius. The holy man gave up his soul to God in peace after governing his church for twenty-two years in great purity of life, on the 25th of February, 806.

—Excerpted from Lives of the Saints, Our Models and Protectors

Things to Do:

  • Read more about St. Tarasius on EWTN.