St. Xystus or Sixtus II

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St. Xystus, or Sixtus II., Pope and Martyr

HE was a Grecian by birth, deacon of the Roman Church under St. Stephen, and upon his demise, in 257 was chosen pope, being the twenty-fifth from St. Peter. St. Dionysius of Alexandria consulted him by three letters on certain difficulties, and recommended to him to bear a little while with the Africans and some among the Asiatics with regard to their error concerning the validity of baptism given by heretics. Accordingly this pope used towards them indulgence, contenting himself with strongly recommending the truth to them; and his successors pursued the same conduct till that error was condemned in the plenary council often mentioned by St. Austin. 1 St. Sixtus is styled by St. Cyprian a peaceable and excellent prelate. Though some have ascribed eight years to his pontificate, it is certain from all the circumstances of his history, that he only sat one year. 2 1 Continue reading

Sermon on the Transfiguration by Father Prosper Gueranger

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Sermon on the Transfiguration
by Father Prosper Gueranger (1805 – 1875)

The subject offered to our consideration, on this Second Sunday, is one of the utmost importance for the Holy Season. The Church applies to us the lesson which our Saviour gave to three of his Apostles. Let us endeavour to be more attentive to it than they were.

Jesus was about to pass from Galilee into Judea, that He might go up to Jerusalem, and be present at the Feast of the Pasch. It was that last Pasch, which was to begin with the immolation of the figurative lamb, and end with the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world. Jesus would have His disciples know him. His works had borne testimony to Him, even to those who were, in a manner, strangers to Him; but as for His Disciples, had they not every reason to be faithful to Him, even to death? Had they not listened to His words, which had such power with them, that they forced conviction? Had they not experienced His love, which it was impossible to resist? and had they not seen how patiently He had borne with their strange and untoward ways? Yes, they must have known Him. They had heard one of their company, Peter, declared that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God (St. Math. xvi. 16). Notwithstanding this, the trial to which their faith was soon to be put, was to be of such a terrible kind, that Jesus would mercifully arm them against temptation by an extraordinary grace.
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Introit: Illuxérunt coruscatiónes

In Transfiguratione Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

Introitus
Ps 76:19.

Illuxérunt coruscatiónes tuæ orbi terræ: commóta est et contrémuit terra.

Your lightening illumined the world; the earth quivered and quaked.

Ps 83:2-3
Quam dilécta tabernácula tua, Dómine virtútum! concupíscit, et déficit ánima mea in átria Dómini.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculórum. Amen

How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Illuxérunt coruscatiónes tuæ orbi terræ: commóta est et contrémuit terra.

Your lightening illumined the world; the earth quivered and quaked.

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

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The Transfiguration of Our Lord

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Our divine Redeemer, being in Galilee the summer before His sacred Passion, took with Him Saint Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, Saint James and Saint John, and led them to the heights of a solitary mountain. Tradition assures us that this was Mount Tabor, which is exceedingly high and beautiful, and in those days was covered with green trees and shrubs. It rises alone in the midst of a vast plain of Galilee.

It is here that the God-Man appeared in His glory. While Jesus prayed, He permitted the glory which was always due to His sacred humanity — and of which for our sake, not to alarm us, He deprived it — to diffuse its brilliance over His whole body. His face was transfigured and shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow. Moses and Elias were seen in His company by the three apostles on this occasion, and were heard discoursing with Him of the death which He was to suffer in Jerusalem. The three were wondrously delighted with this glorious vision, and Saint Peter cried out to Christ, Lord, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three tents, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.

While Saint Peter was speaking, suddenly there came a bright cloud from heaven, emblem of the presence of God’s majesty, and from out of this cloud was heard a voice which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him. By these words, God made known that in Christ they must recognize the One He had foretold to Moses, saying: I will raise up from among them a Prophet like you; I will put My words in His mouth, and He will tell them all I command Him. If anyone does not want to hear the words that this Prophet will speak in My Name, it is to Me that he will have to answer for it. (Deut. 18:18-19) When the Jews asked John the Baptist if he was the Prophet, this was the Expected One they referred to. The apostles understood perfectly now what these words meant; the prophecy was known to all who listened to the Scriptures read each week in their synagogues. Hearing this voice, they were nonetheless seized with a sudden fear, and fell upon the ground; but Jesus, going to them, touched them, and bade them rise. They immediately did so, and saw no one but Jesus standing there in His ordinary state. This vision happened during the night. As they went down the mountain early the next morning, Jesus forbade them to tell anyone what they had seen, before He had risen from the dead.

Reflection: From the contemplation of this glorious mystery we ought to conceive a true idea of future happiness. If this idea enters our souls, we will think nothing of the difficulties or labors we meet with here, but will regard with great indifference all the goods and evils of this life, provided we obtain our portion in the kingdom of God’s glory.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).