St. Isidore

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St. Isidore, Bishop of Seville

A.D. 606.

ST. ISIDORE is honoured in Spain as the most illustrious doctor of that church, in which God raised him, says St. Braulio, 1 to stem the torrent of barbarism and ferocity which every where followed the arms of the Goths, who had settled themselves in that kingdom, in 412. The eighth great council of Toledo, fourteen years after his death, styles him“the excellent doctor, the late ornament of the Catholic church, the most learned man, given to enlighten the latter ages, always to be named with reverence.” The city of Carthagena was the place of his birth, which his parents, Severian and Theodora, persons of the first quality in the kingdom, edified by the example of their extraordinary piety. His two brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, bishops, 2 and his sister Florentina, are also honoured among the saints. Isidore having qualified himself in his youth for the service of the church by an uncommon stock of virtue and learning, assisted his brother, Leander, archbishop of Seville, in the conversion of the Visigoths from the Arian heresy. This great work he had the happiness to see perfectly accomplished by his indefatigable zeal and labours, which he continued during the successive reigns of the kings Reccared, Liuba, Witeric, Gundemar, Sisebut, and Sisemund. Upon the decease of St. Leander, in 600, or 601, he succeeded him in the see of Seville. 3 He restored and settled the discipline of the church of Spain in several councils, of all which he was the oracle and the soul. The purity of their doctrine, and the severity of the canons enacted in them, drawn up chiefly by him, are incontestable monuments of his great learning and zeal. 4 In the council of Seville, in 619, in which he presided, he, in a public disputation, convinced Gregory (a bishop of the Acephali) of his error, who had come over from Syria; and so evidently did he confute the Eutychian heresy, that Gregory upon the spot embraced the Catholic faith. In 610, the bishops of Spain, in a council held at Toledo, agreed to declare the archbishop of that city primate of all Spain, as, they say, he had always been acknowledged; which decree king Gundemar confirmed by a law the same year; and St. Isidore subscribed the same. Yet we find that in the fourth council of Toledo, in 633, the most famous of all the synods of Spain, though Justus, the archbishop of Toledo, was present, St. Isidore presided, not by the privilege of his see, but on the bare consideration of his extraordinary merit; for he was regarded as the eminent doctor of the churches of Spain. The city of Toledo was honoured with the residence of the Visigoth kings. Continue reading

Easter Wednesday

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Easter Wednesday

by Dom Gueranger, 1908

And when Moses had stretched forth his hand towards the sea, it returned at the first break of day to the former place: and as the Egyptians were fleeing away, the waters came upon them, and the Lord shut them up in the middle of the waves.–Exodus 14: 27

This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein. The Hebrew word Pasch signifies passage, and we explained yesterday how this great day first became sacred by reason of the Lord’s Passover. But there is another meaning which attaches to the word, as we learn from the early Fathers, and the Jewish rabbins. The Pasch is, moreover, the passage of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. These three great facts really happened on one and the same night:–the banquet of the lamb, the death of the first-born of the Egyptians, and the departure from Egypt. Let us, today, consider how this third figure is a further development of our Easter mystery.

The day of Israel’s setting forth from Egypt for his predestined country of the Promised Land, is the most important in his whole history; but, both the departure itself, and the circumstances that attended it, were types of future realities to be fulfilled in the Christian Pasch. The people of God was delivered from an idolatrous and tyrannical country: in our Pasch, they who are now our neophytes have courageously emancipated themselves from the slavish sway of satan, and have solemnly renounced the pomps and works of this haughty Pharaoh. Continue reading

EASTER TUESDAY

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EASTER TUESDAY

by Dom Gueranger, 1908

This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

Our Pasch is the Lamb, and we meditated upon the mystery yesterday: now let us attentively consider those words of sacred Scripture, where, speaking of the Pasch, it says: ‘It is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord.’ God Himself adds these words: ‘I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments (Exod. xii. 11).’ So that the Pasch is a day of judgment, a day of terrible justice upon the enemies of God; but, for that very reason, it is a day of deliverance for Israel. The lamb is slain; but his immolation is the signal of redemption to the holy people of the Lord.

The people of Israel are slaves to the cruel Pharaoh. Their bondage is the heaviest that can be. Their male children are to be put to death. The race of Abraham, on which repose the promises of the world’s salvation, is doomed. It is time for God to interpose: the Lion of the tribe of Juda, He whom none can resist, must show Himself. Continue reading