St. Cornelius

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St. Cornelius, Pope and Martyr

A.D. 252.

THE HOLY pope Fabian having been crowned with martyrdom on the 20th of January, in the year 250, the see of Rome remained vacant above sixteen months, the clergy and people not being able all that while, through the violence of the persecution, to assemble for the election of a bishop. St. Cyprian says, that such was the rage of the persecutor Decius, that he would more easily have suffered a competitor in his empire than a bishop in Rome. At length, however, when that emperor was taken up in opposing the revolt of Julius Valens, or in his wars against the Goths, at a distance from Rome, Cornelius was chosen to fill the apostolic chair in 251. St. Cyprian testifies that he was a person of an unblemished character and virginal purity, remarkable for his humility; meek, modest, peaceable, and adorned with all other virtues; that he was not advanced to the episcopal dignity on a sudden, but had gone through all the orders of the clergy, as the previous steps, and served the Lord in the functions of each distinct order, as the canons require. At the time of St. Fabian’s death he was a priest in the Roman church, and had the chief share in the direction of affairs during the vacancy of the holy see. Far from aiming at, or desiring the supreme dignity in the church to which he was raised, he suffered violence, says the same St. Cyprian, and was promoted to it by force and compulsion. In this we see the character of the Spirit of God, which teaches holy men in humility and distrust sincerely to fear and decline such posts, which presumption, vanity and ambition make others seek and invade, who by this mark alone, are sufficiently proved to be most unworthy. And Cornelius, by gradually proceeding through all the functions of the ministry, according to the spirit of the church, had attained all the graces and virtues by which he was qualified for that high station. The election of Cornelius was made by a due assembly of almost all the clergy of Rome; a great number also of the laity, who were present, consented to and demanded his ordination. The concurring suffrages of sixteen ancient and worthy bishops, (two of whom were Africans,) who happened then to be in Rome, confirmed the same, and the elect was compelled to receive the episcopal consecration. St. Cyprian and other bishops, according to custom, despatched to him letters of communion and congratulation. Matters were thus settled when the devil found in Novatian an instrument to disturb the peace of the church. 1 Continue reading

Saint Cyprian

Saint Cyprian

Doctor of the Church, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr
(† 258)

Saint Cyprian was an African of noble birth, the son of a Roman senator; he was a teacher of rhetoric in his youth, but still pagan and frivolous. In his vigorous mid-life he was converted to Christianity through the influence of a priest who was himself a convert to Christianity and was edifying all Carthage by his conversation and his virtues. A long combat followed for Cyprian, who although convinced of the truth of these excellent reasonings and the beauty of this doctrine, still had to overcome the pride of a philosopher and the worldly bent of his life of pleasure. Nonetheless, grace won out and he listened to the interior voice of conscience which constantly pressed him onward: Courage, Cyprian! Whatever the cost, let us go to God. He sold his estates and gave the price to the poor; and it was not long after his baptism that he was ordained a priest, and then consecrated Bishop of Carthage notwithstanding his resistance. The Christian population rejoiced, sure that in him they would have a strong bulwark during persecution.
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The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

At the Introit of the Mass the justice and mercy of God are praised:

INTROIT Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right; deal with thy servant according to thy mercy. Blessed are the undefiled in the way; who walk in the law of the Lord. (Ps. CXVIII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Grant to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to avoid the defilements of the devil, and with a pure mind to follow Thee, the only God. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Ephes. IV. 1- 6.) Brethren, I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called. With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

ADMONITION Implore God continually for grace to accomplish and make certain your vocation by practicing these virtues, recommended by St. Paul. Continue reading