The Chair of Unity Octave

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The Chair of Unity Octave

The Chair of Unity Octave is one of the most special and richly indulgenced novenas of the Church year. It has accomplished an immense good in awakening Catholics to a mission consciousness and to the need of interesting themselves in the conversion of those without the Fold. In these days of darkness and confusion, when the enemies of Christ seem to be triumphing as never before, how great is our last obligation to pour forth fervent prayer for the souls of the millions who wander in darkness, that God in his Mercy will grant them the grace of conversion. Let us take very seriously our responsibility with regard to the souls of our brethren, and make this yearly Octave truly a week of grace!

“In every age it has been the concern of the Roman Pontiffs, Our predecessors, and likewise it concerns Us greatly, that Christians who have, unfortunately, withdrawn from the Catholic Religion should at length be recalled to us as a forsaken Mother. For in the Unity of the Faith the foremost characteristic of the truth of the Church shines forth, and it is thus that the Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesians to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, by proclaiming that there is One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism (Ephes. 4:5). With a glad mind, therefore, We have heard that prayers have been proposed to be recited from the Feast of the Chair of the Blessed Peter at Rome to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, in order that this aim of Unity might be obtained from the Lord. We mercifully grant and bestow in the Lord a Plenary Indulgence and remission of their sins to each and all the faithful of Christ who from the eighteenth day of the month of January, the Festival of the Chair of Blessed Peter of Rome, until the twenty-fifth day of the same month, on which the Conversion of St. Paul is commemorated, shall recite once a day the prayers appointed.” ―Pope Benedict XV Continue reading

ST. CANUTUS

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ST. CANUTUS, King, Martyr.

ST. CANUTUS, King of Denmark, was endowed with excellent qualities of both mind and body. It is hard to say whether he excelled more in courage or in conduct and skill in war; but his singular piety eclipsed all his other endowments. He cleared the seas of pirates, and subdued several neighboring provinces which infested Denmark with their incursions. The kingdom of Denmark was elective till the year 1660, and, when the father of Canutus died, his eldest brother, Harold, was called to the throne. Harold died after reigning for two years, and Canutus was chosen to succeed him. He began his reign by a successful war against the troublesome, barbarous enemies of the state, and by planting the faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his diadem, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings. After having provided for the peace and safety of his country, he married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Earl of Flanders, who proved a spouse worthy of him. His next concern was to reform abuses at home. For thus purpose he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, and repressed the violence and tyranny of the great, without respect to persons. He countenanced and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects made him study by all possible ways to make them a happy people. He showed a royal munificence in building and adorning churches, and gave the crown which he wore, of exceeding great value, to a church in his capital and place of residence, where the kings of Denmark are yet buried. To the virtues which constitute a great king, Canutus added those which prove the great saint. A rebellion having sprung up in his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by the rebels. Perceiving his danger, he confessed his sins at the foot of the altar, and received Holy Communion. Stretching out his arms before the altar, the Saint fervently recommended his soul to his Creator; in this posture he was struck by a

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javelin thrown through a window, and fell a victim for Christ’s sake.

Reflection.—The soul of a man is endowed with many noble powers, and feels a keen joy in their exercise; but the keenest joy we are capable of feeling consists in prostrating all our powers of mind and heart in humblest adoration before the majesty of God.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894], p. 41. January 19.

Saint Prisca

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Saint Prisca, Virgin and Martyr.

SHE was a noble Roman lady, and after many torments finished her triumph by the sword, about the year 275. Her relics are preserved in the ancient church which bears her name in Rome, and gives title to a cardinal. She is mentioned in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, and in almost all western Martyrologies. The acts of her martyrdom deserve no regard: St. Paul, in the last chapter of his epistle to the Romans, salutes Aquila, a person of Pontus, of Jewish extraction, and Priscilla, whom he and all churches thanked, because they had exposed themselves for his sake. He mentions the church which assembled in their house, which he attributes to no other among the twenty-five Christians whom he saluted, and were then at Rome. This agrees with the immemorial tradition at Rome, that St. Peter consecrated an altar, and baptized there in an urn of stone, which is now kept in the church of St. Prisca. Aquila and Priscilla are still honoured in this church, as titular patrons with our saint, and a considerable part of their relics lies under the altar. Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers, and lived at Corinth, when they were banished from Rome under Claudius: she who is called Priscilla in the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles to the Romans, and first to the Corinthians, is named Prisca in the second to Timothy. See the Roman Martyrology on the 18th of January and the 8th of July; also Chatelain, not. p. 333.
Page 2 of 2[In Irish Dichul, called by the French, St. Deel, or Diey.] HE quitted Ireland, his native country, with St. Columban, and lived with him, first in the kingdom of the East Angles, and afterwards at Luxeu; but when his master quitted France, he founded the abbey of Lutra, or Lure, in the diocess of Besanzon, which was much enriched by king Clothaire II. 1 Amidst his austerities, the joy and peace of his soul appeared in his countenance. St. Columban once said to him in his youth: “Deicolus, why are you always smiling?” He answered in simplicity: “Because no one can take my God from me.” He died in the seventh century. See his life and the history of his miracles in F. Chifflet, and Mabillon, Acta Bened. t. 2. p. 103, both written by a monk of Lure in the tenth century, as the authors of l’Hist. Lit. de la France take notice, t. 6. p. 410. By moderns, this saint is called Deicola; but in ancient MSS. Deicolus. In Franche-comté his name Deel is frequently given in baptism, and Deele to persons of the female sex.

January 18. Rev. Alban Butler. 1866. Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints.

St. Peter’s Chair at Rome

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St. Peter’s Chair at Rome

We are in that season of the ecclesiastical year, which is devoted to honouring the Incarnation and Birth of the Son of God, and the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin: it behoves us to remember, especially on this present Feast, that it is to the See of Peter that we owe the preservation of these dogmas, which are the very basis of our holy religion. Rome not only taught them to us when she sent us the saintly missioners who evangelised our country; but, moreover, when heresy attempted to throw its mists and clouds over these high Mysteries, it was Rome that secured the triumph to truth, by her sovereign decision. At Ephesus–when Nestorius was condemned, and the dogma, which he assailed, was solemnly proclaimed, that is, that the Divine Nature and the Human Nature, which are in Christ, make but one Person, and that Mary is consequently, the true Mother of God–the two hundred Fathers of that General Council thus spoke:–“Compelled by the Letters of our Most Holy Father Celestine, Bishop of the Roman Church, we have proceeded, in spite of our tears, to the condemnation of Nestorius.” At Chalcedon–where the Church had to proclaim, against Eutyches, the distinction of the two Natures in the Incarnate Word, God and Man–the six hundred and thirty Fathers, after hearing the Letter of the Roman Pontiff, gave their decision, and said: “Peter has spoken by the mouth of Leo.” Continue reading