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Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year


[For the Introit of this day see the Introit in the Mass of the third Sunday after Epiphany]

On this Sunday mention is made of the practice of Christian virtues, and of God’s sufferance of the wicked upon earth, that by them the just may be exercised in patience.

COLLECT Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy household by Thy continual mercy; that as it leans only upon the hope of Thy heavenly grace, so it may ever be defended by Thy protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, etc.

EPISTLE (Col. III. 12-17.) Brethren, put ye on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another; even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so you also. But above all these things, have charity, which is the bond of perfection: and let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things, do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. Continue reading

St. Scholastica 

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St. Scholastica

The sister of the Patriarch Saint Benedict comes to us today, sweetly inviting us to follow her to heaven. Apollonia the Martyr is succeeded by Scholastica the fervent daughter of the Cloister. Both of them are the Spouses of Jesus, both of them wear a crown, for both of them fought hard, and won the palm. Apollonia’s battle was with cruel persecutors, and in those hard times when one had to die to conquer; Scholastica’s combat was the life-long struggle, whose only truce is the soldier’s dying breath. The Martyr and the Nun are sisters now in the Heart of Him they both so bravely loved.

God, in his infinite wisdom, gave to St. Benedict a faithful co-operatrix,–a sister of such angelic gentleness of character, that she would be a sort of counterpoise to the brother, whose vocation, as the legislator of monastic life, needed a certain dignity of grave and stern resolve. We continually meet with these contrasts in the lives of the saints; and they show us that there is a link, of which flesh and blood know nothing; a link which binds two souls together, gives them power, harmonises their differences of character, and renders each complete. Thus it is in heaven with the several hierarchies of the Angels; a mutual love, which is founded on God Himself, unites them together, and makes them live in the eternal happiness of the tenderest brotherly affection. Continue reading

St. Cyril

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St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria

A.D. 444.

ST. CYRIL was raised by God to defend the faith of the Incarnation of his Son, “of which mystery he is styled the doctor, as St. Austin is of that grace,” says Thomassin. He studied under his uncle Theophilus, and testifies 1 that he made it his rule never to advance any doctrine which he had not learned from the ancient Fathers. His books against Julian the Apostate show that he had read the profane writers. He often says himself that he neglected human eloquence: and it is to be wished that he had wrote in a clearer style, and with greater purity of the Greek tongue. Upon the death of Theophilus, in 412, he was raised by the people to the patriarchal dignity. He began to exert his authority by causing the churches of the Novatians in the city to be shut up, and their sacred vessels and ornaments to be seized; an action censured by Socrates, a favourer of those heretics; but we do not know the reasons and authority upon which he proceeded. He next drove the Jews out of the city, who were very numerous, and enjoyed great privileges there from the time of Alexander the Great. Seditions and several acts of violence committed by them excited him to this, which grievously offended Orestes the governor, but was approved by the emperor Theodosius: and the Jews never returned. St. Cyril sent to conjure the governor by the holy gospels that he would consent to a reconciliation, and that he would join in sincere friendship with him: but his offers were rejected. This unhappy disagreement produced pernicious effects. Hypatia, a pagan lady, kept a public school of philosophy in the city. Her reputation for learning was so great, that disciples flocked to her from all parts. Among these was the great Synesius, who afterwards submitted his works to her censure. She was consulted by philosophers of the first rank on the most intricate points of learning, and of the Platonic philosophy in particular, in which she was remarkably well versed. 2 She was much respected and consulted by the governor, and often visited him. The mob, which was no where more unruly or more fond of riots and tumults than in that populous city, the second in the world for extent, upon a suspicion that she incensed the governor against their bishop, seditiously rose, pulled her out of her chariot, cut and mangled her flesh, and tore her body in pieces in the streets, in 415, to the great grief and scandal of all good men, especially of the pious bishop. 3 He had imbibed certain prejudices from his uncle against the great St. Chrysostom: but was prevailed on by St. Isidore of Pelusium and others to insert his name in the Dyptics of his church, in 419: after which, pope Zozimus, sent him letters of communion. 4 1 Continue reading

St. Apollonia

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St. Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr

A.D. 249.

ST. DIONYSIUS of Alexandria wrote to Fabius, bishop of Antioch, a relation of the persecution raised at Alexandria by the heathen populace of that city, in the last year of the reign of the emperor Philip. A certain poet of Alexandria, who pretended to foretell things to come, stirred up this great city against the Christians on the motive of religion. The first victim of their rage was a venerable old man, named Metras, or Metrius, whom they would have compelled to utter impious words against the worship of the true God: which, when he refused to do, they beat him with staffs, thrust splinters of reeds into his eyes, and having dragged him into one of the suburbs, stoned him to death. The next person they seized was a Christian woman, called Quinta, whom they carried to one of their temples to pay divine worship to the idol. She loaded the execrable divinity with many reproaches, which so exasperated the people that they dragged her by the heels upon the pavement of sharp pebbles, cruelly scourged her, and put her to the same death. The rioters, by this time, were in the height of their fury. Alexandria seemed like a city taken by storm. The Christians made no opposition, but betook themselves to flight, and beheld the loss of their goods with joy; for their hearts had no ties on earth. Their constancy was equal to their disinterestedness; for of all who fell into their hands, St. Dionysius knew of none that renounced Christ. 1 Continue reading