Saint Narcissus

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Saint Narcissus

Bishop of Jerusalem
(† Second Century)

Saint Narcissus from his youth applied himself with great care to the study of both religious and human disciplines. He entered into the ecclesiastical state, and in him all the sacerdotal virtues were seen in their perfection; he was called the holy priest. He was surrounded by universal esteem, but was consecrated Bishop of Jerusalem only in about the year 180, when he was already an octogenarian. He governed his church with a vigor which was like that of a young man, and his austere and penitent life was totally dedicated to the welfare of the church.

In the year 195, with Theophilus of Cesarea he presided at a council concerning the celebration date of Easter; it was decided then that this great feast would always be celebrated on a Sunday, and not on the day of the ancient Passover.

God attested his merits by many miracles, which were long held in memory by the Christians of Jerusalem. One Holy Saturday the faithful were distressed, because no oil could be found for the church lamps to be used in the Paschal vigil. Saint Narcissus bade them draw water from a neighboring well and after he blessed it, told them to put it in the lamps. It was changed into oil, and long afterwards some of this oil was still preserved at Jerusalem in memory of the miracle.

The virtue of the Saint did not fail to make enemies for him, and three wretched men charged him with an atrocious crime. They confirmed their testimony by horrible imprecations. The first one prayed that he might perish by fire, the second that he might be wasted by leprosy, the third that he might be struck blind, if the accusations they made against their bishop were false. The holy bishop had long desired a life of solitude, and at this time he decided it was best to withdraw to the desert and leave the Church in peace. But God intervened on behalf of His servant, when all three of the bishop’s accusers suffered the penalties they had invoked. Narcissus could then no longer resist the petitions of his people; he returned to Jerusalem and resumed his office. He died in extreme old age, bishop to the last.

Reflection: God never fails those who trust in Him; He guides them through darkness and through trials, in silence but securely, to their end.

Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950); 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).

Love of Novelty and Variety

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Love of Novelty and Variety

CHRIST:

MY CHILD, curiosity is a good thing as long as it is controlled by reason and grace. In many things, curiosity does more harm than good. Some people have such a desire to be considered learned and intelligent that they try to answer all difficulties and solve all problems.

2. No man knows all the answers. In fact, there are times when it is better not to know the answer. just go along, doing your daily tasks and fulfilling your obligations. Learn whatever may help you to live a more useful and more virtuous life. Such knowledge will help you find My peace.

3. At times curiosity can interfere with your best interests. In dealing with My teachings, take them with simplicity and humility, instead of trying to understand the why and wherefore of every statement. At times it is necessary to accept My teachings simply because they are Mine. Some truths are too deep for your limited human intelligence. If you could have learned them by yourself, I would not have come down to reveal them to you. You must accept them with faith, humility, and simplicity. Am I not the Author of all truth?

4. Control your curiosity. It is better to ignore some things as though they did not exist. You will sometimes find it best to be deaf, dumb, and blind for My sake. You are not ready yet to learn the full truth. For the present fill your mind and heart with those thoughts and desires which will help you gain eternal life. Direct your interest toward things which will make you more honest and content in your daily duties.

5. Remember, the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear satisfied with hearing. There is more to your daily life than what you see and hear. You are surrounded by an invisible world, the world of spiritual reality. It will go on existing after this earthly world has passed away.

6. Try to learn as much as you can about the truths which I have revealed. Beware, however, of proud curiosity, which presumes to understand all things or seeks to impress others with knowledge.

THINK:
Curiosity can lead to greater knowledge, but it can also be harmful. In relation to God’s words, man’s first concern must be to believe them because God inspired them. If one is more interested in studying God’s words than in living them, then his curiosity is not a good thing. As long as one is doing his best to obey Christ’s Church, he can safely study God’s holy revelation in order to understand it better.

PRAY:
Holy Ghost, divine Inspirer of human hearts, grant me the grace to study Your words humbly and to obey them unselfishly. Let me understand ever more deeply how I may apply Your Wisdom in my daily life. The more faithfully I follow Your holy Will, the more safely and profitably will I be able to understand what You have revealed to the world through Holy Scripture and Christ’s Church. Amen.

Saints Simon and Jude

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Saints Simon and Jude

Apostles and Martyrs († First Century)

Simon was a simple Galilean, a brother of Jesus, as the ancients called one’s close relatives — aunts, uncles, first cousins; he was one of the Saviour’s four first cousins, with James the Less, Jude and Joseph, all sons of Mary, the wife of Alpheus, or Cleophas, either name being a derivative of the Aramaic Chalphai. The latter was the brother of Saint Joseph, according to tradition. All the sons of this family were raised at Nazareth near the Holy Family. (See the Gospel of Saint Matthew 13:53-58.) Simon, Jude and James were called by Our Lord to be Apostles, pillars of His Church, and Joseph the Just was His loyal disciple.

Saint Simon the Zealot or the Zealous, was the name this Apostle bore among the twelve. He preached in Egypt, Mauritania (Spain), and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they labored and died together. At first they were respected by the king, for they had manifested power over two ferocious tigers who had terrorized the land. With the king, sixty thousand Persians became Christians, and churches rose over the ruins of the idolatrous temples.

But the ancient enemy, who never sleeps, rose up, and when the two went elsewhere the pagans commanded them to sacrifice to the sun. Both Apostles, just before that time, had seen Our Lord amid His Angels. Simon said to Jude, One of the Angels said to me, I will take you out of the temple and bring the building down upon their heads. I answered him, Let it not be so; perhaps some of them will be converted. They prayed for mercy for the people and offered their lives to God. Saint Simon told the crowd that their gods were only demons, and ordered them to come out of the statues, which they did, revealing themselves under hideous forms. But the idolaters fell on the Apostles and massacred them, while they blessed God and prayed for their murderers.

Saint Jude has left us a short but powerful epistle, written after the death of his brother James, bishop of Jerusalem, and addressed to the new Christians being tempted by false brethren and heretics.

Reflection: Zeal is an ardent love which makes a man fearless in defense of God’s honor, and earnest to make known the truth at all costs. If we desire to be children of the Saints, we must be zealous for the Faith.

Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).