Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

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Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Bishop, Confessor, Doctor

Saint Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, about the year 315. He was ordained a priest by Saint Maximus, who gave him the important charge of instructing and preparing the candidates for Baptism. This office he held for several years, and today we still have one series of his instructions, given in the year 347 or 348. They are of singular interest as being the earliest record of the systematic teaching of the Church on the Creed and Sacraments, and as having been given in the church built by Constantine on Mount Calvary. They are solid, simple, profound, precise, and saturated with Holy Scripture, and, as a witness and exposition of the Catholic faith, invaluable.

On the death of Saint Maximus, Cyril was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem. At the beginning of his episcopate a cross was seen in the sky, reaching from Mount Calvary to Mount Olivet, and so bright that it shone at noonday. Saint Cyril gave an account of it to the emperor, and the faithful regarded it as a presage of victory over the Arian heretics.

While Saint Cyril was Bishop of Jerusalem, the apostate emperor Julian resolved to defy the words of Our Lord (Luke 21:6) by rebuilding the ancient temple of Jerusalem. He employed the power and resources of a Roman emperor; the Jews thronged enthusiastically to him and gave munificently. But Cyril was unmoved. The word of God abides, he said; one stone shall not be laid on another. When the attempt was made, a pagan writer tells us that horrible flames came forth from the earth, rendering the place inaccessible to the scorched and frightened workmen. The attempt was made again and again, and then abandoned in despair. Soon after, the emperor perished miserably in a war against the Persians, and the Church had rest.

Like the other great bishops of his time, Cyril was persecuted, and was driven twice from his see; but on the death of the Arian emperor Valens, he returned to Jerusalem. He was present at the Second General Council of Constantinople, and died in peace A.D. 386, after a troubled episcopate of thirty-five years.

Reflection. As a stout staff, says Saint John Chrysostom, supports the trembling limbs of a feeble old man, so does faith sustain our vacillating mind, lest it be tossed about by sinful hesitation and perplexity.

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).

Today’s Introit: Reminíscere miseratiónum tuarum

Ps 24:6; 24:3; 24:22
Reminíscere miseratiónum tuarum, Dómine, et misericórdiæ tuæ, quæ a saeculo sunt: ne umquam dominéntur nobis inimíci nostri: líbera nos, Deus Israël, ex ómnibus angústiis nostris.
Ps 24:1-2
Ad te, Dómine, levávi ánimam meam: Deus meus, in te confído, non erubéscam.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculórum. Amen
Reminíscere miseratiónum tuarum, Dómine, et misericórdiæ tuæ, quæ a saeculo sunt: ne umquam dominéntur nobis inimíci nostri: líbera nos, Deus Israël, ex ómnibus angústiis nostris.

Ps 24:6, 3, 22.
Remember that Your compassion, O Lord, and Your kindness are from of old; let not our enemies exult over us; deliver us, O God of Israel, from all our tribulations.
Ps 24:1-2
To You I lift up my soul, O Lord; in You, O my God, I trust; let me not be put to shame.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Remember that Your compassion, O Lord, and Your kindness are from of old; let not our enemies exult over us; deliver us, O God of Israel, from all our tribulations


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The Church’s Year
Fr. Leonard Goffine


The Introit of this day’s Mass, which begins with the word Reminiscere, from which this Sunday derives its name, is the prayer of a soul begging God’s assistance, that she may sin no more:

INTROIT Remember, O Lord, Thy compassions and Thy mercies, which are from the beginning, lest at any time our enemies rule over us: deliver us O God of Israel, from all our tribulations. To Thee O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. (Ps. XXIV.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT O God, who seest us to be destitute of strength, keep us both inwardly and outwardly; that we may be defended in the body from all adversities, and cleansed in our mind from all evil thoughts. Through our Lord, etc.

EPISTLE (I Thess. IV. 1-7.) Brethren, we pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us, how you ought to walk, and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God: and that no man over-reach nor circumvent his brother in business; because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification; in Christ Jesus our Lord.

EXPLANATION From these words we see, that the great Teacher of Nations as carefully showed the Christian congregations the sanctity of their calling, as he labored to lead them from the blindness and abominations of heathenism.

ASPIRATION Grant, O God, that I may live an honest, chaste and holy life in accordance with my vocation, and go not after earthly and carnal pleasures, as the heathens who know Thee not.

GOSPEL (Matt. XVII. 1-9.) At that time, Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as snow. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said to them: Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man: till the Son of Man be risen from the dead.

Why was Christ transfigured in the presence of His apostles on Mount Thabor?

To permit them to see the glorious majesty of His divinity; to guard them from doubts when they should afterwards see Him die on Mount Calvary; to encourage the disciples and all the faithful to be patient in all crosses and afflictions, for the bodies of the just at the resurrection will be made like the glorified body of Christ. (Phil. III. 21.)

Why did Moses and Elias appear there?

That they might testify, that Jesus was really the Saviour announced by the law and the prophets, and that the law and the prophets received fulfillment in Him. The former was represented by Moses, the latter by Elias.

Why, did Peter wish to build three tabernacles there?

The delightful sweetness of the apparition in which Jesus made him participator so enraptured him, that he knew not what he said, not considering that glory can be attained only through sufferings, the crown through fight, joy through crosses and afflictions.

ASPIRATION Draw us, O Jesus, to Thee, that by the contemplation of the sacred joys awaiting us, we, by Thy grace, may not be defeated in the spiritual contest, but conquer through Thy grace and carry off the unfading crown of victory.

St. Patrick, his life, his heroic virtues, his labours, and the fruits of his labours

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St. Patrick, his life, his heroic virtues, his labours, and the fruits of his labours

by Rev. Henry Gibson, 1881

The great St. Patrick, who was sent by the Pope, four hundred years after our Blessed Lord, to preach the gospel to the Irish, found them a prey to gross superstition and idolatry. In the course of his apostolic journeys, he arrived at the hill of Tara on Easter Eve, the very day on which the false priests of the country, called Druids, were performing on that sacred spot the ceremonies of their false god Baal, in presence of King Leogaire and all his court. According to the ancient law of the country, no fire could be lighted on that day before the sacred fire of Baal had been kindled ; and the Druids had warned the King that, if this were done, the person who lighted the unlawful flame would subdue the land, and change the customs and religion of the people. St. Patrick, however, in performing the solemn office of the Church, blessed the sacred fire, as is usual on Easter Eve, and lighted the Paschal candle. The Druids, observing the strange light, came to the King in the greatest consternation, and begged that he would immediately order it to be extinguished. Thereupon the King, summoning his armed horsemen, rode in anger to the spot, but was met by St. Patrick and his attendants, who came forth in procession, singing the praises of God. The King, touched by God’s grace, received him with courtesy, and granted him an audience, which took place on the following morning. At this conference, which was attended by all the chieftains and Druids of the neighbourhood, St. Patrick delivered a full explanation of Catholic doctrine, which was followed by the conversion of many of his hearers, and soon after by that of the whole island.

It was on this occasion that St. Patrick, while instructing the people in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, gathered from the ground a sprig of shamrock, to explain to them more clearly the doctrine of Three Persons in One God. “Behold,” he would say to them, “this little plant, which bears on the one stalk three small leaves, the exact copy and resemblance of one another. They are distinct and separate, yet they are one, for they form but one sprig, and rest upon one stalk. So is it, my brethren, that I preach to you a God one in nature and three in person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each equally God, but possessing one undivided Godhead.”

Since that time, the faithful people of Ireland have loved and cherished this little plant, which their great apostle made use of in the conversion of their forefathers. They have never ceased to glory in it, as the fittest emblem of their country and their faith.–Life of St. Patrick.

St. Patrick

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St. Patrick Bishop, Apostle of Ireland

by Rev. Charles Fell and Bishop Richard Challoner 1750

Patrick, a native of that part of Britain now called Scotland, was born about the middle of the 4th Century. The Romans having left this Island naked and defenseless, it’s inhabitants were an easy prey to their troublesome neighbors the Irish, who made several incursions, and carried off considerable booty. Our Saint was sixteen years old, when he fell into the hands of those plunderers; and was carried into Ireland, where the hardships of slavery were to prepare him for the labors of an Apostle; and the experience he had of the spiritual necessities of that people was to inspire him with the charitable design of carrying the Light of the Gospel amongst them. After he had spent five or six years in that Ireland, he found means to make his escape, and return to his own country. He stayed there about four months, and in that time had frequent visions relating to the place of his late captivity, which he took as so many Divine admonitions for endeavoring the conversion of the Island he had left. Continue reading