Saint John Damascene

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Saint John Damascene

Doctor of the Church

Saint John was born in the late 7th century, and is the most remarkable of the Greek writers of the 8th century. His father was a civil authority who was Christian amid the Saracens of Damascus, whose caliph made him his minister. This enlightened man found in the public square one day, amid a group of sad Christian captives, a priest of Italian origin who had been condemned to slavery; he ransomed him and assigned him to his young son to be his tutor. Young John made extraordinary progress in grammar, dialectic, mathematics, music, poetry, astronomy, but above all in theology, the discipline imparting knowledge of God. John became famous for his encyclopedic knowledge and theological method, later a source of inspiration to Saint Thomas Aquinas.
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Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas – Friday After the Fourth Sunday

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday After the Fourth Sunday

The Precious Blood

Through the blood of Christ the New Testament was confirmed. This chalice is the new testament in my blood (i Cor. xi. 25). Testament has a double meaning.

(1) It may mean any kind of agreement or pact.

Now God has twice made an agreement with mankind. In one pact God promised man temporal prosperity and deliverance from temporal losses, and this pact is called the Old Testament. In another pact God promised man spiritual blessings and deliverance from spiritual losses, and this is called the New Testament, I will make a new; covenant, saith the Lord, with the house of Israel and with the house of ]uda: not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: but this shall be the covenant: I will give my law in their bosoms and I will write it in their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people (]er. xxxi. 31-33). Continue reading

Saint Ludger

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Saint Ludger

First Bishop of Munster
(† 809)

Saint Ludger was born in Friesland (the Netherlands) about the year 743. His father, a nobleman of the first rank, at the child’s own request, committed him very young to the care of Saint Gregory, Bishop of Utrecht, a disciple of Saint Boniface and his successor in the government of the see of Utrecht. Saint Gregory educated him in his monastery of Utrecht, and gave him the clerical tonsure.

Ludger, desirous of further religious studies, passed over into England, and spent four and a half years under Alcuin, Rector of a famous school at York. In 773 he returned home, and when Saint Gregory died in 776, his successor, Alberic, compelled Saint Ludger to receive the priesthood. Continue reading

The Ave Maria

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The Ave Maria

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee”

The Ave Maria is also called the Angelical Salutation, because it commences with the words of the archangel.

It has always been customary among Christians to imitate the example of the Archangel Gabriel, and salute our Blessed Lady in his words. The devotion to Mary was not introduced by the decree of a council, nor at the behest of any Pope; at all times the faithful have been wont to pay their devout homage to the Queen of heaven. She herself foresaw that this would be so; that all generations would call her blessed (Luke i. 48). Continue reading

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas – Thursday After the Fourth Sunday

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas

Thursday After the Fourth Sunday

The Death of Lazarus

Lazarus our friend sleepeth–(John xi. 11)

Our friend for the many benefits and services he rendered us, and therefore we owe it not to fail in his necessity. Sleepeth, therefore we must come to his assistance: a brother is proved in distress (Prov. xvii. 17).

He sleepeth, I say, as St. Augustine says, to the Lord. But to men he was dead, nor had they power to raise him.

Sleep is a word we use with various meanings. We use it to mean natural sleep, negligence, blameworthy inattention, the peace of contemplation, the peace of future glory, and we use it also to mean death. We will not have you ignorant, concerning the last sleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others that have no hope, says St. Paul (i Thess. iv. 12). Continue reading