Tag Archives: Mass Readings

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God — 1.1.11

“Hail Mary Theotokos{Mother of God}, venerable treasure of the whole world, light unextinguished, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, indestructible temple, which contains the uncontainable…it is through you that the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored, through you, the precious cross is venerated and adored throughout the whole world, through you that heaven is in gladness, that angels and archangels rejoice, that demons are put to flight, through you that the tempter, the devil is cast down from heaven, through you that the fallen creature is raised up to heaven, through you that all creation, once imprisoned in idolatry, has reached knowledge of the truth, that the faithful obtain baptism and the oil of joy, churches have been founded in the whole world, that peoples are led to conversion.”

St Cyril of Alexandria, Hom. IV Ephesi in Nestorium, Patrologia Graeca 77, 992, BC; Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum

The Octave Day of Christmas

Reading 1

Nm 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:

“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:

This is how you shall bless the Israelites.

Say to them:

The LORD bless you and keep you!

The LORD let his face shine upon

you, and be gracious to you!

The LORD look upon you kindly and

give you peace!

So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,

and I will bless them.”

Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8 Responsorial Psalm

R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.

May God have pity on us and bless us;

may he let his face shine upon us.

So may your way be known upon earth;

among all nations, your salvation.

R. May God bless us in his mercy.

May the nations be glad and exult

because you rule the peoples in equity;

the nations on the earth you guide.

R. May God bless us in his mercy.

May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you!

May God bless us,

and may all the ends of the earth fear him!

R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Gal 4:4-7 Reading 2

Brothers and sisters:

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,

born of a woman, born under the law,

to ransom those under the law,

so that we might receive adoption as sons.

As proof that you are sons,

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,

crying out, “Abba, Father!”

So you are no longer a slave but a son,

and if a son then also an heir, through God.

Lk 2:16-21 Gospel

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,

and the infant lying in the manger.

When they saw this,

they made known the message

that had been told them about this child.

All who heard it were amazed

by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things,

reflecting on them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned,

glorifying and praising God

for all they had heard and seen,

just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,

he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel

before he was conceived in the womb.

END OF POST

HAT TIP/CANTEBURY TALES

How the spirits of the just are made perfect — The Litany of Humility

The readings of Holy Mass today were on humility… In his weekly Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Christ did not limit himself to taking just the lowest place at the table, Jesus, taught the Pope, repeatedly offers humanity “a model of humility and of free giving” and showed the world “radical humility” by accepting the Cross.””

Blessed be God forever…

THE LITANY OF HUMILTY

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,

Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…

From the desire of being extolled …

From the desire of being honored …

From the desire of being praised …

From the desire of being preferred to others…

From the desire of being consulted …

From the desire of being approved …

From the fear of being humiliated …

From the fear of being despised…

From the fear of suffering rebukes …

From the fear of being calumniated …

From the fear of being forgotten …

From the fear of being ridiculed …

From the fear of being wronged …

From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …

That, in the opinion of the world,

others may increase and I may decrease …

That others may be chosen and I set aside …

That others may be praised and I unnoticed …

That others may be preferred to me in everything…

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Fratres Daily Mass Readings: Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter 05.28.09

Father, they are your gift to me.

St. Dominic
St. Dominic

Reading 1

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11

Wishing to determine the truth

about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,

the commander freed him

and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.

Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,

so he called out before the Sanhedrin,

“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;

I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

When he said this,

a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,

and the group became divided.

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection

or angels or spirits,

while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.

A great uproar occurred,

and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party

stood up and sharply argued,

“We find nothing wrong with this man.

Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

The dispute was so serious that the commander,

afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,

ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst

and take him into the compound.

The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.

For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,

so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;

I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”

O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,

you it is who hold fast my lot.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;

even in the night my heart exhorts me.

I set the LORD ever before me;

with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,

my body, too, abides in confidence;

Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,

nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

You will show me the path to life,

fullness of joys in your presence,

the delights at your right hand forever.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Gospel

Jn 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:

“I pray not only for these,

but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

so that they may all be one,

as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

that they also may be in us,

that the world may believe that you sent me.

And I have given them the glory you gave me,

so that they may be one, as we are one,

I in them and you in me,

that they may be brought to perfection as one,

that the world may know that you sent me,

and that you loved them even as you loved me.

Father, they are your gift to me.

I wish that where I am they also may be with me,

that they may see my glory that you gave me,

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,

but I know you, and they know that you sent me.

I made known to them your name and I will make it known,

that the love with which you loved me

may be in them and I in them.”

Fratres Daily Sacrifice of the Mass Readings: Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin 02.10.09

2009_02_06t075729_450x338_us_cyprus_bible

Reading 1
Gn 1:20-2:4a

God said,
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed-the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”

God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed-the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.
Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place-
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Gospel
Mk 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
 

St. Scholastica

nun

St. Scholastica, like her brother, dedicated herself to God from early youth. Information on the virgin Scholastica is very scanty. In his Second Book of Dialogues (Ch. 33 and 34) Pope St. Gregory has described for us the last meeting between brother and sister:
“His sister Scholastica, who had been consecrated to God in early childhood, used to visit with him once a year. On these occasions he would go to meet her in a house belonging to the monastery a short distance from the entrance. For this particular visit he joined her there with a few of his disciples and they spent the whole day singing God’s praises and conversing about the spiritual life.

“When darkness was setting in they took their meal together and continued their conversation at table until it was quite late. Then the holy nun said to him, ‘Please do not leave me tonight, brother. Let us keep on talking about the joys of heaven till morning.’ ‘What are you saying, sister?’ he replied. ‘You know that I cannot stay away from the monastery.’ The sky was so clear at the time, there was not a cloud in sight.

At her brother’s refusal Scholastica folded her hands on the table and rested her head upon them in earnest prayer. When she looked up again, there was a sudden burst of lightning and thunder accompanied by such a downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to set foot outside the door. By shedding a flood of tears while she prayed, this holy nun had darkened the cloudless sky with a heavy rain. The storm began as soon as her prayer was over. In fact, the two coincided so closely that the thunder was already resounding as she raised her head from the table. The very instant she ended her prayer the rain poured down.

“Realizing that he could not return to the abbey in this terrible storm, Benedict complained bitterly. ‘God forgive you, sister!’ he said. ‘What have you done?’ Scholastica simply answered, ‘When I appealed to you, you would not listen to me. So I turned to my God and He heard my prayer. Leave now if you can. Leave me here and go back to your monastery.’

“This, of course, he could not do. He had no choice now but to stay, in spite of his unwillingness. They spent the entire night together and both of them derived great profit from the holy thoughts they exchanged about the interior life. The next morning Scholastica returned to her convent and Benedict to his monastery.

“Three days later as he stood in his room looking up toward the sky, he beheld his sister’s soul leaving her body and entering the heavenly court in the form of a dove. Overjoyed at her eternal glory, he gave thanks to God in hymns of praise. Then, after informing his brethren of her death, he sent some of them to bring her body to the abbey and bury it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. The bodies of these two were now to share a common resting place, just as in life their souls had always been one in God.”

Her tomb is at Monte Cassino.

 Hat/Tip: Catholic Culture – Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

 Patron: Against rain; convulsive children; nuns; storms.

Symbols: Nun with crozier and crucifix; nun with dove flying from her mouth.

Fratres Daily Mass Readings 02.07.09: Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

290
"Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.
Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.
May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R. (see 10) (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Gospel
Mk 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

Fratres Daily Mass Readings 02.06.09: Memorial of Saint Paul Miki, martyr, and his companions, martyrs

james-on-the-beachReading 1
Heb 13:1-8

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:
The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Gospel
Mk 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

St. Paul Miki and Companions

saintp48

Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, killing hundreds of thousands. Three and a half centuries before, twenty-six martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children-all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his church.

Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution:

“The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”

When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.

Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

Sources: Hat Tip/Catholic Culture – USCCB

Fratres Daily Mass Readings 02.05.09: Memorial St. Agatha Virgin Martyr

james-on-the-beachReading 1
Heb 12:18-19, 21-24

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said,
“I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently
than that of Abel.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 48:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 9, 10-11

R. (see 10) O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
As we had heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
In the city of our God;
God makes it firm forever.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

Gospel
Mk 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
-no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

St. Agatha Virgin and Martyr

(Third Century)

St. Agatha Virgin Martyr (3rd Century)
St. Agatha Virgin Martyr (3rd Century)

We have her panagyrics, by St. Aldhelm, in the seventh, and St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the ninth centuries; also a hymn in her honour among the poems of Pope Damasus, and another by St. Isidore of Seville, in Bollandus, p. 596. The Greeks have interpolated her acts; but those in Latin are very ancient. They are abridged by Tillemont, t. 3, p. 409. See also Rocci Pyrrho, in Sicilia Sacra, on Palermo, Catana, and Malta. (A.D. 251)

THE cities of Palermo and Catana, in Sicily, dispute the honour of her birth; but they do much better who, by copying her virtues, and claiming her patronage, strive to become her fellow-citizens in heaven. It is agreed that she received the crown of martyrdom at Catana, in the persecution of Decius, in the third consulship of that prince, in the year of our Lord 251. She was of a rich and illustrious family, and having been consecrated to God from her tender years, triumphed over many assaults upon her chastity.

Quintianus, a man of consular dignity, bent on gratifying both his lust and avarice, imagined he should easily compass his wicked designs on Agatha’s person and estate by means of the emperor’s edict against the Christians. He therefore caused her to be apprehended and brought before him at Catana. Seeing herself in the hands of the persecutors, she made this prayer: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things, you see my heart, you know my desire-possess alone all that I am. I am your sheep, make me worthy to overcome the devil.” She wept, and prayed for courage and strength all the way she went.

On her appearance, Quintianus gave orders for her being put into the hands of Aphrodisia, a most wicked woman, who, with six daughters, all prostitutes, kept a common stew. The saint suffered in this infamous place assaults and stratagems against her virtue infinitely more terrible to her than any tortures or death itself. But placing her confidence in God, she never ceased with sighs and most earnest tears to implore his protection, and by it was an overmatch for all their hellish attempts the whole month she was there. Quintianus, being informed of her constancy after thirty days, ordered her to be brought before him. The virgin, in her first interrogatory, told him that to be a servant of Jesus Christ was the most illustrious nobility and true liberty.

The judge, offended at her resolute answers, commanded her to be buffeted and led to prison. She entered it with great joy, recommending her future conflict to God. The next day she was arraigned a second time at the tribunal, and answered with equal constancy that Jesus Christ was her life and her salvation. Quintianus then ordered her to be stretched on the rack, which torment was usually accompanied with stripes, the tearing of the sides with iron hooks, and burning them with torches or matches. The governor, enraged to see her suffer all this with cheerfulness, commanded her breast to be tortured, and afterwards to be cut off. At which she made him this reproach: “Cruel tyrant, do you not blush to torture this part of my body, you that sucked the breasts of a woman yourself? “He remanded her to prison, with a severe order that neither salves nor food should be allowed her.

But God would be himself her physician, and the apostle St. Peter in a vision comforted her, healed all her wounds,. and filled her dungeon with a heavenly light. Quintianus, four days after, not the least moved at the miraculous cure of her wounds, caused her to be rolled naked over live coals mixed with broken potsherds. Being carried back to prison, she made this prayer: “Lord, my Creator, you have ever protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world, and given me patience to suffer: receive now my soul.” After which words she sweetly gave up the ghost. Her name is inserted in the canon of the mass in the calendar of Carthage, as ancient as the year 530, and in all martyrologies of the Latins and Greeks. Pope Symmachus built a church in Rome on the Aurelian Way under her name, about the year 500, which is fallen to decay.[1]

St. Gregory the Great enriched a church which he purged from the Arian impiety with her relics,[2] which it still possesses. This church had been rebuilt in her honour by Ricimer, general of the Western Empire, in 460. Gregory II built another famous church at Rome, under her invocation, in 726, which Clement VIII gave to the congregation of the Christian doctrine. St. Gregory the Great[3] ordered some of her relics to be placed in the church of the monastery of St. Stephen, in the Isle of Capreae, now Capri. The chief part, which remained at Catana, was carried to Constantinople by the Greek general, who drove the Saracens out of Sicily about the year 1040; these were brought back to Catana in 1127, a relation of which translation, written by Mauritius, who was then bishop, is recorded by Rocci Pyrrho and Bollandus.[4] The same authors relate in what manner the torrent of burning sulphur and stones which issue from mount Aetna, in great eruptions, was several times averted from the walls of Catana by the veil of St. Agatha, (taken out of her tomb,) which was carried in procession. Also that through her intercession, Malta (where she is honored as patroness of the island) was pre served from the Turks who invaded it in 1551. Small portions of relics cf. St. Agatha are said to be distributed in many places.

The perfect purity of intention by which St. Agatha was entirely dead to the world and herself, and sought only to please God, is the circumstance which sanctified her sufferings, and rendered her sacrifice complete. The least cross which we bear, the least action which we perform in this disposition, will be a great holocaust, and a most acceptable offering. We have frequently something to offer-sometimes an aching pain in the body, at other times some trouble of mind, often some disappointment, some humbling rebuke, or reproach, or the like. If we only bear these trials with patience when others are witnesses, or if we often speak of them, or are fretful under them, or if we bear patiently public affronts or great trials, yet sink under those which are trifling, and are sensible to small or secret injuries, it is evident that we have not attained to true purity of intention in our patience; that we are not dead to ourselves. We profess ourselves ready to die for Christ, yet cannot bear the least cross or humiliation. How agreeable to our divine spouse is the sacrifice of a soul which suffers in silence, desiring to have no other witness of her patience than God alone, who sends her trials; which shuns superiority and honours, but takes all care possible that no one knows the humility or modesty of such a refusal; which suffers humiliations and seeks no comfort or reward but from God. This simplicity and purity of heart; this love of being hid in God, through Jesus Christ, is the perfection of all our sacrifices, and the complete victory over self-love, which it attacks and forces out of its strongest intrenchments: this says to Christ, with St. Agatha, “Possess alone all that I am.”

ENDNOTES

1 Fronteau Cal. p. 25.

2 Dial. 1, 3, C. 30.

3 L. 1, 3p. 52.

4 Feb. t. 1, p. 647.

(Taken from Vol. I of “The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints” by the Rev. Alban Butler, the 1864 edition published by D. & J. Sadlier, & Company)

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