Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 06-22-20, OM, St. Paulinus of Nola, Sts. John Fisher, Bishop and Thomas Moore, Martyrs
Posted on 06/21/2020 9:32:35 PM PDT by Salvation
Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, occupied the whole land
and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel
the king of Assyria took Samaria,
and deported the children of Israel to Assyria,
setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan,
and the cities of the Medes.
This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD,
their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt,
from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
and because they venerated other gods.
They followed the rites of the nations
whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel
and the kings of Israel whom they set up.
And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah
by every prophet and seer,
Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes,
in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers
and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,
they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers,
who had not believed in the LORD, their God.
They rejected his statutes,
the covenant which he had made with their fathers,
and the warnings which he had given them, till,
in his great anger against Israel,
the LORD put them away out of his sight.
Only the tribe of Judah was left.
R. (7b) Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses;
you have been angry; rally us!
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
You have rocked the country and split it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people feel hardships;
you have given us stupefying wine.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
Have not you, O God, rejected us,
so that you go not forth, O God, with our armies?
Give us aid against the foe,
for worthless is the help of men.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to his disciples:
Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brothers eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
Let me remove that splinter from your eye,
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brothers eye.
KEYWORDS: catholic; mt7; ordinarytime; prayer; saints;
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From: 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18
Samaria is invaded and its capital falls
Thoughts on the fall of Samaria
Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.  But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. [15a] They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and the warnings which he gave them.  Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah only.
17:5-41. The Northern kingdom comes to an end with the fall of Samaria. Undoubtedly that event was traumatic for the chosen people. But the sacred writer focuses mainly on the religious aspect of the drama. For one thing, he offers an explanation of it in terms of the overall relationship between God and his people: the events he describes are a lesson for Judah to learn (vv. 7-23). Also, he uses the situation created by the Assyrian takeover to show that the Samaritan population of his own time can no longer be regarded as part of the chosen people (vv. 24-41).
17:5-6. Assyrian chronicles attribute the overrun of Samaria to Sargon II, who succeeded Shalmaneser V in December 722 BC, and they record that 27,290 Israelites were deported, which would have been ten per cent of the population. This would mean that the deportation took place in 721 BC. Assyrias policy was to deport the upper classes, who would have been best placed to organized resistance.
The date of the fall of Samaria connects with the last year of Hosheas reign: he ceased to be king in 724 BC. During the three-year siege Samaria had no king.
17:7-23. The fall of Samaria is described very briefly, whereas the causes of its downfall are reported at length. The sacred writer wants to show that sin was the cause of the catastrophe a very grave sin when set against the generosity of Gods gifts.
Now, only the tribe of Judah survives not that it has proven faithful to the Lord (vv. 18-19). For the sacred writer the fall of the Northern kingdom marks the end of a long process which began with Jeroboam and the making of the two golden calves (cf. 1 Kings 12:25-33). By turning their backs on the house of David, the Northerners became estranged from the presence of God. By explaining things in this way, the sacred writers message is that God has promised salvation and, specifically, continuity of the Davidic dynasty (2 Sam 7:14). The Northern kingdom cut itself off from the house of David, and now it has ceased to exist. But Judah endures; even though it, too, sinned, it puts its trust in God to keep his promise. The redactor of the books of the Kings is well aware that Jerusalem, too, will be destroyed and that the people of Judah will be sent into exile (cf. 1 Kings 9:7-9), yet God will still be present among them: the people of Judah will not disappear, for God is faithful to the promise he made to the house of David
The fall of the Northern kingdom was certainly a lesson for Judah, a lesson it failed to learn (cf. Jer 16:10-13). But it is also a lesson for all men, in all ages: abandoning God and distancing oneself from Christ, the Son of David, puts man in danger of eternal perdition. Commenting on the downfall of the two kingdoms, St Macarius drew a spiritual lesson: Alas for the soul deprived of the loving care of Christ that causes it to bear the good fruits of the Spirit!; because, knowing itself to be abandoned, full of thorns and thistles, instead of producing fruit, it ends up on the bonfire. Alas for the soul in which Christ the Lord does not live!, because, feeling abandoned, it becomes the seed-bed for all vices (Homiliae spirituals, 28, 2).
From: Luke 7:1-10
The Centurion’s Faith
1-10. “They besought Him earnestly” (verse 4). Here is an example of the effectiveness of the prayer of petition, which induces Almighty God to work a miracle. In this connection St. Bernard explains what we should ask God for: “As I see it, the petitions of the heart consists in three things [...]. The first two have to do with the present, that is, with things for the body and for the soul; the third is the blessedness of eternal life. Do not be surprised that He says that we should ask God for things for the body: all things come from Him, physical as well as spiritual things [...]. However, we should pray more often and more fervently for things our souls need, that is, for God’s grace and for virtues” (”Fifth Lenten Sermon”, 8f). To obtain His grace—of whatever kind—God Himself expects us to ask Him assiduously, confidently, humbly and persistently.
What stands out here is the centurion’s humility: he did not belong to the chosen people, he was a pagan; but he makes his request through friends, with deep humility. Humility is the route to faith, whether to receive faith for the first time or to revive it. Speaking of his own conversion experience, St. Augustine says that because he was not humble, he could not understand how Jesus, who was such a humble person, could be God, nor how God could teach anyone by lowering Himself to the point of taking on our human condition. This was precisely why the Word, eternal Truth, became man—to demolish our pride, to encourage our love, to subdue all things and thereby be able to raise us up (cf. “Confessions”, VII, 18, 24).
6-7. Such is the faith and humility of the centurion that the Church, in its eucharistic liturgy, gives us his very words to express our own sentiments just before receiving Holy Communion; we too should strive to have this interior disposition when Jesus enters our roof, our soul.
Liturgical Colour: Green.
|2 Kings 17:5-8,13-15,18 ©|
|Psalm 59(60):3-5,12-13 ©|
|Gospel||Matthew 7:1-5 ©|
|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|1.||JUDGE not, that you may not be judged,||Nolite judicare, ut non judicemini.||μη κρινετε ινα μη κριθητε|
|2.||For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.||In quo enim judicio judicaveritis, judicabimini : et in qua mensura mensi fueritis, remetietur vobis.||εν ω γαρ κριματι κρινετε κριθησεσθε και εν ω μετρω μετρειτε μετρηθησεται υμιν|
|3.||Any why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?||Quid autem vides festucam in oculo fratris tui, et trabem in oculo tuo non vides ?||τι δε βλεπεις το καρφος το εν τω οφθαλμω του αδελφου σου την δε εν τω σω οφθαλμω δοκον ου κατανοεις|
|4.||Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye?||aut quomodo dicis fratris tuo : Sine ejiciam festucam de oculo tuo, et ecce trabs est in oculo tuo ?||η πως ερεις τω αδελφω σου αφες εκβαλω το καρφος απο του οφθαλμου σου και ιδου η δοκος εν τω οφθαλμω σου|
|5.||Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.||Hypocrita, ejice primum trabem de oculo tuo, et tunc videbis ejicere festucam de oculo fratris tui.||υποκριτα εκβαλε πρωτον την δοκον εκ του οφθαλμου σου και τοτε διαβλεψεις εκβαλειν το καρφος εκ του οφθαλμου του αδελφου σου|
1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) Since when these temporal things are provided beforehand against the future, it is uncertain with what purpose it is done, as it may be with a single or double mind, He opportunely subjoins, Judge not.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; He has drawn out thus far the consequences of his injunctions of almsgiving; He now takes up those respecting prayer. And this doctrine is in a sort a continuation of that of the prayer; as though it should run, Forgive us our debts, and then should follow, Judge not, that ye be not judged.
JEROME. But if He forbids us to judge, how then does Paul judge the Corinthian who had committed uncleanness? Or Peter convict Ananias and Sapphira of falsehood?
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. But some explain this place after a sense, as though the Lord did not herein forbid Christians to reprove others out of good will, but only intended that Christians should not despise Christians by making a show of their own righteousness, hating others often on suspicion alone, condemning them, and pursuing private grudges under the show of piety.
CHRYSOSTOM. Wherefore He does not say, Do not cause a sinner to cease, but do not judge; that is, be not a bitter judge; correct him indeed, but not as an enemy seeking revenge, but as a physician applying a remedy.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. But that not even thus should Christians correct Christians is shewn by that expression, Judge not. But if they do not thus correct, shall they therefore obtain forgiveness of their sins, because it is said, and ye shall not be judged? For who obtains forgiveness of a former sin, by not adding another thereto? This we have said, desiring to shew that this is not here spoken concerning not judging our neighbour who shall sin against God, but who may sin against ourselves. For whoso does not judge his neighbour who has sinned against him, him shall not God judge for his sin, but will forgive him his debt even as he forgave.
CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; He does not forbid us to judge all sin absolutely, but lays this prohibition on such as are themselves full of great evils, and judge others for very small evils. In like manner Paul does not absolutely forbid to judge those that sin, but finds fault with disciples that judged their teacher, and instructs us not to judge those that are above us.
HILARY. Otherwise; He forbids us to judge God touching His promises; for as judgments among men are founded on things uncertain, so this judgment against God is drawn from somewhat that is doubtful. And He therefore would have us put away the custom from us altogether; for it is not here as in other cases where it is sin to have given a false judgment; but here we have begun to sin if we have pronounced any judgment at all.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 18.) I suppose the command here to be no other than that we should always put the best interpretation on such actions as seem doubtful with what mind they were done. But concerning such as cannot be done with good purpose, as adulteries, blasphemies, and the like, He permits us to judge; but of indifferent actions which admit of being done with either good or bad purpose, it is rash to judge, but especially so to condemn. There are two cases in which we should be particularly on our guard against hasty judgments, when it does not appear with what mind the action was done; and when it does not yet appear, what sort of man any one may turn out, who now seems either good or bad. Wherefore we should neither blame those things of which we know with what mind they are done, nor so blame those things which are manifest, as though we despaired of recovery. Here one may think there is difficulty in what follows, With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. If we judge a hasty judgment, will God also judge us with the like? Or if we have measured with a false measure, is there with God a false measure whence it may be measured to us again? For by measure I suppose is here meant judgment. Surely this is only said, that the haste in which you punish another shall be itself your punishment. For injustice often does no harm to him who suffers the wrong; but must always hurt him who does the wrong.
AUGUSTINE. (De. Civ. Dei, xxi. 11.) Some say, How is it true that Christ says, And with what measure ye shall mete it shall be measured to you again, if temporal sin is to be punished by eternal suffering? They do not observe that it is not said the same measure, because of the equal space of time, but because of the equal retributionnamely, that he who has done evil should suffer evil, though even in that sense it might be said of that of which the Lord spoke here, namely of judgments and condemnations. Accordingly, he that judges and condemns unjustly, if he is judged and condemned, justly receives in the same measure though not the same thing that he gave; by judgment he did what was unjust, by judgment he suffers what is just.
3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brothers eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 18.) The Lord having admonished us concerning hasty and unjust judgment; and because that they are most given to rash judgment, who judge concerning things uncertain; and they most readily find fault, who love rather to speak evil and to condemn than to cure and to correct; a fault that springs either from pride or jealousytherefore He subjoins, Why seest thou the mote in thy brothers eye, and seest not the beam in thy own eye?
JEROME. He speaks of such as though themselves guilty of mortal sin, do not forgive a trivial fault in their brother.
AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) As if he perhaps have sinned in anger, and you correct him with settled hate. For as great as is the difference between a beam and a mote, so great is the difference between anger and hatred. For hatred is anger become inveterate. It may be if you are angry with a man that you would have him amend, not so if you hate him.
CHRYSOSTOM. Many do this, if they see a Monk having a superfluous garment, or a plentiful meal, they break out into bitter accusation, though themselves daily seize and devour, and suffer from excess of drinking.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; This is spoken to the doctors. For every sin is either a great or a small sin according to the character of the sinner. If he is a laie, it is small and a mote in comparison of the sin of a priest, which is the beam.
HILARY. Otherwise; The sin against the Holy Spirit is to take from God power which has influences, and from Christ substance which is of eternity, through whom as God came to man, so shall man likewise1 come to God. As much greater then as is the beam than the mote, so much greater is the sin against the Holy Spirit than all other sins. As when unbelievers object to others carnal sins, and secrete in themselves the burden of that sin, to wit, that they trust not the promises of God, their minds being blinded as their eye might be by a beam.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. That is, with what face can you charge your brother with sin, when yourself are living in the same or a yet greater sin?
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 19.) When then we are brought under the necessity of finding fault with any, let us first consider whether the sin be such as we have never had; secondly that we are yet men, and may fall into it; then, whether it be one that we have had, and are now without, and then let our common frailty come into our mind, that pity and not hate may go before correction. Should we find ourselves in the same fault, let us not reprove, but groan with the offender, and invite him to struggle with us. Seldom indeed and in cases of great necessity is reproof to be employed; and then only that the Lord may be served and not ourselves.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; How sayest thou to thy brother; that is, with what purpose? From charity, that you may save your neighbour? Surely not, for you would first save yourself. You desire therefore not to heal others, but by good doctrine to cover bad life, and to gain praise of learning from men, not the reward of edifying from God, and you are a hypocrite; as it follows, Thou hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thine own eye.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 19.) For to reprove sin is the duty of the good, which when the bad do, they act a part, dissembling their own character, and assuming one that does not belong to them.
CHRYSOSTOM. And it is to be noted, that whenever He intends to denounce any great sin, He begins with an epithet of reproach, as below, Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt; (Mat. 18:32.) and so here, Thou hypocrite, cast out first. For each one knows better the things of himself than the things of others, and sees more the things that be great, than the things that be lesser, and loves himself more than his neighbour. Therefore He bids him who is chargeable with many sins, not to be a harsh judge of anothers faults, especially if they be small. Herein not forbidding to arraign and correct; but forbidding to make light of our own sins, and magnify those of others. For it behoves you first diligently to examine how great may be your own sins, and then try those of your neighbour; whence it follows, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brothers eye.
AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) For having removed from our own eye the beam of envy, of malice, or hypocrisy, we shall see clearly to cast the beam out of our brothers eye.
Catena Aurea Matthew 7
June 22Optional Memorial
Liturgical Color: Red
Patron Saint of the Diocese of Rochester (Fisher) and of lawyers and politicians (More)
They would not bend to the marriage
In 1526 a German painter named Hans Holbein could not find work in Basel, Switzerland. The Reformation had come to town. It shattered the stained glass, burned the wooden statues, and sliced up the oil paintings. Protestants dont do great art. There were no more commissions. So Holbein went north, to Catholic England, in search of wealthy patrons for his craft. On his way, he passed through the Netherlands to procure letters of introduction from the great humanist Desiderius Erasmus. Erasmus was a friend of Sir Thomas More, an English humanist of the highest caliber. And thus it came to pass that one fine day, in England in 1527, Thomas More sat patiently while Holbeins brush worked its magic.
Holbeins extraordinary portrait of Thomas More captures the man for all seasons, as one contemporary called More, at the pinnacle of his powers. Mores head and torso fill the frame. There is no need for context, landscape, or a complex backdrop. Mores mind is what matters. He is what matters. Nothing else. The shimmering velvet of his robes, the weighty gold chain of office resting on his shoulders, the detailed rose badge of the House of Tudor lying on his chest, all tell the viewer something importantthis is not a frivolous man. He serves the King. His work is consequential. He also wears a ring. He is married and has children. He dons a cap. It is England, and he is cold. His stubble is visible. He is tired from overwork and did not have time to shave. He holds a small slip of paperperhaps a bribe he rejected. His gaze, slightly off center, is earnest, serious, and calm. It is almost as if he is searching the room, attentive to any threat lurking behind the painter. He is watchful. The entirety of the work conveys that elusive quality that denotes great artinterior movement. The gears of Mores brain are rotating. His personality has force. The viewer feels it.
Saint Thomas More was the greatest Englishman of his generation. In a land with a highly educated aristocratic class, his erudition was unequalled. He was a devoted family man who carried out an extensive correspondence with his children and ensured that his daughters were as well educated as his sons. He served the English crown faithfully both at home and abroad. He charmed his many friends with a rich and engaging personality. He published scholarly works and communicated with other humanists of his era. Yet despite all of these accomplishments, the fraught times he lived in eventually overwhelmed him. He could not save his own head.
More was a thoughtful and serious Catholic. He refused to bend to the will of King Henry VIII regarding divorce and Henrys self-appointment as head of the Church in England. For his silence, or lack of explicit support for Henry, More was brought to court, where a perjurers words knifed him in the heart. More was condemned to death by beheading. This was a favor from the King, who admired More but could not brook his dissent. More had originally been sentenced to a far crueler form of capital punishment, but Henry decreed that his life end with one blow of the axe. So the unconquered Thomas More climbed a shaky scaffold on July 6, 1535, and had his head lopped off. His head was stuck on a pole on London bridge for one month afterward, a trophy to barbarity. More died a martyr to the indissolubility of marriage.
Saint John Fisher was an academic who held various high positions at the University of Cambridge, one of the two universities in all of England, eventually becoming its Chancellor for life. He was a Renaissance humanist, like Thomas More, who encouraged the study of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Fisher was the personal tutor of Henry VIII when Henry was a boy, and he preached the funeral homily of Henrys father, Henry VII. John Fisher lived a life of extreme personal austerity and even placed a human skull on the table during meals to remind himself of his eventual end. He had many of the same qualities as Moregreat learning, personal uprightness, and academic accomplishments.
But easy times dont make martyrs. When King Henry wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Fisher became her most ardent supporter. He openly stated in court that he would die for the indissolubility of marriage, thus incurring the lasting wrath of his former pupil Henry. All the bishops of England, save Fisher and two others, lost their courage and acquiesced, without a fight, to Henry VIIIs takeover of the Catholic Church in England. Their weakness brought to a sudden, crashing end a thousand years of Catholicism in England. The faith endured in some form, of course, but would never be the culture-forming force it had been for so many centuries. It is an embarrassment of Catholic history that almost all the bishops of England fell like dominoes, one after another, at one slight puff of the breath of King Henry VIII on their cheeks.
After various nefarious machinations, John Fisher was imprisoned in the harshest of conditions for over a year, even being deprived the services of a priest. During this time, the Pope named him a cardinal, although Henry refused him the ceremonial placing of the red hat on his head. After a brief trial with the usual perjury, Cardinal John Fisher was beheaded on June 22, 1535. In order to avoid inevitable comparisons between Cardinal Fisher and St. John the Baptist, King Henry moved the cardinals execution forward to avoid any connection to June 24ths Feast of John the Baptist. Both Johns were martyrs to marriage. But there was no silver platter for John Fisher. His head was placed on a pole on London bridge for two weeks, only to be replaced by Thomas Mores head. Saints John Fisher and Thomas More were beatified in 1886 along with fifty-four other English martyrs. The two were canonized together in 1935.
Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, through your intercession, give all Catholics courage to resist the pressure to conform to falsehood, to the broad way, to popular opinion. You were both thoughtful and granite-like in your resistance. Help us to be likewise when times call for such.
John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More, and other Renaissance humanists. His life therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at 35, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.
In 1521, Fisher was asked to study the question of King Henry VIIIs marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his brother’s widow. He incurred Henrys anger by defending the validity of the kings marriage with Catherine, and later by rejecting Henrys claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England.
In an attempt to be rid of him, Henry first had Fisher accused of not reporting all the revelations of the nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton. In feeble health, Fisher was summoned to take the oath to the new Act of Succession. He and Thomas More refused to do so because the Act presumed the legality of Henrys divorce and his claim to be head of the English Church. They were sent to the Tower of London, where Fisher remained 14 months without trial. Finally both men were sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.
When the two were called to further interrogations, they remained silent. On the supposition that he was speaking privately as a priest, Fisher was tricked into declaring again that the king was not supreme head of the church in England. The king, further angered that the pope had made John Fisher a cardinal, had him brought to trial on the charge of high treason. He was condemned and executed, his body left to lie all day on the scaffold and his head hung on London Bridge. More was executed two weeks later. His Liturgical Feast Day is June 22.
Today many questions are raised about Christians and priests active involvement in social issues. John Fisher remained faithful to his calling as a priest and bishop. He strongly upheld the teachings of the Church; the very cause of his martyrdom was his loyalty to Rome. He was involved in the cultural enrichment circles as well as in the political struggles of his time. This involvement caused him to question the moral conduct of the leadership of his country.
The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it (Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops).
Anyone who is praised in the letters of six or seven saints undoubtedly must be of extraordinary character. Such a person was Paulinus of Nola, correspondent and friend of Saints Augustine, Jerome, Melania, Martin, Gregory the Great, and Ambrose.
Born near Bordeaux, he was the son of the Roman prefect of Gaul, who had extensive property in both Gaul and Italy. Paulinus became a distinguished lawyer, holding several public offices in the Roman Empire. With his Spanish wife, Therasia, he retired at an early age to a life of cultured leisure.
The two were baptized by the saintly bishop of Bordeaux and moved to Therasias estate in Spain. After many childless years, they had a son who died a week after birth. This occasioned their beginning a life of great austerity and charity, giving away most of their Spanish property. Possibly as a result of this great example, Paulinus was rather unexpectedly ordained a priest at Christmas by the bishop of Barcelona.
He and his wife then moved to Nola, near Naples. He had a great love for Saint Felix of Nola, and spent much effort in promoting devotion to this saint. Paulinus gave away most of his remaining propertyto the consternation of his relativesand continued his work for the poor. Supporting a host of debtors, the homeless and other needy people, he lived a monastic life in another part of his home. By popular demand he was made bishop of Nola and guided that diocese for 21 years.
Paulinus’ last years were saddened by the invasion of the Huns. Among his few writings is the earliest extant Christian wedding song. His Liturgical Feast Day is June 22.
Many of us are tempted to retire early in life, after an initial burst of energy. Devotion to Christ and his work is waiting to be done all around us. Paulinus life had scarcely begun when he thought it was over, as he took his ease on that estate in Spain. Man proposes, but God disposes.
Pray for Pope Francis.
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