Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Monday, August 6, 2001

    "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 them. 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 behold 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 be not afraid.' And lifting up their eyes, they saw no man but only Jesus."
      Matthew 17: 2-8
   One of the manifestations of Jesus Christ's deity was the glorification of His appearance before His Resurrection. As the accounts of Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9: 1-8; and Luke 9: 28-36 describe while praying with His chosen Apostles Peter, James and John on the mountain, Jesus' "face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow." Then He was transfigured before them, and Moses and Elias or Elijah joined Him. The Apostles intuitively knew there was no need for fear as Peter remarked to his Master, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." It was truly prophetic for Peter showed his personality in this passage as he meandered on about erecting three altars to the three in the Transfiguration. It gives us a glimpse of the thinking behind the one who would be chosen to lead Christ's Church for Peter, along with the other two Apostles who heard the Father confirm Jesus' mission with the words, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him." After that, as if in a trance, the Evangelists tell only that the three Apostles fell on their faces - so in awe of this vision that the next thing they knew Jesus Himself was touching them, the Transfiguration over, beckoning them to "Arise, and be not afraid." Jesus knew no one else would understand what had just transpired and so counseled the three to tell no one of this event until AFTER the Resurrection when they would clearly understand that "Truly He was the Son of God" (Matthew 27: 54). Jesus also felt it was important for them to witness this event in order that when they later would see Him suffer, it would sustain them in knowing that He was truly God and would rise. As we know it was these same three Apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemani where they showed their frailties by falling asleep. Also, it was the impulsive Peter who seemed to forget the Transfiguration vision while he cowered in the courtyard denying Our Lord. The etymology of Transfiguration is derived from the Latin trans which means "change" and figura meaning "figure" which Jesus did indeed do, His countenance changed before the Apostles' very eyes as did His figure which became very agile providing proof that a glorified body can move rapidly from one place to another like the speed of light or sound. This was confirmed in Luke 24: 31, 34, 36 when the Evangelist places Jesus on the road to Emmaus and then "vanished from their sight", then immediately he was inside the upper room "stood in their midst." The doors were locked, yet besides agility, Christ possessed "subtility" which allows a body to go where it pleases without any resistance to material matter. Thus He was able to pass through walls as light streams through glass.

Pope St. Sixtus II Feast of Pope Saint Sixtus II and his companion martyrs

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

    "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other: or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
      Matthew 6: 24
   Very little is known of Pope Saint Sixtus II. This Grecian-born pontiff, elected on August 30th, 257, was the twenty-fourth successor of Saint Peter. He possessed a meek disposition but was not afraid to settle the disputes that had arisen under his predecessors Pope Saint Cornelius, Pope Saint Lucius I, and Pope Saint Stephen I. It was Sixtus who effected the translation and identification of the mortal remains of St. Peter and Saint Paul. The Romans captured Sixtus while he was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the catacombs and was immediately beheaded to discourage others. It had the opposite effect as Saint Cyprian wrote as he originated the exclamation now part of the Mass - "Deo Gratias". Many companions willingly joined Sixtus in martyrdom on August 6, 258. Sixtus' body was retrieved and given an appropriate burial with a church being built in his honor a century later after the liberation by Constantine. Another church was eventually built over the original one and early in the 13th Century it was given over to Saint Dominic who bequeathed it to his Order of Preachers. It gradually became a cloistered monastery for Dominican nuns. Today, known as the church of St. Dominic and St. Sixtus, it is located in the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Feast of Saint Cajetan, Confessor and Religious Founder

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

   Born twelve years before the discovery of America, Saint Cajetan would go on to be a staunch defender of the faith in the face of Martin Luther's attacks against the Church. This holy canon lawyer was appointed protonotary apostolic and secretary to Pope Julius II in 1505 twelve years before becoming a priest in 1517. Realizing the Church needed universal and radical reform as assessed by the Fifth Lateran Council, he stayed near the Vatican while bringing the order he had helped foster with John Peter Carafa. This was the Company of Divine Love which was founded by Saint Catherine of Genoa in that city, and dedicated to caring for the poor and infirm. Cajetan was instrumental in establishing a hospital in Rome and later one in Vicenza where he became the pastor of St. Mary's in 1520. Three years later he returned to Rome to found the Institute of Clerks Regular with the charge of preaching, administering the sacraments and celebrating the liturgy. They became known as the Theatines with their first Superior General being Bishop Carafa who sent St. Cajetan to fend against Lutheranism in Venice in 1536. Upon Carafa's death, St. Cajetan returned to Naples where he was elected the Order's Superior General. Over and over he strove to pacify the unrest in Naples and the worldliness of its inhabitants. Beaten down by the discord and apathy, he died in 1547 at the age of 67 before he could realize the fruits he had sown which would become evident at the Council of Trent.

       O God, Who didst enable Thy Blessed Confesor Cajetan to live the life of an apostle, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his intercession and example we may ever trust in Thee, and may desire only Heavenly things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Feast of Saint Dominic, Priest, Religious Founder of the Order of Preachers

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

    "And He said to them: 'Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not, shall be condemned.'"
      Mark 16: 15-16
  One of the greatest preachers in Church History, Saint Dominic is the founder of the Order of Preachers, known world-wide as the Dominicans. Born in 1170 in of noble parents in Caleruega, Spain, Dominic became an Augustinian canon after being educated at Palenci, Spain. Dominic received the rare gift of being chosen, at the age of 24, of joining his bishop the Most Reverend Diego de Azevedo on a mission to Denmark which also took them through southern France where Dominic encountered first-hand the Albigensianism and the Waldensian heresy rampant in those parts. He realized then and there the Church needed more preachers to convey the true teachings of Holy Mother Church. Both he and Bishop Azevedo returned immediately to Osma, Spain to begin recruiting worthy preachers. Before they were able to complete this task, the Bishop died and the mission was left to Dominic alone. Undaunted, he realized the first necessity was prayer support and so set about to found a monastery of cloistered nuns in Prouille, France near Toulouse in 1215 similar to the Institute of Divine Mercy founded in Dallas three years ago. Two years later Dominic had assembled enough preachers to form the Friars Preachers and it was quickly approved as the Order of Preachers in a papal bull issued by Pope Honorius III a year later in 1218. The Rule Dominic adopted was patterned after the Rule of Saint Augustine in which the emphasis was on personal and community poverty, the specific ministry of preaching and an arduous and loyal study of the Divine Truth. Within a few years the Order had expanded to Madrid, Paris, Rome and Bologna, Italy. Though he was always interested in establishing headquarters in universities, he also had a special affinity for the missions. But his duties as Founder and Superior General took him to Italy where he established the monastery of nuns at the church of Saint Sixtus and in 1218 Pope Honorius bestowed the gift of the basilica of Santa Sabina which became the headquarters for the Dominicans and has remained so ever since. So loved was Dominic that he was conferred the honor of Master of the Sacred Palace which from that time on has always gone to a Dominican. Another honor associated with the Dominicans is the Rosary for Our Lady appeared to Dominic giving him a beautiful garland of roses, asking Dominic to pray the Rosary daily and to teach others how to pray this prayer which would become one of the most powerful weapons against the enemies of the Church. The Rosary, through Dominic's preaching, was instrumental in bringing countless souls back to the Church. Dominic is often depicted with the cross, scrolls and a companion dog clutching the "torch of zeal" for souls. On the evening of August 7, the feast of St. Sixtus in whose Church Dominic's Order was headquartered, while the Dominicans were gathered for a provincial meeting in Bologna, Dominic breathed his last breath, exclaiming just before expiring that because of his illnesses he could now be of more help to them in Heaven than on earth.

       O God, Who hast vouchsafed to make Thy Church illustrious by the merits and teaching of Blessed Dominic, Thy Confessor, grant, through his intercession, that she may not be deprived of temporal help, and continually may advance in spiritual growth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Feast of Saints Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, Martyrs

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

  Saint Cyriacus was a deacon who, with his two companions Largas and Smaragdus whom he had taught the Faith to, were persecuted by the vile Roman emperor Diocletian in 303 A.D.

       O God, Who dost make us to rejoice in the yearly solemnity of Thy Holy Martyrs, Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, mercifully grant, that we, who call to mind their Heavenly birthday, may also follow the example of their fortitude in suffering. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Feast of the Vigil of Saint Lawrence, Martyr and Deacon.

Thursday, August 9, 2001

    "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for My sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels: and then will He render to every man according to his works."
      Matthew 16: 24-27
  In the past this feast was reserved for Saint John Vianney, Confessor and Cure d'Ars whose feast was moved back to the day of his death on August 4th, 1859. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1925. St. Lawrence is one of the most famous Martyrs of the innumerable Roman persecutions and we will detail his life in the next issue.

       Almighty and most merciful God, Who didst endow Blessed John Mary with wondrous pastoral zeal and great fervor in prayer and penitence, grant, through his example and intercession, we beseech Thee, that we may gain the souls of our brethren for Christ and, with them, may arrive at everlasting glory. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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