In the last installment, we dealt with the Fall of the Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity thanks to Constantine the Great. When this emperor moved the seat of his empire to Constantinople, (today known as Istanbul), Rome was pretty much abandoned and left vulnerable to the prey of successive hordes of barbarians. Without an emperor, the Romans turned to the Popes as their only governors and protectors. Pope St. Leo the Great became legendary for saving Rome from Attila the Hun, known as 'The Scourge of God" and later from Genseric the hated Vandal. After years of religious persecution by the Roman emperors, the barbarian invasions took their toll with the populace.
Though victorious, the Popes were still forced to try to compromise with the horde leaders for anarchy reared its ugly head in all regions. This came about because those who feared the barbarians would flee to other regions. Yet they sadly became the very things they were running from, pillaging, and looting others in order to exist. Chaos became the norm and despair hit an all time high. Many believed the end was near including Saint Augustine when the hordes were laying siege to his beloved area of North Africa. Some accounts say that this renowned Doctor of the Church died assuming it was the tribulation prophesied in the Apocalypse.
It signaled the beginning of the "Dark Ages" throughout Europe - a time when the early ardor of religious life waned, due largely to the confusion and devastation caused by the wholesale barbarian invasions that had greatly upset the natural order of the Church's progression.
Yet, throughout history when things look the bleakest God is always there to rescue His creatures. This He did by allowing the Angle clans from northern Europe to invade Britannia overpowering the Celtic tribes. Strange though it may seem, these conquering clans made it possible for Christianity to spread - for their culture was more conducive to accepting the Gospel since they had already been exposed to it. Besides, in times of conquests intermarriages become more prevalent. The bloodlines had been drawn. It was left to the Church to pick up the pieces and reconstruct civilization fostering the fruits of persecution and hardship through the rise of monasticism, great schools and ultimately the affluence of Gothic architecture, which would manifest itself in future centuries.
The Bishop of Rome has from Apostolic times been looked upon as the universal head of the Church. From the beginning appeals were made to the Popes and disputes were settled by the pontiffs. There have been many appeals throughout the long history of the Church. In the fifth century the Bishop in the East, Saint Theodoret was deposed and appealed to the Pope who in turn ordered him reinstated. Though the saint was martyred, the papal proclamation proved that both in the east and west the Pope was recognized as the head of the Church. This was accepted until great schism of the Eastern church in the ninth century. In every case, they were always referred to Rome. Leo the Great had solidified the power of the Sovereign Pontiff in Rome and it would be left to his successors to carry this out as the Church expanded to further regions of the expanding Roman empire. Leo's successor was Pope Saint Hilary who was elected on November 19, 461 and served as 46th in the line of Peter until his death on February 29, 468. He was a carbon copy of Leo in political thought and came to the decision that a certain level of culture was necessary in the formation of the priesthood and also that popes and bishops should not name or nominate their successors. He also firmly established the Church in the far reaches of Spain by instituting an apostolic vicariate there.
Pope Saint Simplicius followed Hilary on March 3, 468 and ruled for fifteen years. It was during his pontificate that the great Roman Empire fell and the schism slithered in which led to the founding of the Churches of Armenia, Syria and the Coptic Church in Egypt. In later years most would return to the fold. Simplicius, born in Tivoli, regulated the distribution of offerings to pilgrims and allocated these funds for new churches.
His successor was Pope Felix III, elected three days after Simplicius' death. It was left to Felix to try to restore peace in the disturbed Eastern Church. Felix was married before celibacy was mandatory for clergy and fathered several sons, one of which would become the father of the famous Saint Gregory the Great. Very little else is known of this 48th successor of Peter who died on March 1, 492. On the very same day he died Pope Saint Gelasius I was chosen to lead the Church. His pontificate lasted four years until September 21, 496. Gelasius is called the "Father of the Poor" because of his sincere charity to the people. Gelasius instituted the Code for the uniform regulation of ceremonies and rites and is remembered fo rmaintaining supremacy of the Church over that wielded by monarchs and other rulers. It was Gelasius who inserted the Greek Kyrie eleison into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and established the Feast of the Purification.
Gelasius was followed by the first non-canonized pope in the nearly five hundred year line of popes when Pope Anastasius II was elected as the 50th successor of Peter. Born in Rome, he was elected on November 24, 496 and died two years later. It is amazing that Anastasius was not a saint considering it was he who brought about the conversion of King Clovis, monarch of the Franks which included the Frankish people and ultimately all of France which to this day remains Catholic. Many believe because he was weak with the schismatics that he was never canonized. In the middle ages, when the satirical poet Dante placed Anastasius in hell in his "Inferno", that did not endear anyone to this misunderstood pontiff who ruled only for two years.
His successor was Pope Saint Symmachus who would not only return the line of pontiffs to the status of saints for the next succeeding popes, but also bring the Church into the Sixth Century for he was elected on November 22, 498 and would oversee Holy Mother Church until his death on July 19, 514. Symmachus, the 51st in the line of Peter, was born in Sardinia and, as pope, ransomed all the slaves he could, giving them their desired freedom through consolidation of Church property. He also established a permanent benefices for the support of the clergy. To St. Symmachus is attributed the first construction of the Vatican Palace.
In the next installment we shall cover the first half of the Sixth Century, the Century of the growth of monasticism when Saint Benedict would become the father of western monasticism with the establishment of his Order of Benedictines.
Exactly one year later an even greater honor was afforded the then 47 year-old Korean Archbishop when he was included in the Consistory of April 28, 1969, becoming the youngest member of the Sacred Conclave. He received his red-hat and the titular church of St. Felix of Cantalice in Centocelle. Returning to Seoul he initiated various programs that would enhance the curriculum of the Korean seminaries as well as catechetical courses. After nearly thirty years as Archbishop of Seoul, the mandatory retirement age prompted him to retire but he still resides at the Archbishop's House at 2Ka-1 Myong Dong, Jung Ku, Seoul 100-022, Korea. Cardinal Kim serves Curia membership with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Besides being the Archbishop emeritus of Seoul he is also the Apostolic Administrator emeritus of Pyong Yang in North Korea.
And the NUMBER ONE Top Oxymoron...
Ever followed a butterfly's
or gazed at the sun into the
You better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last
Do you run through each day
on the fly?
When you ask "How are you?"
do you hear the reply?
When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
running through your head?
You better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last
Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow
And in your haste,
not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
'Cause you never had time
to call and say "Hi"?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last
When you run so fast to get
You miss half the fun of getting
When you worry and hurry through
it is like an unopened gift...
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
I desire to tell all the world, I Am God. You are My children, whom I created and in whom I placed My Spirit. You have forgotten your inheritance. You seek after worldly gods; you find pleasure only in the temporal things of the earth; things which I generously give but which shall pass away.
You no longer believe nor trust in the things of the Spirit. You have become a renegade people who desire only what your human senses can perceive. Therefore, your hearts are cold, while within you My Spirit dies, unnourished by the things of Heaven. Why, O My people, do you reject that which is above you? Why do you reject My Voice? Why do you deny that I speak to each of My children? Why do you fight among yourselves, quarreling over my chosen messengers?
I solemnly tell you it is I, your God, Who chooses My messengers. It is not to the learned or proud that I make manifest My voice. It is not to those who sit in judgment. It is not to those in authority that I come. But I choose, for I see the heart! A willing heart I cherish! A contrite heart I comfort with abundant consolation. A heart open to Me, a heart which seeks Me first is the heart where I set My throne.
To these hearts I especially give My most Pure and Immaculate Mother, whose love is as Mine for she is the New Eve, the Ark of the Covenant.
Now to each of you I say these vital words: See how your Heavenly Mother is sorrowful! Behold her tears, She who bore Me, nourished Me, loved Me, and because of Her spotless purity, merited to be Co-Redemptrix of all the world! Behold, I give you My Mother in these end times! She comes with all Motherly love to prepare you for these times, which will be more turbulent than any time in the history of man. And I solemnly tell you She shall not remain among you in this extraordinary way much longer. The Hour approaches, My children. The Hour of Mercy, the Hour of Judgment.
I, your God, do solemnly tell you that in these days My chosen messengers shall be greatly persecuted. Many are already suffering their crucifixion, their mortal bodies worn out in their zeal to love and obey Me, their God. Like beautiful flowers in the springtime, one by one they shall fold their blossoms upon the earth, only to be transplanted in the Heavenly Garden where they shall blossom forth eternally. No longer will they give you Heaven's words of warning, Heaven's words of Love and Mercy. No, their voices shall be stilled, and for a time you shall hear the roaring of satan, who is your ruler. Dreadful shall be the sound to those gathered beneath My Mother's Immaculate Mantle. Trembling shall seize you, but I your God, present in the Blessed Sacrament, shall be your Strength, Nourishment, Light and Life.
Yes, the day is coming when My faithful remnant shall know in an extraordinary way that I Am Truly Present in this My Sacrament of Love, and you shall cling to Me and safeguard Me even unto death. Behold, the Eucharistic Age, the Reign of My Most Sacred Heart has crossed the threshold of dawn. Behold, It is the True Light that shall annihilate the terrible blackness of the evil one's heresy.
Pray very much in this month when My True Church pays honor to My Mother, My Cross and to the Heavenly Messengers, Angels of strength, guidance and healing. Call upon all the hosts of Heaven to come to your aid, lest you find yourself without the True Light!
I love and bless each of you, for I am Jesus Christ, your God and Savior. Prepare! Pray! Wait and Watch! I am Coming!
I, the Mother of God, ask each of my children to seek God above all things. Place the things of Heaven in your heart and satan cannot infiltrate into your lives. I solemnly tell you, my children, that satan has so lied and seduced you that in spite of Heaven's warnings you are under the black mask of the evil one, and therefore you are blinded.
In this month I want you to remember my Sorrows, which I accepted from God in obedience and humility. I ask you to meditate upon these Sorrows, so you will understand more clearly why I remain sorrowful in these days! I am weeping because you do not pray as I have asked you, and therefore the dangers mount for all of my faithful ones.
I weep for my Divine Son's Vicar, who urges all the world to pray and work to defeat the abomination of population control. I solemnly tell you, his cross is very great and he reaches the summit of his sufferings. Please pray that he might yet accomplish all that he has yet to do, for he is my Divine Son's Voice on earth. Pray, my children. Pray as you have never prayed before. If you do not pray I cannot help you. If you do not pray then satan and all his demons will win this particular struggle and woe, triple woe to the world for such debase action.
You must cease offending God, my children, and you must cease being Godless people. If you do not convert your hearts now then the Father's Justice will come, and He will come when you least expect it. Children of my Immaculate Heart, I love and bless you all. Please heed my words and pray! Pray! Pray!
Thank you for responding to my Call!