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August 25, 1998
SECTION ONE   vol 9, no. 166
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
A new kind of persecution: the Arian heresy rises its ugly head in the east, which necessitates great saints to combat this menace
The influence of Constantine the Great greatly contributed to the spread of Christianity throughout east and west, but with any good thing, satan is sure to do all he can to foul things up. Such was the case during the fourth century when the Arian heresy ravaged the eastern Church and threatened Rome as well. In this episode we shall see its effects in the East and the saints God rose up as well as the Popes during that time, while next week we will deal with how this heresy permeated the west and the great defense against it launched by Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine, whose feast we celebrate Friday. For the fourteenth installment titled The Fourth Century: 350-400 The Arian Threat in the East, click on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH.
As part of our re-run mode for the summer we are bringing you the early installments of or mega series on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH. The Seventy-third installment: "Pope Nicholas IV: A Franciscan on a crusade." will resume in September after the two month summer hiatus in which we bring you earlier chapters you might have missed.
The fourteenth installment of this mega-part series on the History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church deals with the rise of Christianity and the subsequent growing pains of dealing with heresies such as Arianism which claimed many fatalities conversion-wise and how Holy Mother Church, the saints and pontiffs dealt with it.
The Fourth Century: 350-400 The Arian Threat in the East
With the liberation of the Church by Constantine persecutions by the Romans had ceased. Now the new persecution came from within as we first saw in the last installment with Saint Athanasius being falsely exiled for refusing to restore the heretic Arius. So great was Arius' influence that Arianism became rampant throughout the regions where the Church was established. But God rose up several saints to combat this apostasy, beginning with Athanasius who had been pardoned by Constantine and had gained great favor with Pope Saint Julius I who we covered in the last installment. The death of Julius I on April 12, 352 opened the door on May 17, 352 for the election of the 36th successor to Peter, Pope Saint Liberius, who also encouraged the saint who stood up to Arianism. Through Athanasius' prodding, Liberius proclaimed that all the loyal bishops exiled by the Arians be allowed to return to their diocese. With Athanasius' guidance the bishops bonded in restoring unity. This did not sit well with the Roman Emperor Julian, who was pro-Arian and despised as "Julian the Apostate." He effected two changes: First, he manipulated to have the antipope Felix II elected by the block of Arian bishops in 355; secondly, he managed to once again get Athanasius exiled. But the saint was undaunted, having been through this before, he is quoted as saying, "This little cloud will soon pass." True to his words, Julian was slain in battle and the next Emperor Jovian freed Athanasius in 363, bidding him to teach him and his royal court the Catholic religion. Before Jovian could depose Felix II, the emperor died, which left the eastern Roman Empire in the hands of the new Emperor Valens who was a strong Arian. His fourteen-year reign was a setback to the Church for he worked feverishly to reinstate Arianism throughout the empire. His first decree was to once again have Athanasius banished, but this time the "vox populi" overruled the emperor as the citizens rallied behind the saint. Reluctantly Valens had to relent, allowing Athanasius to stay. The people of God had spoken and because they did, Holy Mother Church became stronger.
Our Lady, too, heard their plea and responded by appearing to a group of them on August 5th. Legend has it that, even though it was a typical scorching August summer, the following morning the ground, where the Mother of God had requested a Basilica dedicated to her be built, was completely outlined with snow. Liberius realized this was a Heavenly sign and immediately laid the foundation for the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, tracing Our Lady's architectural layout.
Though Liberius responded and the people rallied around him and Athanasius, Arianism continued to spread. Yet those loyal to the true Church were not alone in their fight against this heresy in the east for God rose up Antioch-born Saint John Chrysostom and three Cappodocians: blood brothers Saint Basil and Saint Gregory of Nyssa as well as their friend Saint Gregory of Nazianzus who all became bishops. Gregory of Nyssa and Basil were two of ten children born in 329 and 330 respectively to a devout Christian family in the area of Cappadocia which is now Turkey. Their family was so holy that six are honored as saints. Besides Basil and Gregory, the Church also canonized their oldest sister, their parents and their grandmother Saint Macrina. In 357 Basil established a popular school of rhetoric in Caesarea. It was the beginning of the intellectual influence in the last half of the 4th Century.
On November 22, 365 Felix died and many felt the Church would unite again but Liberius' attempts to reconcile hit a snag when he passed on to his Heavenly reward on September 24, 366. He was succeeded by Pope Saint Damasus I on October 1, 366. Almost immediately the Arians countered by selecting the antipope Ursinus, but he lived only one year. Three years later Damasus elevated St. Basil to Bishop of Caesarea where the people embraced him totally. But this didn't stop the emperor Valens from testing the saint to the "enth" degree. He ordered Basil to receive the Arians back into the good graces of the Church without them repenting or ceasing from spreading heresy. Naturally, Basil refused. This infuriated Valens who first tried to bribe him, then threatened seizure of his property and even death. Basil laughed in the face of the devil, remarking that he owned nothing but his clothes and a few books and that he welcomed martyrdom. Valens knew his hands were tied because to follow through on his threat would mean absolute revolt by the people which he could not afford because he was also consumed with fighting the hordes on the eastern front. It was here that Valens was fatally wounded on the battlefield in 378. His successor was the Emperor Theodosius who had seen the unrest and disharmony caused by the Arians and had grown steadfastly opposed to this heretical sect. Unfortunately Basil did not live to see the fruits for he died a year later in 379, the same year his life-long friend St. Gregory of Nazianzen was appointed Bishop of Constantinople. Gregory's example and teaching resulted in over half the city converting to Catholicism. This, aided by Theodosius' decree that Arianism be abolished and all churches be given back to the true faith, solidly secured Constantinople as a Catholic city. With this accomplished, Gregory, noted for his brilliant writings in defending the true faith, retired and settled in Asia Minor where he spent the remainder of his life in prayer, passing on in 391.
Six years prior Pope St. Damasus I died on December 11, 384. Damasus had been a learned pontiff who authorized the singing of the Psalms by alternate choirs as instituted by St. Saint Ambrose, appropriately called the "Ambrosian Rite." In the next installment we shall cover St. Ambrose when we deal with the Arian Threat in the West and the role of Ambrose and Saint Augustine. Damasus also is the one attributed to introducing the Hebrew term "Alleluia" into the liturgy as well as translating Sacred Scripture from Hebrew into Greek and Latin. It was during his papacy that the Second General Council was convened in Constantinople in 381 and at which the Errors of Macedonius were condemned. He had spoken against the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, maintaining that only the Father and Jesus the Son were God.
Pope Saint Siricus was chosen to succeed Damasus on December 15, 384. Surprisingly, Siricus was the first, after Saint Peter, of course, to assume the title of "Pope" (il Papa) derived from the Greek word for Father. There are also claims that the Italian word "Papa" is an acronym from the Latin Petri Apostoli Potestatem Accipiens. It was during his papacy that the great sainsts Saint Cyril of Jerusalem and Saint Monica, mother of St. Augustine, died; Cyril in 386 and Monica a year later. Pope Siricus, despite the Arian opposition, staunchly defended the true faith and upheld the need for priests to remain celibate as well as choosing St. John Chrysostom to be Patriarch of Constantinople in 397. Born in 349, John lived 58 years, dying on the feast of the Holy Cross on September 14, 407 while enroute to the village of Comana near the Black Sea to preach. Throughout his life John was a fierce defender of the true faith against Arianism and received the name Chrysostom which means "golden-mouthed" in Greek. Like Athanasius and Basil, St. John Chrysostom was not only greatly cherished by the people but also falsely accused by the Arians, in particular the Bishop of Alexandria who forced John's exile. John knew, like Basil, that the people would not stand for this and thus he called the Arian bishop's bluff by refusing to show up for the mock trial that would condemn him. Regardless, the Arian bishops unanimously decided to exile him. However John refused, claiming they had no authority and the Arians appealed to the Roman Empress Eudoxia who was moved to side with the Arians after hearing one of St. John's sermons denouncing the pomp and luxury promulgated by the Roman rulers. It wasn't until 403 that John was allowed to return by the Emperor Arcadius . However, that was short-lived for, always loyal to Christ, he objected vehemently to the unveiling of a statue of the Empress Eudoxia who had exiled him. He did not object because of the exile edict, but rather the pagan nature attributed to the statue. Once again exiled he would not return until posthumously carried back by the Emperor's son Theodosius II thirty years after the saint's death. While he spent his last years in exile John orchestrated the missionary efforts of Lebanon, Syria and Persia and helped in the conversion of the Goths. He also continued his campaign to be reinstituted as the rightful Patriarch of Constantinople, writing the new pontiff Pope Saint Innocent I who had been elected the 40th Vicar of Christ on December 22, 401. Though Innocent was in favor as well as the Constantinople citizens who would accept no one else other than John as their bishop, the new Roman Emperor Theodosius was stronger and more influential and reinforced the exile, commanding John be sent even farther away. Though Basil and John had accomplished much in converting Constantinople, there would be problems originating from this city without a bishop during that time for heresies such as Nestorianism and schism rose would also raise their ugly heads as we shall see in future installments.
On November 26, 399 Pope St. Siricus passed on and a day later his successor was announced. It was Saint Anastasius I. Roman-born like Siricus, St. Anastasius would be the Pope to bring the Church into the 5th Century, sitting on the papal throne until December 19, 401. During his two years as the Holy Father, Anastasius resolved the schism that had risen between Rome and Antioch, a schism that would unfortunately split the Church centuries later and a schism that Basil never intended but who Eastern Orthodox disciples attribute to following. Pope Anastasius strenuously reprimanded those who followed immoral and pagan practices and it was he who decreed that priests should also stand throughout the reading of the Gospel at Holy Mass.
In the next installment we will cover the same time period, focusing on the Arian threat in the west and feature the saintly teachers in the west: Saint Jerome, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine who all mirrored the efforts of their counterparts St. Anastasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory and St. John Chrysostom in the east.
The Final Lesson/Meditation: Our Lady entreats all to do whatever He tells you
In the one-hundredth and final Lesson/Meditation to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart, the Blessed Mother of God wraps up all the other Lesson/Meditation with the advice to live the Commandments and to do whatever her Divine Son tells us, through the Word in Sacred Scripture and through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is the way we can persevere and not seek what others have for what God gives each individual what He deems is just. For the Lesson/Meditation titled TO PERSEVERE: KEEP THE COMMANDS AND COVET NOT , click on THE HIDDEN WAY.
Also, if you would like to read all 100 inspirational Lessons/Meditations you can now acquire your own copy of the just-released book THE HIDDEN WAY which contains all 100. To find out how, click on Book
Lessons/Meditations from Our Lord and Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart
TO PERSEVERE: KEEP THE COMMANDS AND COVET NOT
Lesson Meditation #100
(Imparted on February 28, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lady)
Here end THE HIDDEN WAY Lessons/Meditations
Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, I love you. I give to you my Divine Son's Peace.
I come today to speak to all my children concerning that Commandment which
states: "Thou shalt not covet Thy neighbor's wife," and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods."
My Divine Son, in His lessons, had addressed these Commands which are linked to the other Commands.
By these Commandments, my children, God wishes for each of you to seek Him
alone, and by your loving service to Him, rejoice in His Providence which lack nothing and supplies all your needs.
These Commandments oblige you through a constant check of your human intellect and passions, to accept that which God has given you, to bless His name for all He gives, and it obliges you to rejoice also at the blessings and gifts He bestows upon others.
These Commandments are kept by purity of the heart, my children. There can
be only true humility of heart in the soul which abides by these commands. There can be no self-seeking, jealousy, envy, bitterness or anger in you. All of these things come from your pride and are
stirred up by satan's wiles. To keep these commands is to keep custody of all your senses, and to make serious constant effort to avoid temptations against these Commands.
Thus, I do solemnly say to you who live in these days of spiritual darkness! "Turn off your television, lest your eyes behold temptations of the flesh. Turn off your radios and stereos lest your ears be led to revel in sins against purity and charity.
All things which arouse your passions and lead you to impurity are of satan. Thus, if you are not alert, the evil one will snare you easily by means of reading material, television, radio, stereo, concerts and all
forms of unholy entertainment.
My children, the impure thoughts, words and deeds of these end times are clear signs that God's Law has been abandoned, as Scripture foretells.
I, your Mother, whose heart is Immaculate, call you back to a life of virtue and holiness, so that I may lead you to the Refuge of my Son's Sacred Heart.
All the Commandments are linked together. To Love God is to keep all of them, and to go beyond their words to the depth of sacrifice and virtue
lived to an heroic degree by God's grace.
Seek this, my little ones, and pray for the grace of perseverance in this time of spiritual darkness. I, your Mother, will help you.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
LITURGY FOR TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
Today, the Twenty-First Tuesday in Ordinary Time, is both the feast of that great French monarch Saint Louis IX and priest, religious founder and educator Saint Joseph Calasanz, while tomorrow we return solely to the Mass for the Twenty-First Wednesday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgy and meditations for both days, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Tuesday, August 25, 1998
Tuesday August 25:
Twenty-First Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saint Louis IX, King of France and
Feast of Saint Joseph Calasanz, Priest, Religious Founder and Educator
Green and white vestments
First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3, 14-17
Psalms: Psalm 96: 10-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23: 23-26
Saint Louis IX, King of France
Born into royalty on April 25, 1214 in Poissy, France, Saint Louis was crowned King of France in 1226 on the death of his father King Louis VIII. He had been raised in a staunch Catholic atmosphere by his mother Blanche of Castile, who became regent upon her husband's death until her son reached adulthood. The youthful Louis, one of the youngest rulers in French history, weaned on his faith by his mother exemplified his Catholicity throughout his life. It served him well in his long reign which was frought with great crisis including fending off those who would usurp his throne such as Thibault of Champagne. At the age of 20, Louis married the daughter of the Count of Provence, Margaret Berenger and they populated the royal court with eleven children. At the age of 28 Louis quelled rebellion in the south of France and followed that up by soundly defeating the English and King Henry III at the Battle of Taillebourg. With that accomplished, he turned his attention to bringing all the provinces in line with the king, securing this with victories over Guienne, Poitou and Toulouse. Satisfied that France was safe, Louis set his sights on his life-long goal to lead the Crusades in liberating the Holy Land in 1248. His ambitions, at first successful with victory over the Saracens at Damietta in 1249 met harsh reality at the Massacre of El Mansura when he was soundly defeated by the infidels. Historians have not been kind to Louis, claiming his crusade was ill-timed and poorly planned, but they overlook the fact Louis was a peacemaker evidence in Louis' ability to convince his Saracen captors to release him and his troops in order to reach the Holy Land. It was not a cheap gesture as he ransomed many treasures and emptied many a coffer to assure their safety. There in Jerusalem he stayed until 1254 when his beloved mother Blanche died, prompting him to return to France. Always opting for peaceful measures he brought calm to Flanders in 1256 and assured, through the Treaty of Paris with Henry III that the provinces of Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Poitou and Touraine would remain part of France in exchange for Cahors, Limoges and Perigueux as Brit territory. He followed that up with the Treaty of Corbeil in 1258 by giving up Roussillon and Barcelona in order to secure Provence and Languedox from Aragon. Once a crusader, always a crusader and in 1270 he set out once again on an expedition to the Holy Lands. However he would not reach his promised land this time, succumbing to typhus, as well as his dear son Philip, at Tunis on the North African coast where he died on August 25, 1270 at the age of 56 leaving a legacy of peace and fairness to posterity. His last words were "Into Thy hands I commend my soul." Throughout his life he forged numerous peace treaties for allies and foes alike. He was a close friend of the great Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas and endowed and founded the Sorbonne University as well as building impressive cathedrals drawing on the Gothic theme which
flourished during his reign. He was a friend to vassals whom he protected, forbidding fighting between feudal
lords and assuring they would not mistreat their subjects. Louis was a master of streamlining government
while remaining always true to his word no matter what he said. He built France's first Naval operations and,
despite his defeats in the Holy Land, was considered a master military technician. But war was only a last
resort for this saintly king who desired, above all, peace at home and with his neighbors. He was greatly loved
by all who prospered during his glorious reign of 44 years of peaceful coexistence with the other countries of
Europe as France gained in prestige and profit through peace. One of his other goals was to reunite the
Eastern Church with Rome, calling on the Greek Ambassadors to work with him toward reunion. What might
have been never materialized for death deprived history of even greater accomplishments. History, however,
cannot deny the fact that Louis, a Franciscan Tertiary, lived his faith and preached through example. In fact, this
stately king lived the austerity of a monk, praying daily the Divine Office and attending Daily Mass. He received
from the Latin emperor in Constantinople the priceless gift of the authentic Crown of thorns that pressed
against Our Lord's skull. To honor this sacramental relic, Louis built the renowned Sainte Chapelle in Paris.
Thirty seven years after his death Pope Boniface VII canonized Louis, who was a champion of both the poor and privileged classes.
Saint Joseph Calasanz, Priest, Religious Founder and Educator
Like Saint Louis, the holy priest Saint Joseph Calasanz was born into royalty. Joseph was the youngest son of the Count Pedro Calasanz from the Castle of Peralta de la Sal in Aragon, Spain. Having the wherewithal to persue his studies, Joseph studied in the finest universities and went on to teach civil and canon law at the University of Alcala before becoming a priest in 1584, despite his father's vocal desire that Joseph become a career soldier. His career was indeed as a soldier, but as a special soldier of Christ. He was appointed Vicar General of his diocese and was soon summoned to Rome where he became theologian for Cardinal Ascanio Colonna. It was in the eternal city that Joseph became renowned for his work with the poor and the sick during the plague of 1595, as well as educating the underprivileged children. In 1597, with the aid of two other priests, he opened a school with no tuition for poor students. Some competitive institutions, who charged great sums to educate, mounted a smear campaign to discredit Fr. Calasanz and his fellow priests as well as their curriculum. It became so vicious that Pope Clement VIII conducted a thorough investigation and found Joseph's school and all parties involved above reproach. So impressed was the Holy Father that he put the school under papal protection which created more schools throughout Italy as well as Bohemia, Germany, Moravia and Poland. This subsequently resulted in the recognition of the religious order of the Clerks Regular of Religious
Schools where St. Calasanz served as the first superior general. However, as is so often the case with new
religious communities, satan tries his darndest to divide and conquer. So also with Fr. Calasanz' organization
as some of his close associates within the order decided to follow their own agenda and the bickering and
backbiting provided a tremendous cross for this holy, dedicated priest. One of his great friends Fr. Mario Sozzi
turned on Joseph which resulted in the latter being removed as superior general and Sozzi being appointed.
Shortly after Sozzi died and his successor Fr. Cherubini followed Sozzi's policies, much to the detriment of the order which was placed under investigation by Pope Innocent X and dissolved in 1646. In its place the pontiff ordered all priests who wished to continue to form a new society of secular priests that they would be subject to their local bishop. He called upon Fr. Cherubini to draw up a new constitution, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forging of a new order; Fr. Cherubini was caught skimming funds from Nazarene College where he was rector. He was forced to resign and, after a period of repentance, reconciled with Joseph who he realized had been greatly maligned by Sozzi and his cohorts. Shortly thereafter Joseph (also known as Saint Joseph Calasanctius), still broken hearted but trusting in God, died on August 25, 1648 in Rome at the ripe age of 92. He would not live to see the fruits of his labors as eight years later his order was reformed and
recognized in 1669 as a religious order known as the Piarists by Pope Clement IX. Ninety eight years later he was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767 and proclaimed patron saint of popular Christian schools by Pope Pius XII in 1948.
Wednesday, August 26, 1998
First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-10, 16-18
Psalms: Psalm 128: 1-2, 4-5
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23: 27-32
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Below is the Opening Prayer for today's Mass honoring Saint Louis IX:
Father, You raised Saint Louis from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of Your Heavenly kingdom. By the help of his prayers may we come to Your eternal kingdom by our works here on earth.
Below is the Opening Prayer for today's Mass for Saint Joseph Calasanz:
Lord, You blessed Saint Joseph Calasanz with such charity and patience that he dedicated himself to the formation of Christian youth. As we honor this teacher of wisdom may we follow his example in working for truth.
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August 25, 1998 volume 9, no. 166 DAILY CATHOLIC