LITURGY OF THE DAY: TUESDAY March 17, 1998


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TUESDAY, March 17, 1998

SAINT PATRICK, APOSTLE OF IRELAND

     Though the Season of Lent often preempts this patron saint of Ireland, he is credited with bringing the emerald isle to Catholicism. Born of Roman and Scottish origin, Patrick was sold into bondage and brought to Ireland in the early 400's. His experiences prompted him to always turn to God for intercession and it was this faith that motivated him toward becoming an apostle for Christ in this land he grew to love. His piety and wisdom, as well as his genuine love and caring for the Celtic people, produced mass conversions throughout Irish soil. He is often depicted holding the Church in his hands as well as a shamrock which he used to explain the Blessed Trinity as having three leaves but one plant. He is also shown driving out the snakes. Though history does not record reptiles being on the island, it represents bringing the Gospel to Ireland and driving away the evil spirits of paganism. His holy work spawned generation upon generations of priests and nuns and holy, practicing Catholics up to our present century which are responsible for so many conversions the world-over, especially in America.

WEDNESDAY, March 18, 1998

SAINT CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, BISHOP AND DOCTOR

     Born in Jerusalem in 315, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was ordained by Saint Maximus and was charged to teach the catechumens until he succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 349. However, after eight years the Arian heresy reared its ugly head and the Arian bishop of Caesarea Acacius claimed ecclesiastical charge over Jerusalem and had Cyril not only expelled, but condemned by an Arian synod on the false charges of selling Church possessions. Cyril was forced to retreat to Tarsus where he bided his time until 357 when the Council of Selucia reinstated him. But Acacius retaliated by convincing the Roman Emperor Constantius II by having him expelled again. However, when Constantius died two years later his successor Julian the Apostate recalled Cyril. This roller coaster continued in 367 when the new emperor Valens expelled all ecclesiastics who Julian had reinstated. Nine years later Cyril finally returned to Jerusalem but was still under investigation. In an effort to clear his name and the situation the Council of Antioch dispatched Saint Gregory of Nyssa to Palestine to do a thorough investigation. Gregory's findings, which unearthed the corruption within the Arian administration in Jerusalem, totally exonerated Cyril of any wrong doing and upheld him as an orthodox bishop who had been loyal to the faith throughout his life. In 381 Cyril and Gregory took an active role in the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople which officially recognized Cyril's authenticity as bishop of Jerusalem. At that same council the Nicene Creed was made official and Cyril concurred with everything within its text. A life-long opponent of Arianism, which denied Christ's divinity and the Holy Spirit, Cyril signed a document which condemned those who held to any kind of Arian thoughts, especially the peoples of Macedonia. After 35 years as a bishop, Cyril died peacefully in 386. Nearly fifteen centuries later Cyril was finally recognized as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1882, largely because of the authenticity, clarity and truth of his 24 catechetical lessons that had been passed down through the ages.