Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
Go to previous View monthly calendar December 2019 View 12-month calendar Go to home page
December 2019 : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Sunday, December 1, 2019
Sunday, December 1, 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019
: St. Bibiana, VM
Monday, December 2, 2019

SAINT BIBIANA
Virgin and Martyr
(363)

Saint Bibiana was a native of Rome, born in the fourth century, the daughter and sister of martyrs. Flavian, her Christian father, was apprehended during the reign of Julian the Apostate, branded on the face as a slave, and banished to Toscany, where he died of his wounds a few days later. Her mother, Dafrosa, was beheaded two weeks later. Their two daughters, Bibiana and Demetria, after the death of their parents were stripped of all they had in the world, and then imprisoned with orders to give them no food. The Roman praetorian offered them rewards if they would abandon their faith, and threatened a cruel death if they would not conform, but they replied courageously that the goods and advantages of this world had no attraction for them, and that they would endure a thousand deaths rather than betray their faith and their Saviour. Demetria, after having pronounced this ardent defense, fell to the ground and expired at her sister's side; she is inscribed in the Roman martyrology on June 21st.

The officer gave orders that Bibiana be placed in the custody of a woman named Rufina, who was commanded to corrupt her or mistreat her. But the martyr made prayer her shield and remained invincible. Enraged at the courage and perseverance of the young virgin, the persecutor ordered her to be tied to a pillar and whipped until she expired, with scourges tipped with leaden plummets. The Saint underwent this punishment cheerfully, and died at the hands of the executioners. She was buried by a holy priest at a site where afterwards a chapel and then a church were built above her tomb. In 1628 the church was splendidly rebuilt by Pope Urban VIII, and in it he placed the relics of the two sisters and of Saint Dafrosa, their mother.

Reflection: Pray for fidelity and patience like Bibiana's under all trials, that neither convenience nor any worldly advantage may ever prevail upon you to transgress the laws of God.


Go to top of page

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
: St. Francis Xavier, C
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER
Jesuit Missionary to the Orient
(1506-1552)

A young Spanish gentleman, in the dangerous days of the Reformation, was making a name for himself as a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. He was aspiring, apparently, to a high dignity, until Saint Ignatius of Loyola decided to undertake the spiritual conquest of this ardent soul. "What does it profit a man to gain the entire world, if he suffers the loss of his soul?" Ignatius often repeated to the brilliant teacher. The words of Christ, joined to the example of Ignatius and his disciples, prevailed. It was not long before his gifted friend decided to labor for the glory of God, by adopting the evangelical life of an apostle, to which he was indeed called. He was among the first five members of the Society of Jesus, those who with Ignatius made their religious vows in the church of Montmartre in Paris, on the feast of the Assumption in 1534.

On his way to Rome with the others, handicapped by severe penances he had imposed on himself, he remained in Venice and exercised a brief apostolate by caring for the sick in the city hospital. The others waited for him to regain his ability to walk. These first fervent Jesuits were intending to embark for the Holy Land, but were prevented by a war. In Rome, Francis again went to a hospital to serve the sick; he also visited the prisons to encourage and console the poor inmates, while preparing for ordination with the others, according to the desire of the pope.

Saint Ignatius having remained in Venice, the other five returned there afterwards. Francis was sent by Saint Ignatius to the Orient in 1534, where for twelve years he labored unceasingly to win souls, sleeping only three hours a night, eating very little, and bearing the Gospel to Hindustan, to Malacca, and as far as Japan. At all times thwarted by jealousy, covetousness, and the carelessness of those who should have helped and encouraged him, he did not slacken in his apostolic endeavors despite opposition and the difficulties of every sort which he encountered. The gift of tongues and miracles accompanied him everywhere; he resurrected several dead persons. And his inexhaustible kindness was not the least of his assets in winning thousands of pagans to the Faith. He baptized so many that his arm became virtually disabled, ten thousand in a single month in the kingdom of Trevancor, where in the same space of time he saw to the building of forty-five churches. At Meliapour, site of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas, he found the marble on which the Apostle was sacrificed, and which exuded blood the first time Mass was said upon it. Passing through various islands, cities and provinces of India, he strengthened his first conquests by additional preaching. He planted crosses in the public squares and overcame all obstacles.

From India he went to Japan; Saint Francis is called Apostle of Japan as well as of India. There the pagan priests opposed and calumniated him, and tried without success to outwit him in debates. Humiliated, they used subtle means to instill dislike for him in the minds of the court authorities. But he won the love as well as the respect of those he evangelized, blessing them with such miracles as filling the hitherto sterile sea of Cangoxima with inexhaustible reserves of fish. The vast kingdom of China appealed to his charity, and he was resolved to risk his life to force an entry, when God took him to Himself. It was on December 2, 1552, that the Apostle of the Indies died on Sancian, an island facing the city of Canton in China, like Moses, in sight of the land of promise.

Reflection: Some are specially called to work for souls; but there is no one who cannot help greatly to win their salvation. Holy example, earnest intercession, the offerings of our sacrifices and works on their behalf, are within the reach of all. What is needed is the spirit which animated Saint Francis Xavier - the desire to make some return to God for His bounties, with much confidence in His paternal love.


Go to top of page

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
: St. Peter Chrysologus, ECD
Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Thursday, December 5, 2019
: St. Sabas, Ab
Thursday, December 5, 2019

SAINT SABAS
Patriarchal Abbot in Palestine
(439-531)

Saint Sabas, one of the most renowned patriarchs of the monks of Palestine, was born in the year 439, near Caesarea. At the age of fifteen, in the absence of his parents, he suffered under the conduct of an uncle, and weary of the world's problems decided to forsake the world and enter a monastery not far from his family home. After he had spent ten years in religious life, his two uncles and his parents attempted to persuade him to leave the monastery to which he had migrated in Palestine. He replied: "Do you want me to be a deserter, leaving God after placing myself in His service? If those who abandon the militia of earthly kings are severely punished, what chastisement would I not deserve if I abandoned that of the King of heaven?"

When he was thirty years old, desiring greater solitude, he began to live an angelic life so far above nature that he seemed no longer to have a body. The young sage, as he was called by Saint Euthymius, Abbot of a nearby monastery, dwelt in a cavern on a mountain near Jerusalem, where he prayed, sang Psalms and wove baskets of palm branches. He was forty-five years old when he began to direct those who came to live as hermits, as he did, and he gave each of them a place to build a cell; soon this was the largest monastery of Palestine. He left the region when certain agitators complained of him, for he considered himself incapable of maintaining good discipline. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sallustus, did not easily credit the complaints, and instead ordained Sabas a priest, that he might say Mass for his disciples - for they had been displeased by his lack of desire for that honor. He was at that time fifty-three years old. The Patriarch presented him to them as their father, whom they should obey and honor, and made him Superior of all the Palestine monasteries. But several monks remained obstinate, and Saint Sabas again went elsewhere, to a cavern near Scythopolis.

As the years passed, he was in charge of seven monasteries; but his influence was not limited to Palestine. The heresies afflicting religion were being sustained by the emperor of Constantinople, who had exiled the Catholic Patriarch of that city, Elias. Saint Sabas converted the one who had replaced Elias, and wrote to the emperor that he should cease to persecute the Church of Jerusalem, and to impose taxes on the cities of Palestine which they were unable to pay. In effect, the people were reduced to extreme misery. The emperor died soon afterwards, and the pious Justin replaced him. Justin restored the true faith by an edict and recalled the exiles, re-establishing the exiled prelates in their sees.

When Saint Sabas was ninety-one years old, he made the long journey to Constantinople to ask Justinian, successor to Justin, not to act with severity against the province of Palestine, where a revolt had occurred by the non-submission of a group of Samaritans. The emperor honored him highly and wished to endow his monasteries with wealth, but the holy Patriarch asked him to use the riches he was offering to build a hospice for pilgrims in Jerusalem, to decorate the unfinished Church of the Blessed Virgin, to build a fortress where the monks could take refuge when barbarians invaded the land, and finally, to re-establish preaching of the true Faith, by edicts proscribing the various errors being propagated. The holy Abbot lived to be ninety-two years old, and died in 531, in the arms of the monks of his first monastery.


Go to top of page

Friday, December 6, 2019
: St. Nicholas, EC
Friday, December 6, 2019

SAINT NICHOLAS
Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
(342)

Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of Russia, has won the warmest of praises from other Saints such as Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Peter Damian, who called him the glory of young men, the honor of the elderly, the splendor of priests and the light of Pontiffs. All the world was filled with his praises, Saint Peter added. The universal Church, in the Collect of his office, claims that God made known his nobility by an infinite number of miracles.

He was born during the third century, nephew of the Archbishop of Myra. He had lost his parents while still very young, and he desired not to conserve his rich heritage. Gradually he gave away everything of which he could dispose, establishing dowries for poor maidens and seeking out the needy wherever they could be found. The Archbishop, his uncle, already aware of his vocation to sanctity, ordained Saint Nicholas priest and appointed him Abbot of the monastery of Holy Sion near Myra. He undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, resurrecting a sailor who fell from a mast during the voyage; he prayed for the frightened passengers in a near-fatal tempest and calmed it. He visited Saint Anthony of the Desert and healed many sick persons in Alexandria during a stopover in Egypt.

On the death of the Archbishop of Myra, he was elected to the vacant see. Immediately after the pontifical Mass, he resurrected an infant who had fallen into a fire.

A persecution broke out under the emperor Licinius; Saint Nicholas was banished and kept in chains. He suffered from severe mistreatment but returned to his church when Constantine the Great defeated Licinius, and in 313 then put a definitive end to the persecutions. Saint Nicholas labored in his domains to stop the worship of false gods, still practiced there as elsewhere. With his own hands he cut down a huge tree, site of a sacrilegious cult of the goddess Diana. During a famine his prayers multiplied the provisions of wheat which he had ordered for the port of Myra, to such an extent that what would have sufficed for his people for only a few days, was found to be sufficient for more than two years. He rescued from death, just before they were hanged, three innocents condemned by a judge who had been corrupted by money, reprehended the latter for his crime and sent these liberated ones home, entirely exonerated.

Throughout his life he retained the bright and simple manners of his early years; no one could converse with him without finding himself spiritually renewed. Saint Nicholas was the special protector of the innocent and the wronged. He is usually represented at the side of a container in which a cruel butcher had concealed the bodies of three young persons, whom he had killed and was intending to use in his commerce, but who were restored to life by the Saint. This miracle was reported by Saint Bonaventure in a sermon.

Saint Nicholas rejoiced when God made known to him that the end of his pilgrimage was near. He retired to his Monastery of Holy Sion, and after a short but intense episode of fever, died in the year 342. He is the patron of schoolchildren, sailors, travelers and pilgrims, prisoners and many others. His relics were translated in 1087 to Bari, Italy, where a church was built in their honor. And there, after fifteen centuries, the manna of Saint Nicholas still flows from his bones and heals all kinds of illnesses.

Reflection: Those who would enter heaven must become like little children, whose greatest glory is their innocence. Two duties impose themselves on Christians: first, either to preserve our innocence by sage precautions or regain it by penance; secondly, to love and shield it in others.


Go to top of page

: Abstinence
Friday, December 6, 2019

Saturday, December 7, 2019
: St. Ambrose, ECD
Saturday, December 7, 2019

SAINT AMBROSE
Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
(340-397)

When in the year 369 Saint Ambrose, the young son of a Roman Senator, was sent by Probus, the Prefect of Italy, to the large province of Liguria Emilia in Italy, the officer said to him, "Go and act not as a judge, but as a bishop." Ambrose, though not Christian, had already resisted by his probity the corrupting influence of the Roman youth of his day. In Liguria he showed himself to be clement as directed, and his great erudition also became well known to the inhabitants of the region. In the year 374 he was already governor of the province, at the moment when at Milan, in this same region, a bishop was needed for that great see. Since the heretics in Milan were many and fierce, he went to preserve order during the election of the new prelate. Though he was still only a catechumen, it was the Will of God that the provincial governor be chosen by acclamation. Despite his protestations and his subsequent flight from Milan when they were not accepted, he was found, baptized and consecrated for the archiepiscopal see.

Unwearied then in every pastoral duty, full of sympathy and charity, gentle and condescending in matters of indifference, he was inflexible in questions of principle. He manifested his fearless zeal when it was necessary to brave the anger of the Empress Justina, by resisting and foiling her impious attempt to give one of the churches of Milan to the Arians. He distributed all that he had of gold and silver to the poor, and confided all financial administration of his archdiocese to his brother, Saint Satyrus, who came to reside with him in Milan. To master theology, he studied the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church, and conferred with learned Christians concerning the rules of ecclesiastical discipline. He was very active, and took such great care of the catechumens' instruction that no one could surpass him in that duty.

His zeal in rebuking and bringing to penance the great Emperor Theodosius, who in a moment of irritation had cruelly punished a sedition by the inhabitants of Thessalonica, is a well known fact of history. The Saint met him at the door of the cathedral to prevent his entering, and said to him that if he had imitated David in his crime, he must now imitate him in his penance. Later the chastened and humble Emperor said that in his life he had known but one true bishop - Ambrose.

Saint Ambrose was the friend and consoler of Saint Monica in all her sorrows, and in 387 had the joy of admitting to the Church Saint Augustine, her son. He died in 397, full of years and of honors, and is revered by the Church of God as one of her greatest Doctors.

Reflection: Whence came to Saint Ambrose his grandeur of mind, his clearness of insight, his intrepidity in maintaining the faith and discipline of the Church? Whence, if not from his contempt of the world and his fear of God alone?


Go to top of page

: Fast & Abstinence
Saturday, December 7, 2019

Sunday, December 8, 2019
: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday, December 8, 2019

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
(Declared a dogma December 8, 1854 by Pius IX)

On this day, so dear to every Catholic heart, we celebrate first of all the moment when Almighty God, in a vision telescoping the ages, showed Mary both to our first parents and to the demon, as the Virgin Mother of the future divine Redeemer, the Woman destined to crush the proud head of the serpent. This episode is narrated in the first book of Scripture, Genesis chapter 3. We find Her again in the last canonical prophecy of the Bible, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John the Apostle, as the Woman clothed with the sun, having on Her head a crown of twelve stars. In this beautiful vision She is also identified with the persecuted Apostolic Church, obliged to flee into the "desert", and as the Mother of a great Head of that Church, destined to govern the flock of the latter times in the final combat, who like that flock is Her own Child. (chapter 12) Mary, like Her Son, is at the beginning and the end of all God's intentions, an integral part of His designs for the Redemption of the human race.

Since by eternal decree She was exempted from all stain of original sin from the first moment of Her Creation, and was endowed with the richest treasures of grace and sanctity, it is fitting that we honor Her glorious prerogatives by this special feast of the Immaculate Conception. We should join in spirit with the Blessed in heaven and rejoice with our dear Mother, not only for Her own sake, but for ours, Her children, for we are partakers of Her glory and happiness. "The treasures of the mother are the heritage of the children," said Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

We celebrate at the same time the ever-memorable day, the 8th of December of 1854, which raised the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady from a pious belief to the dignity of a dogma of the infallible Church, causing a great and universal joy among the faithful. The Holy See had already permitted the feast day from the time of Sixtus IV, by his papal bull Cum Praecelsa (1477), formally allowing its celebration for all dioceses desiring it. In 1854, the ancient faith of the people in their Mother exulted.

Reflection: Let us repeat frequently these words applied by the Church to the Blessed Virgin: "Thou art all fair, O Mary! and there is no stain in Thee" (Cant. 4:7).


Go to top of page

: Holyday of Obligation
Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Monday, December 9, 2019
: Feria
Monday, December 9, 2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
: St. Melchiades, PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Wednesday, December 11, 2019
: St. Damasus, PC
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

SAINT DAMASUS
Pope
(384)

Saint Damasus was born in Rome at the beginning of the fourth century. His father, a widower, had received Holy Orders there and served as parish priest in the church of St. Laurence. Damasus was archdeacon of the Roman Church in 355, when the Pope, Saint Liberius, was banished to Berda; he followed him into exile, but afterwards returned to Rome. On the death of Saint Liberius in 366, our Saint was chosen to succeed him, at the age of sixty-two. A certain Ursinus, jealous of his election and desiring for himself that high office, had himself proclaimed pope by his followers, inciting a revolt against Damasus in Rome, in which 137 persons died. The holy Pope did not choose to resort to armed defense, but the Emperor Valentinian, to defend him, drove the usurper from Rome for a time. Later he returned, and finding accomplices for his evil intentions, accused the holy Pontiff of adultery. Saint Damasus took only such action as was becoming to the common father of the faithful; he assembled a synod of forty-four bishops, in which he justified himself so well that the calumniators were excommunicated and banished.

Having freed the Church of this new schism, Saint Damasus turned his attention to the extirpation of Arianism in the West and of Apollinarianism in the East, and for this purpose convened several councils. He sent Saint Zenobius, later bishop of Florence, to Constantinople in 381 to console the faithful, cruelly persecuted by the Emperor Valens. He commanded Saint Jerome to prepare a correct Latin version of the Bible, since known as the Vulgate; he ordered the Psalms to be sung accordingly. He rebuilt and adorned the Church of Saint Laurence, still called Saint Laurence in Damaso. He caused to be drained all the springs of the Vatican, which were inundating the tombs of the holy persons buried there, and he decorated the sepulchres of a great number of martyrs in the cemeteries, adorning them with epitaphs in verse. Before his death, he consecrated sixty-two bishops.

Saint Damasus is praised by Theodoret as head of the famous doctors of divine grace of the Latin church; the General Council of Chalcedon calls him the honor and glory of Rome. Having reigned for eighteen years and two months, he died on the 10th of December in 384, when he was nearly eighty years old. In the eighth century, his relics were definitively placed in the church of Saint Laurence in Damaso, except for his head, conserved in the Basilica of Saint Peter.


Go to top of page

Thursday, December 12, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019
: St. Lucy, VM
Friday, December 13, 2019

SAINT LUCY of SYRACUSE
Virgin and Martyr
(303)

Saint Lucy was a young Christian maiden of Syracuse in Sicily. She had already offered her virginity to God and refused to marry, when her mother pressed her to accept the offer of a young pagan. The mother was afflicted afterwards for several years by an issue of blood, and all human remedies were ineffectual. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel, suffering from the same disorder, had been healed by the divine power. They determined to make a journey to Catania, a port of Sicily, where the tomb of Saint Agatha, martyred in 251, was already a site of pilgrimage. "Saint Agatha," Lucy said, "stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed." The Saint of Catania had already saved that city, when Mount Etna had erupted the year after her martyrdom: some frightened pagans, seeing a course of lava descending directly toward the city, had uncovered her tomb, and at once it had stopped.

Saint Lucy and her mother spent an entire night praying by the tomb, until, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. Saint Agatha appeared in vision to Saint Lucy, and addressing her sister in the faith, foretold her mother's recovery and Lucy's future martyrdom: "You will soon be the glory of Syracuse, as I am of Catania." At that instant the cure was effected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and to conserve her virginity.

The young man who had sought her hand in marriage denounced her as a Christian during the persecution of Diocletian, but Our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin He had chosen for His own. The executioners who would have taken her to a house of ill fame were unable to move her. The exasperated prefect gave orders to attach her by cords to harnessed bulls, but the bulls, too, did not succeed, and he accused her of being a magician. "How can you, a feeble woman, triumph over a thousand men?" She replied, "Bring ten thousand, and they will not be able to combat against God!" A fire kindled around her did her no harm, though she was covered with resin and oil. When a sword was plunged into her heart, the promise made at the tomb of Saint Agatha was fulfilled. Saint Lucy died, predicting peace for the Church.

Reflection: The Saints had to bear sufferings and temptations greater far than any of ours. How did they overcome them? By the love of Christ. Nourish this pure love by meditating on the mysteries of Christ's life; and, above all, by devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is the antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.


Go to top of page

: Abstinence
Friday, December 13, 2019

Saturday, December 14, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Sunday, December 15, 2019
Sunday, December 15, 2019

: Octave of Immaculate Conception
Sunday, December 15, 2019

Monday, December 16, 2019
: St. Eusebius, EM
Monday, December 16, 2019

SAINT EUSEBIUS
Bishop of Vercelli
( ca. 370)

Saint Eusebius was born of a noble family on the island of Sardinia, where his father is said to have died in prison for the Faith. He was brought up in Rome in the practice of piety, and studied in Vercelli, a city of Piedmont. Eusebius was ordained a priest there, and served the Church of Vercelli with such zeal that when the episcopal chair became vacant he was unanimously chosen, by both clergy and people, to fill it.

The holy bishop saw that the best and principal means to labor effectually for the edification and sanctification of his people was to have a zealous clergy. Saint Ambrose assures us that he was the first bishop who in the West united the monastic life with the clerical, living and having his clergy live almost like the monks of the East in the deserts. They shared a common life of prayer and penance, in a single residence, that of the bishop, as did the clergy of Saint Augustine in his African see. Saint Eusebius was very careful to instruct his flock in the maxims of the Gospel. The force of the truth which he preached, together with his example, brought many sinners to a change of life.

When a Council was held in Italy, under the influence of the Emperor Constans and the Arian heretics, with the intention of condemning Saint Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, Saint Eusebius courageously resisted the heretics. He attempted to have all present sign the Nicene Creed, but the paper was torn out of his hands and his pen was broken. With Saint Dionysus of Milan, he refused to sign the condemnation of the bishop of Alexandria. The Emperor therefore had him banished to Scythopolis in Palestine with Saint Dionysus of Milan, then to Cappadocia, where Saint Dionysus died; and finally he was taken to the Upper Thebaid in Egypt, where he suffered grievously. The Arians of these places loaded him with outrages and treated him cruelly, and Saint Eusebius confounded them wherever they were.

At the death of Constans in 361, he was permitted to return to his diocese, where he continued to combat Arianism, concertedly with Saint Hilarion of Poitiers. He has been called a martyr in two panegyrics appended to the works of Saint Ambrose. Two of his letters, written from his dungeons, are still extant, the only ones of his writings which have survived. One is addressed to his church, the other to the bishop of Elvira to encourage him to oppose a fallen heretic and not fear the power of princes. He died in about the year 370. His relics are in a shrine in the Cathedral of Vercelli.


Go to top of page

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

: Ember Day - Fast
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, December 19, 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019
: Feria
Friday, December 20, 2019

: Ember Day - Fast & Abstinence
Friday, December 20, 2019

Saturday, December 21, 2019
: St. Thomas, Ap
Saturday, December 21, 2019

SAINT THOMAS
Apostle and Martyr
( First Century)

Saint Thomas was one of the fisherman on the Lake of Galilee whom Our Lord called to be His Apostles. By nature slow to believe, too apt to see difficulties and to look at the dark side of things, he had nonetheless a very sympathetic, loving, and courageous heart.

When Jesus spoke to His apostles of His forthcoming departure, and told His faithful disciples that they already knew the Way to follow Him, Saint Thomas, in his simplicity, asked: "Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?"

When the Master during a journey turned back to go toward Bethany, near Jerusalem, to the grave of Lazarus, the apostle Thomas, knowing of the malevolent intentions of the Jerusalem religious authorities, at once feared the worst for his beloved Lord. Yet he cried out bravely: "Let us go then and die with Him!"

After the Resurrection his doubts prevailed, and while the wounds of the crucifixion remained vividly imprinted in his affectionate memory, he could not credit the report that Christ had risen. But at the actual sight of the pierced hands and side, and the gentle rebuke of his Saviour, his unbelief vanished forever. His faith and ours have always triumphed in his joyous utterance: "My Lord and my God!"

That Saint Thomas, after the dispersion of the Apostles, went to India, where he labored and died at Meliapour, is a certain fact of history. The Roman Breviary states that he preached in Ethiopia and Abyssinia, as well as in Persia and Media. Surely his was a remarkable history, reserved for the inhabitants of Christ's glory to see in its fullness some day.

Before he died in Meliapour, he erected a very large cross and predicted to the people that when the sea would advance to the very foot of that cross, God would send them, from a far-distant land, white men who would preach to them the same doctrine he had taught them. This prophecy was verified when the Portuguese arrived in the region, and found that the ocean had advanced so far as to be truly at the foot of the cross. At the foot of this cross was a rock where Saint Thomas, while praying fervently, suffered his martyrdom by a blow from the lance of a pagan priest. This happened, according to the Roman Breviary, at Calamine, which is in fact Meliapour, for in the language of the people the word Calurmine means on the rock (mina). The name was given the site in memory of the Apostle's martyrdom.

Reflection: Cast away all disquieting doubts, and learn to triumph over outlived weaknesses as Saint Thomas did, who by his ignorance has instructed the ignorant, and by his incredulity has served the faith of all ages.


Go to top of page

: Ember Day - Fast
Saturday, December 21, 2019

Sunday, December 22, 2019
Sunday, December 22, 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019
: Feria
Monday, December 23, 2019

Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

: Fast & Abstinence
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The NATIVITY of OUR LORD

Noel! Noel! This was the cry of our fathers when the Faith prevailed, ardent and lively in the bosom of families, institutions, and all of society. That cry has grown very weak in our day, for the naivete of simple faith has tended to disappear. Nevertheless, of all the Christian feasts, Christmas is perhaps the most beloved and the most popular.

God used the most apparently indifferent events to reach His ends. Mary lived in Nazareth, and the prophets predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. But an edict of Caesar Augustus ordered all the inhabitants of Judea to go at a certain time to enroll in their native city. Bethlehem was the birthplace of Joseph, so that is where the holy spouses went; and that is where, in conformity to the predictions of the prophets, Jesus was to come into the world.

What a birth for a God! Joseph looked for an inn, but there was none for such poor people; rejected and scorned, they were obliged to seek refuge in an isolated stable. And that is where, in the middle of the night, Mary miraculously gave birth to Jesus; that is where the most meek Saviour received the first adorations, where He received the first kisses and caresses, where He shed His first tears! Mary took the Infant in Her arms, covered Him with poor swaddling clothes and laid Him softly in a cold manger. O first moments which Mary and Joseph spent at the feet of Jesus, how precious you were for them, how full of charm! We will taste a little of this joy and these charms on going to our church to pay a visit to the manger scene that represents such a great mystery. Earthly joys are deceitful, but the joy of God's service are lasting and true.

Jesus was born, and behold, the heavens rang out in hymns of joy as the Angels sang the canticle of triumph, "Glory to God in the highest!" and the canticle of peace, "Peace on earth to men of good will!" Jesus was born, and at once the poor shepherds, informed by the Angels, came to adore the Redeemer of Israel in that little Infant. Jesus was born, and soon the princes of the East, led by a Star, laid their homages at His feet. Let us hail Christmas, the dawn of peace and salvation.


Go to top of page

: Holy Day of Obligation
Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019
: St. Stephen, 1st Martyr
Thursday, December 26, 2019

SAINT STEPHEN
Protomartyr
(35)

The Jewish origin of Saint Stephen is universally acknowledged; he is known and loved everywhere as the first follower of Christ to give to his martyred God love for love, blood for blood. It is not certain whether he was among the seventy-two disciples of Jesus; some believe he was of the Greek tongue and not a native of Palestine. He studied with Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas under the famous Doctor of the Law, Gamaliel, who, being a member of the Sanhedrin, attempted to stop the persecution of the Apostles. (Acts of the Apostles 5:34-40) What is certain, however, is that he distinguished himself among his brethren as an admirable Christian, replete with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. To his great beauty and angelic chastity were joined humility, patience, gentleness and charity, so perfect that they drew from all the faithful great admiration and esteem for him.

He was head of the seven disciples whom the Apostles named as deacons, to execute the works of charity which their mandate to preach did not permit them to carry out. Stephen manifested all the qualities one could wish for in a minister of charity and of the Gospel. He knew Scripture to perfection and was steeped in its divine spirit; he was endowed with invincible force because he feared nothing in the service of God. Everywhere in Jerusalem, he was proving Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, and working great prodigies to confirm the truths he taught. Some believe he was the cousin of Saul, later Saint Paul; in any case, the latter, still a fire-breathing Pharisee, took offense at his boldness and presided at the scene of his martyrdom by stoning. The fervent deacon, insensible to his own fate, defended Christ before the Jerusalem tribunal with a perfection which enraged the proud authorities of Jerusalem, unwilling to recognize a humble carpenter of Nazareth for their Saviour. He boldly upbraided the chief priests with their hard-hearted resistance to the Holy Spirit. And when he accused them of putting to death, just as their forebears had treated the prophets who foretold Him, the long-awaited Just One announced by Moses, they stoned him without further delay. (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 7)

Saint Stephen died, beholding his Lord standing at the right hand of God. He imitated Him in death; crying out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" He concluded on his knees, "Lord, do not impute to them this sin!" And then he fell asleep, the narrative says.

His mortal remains were left outdoors to be devoured by beasts, but were protected by God; and Gamaliel, the Doctor of the Law, took the body of the martyr to his own country home, a few leagues from the city, where he buried him. His tomb was discovered miraculously in the fifth century, by the intervention of Gamaliel himself in a priest's dream. The greater part of his relics are still conserved in the Basilica of Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen in Rome. His death was the signal for a great persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem, spurred on by Saul, who had approved his death. But Saint John Chrysostom remarks that because Stephen prayed, we have Saint Paul, whose conversion miraculously came about soon afterwards.


Go to top of page

Friday, December 27, 2019
: St. John, Ap & Ev
Friday, December 27, 2019

SAINT JOHN
Apostle, Evangelist, and Prophet
(103)

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple. He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold the Saviour raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper. After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also. He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus.

Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them. He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John - all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: "My dear children, love one another."

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

Reflection: Saint John is a living proof of Our Lord's beatitude: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)


Go to top of page

: Abstinence
Friday, December 27, 2019

Saturday, December 28, 2019
: Holy Innocents, Martyrs
Saturday, December 28, 2019

The HOLY INNOCENTS
Martyrs at the time of the Nativity of Our Lord
(1 A.D.)

The wily king Herod, who was reigning in Judea at the time of the birth of Our Saviour, learned from three Wise Men from the East that they had come to Jerusalem, advised by a star in the heavens, in search of the newborn King of the Jews. Herod's superstitious fear of losing his throne was awakened, and he grew troubled. He called together the chief priests, questioned them, and learned from them that the awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He said to the strangers: "When you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may go and adore Him."

The star which had guided the Magi re-appeared over Bethlehem, and they found the Infant and adored Him, and offered Him their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, recognizing by these His perfect Divinity, His royalty, and His prophesied sufferings. God warned them in a dream afterwards not to go back to Herod, and they returned to their lands, rejoicing, by a different route. Saint Joseph, too, was warned during his sleep by an Angel to take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt, for Herod will seek the life of the Infant.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men would not return, he was furious, and in his rage ordered that every male child in Bethlehem and its vicinity, of the age of two years or less, be slain. These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Saviour's legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

Reflection: That the Holy Innocents may be invoked to be preserved from illusion is the Church's belief. Herod's illusion of threat from the newborn King cost their lives... How few, perhaps, of these innocent little ones, if they had lived, would have escaped the dangers of the world! From what snares, what sins, what miseries were they preserved! Surely they rejoice now in their fate. We often lament, as misfortunes, many accidents which in the designs of Heaven are the greatest mercies.


Go to top of page

Sunday, December 29, 2019
Sunday, December 29, 2019

: St. Thomas Becket, EM
Sunday, December 29, 2019

SAINT THOMAS BECKET
Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr
(1117-1170)

Saint Thomas, son of an English nobleman, Gilbert Becket, was born on the day consecrated to the memory of Saint Thomas the Apostle, December 21, 1117, in Southwark, England. He was endowed by both nature and grace with gifts recommending him to his fellow men; and his father, certain he would one day be a great servant of Christ, confided his education to a monastery. His first employment was in the government of the London police. There he was obliged to learn the various rights of the Church and of the secular arm, but already he saw so many injustices imposed upon the clergy that he preferred to leave that employment rather than to participate in iniquity. He was perfectly chaste and truthful, and no snares could cause to waver his hatred for any form of covert action.

He was employed then by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on missions to Rome and permitted him to study civil law at the University of Bologna (Italy) for an entire year. After a few years, witnessing his perfect service, he made him his Archdeacon and endowed him with several benefices. The young cleric's virtue and force soon recommended him also to the king, who made of him his Lord Chancellor. In that high office, while inflexible in the rendition of justice, he was generous and solicitous for the relief of misery. He was severe towards himself, spending the better part of every night in prayer. He often employed a discipline, to be less subject to the revolts of the flesh against the spirit. In a war with France he won the respect of his enemies, including that of the young king Louis VII. To Saint Thomas, his own sovereign, Henry II, confided the education of the crown prince. Of the formation of the future king and the young lords who composed his suite, the Chancellor took extreme care, knowing well that the strength of a State depends largely on the early impressions received by the elite of its youth.

When Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury died, the king insisted on the consecration of Saint Thomas in his stead. Saint Thomas at first declined, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be threatened by his own obligations to uphold the rights of the Church against infringement by the sovereign, whose tendencies were not different from those of his predecessors. In the end he was obliged by obedience to yield. The inevitable conflict was not long in coming. Saint Thomas resisted when the king's courtiers drew up a list of royal "customs" at Clarendon, where the parliament of the king was assembled, and Henry obliged all the bishops as well as the lords to sign a promise to uphold these without permitting any restrictions whatsoever. Many of these pretended "customs" violated the liberties of the Church, and some were even invented for the occasion. Saint Thomas, obliged in conscience to resist, was soon the object of persecution, not only from the irritated king but by all who had sworn loyalty to his nefarious doings.

Saint Thomas took refuge in France under the protection of the generous Louis VII, who resisted successfully the repeated efforts of Henry to turn away his favor from the Archbishop. The Pope at that time was in France, and he, too, was besieged by Henry's emissaries, but knew well how to pacify minds and protect the defender of the Church. Thomas retired to a Benedictine monastery for two years, and when Henry wrote a threatening letter to its abbot, moved to another. After six years, his office restored as the Pope's apostolic legate, a title which Henry had wrested from him for a time, he returned to England, to preach again and enforce order in his see. He knew well that it was to martyrdom that he was destined; it is related that the Mother of God appeared to him in France to foretell it to him, and that She presented him for that intention with a red chasuble. By this time the persecuted Archbishop's case was known to all of Christian Europe, which sympathized with him and elicited from king Henry an appearance of conciliation.

A few words which the capricious Henry spoke to certain courtiers who hated Thomas, sufficed for the latter to decide to do away with the prelate who contravened all their unchristian doings. They violated a monastic cloister and chapel to enter there while he was assisting at Vespers; the Saint himself prevented the monks from resisting the assassins at the door. Refusing to flee the church as the assassins summoned him to do, he was slain before the altar, by cruel and murderous repeated blows on the head. He died, saying: "I die willingly, for the name of Jesus and for the defense of the Church."

The actions of the Pope in this conflict make clear what all of history teaches: the lives of the Church's Saints themselves comprise the history of the world. The humility of Thomas had prompted him, after a moment of weakness he had manifested in a difficult situation, to judge himself unfit for his office and offer his resignation as Archbishop. The Pope did not hesitate a moment in refusing his resignation. He judged with apostolic wisdom that if Thomas should be deprived of his rank for having opposed the unjust pretensions of the English royalty, no bishop would ever dare oppose the impingements of iniquity on the Church's rights, and the Spouse of Christ would be no longer sustained by marble columns, but by reeds bending in the wind.

The martyred Archbishop was canonized by Pope Alexander III on Ash Wednesday, 1173, not yet three years after his death on December 29, 1170, to the edification of the entire Church.


Go to top of page

Monday, December 30, 2019
: Feria
Monday, December 30, 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
: St. Sylvester I, PC
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

SAINT SYLVESTER
Pope and Confessor
(280-335)

Saint Sylvester was born in Rome. When he reached the age to dispose of his fortune, he took pleasure in giving hospitality to Christians passing through the city. He would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table, and in sum give them in the name of Christ, all the care that the most sincere charity inspired. One day Timothy of Antioch, an illustrious confessor of the Faith, arrived in Rome. No one dared receive him, but Sylvester considered it an honor. For a year Timothy, preaching Jesus Christ with unflagging zeal, received at Sylvester's dwelling the most generous hospitality. When this heroic man had won the palm of martyrdom, Sylvester took up his precious remains and buried them during the night. But he himself was soon denounced to the prefect and accused of having hidden the martyr's treasures. He replied, "Timothy left to me only the heritage of his faith and courage." The governor threatened him with death and had him imprisoned, but Sylvester said to him, "Senseless one, this very night it is you who will render an account to God." And the persecutor that evening swallowed a fish bone, and died in fact that night.

Fear of heavenly chastisements softened the guardians, and the brave young man was set at liberty. Sylvester's courageous acts became known to Saint Melchiad, Pope, who elevated him to the diaconate. He was a young priest when persecution of the Christians grew worse under the tyrant Diocletian. Idols were erected at the street corners, in the market-places, and over the public fountains, so that it was scarcely possible for a Christian to go abroad without being put to the test of offering sacrifice, with the alternative of apostasy or death. During this fiery trial, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, and God preserved his life from many dangers. It was indeed he who was destined to succeed the Pope who had recognized his virtues.

His long pontificate of twenty-one years, famous for several reasons, is remembered in particular for the Council of Nicea, the Baptism of Constantine, and the triumph of the Church. Some authors would place Constantine's Baptism later, but there are numerous and serious testimonies which fix the emperor's reception into the Church under the reign of Saint Sylvester, and the Roman Breviary confirms that opinion. Constantine, while still pagan and little concerned for the Christians, whose doctrine was entirely unknown to him, was attacked by a kind of leprosy which soon covered his entire body. One night Saint Peter and Saint Paul, shining with light, appeared to him and commanded him to call for Pope Sylvester, who would cure him by giving him Baptism. In effect, the Pope instructed the royal neophyte and baptized him. Thus began the social reign of Jesus Christ: Constantine's conversion, culminating in the Edict of Milan in 313, had as its happy consequence that of the known world.

Reflection: Never forget to thank God daily for having made you a member of His indefectible Church, and grow daily in your attachment, devotion, and loyalty to the Vicar of Christ. Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia: Where Peter is, there the Church is.


Go to top of page

Licensed To: calefactory Created By WebCal Plus - HTML Calendar Software
[ Calendar General Information ]