SAINT OF THE DAY: 31 MARCH, 2014

San_Beniamino

SAINT BENJAMIN
Deacon, Martyr
(+ c. 424)

Isdegerdes, Son of Sapor III., put a stop to the cruel persecutions against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by Sapor II., and the Church had enjoyed twelve years’ peace in that kingdom, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian bishop, who burned down the Pyræum, or Temple of Fire, the great divinity of the Persians.

King Isdegerdes thereupon demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the Church, which continued forty years with great fury.

Isdegerdes died the year following, in 421. But his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity.

The very recital of the cruelties he exercised on the Christian strikes us with horror.

Among the glorious champions of Christ was St. Benjamin, a deacon.

The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned.

He had lain a year in the dungeon, when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his release on condition that he should never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

The ambassador passed his word in his behalf that he would not; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the Gospel, declared that he should miss no opportunity of announcing Christ.

The king, being informed that he still preached the Faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended.

He suffered tortures frequently repeated with violence.

Lastly, he expired about the year 424.

(SOURCE: Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894])

READING OF THE DAY: 31 MARCH, 2014

herod27sservant

“At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.

For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place.

When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine.

Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.

When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death.

Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”

The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.

While he was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.

He asked them when he began to recover.

They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”

The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe.

(Now) this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.” -John 4:43-54.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 MARCH, 2014

saint_john_climacus

Saint John Climacus
Abbot
(525-605)

Saint John, whose national origin remains unknown, was called Climacus because of a treatise he wrote called The Ladder (Climax) of Paradise.

He made such progress in learning as a disciple of Saint Gregory Nazianzen that while still young, he was called the Scholastic.

At the age of sixteen he turned from the brilliant future which lay before him, and retired to Mount Sinai, where he was placed under the direction of a holy monk named Martyrius.

Once that religious journeyed to Antioch and took the young John with him; they visited Saint Anastasius, a future Patriarch of Antioch, and the Saint asked Martyrius who it was who had given the habit to this novice?

Hearing that it was Martyrius himself, he replied, And who would have said that you gave the habit to an Abbot of Mount Sinai?

Another religious, a solitary, made the same prediction on a similar visit, and washed the feet of the one who would some day be Abbot of Mount Sinai.

Never was there a novice more fervent, more unrelenting in his efforts for self-mastery.

On the death of his director, when John was about thirty-five years old, he withdrew into a deeper solitude, where he studied the lives and writings of the Saints and was raised to an unusual height of contemplation.

There he remained for forty years, making, however, a visit to the solitaries of Egypt for his instruction and inspiration.

The fame of his holiness and practical wisdom drew crowds around him for advice and consolation.

In the year 600, when he had reached the age of seventy-five, he was chosen as Abbot of Mount Sinai by a unanimous vote of the Sinai religious, who said they had placed the light upon its lampstand.

On the day of his installation, six hundred pilgrims came to Saint Catherine’s Monastery, and he performed all the offices of an excellent hotel-master; but at the hour of dinner, he could not be found to share the meal with them.

For four years, said his biographer, a monk of the monastery of Raithe, he dwelt on the mountain of God, and drew from the splendid treasure of his heart priceless riches of doctrine which he poured forth with wondrous abundance and benediction.

He was induced by a brother abbot to write the rules by which he had guided his life; and the book which he had already begun, The Ladder, detailing thirty degrees of advancement in the pursuit of perfection, has been prized in all ages for its wisdom, clearness, and unction.

At the end of that time, he retired again to his solitude, where he died the following year, as he had foretold.

Reflection: Cast not from thee, my brother, says the Imitation of Christ, the assured hope of attaining to the spiritual life; thou hast still the time and the means.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 4)

READING OF THE DAY: 30 MARCH, 2014

healingamanbornblind222

“As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.

We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.

Night is coming when no one can work.

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent).

So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”

Some said, “It is,” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.”

So they said to him, “(So) how were your eyes opened?”

He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.”

And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.

Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.

So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.

He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”

So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” (But) others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.

They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?”

His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self.”

His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue.

For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”

So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.”

The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.

It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.

If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.”

They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”

Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.”

He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” -John 9:1-41.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 MARCH, 2014

pharisee1 and Tax collector

“Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous–or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:9-14.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 28 MARCH, 2014

San_Gontrano_B

SAINT GONTRAN
King
(545-592)

St. Gontran was the son of King Clotaire, and grandson of Clovis I. and St. Clotildis. Being the second son, whilst his brothers Charibert reigned at Paris, and Sigebert in Ostrasia, residing at Metz, he was crowned king of Orleans and Burgundy in 561, making Chalons his capital.

When compelled to take up arms against his ambitious brothers and the Lombards, he made no other use of his victories, under the conduct of a brave general called Mommol, than to give peace to his dominions. The crimes in which the barbarous manners of his nation involved him he effaced by tears of repentance.

The prosperity of his reign, both in peace and war, condemns those who think that human policy cannot be modelled by the maxims of the Gospel, whereas nothing can render a government more flourishing.

He always treated the pastors of the Church with respect and veneration. He was the protector of the oppressed, and the tender parent of his subjects. He gave the greatest attention to the care of the sick. He fasted, prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day as a victim ready to be sacrificed on the altar of His justice, to avert

His indignation which he believed he himself had provoked and drawn down upon his innocent people. He was a severe punisher of crimes in his officers and others, and, by many wholesome regulations, restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops; but no man was more ready to forgive offences against his own person.

With royal magnificence he built and endowed many churches and monasteries.

This good king died in 592, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, having reigned thirty-one years and some months.

(SOURCE: Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894])

READING OF THE DAY: 28 MARCH, 2014

stdas0052

“One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”

Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’

And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

And no one dared to ask him any more questions.” -Mark 12:28b-34.