Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Feast of Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

There has been a time in the history of Christianity, when it had been Athanasius against the world, and the world against Athanasius. The need and straitness of the Church had been great, and one man was raised up for her deliverance. In this second necessity, who was the destined champion of her who cannot fail? Whence did he come, and what was his name? He came with an augury of victory upon him, which even Athanasius could not show; it was Leo, Bishop of Rome.

Leo's augury of success, which even Athanasius had not, was this, that he was seated in the chair of St. Peter and the heir of his prerogatives. In the very beginning of the controversy, St. Peter Chrysologus had urged this grave consideration upon Eutyches himself, in words which have already been cited: "I exhort you, my venerable brother," he had said, "to submit yourself in everything to what has been written by the blessed Pope of Rome; for St. Peter, who lives and presides in his own See, gives the true faith to those who seek it." This voice had come from Ravenna, and now after the Latrocinium it was echoed back from the depths of Syria by the learned Theodoret. "That all-holy See," he says in a letter to one of the Pope's Legates, "has the office of heading ([hegemonian]) the whole world's Churches for many reasons; and above all others, because it has remained free of the communion of heretical taint, and no one of heterodox sentiments hath sat in it, but it hath preserved the Apostolic grace unsullied." And a third testimony in encouragement of the faithful at the same dark moment issued from the Imperial court of the West. "We are bound," says Valentinian to the Emperor of the East, "to preserve inviolate in our times the prerogative of particular reverence to the blessed Apostle Peter; that the most blessed Bishop of Rome, to whom Antiquity assigned the priesthood over all ([kata panton]) may have place and opportunity of judging concerning the faith and the priests." Nor had Leo himself been wanting at the same time in "the confidence" he had "obtained from the most blessed Peter and head of the Apostles, that he had authority to defend the truth for the peace of the Church." Thus Leo introduces us to the Council of Chalcedon, by which he rescued the East from a grave heresy.

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Catholic Carnival
is up.
The Feast of Pope St. Deusdedit
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Godfrey of Amiens, O.S.B., Bishop.

Monday, November 07, 2005

From Meditations and Devotions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

St. Paul tells us to "look on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith." Faith is the first step towards salvation, and without it we have no hope. For St. Paul says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." It is a divine light; by it we are brought out of darkness into sunshine; by it, instead of groping, we are able to see our way towards heaven. Moreover, it is a great gift, which comes from above, and which we cannot obtain except from Him who is the object of it. He, our Lord Jesus Himself, and He alone, gives us the grace to believe in Him. Hence the Holy Apostle calls Him the author of our faith—and He finishes and perfects it also—from first to last it is altogether from Him. Therefore it was that our Lord said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark ix. 22-23). And hence the poor man to whom He spoke, who believed indeed already, but still feebly, made answer—"crying out with tears, I do believe, Lord; help Thou my unbelief." Hence, too, on another occasion, the Apostles said to our Lord, "Increase our faith" (Luke xvii. 5). And St. Paul draws out fully the whole matter when he reminds his converts, "And you (hath He raised), when you were dead in your offences and sins, wherein in time past you walked, according to the course of this world, ... in which we all conversed in time past, ... and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest; but God (who is rich in mercy), for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together in Christ ... By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God" (Ephesians ii. 1-8).

Let us pray for all the scorners, scoffers, and unbelievers, all false teachers and opposers of the truth, who are to be found in this land.

O Lord Jesus Christ, upon the Cross Thou didst say: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And this surely, O my God, is the condition of vast multitudes among us now; they know not what they might have known, or they have forgotten what once they knew. They deny that there is a God, but they know not what they are doing. They laugh at the joys of heaven and the pains of hell, but they know not what they are doing. They renounce all faith in Thee, the Saviour of man, they despise Thy Word and Sacraments, they revile and slander Thy Holy Church and her Priests, but they know not what they are doing. They mislead the wandering, they frighten the weak, they corrupt the young, but they know not what they do. Others, again, have a wish to be religious, but mistake error for truth—they go after fancies of their own, and they seduce others and keep them from Thee. They know not what they are doing, but Thou canst make them know. O Lord, we urge Thee by Thy own dear words, "Lord and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Teach them now, open their eyes here, before the future comes; give them faith in what they must see hereafter, if they will not believe in it here. Give them full and saving faith here; destroy their dreadful delusions, and give them to drink of that living water, which whoso hath shall not thirst again.
The Feast of St. Willibrord, O.S.B, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M., Priest.