It is not possible to represent and to think of the Cross
without love.Where the Cross is, there
is love.In church you see crosses
everywhere and on everything, in order that everything should remind you that
you are in the temple of the God of love, the Temple of love crucified for
If you are willing to reflect on the meaning of night, you will
also discover the infinite providence of the Creator.
Night restores the tired body and relaxes limbs which are tense
through the efforts of the day.By means
of rest, night helps them to regain their rhythm.
And not only that.Night
sets you free from sorrow and relieves your worries.It often reduces fever by making sleep a cure
and by changing itself into a doctor’s assistant.
That is the importance of night.It is so great that often if you cannot benefit from your rest, you will
not have the strength to face a new day.
At night, as in a time of truce, the exhausted soul and the worn
out body regain their energy and are prepared to take up their daily activity
again.On the other hand, if we prolong
the day into night by staying awake to work or even to do nothing, we are
condemning ourselves to being useless because gradually our strength is wasted.
for the new calendar Feast Day of the Holy Transfiguration!
are aware, but many are not, that a miraculous cloud descends upon Mt. Tabor in
the Holy Land each year on the Feast.John Sanidopoulos has a number of posts on his blog that speak to this
recurring miracle in greater detail.Please take time to learn about it and be edified by the miraculous work
of God, assuring us He is very much with us.Start here:http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/08/account-of-annual-miracle-on-mount.html
Adapted from The Liturgical Year
by Abbot Gueranger
Finding of the Relics of St. Stephen,
Protomartyr (August 3)
by the approach of St. Laurence's triumph, St. Stephen rises to assist at his
combat; it is a meeting full of beauty and strength, revealing the work of
eternal Wisdom in the arrangement of the sacred cycle. But the present Feast
has other teachings to offer us.
fierce auxiliaries of God's anger against idolatrous Rome, after reducing the
false gods to powder, must in their turn be subjugated; and this second victory
will be the work of the Martyrs aiding the Church by their miracles, as the
first was that of their faith—despising death and tortures. The received method
of writing history in our days ignores such considerations; that is no reason
why we should follow the fashion; the exactitude of its data, on which the
science of this age plumes itself, is but one more proof that falsehood is as
easily nurtured by omissions as by positive misstatements. Now the more profound
the silence on the question, the more certain it is that the very years which
beheld the barbarians invading and overturning the Empire were signalized by an
effusion of virtue from on high, comparable in more than one respect to that
which marked the times of the apostolic preaching. Nothing less was required to
reassure the faithful on the one hand, and on the other to inspire with respect
for the Church these brutal invaders, who knew no right but might, and felt
nothing but disdain for the race they had conquered.
divine intention in surrounding the fall of Rome in 410 with discoveries of
Saints' bodies was clearly manifested in the most important of these
discoveries, the one we celebrate today. The year 415 had opened. Italy, Gaul,
and Spain were being invaded; Africa was about to share their fate. Amidst the
universal ruin the Christians, in whom alone resided the hope of the world, put
up their petitions at every sanctuary to obtain at least, according to the
expression of the Spanish priest, Avitus, "that the Lord would inspire
with gentleness those whom He suffered to prevail." It was then that took
place that marvelous revelation which the severe critic Tillemont, convinced by
the testimony of the time (Idati, Marcellini, Sozomenis, Augustini, etc.)
allows to be "one of the most celebrated events of the fifth
century." Through the intermediary of the priest Lucian, John, the Bishop
of Jerusalem, received from St. Stephen the first Martyr and his companions in
the tomb a message couched in these terms: "Make haste to open our
sepulcher, that by our means God may take pity on His people in the universal
tribulation." The discovery, accomplished in the midst of prodigies, was
published to the whole world as the sign of salvation. St. Stephen's relics,
scattered everywhere in token of security and peace, wrought astonishing
conversions; innumerable miracles, "like those of ancient times,"
bore witness to the same Faith of Christ which the Martyr had confessed by his
death four centuries earlier.
was the extraordinary character of this manifestation, so astonishing was the
number of resurrections of the dead, that St. Augustine, addressing his people,
deemed it prudent to lift their thoughts from St. Stephen the servant to Christ
his Master. "Though dead," said he, "he raises the dead to life,
because in reality he is not dead. But as heretofore in his mortal life, so
now, too, he acts solely in the Name of Christ; all that you see now done by
the memory of St. Stephen is done in that Name alone, that Christ may be
exalted, Christ may be adored, Christ may be expected as Judge of the living
and the dead."
us conclude with this praise addressed to St. Stephen a few years later by
Basil of Seleucia, which gives so well in a few words the reason of this Feast:
"There is no place, no territory, no nation, no far-off land, that has not
obtained the help of thy benefits. There is no one, stranger or citizen,
barbarian or Scythian, that does not experience, through thy intercession, the
greatness of heavenly realities." (Oratio 41, De S. Stephano)
following lessons from the Breviary epitomize and complete the history given by
the priest Lucian:
During the reign of
the Emperor Honorius the bodies of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, Gamaliel,
Nicodemus, and Abibo were found near Jerusalem. They had long lain buried,
unknown and neglected, when they were revealed by God to a priest named Lucian.
While he was asleep, Gamaliel appeared to him as a venerable old man, and
showed him the spot where the bodies lay, commanding him to go to Bishop John
of Jerusalem, and persuade him to give these bodies more honorable burial.
On hearing this, the Bishop of Jerusalem
assembled the neighboring bishops and clergy, and went to the spot indicated.
The tombs were found, and from them exhaled a most sweet odor. At the rumor of
what had occurred, a great crowd came together, and many of them who were sick
and weak from various ailments went away perfectly cured. The sacred body of
St. Stephen was then carried with great honor to the Holy Church of Sion. Under
Theodosius the Younger it was carried to Constantinople, and from thence it was
translated to Rome under Pope Pelagius I and placed in the tomb of St. Laurence
the Martyr, in Agro Verano.
a precious addition to the history of St. Stephen in Sacred Scripture is
furnished us by the story of his finding! We now know who were those
"God-fearing men who buried Stephen and made great mourning over
him." Gamaliel, the master of Saul—later, St. Paul, the Doctor of the
Gentiles—had been, before his disciple, conquered by Our Lord; inspired by
Jesus, he honored, after his death, the humble soldier of Christ with the same
cares which had been lavished by Joseph of Arimathea, the noble counselor, on
the Man-God, and laid his body in the new tomb prepared for himself. Soon
Nicodemus, Joseph’s companion in the pious work of Good Friday, hunted by the
Jews in that persecution in which St. Stephen was the first victim, found
refuge near his sacred relics, and dying a holy death was laid to rest beside
him. The respected name of Gamaliel prevailed over the angry synagogue. While
the family of Annas and Caiphas kept in its hands the priestly power through
the precarious favor of Rome, Gamaliel—the grandson of Hillel—left to his
descendants preeminence in knowledge, and his eldest line remained for four
centuries the depositories of the only moral authority then recognized by the dispersed
Israelites. But more fortunate was he in having, by hearing the Apostles and
St. Stephen, passed from the science of shadows to the light of realities—from
the Law to the Gospel, from Moses to Him whom Moses announced. More happy than
his eldest born was his beloved son, Abibo, baptized with his father at the age
of twenty, who, passing away to God, filled the tomb next to St. Stephen's with
the sweet odor of heavenly purity. How touching was the last will of the
illustrious father, when, his hour being come, he ordered the grave of Abibo to
be opened for himself, that father and son might be seen to be twin brothers
born together to the only true light!
us pray: The munificence of Our Lord had
placed thee in death, O St. Stephen, in worthy company. We give thanks to the
noble person who showed thee hospitality for thy last rest; and we are grateful
to him for having, at the appointed time, himself broken the silence kept
concerning him by the delicate reserve of the Scriptures. Here again we see how
the Man-God wills to share His own honors with His chosen ones. Thy sepulcher,
like His, was glorious; and when it was opened, the earth shook, the bystanders
believed that Heaven had come down; the world was delivered from a desolating
drought, and amid a thousand evils hope sprang up once more. Now that the Roman
Church possesses thy body and Gamaliel has yielded to St. Laurence the right of
hospitality, rise up once more, O St. Stephen, and deliver us from the new
barbarians, by converting them, or wiping them off the face of the earth given
by God to His Christ.