Thought for the Day – 22 June – The Memorial of St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)
Of him, Pope Benedict XVI said:
“In our catechesis on the great teachers of the early Church, we now turn to Saint Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola in southern Italy. A native of Bordeaux in Gaul, Paulinus became the Roman governor of Campania, where, after encountering the depth of popular devotion to Saint Felix Martyr, he was led to embrace the Christian faith. After the tragic loss of their first child, he and his wife sold their goods and undertook a life of chastity and prayer. Ordained a priest and then Bishop of Nola, Paulinus distinguished himself by his charity to the poor during the troubled times of the barbarian invasions. A man of letters and a gifted poet, Paulinus placed his art at the service of Christ and the Church. In his poetry and his vast correspondence, Paulinus expressed his deep faith and his love of the poor.
His letters to such contemporary churchmen as Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome and Martin of Tours, reflect his asceticism, his deep sense of the Church’s communion and his cultivation of the practice of spiritual friendship as a means of experiencing that communion within the mystery of Christ’s mystical Body, enlivened by the Holy Spirit.”
Many of us are tempted to “retire” early in life, after an initial burst of energy. Devotion to Christ and His work is waiting to be done all around us. Paulinus’ life had scarcely begun when he thought it was over, as he took his ease on that estate in Spain. “Man proposes, but God disposes.”
The life of Saint Paulinus is one of great accomplishments and positions—none more important than those which began with his baptism into the faith. As with all baptism, Paulinus was made anew, filled with the Holy Spirit and through this rebirth, was able to devote himself to the holy work of God, serving others and bringing many to the faith. Today, we pray for a renewal of our own baptismal promise, awake and alive in our faith!
The Word of the Cross
by Saint Paulinus of Nola
Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh.
A bitter word, the cross, and bitter sight:
Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven.
Yet sweet it is; for God upon that tree
Did offer up His life: upon that rood
My Life hung, that my life might stand in God.
Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life?
Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold,
To cleanse me with the precious draught of death.
What shall I do? My body to be burned?
Make myself vile? The debt’s not paid out yet.
Whate’er I do, it is but I and Thou,
And still do I come short, still must Thou pay
My debts, O Christ; for debts Thyself hadst none.
What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found
In fashion like a slave, that so His slave
Might find himself in fashion like his Lord.
Think you the bargain’s hard, to have exchanged
The transient for the eternal, to have sold
Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.
Quote/s of the Day – 22 June – The Memorial of St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) and St John Fisher (1469-1535) and St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyrs
“To my mind the only art, is the faith and Christ is my poetry.”
“It is not surprising if, despite being far apart, we are present to each other and without being acquainted, know each other because we are members of One Body, we have One Head, we are steeped in One Grace, we live on One Loaf, we walk on One Road and we dwell in the Same House.”
St Paulinus of Nola
St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)
“A good man is not a perfect man; a good man is an honest man, faithful and unhesitatingly responsive to the voice of God in his life.”
St John Fisher
“I reckon in this realm no one man, in wisdom, learning and long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him.”
St Thomas More speaking of St John Fisher
“The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labour for.”
“We cannot go to heaven in featherbeds.”
“One of the greatest problems of our time, is that many are schooled but few are educated.”
“If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit, far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little, even at the risk of being heroes.”
“You wouldn’t abandon ship in a storm, just because you couldn’t control the winds.”
One Minute Reflection – 22 June – The Memorial of St John Fisher (1469-1535) and St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyrs
More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead…Philippians 3:8-11
REFLECTION – “Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness, I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in His merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God’s grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good, with respect to spiritual profit, that I trust, that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me, I count my imprisonment the very greatest.
I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God. By the merits of His bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me, all that I can suffer myself, His bounteous goodness, shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.
I will not mistrust Him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember, how Saint Peter at a blast of wind, began to sink because of his lack of faith and I shall do as he did, call upon Christ and pray to Him for help. And then I trust He shall place His holy hand on me and in the stormy seas, hold me up from drowning.
And finally, Margaret, I know this well, that without my fault He will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to Him. And if He permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for His justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that His tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commendHhis mercy.
And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let you mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure, that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.” – from a letter written by Saint Thomas More from prison to his daughter Margaret
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You set the perfection of true faith in martyrdom. Strengthen us by the prayers of the martyrs, St Thomas More and St John Fisher , so that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 22 June – The Memorial of St Thomas More (1478-1535)
During his address to the Roman Curia on the occasion of the presentation of Christmas greetings, Pope Francis affirmed, “A bit of good humour is very good for us! It will do us much good to pray St Thomas More’s prayer frequently, I pray it every day and it helps me.”
Prayer for Good Humour By St Thomas More (1478-1535)
Grant me O Lord, good digestion,
and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body
and the necessary good humour to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows
to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things
back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom,
grumbles, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress,
because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me O Lord, a good sense of humour,
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke
to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.
Saint of the Day – 22 June – St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) Bishop, Confessor, Poet, Writer, Apostle of Charity, Preacher, Orator, Senator and Governor, – born Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus in c354 at Burdigala, Gaul (modern Bordeaux, France) and died on 22 June 431 of natural causes. St Paulinus was an inspiration to many—including six great saint of the Church who referenced him in letters of encouragement to others: St Augustine, St Jerome, Melania, St Martin of Tours, St Gregory and St Ambrose . St Augustine wrote, “Go to Campania– there study Paulinus, that choice servant of God. With what generosity, with what still greater humility, he has flung from him the burden of this world’s grandeurs to take on him the yoke of Christ and in His service how serene and unobtrusive his life!”
It is believed that St Ambrose would have chosen him to replace him as bishop of Milan, but Paulinus was far from Milan when Ambrose died. He said of him that “Christians should follow and imitate Paulinus,” and that the greatest good fortune of the century in which they were living was to be “witness to the life of so rare and admirable a man.” Throughout his life, Saint Paulinus devoted himself to the care and service of the poor, giving away all that he had to improve the lives of others.
Paulinus was born to a Roman family noteworthy for the long line of senators, prefects, consuls and other important governmental figures it produced. Given the family’s status and station, Paulinus received the finest of educations available at the time. He was soon recognised for his eloquence in oratory, prose and verse and was admired by many for his hymns, poetry and eloquent speeches. Paulinus first served as Roman Consul, and then Prefect (or Governor) of Rome and had amassed a large fortune, which he promptly doubled by marring Theresia, a virtuous (yet rich!) Spanish noblewoman. The couple became one of the wealthiest and most respected couples in Europe, owning property in several nations across the continent. Despite the admiration and respect he earned from many of his contemporaries (now saints), Paulinus was a catechumen and had yet to devote himself to the faith. Rather, he attempted to maintain his status and riches in the world. Only through suffering and sorrow was Paulinus more fully drawn into the holy life the Lord had planned for him. Sadly, the first and only child of Paulinus and Theresia died shortly after his birth. Not long afterward, Paulinus was baptised into the faith, at the age of 38.
Paulinus and Theresia moved to Spain, and began to live lives of solitude and prayer and St Paulinus was ordained. He and his wife liberated the slaves that worked in the area and then piece by piece, sold off their vast fortunes in real estate and holdings, distributing the earnings throughout the world—so widely and generously thatSt Jerome wrote “both East and West were filled with his alms.”He and his wife then moved to Nola, near Naples. He had a great love for Saint Felix of Nola (died in 255), he credited his conversion to S. Felix and each year would write a poem in honour of the saint and he spent much effort in promoting devotion to St Felix. Paulinus gave away most of his remaining property—to the consternation of his relatives—and continued his work for the poor. Supporting a host of debtors, the homeless and other needy people, he lived a monastic life in another part of his home. He had the beautiful Church of Saint Felix constructed, where he devoted himself at all hours of the day in service to others. Paulinus undertook a life of extreme abstinence and toil, living a celibate life as brother to his wife, exchanging their fine robes for rough clothing and the fine silver furnishings of their home for wood. Together, they embraced a life of true poverty, embracing the Gospel and giving all they had—sometimes to excess—to those in need. They also founded a small community of monks in Nola and opened a hospice for the poor and for travellers to the region.At the age of 55, Paulinus was elected Bishop of Nola (by this time his wife had died) a post he served faithfully for 21 years. He comforted his peoples during the invasion of the Vandals and subsequent enslavement of the community. It is said that following the ransom of the captives, a poor widow, whose only son had been taken away by the Vandal king came to see Saint Paulinus, recounting her tale. “What I have I give you,” said the Saint to her. ”We will go to Africa and you will offer me to the prince, saying I am one of your slaves, in exchange for the prisoner.” This they did, and Paulinus was accepted in place of the widow’s son and employed as gardener. After a time the king discovered, by divine interposition, that this valuable slave was the renowned Bishop of Nola. He at once set him free, granting him also the freedom of the remainder of the townsmen of Nola who were enslaved.
Paulinus, having returned to Nola, died in 431. His holy remains were transferred several times but restored to the cathedral of Nola in 1908. Although some of his wonderful writings have been lost, thirty-two poems and fifty-one letters remain. His writings contain one of the earliest examples of a Christian wedding song.
The life of St Paulinus is one of great accomplishments and positions—none more important than those which began with his baptism into the faith. As with all baptism, Paulinus was made anew, filled with the Holy Spirit and through this rebirth, was able to devote himself to the holy work of God, serving others and bringing many to the faith.
St Paulinus is credited with the introduction of bells in Christian worship and ecclesiastical celebrations and helped resolve the disputed election of Pope Boniface I.The people of modern-day Nola and the surrounding regions remain devoted to St Paulinus. His feast day is celebrated annually in Nola during “La Festa dei Gigli” (the Feast of the Lilies), in which lilies and other flowers are arranged around large statues in honour of the saint which are then placed on tower-like structures,and carried upon the shoulders of the faithful around the city. In the United States the descendants of Italian immigrants from Nola and Brusciano continue the tradition in Brooklyn.
St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) (Optional Memorial)
St Thomas More (1478-1535) (Optional Memorial)
St Aaron of Brettany
St Aaron of Pais-de-Laon
St Alban of Britain
Bl Altrude of Rome
St Cronan of Ferns
St Eberhard of Salzburg
St Eusebius of Samosata
St Exuperantius of Como
St Flavius Clemens
St Gregory of Agrigento
St Heraclius the Soldier
St Hespérius of Metz
Bl Pope Innocent V
St John IV of Naples
St Julius of Pais-de-Laon
Bl Kristina Hamm
Bl Marie Lhuilier
St Nicetas of Remesiana
St Precia of Epinal
St Rotrudis of Saint-Omer
St Rufinus of Alexandria
Martyrs of Samaria – 1480 saints: 1480 Christians massacred in and near Samaria during the war between the Greek Emperor Heraclius and the pagan Chosroas of Persia. c 614 in the vicinity of Samaria, Palestine.
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