Thought for the Day – 16 September – Monday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year Cand the Memorial of St Pope Corneliu s and St Cyprian of Carthage, Martyrs
A Faith that is Ready and Unshaken
Saint Cyprian of Carthage (c 200-258)
Bishop, Father of the Church and Martyr
An excerpt from his Letter 60
Cyprian sends greetings to his brother Cornelius. My very dear brother, we have heard of the glorious witness given by your courageous faith. On learning of the honour you had won by your witness, we were filled with such joy that we felt ourselves sharers and companions in your praiseworthy achievements. After all, we have the same Church, the same mind, the same unbroken harmony. Why then should a priest not take pride in the praise given to a fellow priest as though it were given to him? What brotherhood fails to rejoice in the happiness of its brothers wherever they are?
Words cannot express how great was the exultation and delight here when we heard of your good fortune and brave deeds, how you stood out as a leader of your brothers in their declaration of their faith. You led the way to glory but you gained many companions in that glory, being foremost in your readiness to bear witness, on behalf of all, you prevailed on your people to become a single witness. We cannot decide which we ought to praise, your own ready and unshaken faith, or the love of your brothers who would not leave you. While the courage of the bishop who thus led the way has been demonstrated, at the same time the unity of the brotherhood who followed, has been manifested. Since you have one heart and one voice, it is the Roman Church as a whole that has thus borne witness.
Dearest brother, bright and shining is the faith which the blessed Apostle praised in your community. He foresaw in the spirit the praise your courage deserves and the strength that could not be broken, he was heralding the future when he testified to your achievement, his praise of the fathers was a challenge to the sons. Your unity, your strength have become shining examples of these virtues to the rest of the brethren.
Divine providence has now prepared us. God’s merciful design has warned us that the day of our own struggle, our own contest, is at hand. By that shared love which binds us closely together, we are doing all we can to exhort our congregation, to give ourselves unceasingly to fasting, vigils and prayers in common. These are the heavenly weapons which give us the strength to stand firm and endure, they are the spiritual defences, the God-given armaments that protect us.
Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you, by the love we share, we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials.