Thought for the Day – 27 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
St John the Apostle and Evangelist
“Both in his Gospel and in his letters, St John continually emphasises the virtue of charity. He stresses the need for love of God and love of our neighbour, “God is love,” he says, “and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16). According to St Jerome, when the Apostle John was almost a hundred years old and lacked the strength to speak for very long, he was accustomed to go, supported by his disciples, to gatherings of the faithful. There he prepared, on every occasion, the same exhortation: “My children, love one another.” His followers grew tired of this and finally asked him why he kept repeating the same phrase. “Because that is God’s command,” je replied, “and if we do no more than obey it, that is sufficient!”
Let us meditate on his words and let us remember that our love for God is futile, unless it is accompanied by a practical love for our neighbour. The love of God cannot be separated, from the love of our fellow-men.”
Our Prayers to the Saints – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved
Indulgenced Prayer to St John (Indulgence 200 days, once a day, Pope Leo XIII, 1897)
O Glorious Apostle, who, on account of thy virginal purity, wast so beloved by Jesus as to deserve to lay thy head upon His Divine breast and to be left, in His place, as son to His most holy Mother; I beg thee to inflame me with a most ardent love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me from Our Lord that I, too, with a heart purified from earthly affections, may be made worthy, to be ever united to Jesus. as a faithful disciple and to Mary, as a devoted child,, both here on earth and eternally in Heaven. Amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved – Ecclesiasticus 15:1-6, John 21:19-24 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Peter, therefore, seeing him, said to Jesus, Lord and what of this man?”
“ So, to Peter is said: “Follow me.” Of the other, however; “If I wish him to remain until I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” What is the meaning of this? How much can I know of it? How much can I understand? What is it?–unless this: “You are to follow me, imitating me in suffering temporal evils. Let him remain until I come, bringing eternal rewards.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“The love of Jesus is noble and generous, it spurs us onto do great things and excites us to desire always that which is most perfect. Love will tend upwards and is not to be detained by things beneath. Love will be at liberty and free from all worldly affections… for love proceeds from God and cannot rest but in God above all things created. The lover flies, runs and rejoices, he is free and not held. He gives all for all and has all in all because he rests in One sovereign Good above all, from Whom all good flows and proceeds”
One Minute Reflection – 27 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved – Ecclesiasticus 15:1-6, John 21:19-24 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Peter saw following them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one who, at the supper, had leaned back upon His breast … Peter, therefore, seeing him, said to Jesus, Lord and what of this man?” – John 21:20-21
REFLECTION – “There are some persons who think they are not loved because they cannot be promoted and who allege that they are despised, if they are not entrusted with responsibilities and offices. We know that as a result of this type of thinking, no small discord has sprung up, among those who were considered friends, so that estrangement followed upon indignation and railings upon estrangement …
Let no-one say that he is held in contempt, for the reason that he is not promoted, since the Lord Jesus preferred Peter to John in this respect; nor did He, on that account, lessen His affection for John because He had given Peter the leadership. To Peter He commended his Church; to John, His most beloved Mother (Jn 19:27). To Peter He gave the keys of His Kingdom (Mt 16:19); to John He revealed the secrets of His Heart (Jn 13:25). Peter, therefore, was the more exalted; John, the more secure. Although Peter was established in power, nevertheless, when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me,” (Jn 13:21) he was afraid and trembled along with the rest but John, leaning on the bosom of his Master, was made the bolder and, at a nod from Peter, asked who the traitor was. Peter, therefore, was exposed to action, John was reserved for love, according to the words of Christ: “So will I have him remain until I come.” Thus Christ gave us the example that we might do in like manner.” – St Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167) Cistercian Monk (Spiritual Friendship, III, 115, 117).
PRAYER – O Lord, graciously shed light upon Thy Church, so that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, ThyApostle and Evangelist, she may gain YThy everlasting rewards.Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”
Exsultet Orbis! Let the World Rejoice! Unknown Author
Now let the earth with joy resound, And Heaven the chant re-echo round; Nor Heaven nor earth too high can raise The great Apostles’ glorious praise.
O ye who, throned in glory dread, Shall judge the living and the dead, Lights of the world forever more! To you the suppliant prayer we pour.
Ye close the Sacred Gates on high. At your command apart they fly. O loose for us the guilty chain We strive to break and strive in vain.
Sickness and health your voice obey, At your command they go or stay. From sin’s disease our souls restore; In good confirm us more and more.
So when the world is at its end. And Christ to Judgment shall descend, May we be called, those joys to see Prepared from all eternity.
Praise to the Father, with the Son, And Holy Spirit, Three in One; As ever was in ages past And so shall be while ages last. Amen
(Roman Breviary for the Common of Apostles) An Office Hymn that was traditionally prescribed for Vespers and Lauds on the Feasts of Apostles and Evangelists outside Easter time. The Hymn is found as early as the tenth century in a hymnal of Moissac Abbey.
Saint of the Day – 27 December – St Theodore of Apamea (c 775-c 831) Confessor, Martyr, Monk, Brother of Saint Theophanes of Nicaea, ex-soldier, Born in c 775 at Kerak, Moab (Trans-Jordan) and died in c 831 at Apamea, Bithynia from the many tortures and the privations of prison life. Also known as = • one of the Grapti, from the Greek graptoi = “written upon”• Theodorus the Branded• Theodorus the “Lettered-Upon”.• Theodore.
The Roman Martyrology states today: “At Constantinople, the holy Confessors, Theodore and Theophanes, brothers who were brought up from their childhood in the Monastery of St Sabbas. Afterwards, combating bravely, for the worship of holy images, against Leo the Armenian, they were scourged by his command an banished. After his death, they again firmly opposed the Emperor Theophilus, who was imbued with the same impiety and were scourged a second time and driven into exile, where Theodore expired in prison. Theophanes, after peace had at length been restored to the Church, was made the Bishop of Nicaea and rested in the Lord.”
THIS saint was of the country of the Moabites but his parents, who were rich and virtuous, went and settled at Jerusalem, in order to procure for him and his sibling, the advantages of a holy education. He was placed by them, when he was very young, in the Monastery of Sabas and by his progress in learning, the extraordinary purity of his manners and the habitual mortification of his senses, attained in a short time, to an eminent degree of virtue and acquired a high reputation in the world.
The Bishop of Jerusalem obliged him to receive Priestly Orders, and when Leo, the Armenian, waged a cruel war against holy images, sent the Saint to that Emperor to exhort him not to disturb the peace of the Church. The tyrant, instead of relenting, caused St. Theodore to be scourged and banished him, with his brother Theophanes, a Monk of the same Monastery and his companion, into an island in the mouth of the Euxine sea, where they suffered much, by hunger and cold.
But they had not staid long there before the emperor died, in 882, when they returned to Constantinople and St Theodore published some writings in defence of the truth. Michael the Stutterer, who succeeded in the imperial throne and is thought either to have had no religion, or to have leaned most of that of the Manichees or Paulicians, was for steering a middle cours, between the Catholics and the Iconoclasts.
But his successor Theophilus, a violent Iconoclast and barbarous persecutor, who ascended the throne in 829, caused the two brothers to be whipped, then banished them into the island of Aphusia. Two years after, they were brought back to Constantinopl and buffeted in the presence of the Emperor, till they fell down quite stunned at his feet, then stripped and publicly scourged.
When they had lain some days in prison and still persisted in their refusal to communicate with the Iconoclasts, the Emperor commanded twelve Iambic verses, composed for that purpose by an Iconoclast courtier, to be inscribed on their foreheads. The sense of the verses was as follows: “These men have appeared at Jerusalem as vessels of iniquity, full of superstitious, error and were driven thence for their crimes and having fled to Constantinople, they forsook not their impiety. Wherefore, they have been again banished from thence and are stigmatised on their faces.”
Although the wounds which they had received were yet much inflamed and very painful, they were laid upon benches, whilst the letters which composed those verses were cut or pricked upon their faces. The operation was long and tedious and interrupted by the coming on of the night and the Confessors were sent back to prison, their faces being still bloody. They were soon after banished to Apamea, in Syria, whereTheodore died of his sufferings.
From the inscription cut in his forehead he is surnamed Grapti, which signifies in Greek, marked or engraved. Theophilus died about the same time and the Empress Theodora, a zealous Catholic, becoming Regent for her son Michael, St Methodius was made Bishop and restored holy images in 842.
Theophanes was then honoured for his glorious confession of the Faith and Consecrated Bishop of Nicaea that he might more effectually concur in overthrowing a heresy, over which he had already triumphed.
St Theodore is named in the Roman Martyrology with his brother Theophanes, on this day. The twelve iambic verses, which were written on their foreheads, with a red-hot steel pencil, are recited in the Greek liturgy on this day.
Bl Francesco Spoto Bl Hesso of Beinwil St José María Corbin-Ferrer St Maximus of Alexandria St Nicarete of Constantinople Bl Raymond de Barellis Bl Roger of Verdun St Theodore of Apamea (c 775-c 831) Confessor, Martyr, Monk, Brother of Saint Theophanes of Nicaea. St Theophanes of Nicaea Bl Walto of Wessobrünn
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