Thought for the Day – 2 August – ‘..Jealously guard the faith..’

Thought for the Day – 2 August – The Memorial of St Eusebius of Vercelli (c 283-371)

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s
Catechesis on St Eusebius, October 2007

Ambrose’s admiration for Eusebius was based, above all, on the fact that the Bishop of Vercelli governed his Diocese with the witness of his life:  “With the austerity of fasting he governed his Church.”   Indeed, Ambrose was also fascinated, as he himself admits, by the monastic ideal of the contemplation of God which, in the footsteps of the Prophet Elijah, Eusebius had pursued.   First of all, Ambrose commented, the Bishop of Vercelli gathered his clergy in vita communis and educated its members in “the observance of the monastic rule, although they lived in the midst of the city.”   The Bishop and his clergy were to share the problems of their fellow citizens and did so credibly, precisely by cultivating, at the same time, a different citizenship, that of Heaven (cf. Heb 13: 14).   And thus, they really built true citizenship and true solidarity among all the citizens of Vercelli.

While Eusebius was adopting the cause of the sancta plebs of Vercelli, he lived a monk’s life in the heart of the city, opening the city to God.   This trait, though, in no way diminished his exemplary pastoral dynamism.   It seems among other things that he set up parishes in Vercelli for an orderly and stable ecclesial service and promoted Marian shrines for the conversion of the pagan populations in the countryside.   This “monastic feature,” however, conferred a special dimension on the Bishop’s relationship with his hometown.   Just like the Apostles, for whom Jesus prayed at his Last Supper, the Pastors and faithful of the Church “are of the world” (Jn 17: 11), but not “in the world”.   Therefore, Pastors, Eusebius said, must urge the faithful not to consider the cities of the world as their permanent dwelling place but to seek the future city, the definitive heavenly Jerusalem.   This “eschatological reserve” enables Pastors and faithful to preserve the proper scale of values without ever submitting to the fashions of the moment and the unjust claims of the current political power.   The authentic scale of values – Eusebius’ whole life seems to say – does not come from emperors of the past or of today but from Jesus Christ, the perfect Man, equal to the Father in divinity, yet a man like us.   In referring to this scale of values, Eusebius never tired of “warmly recommending” his faithful “to jealously guard the faith, to preserve harmony, to be assiduous in prayer” (Second Letter, op. cit.).

Dear friends, I too warmly recommend these perennial values to you, as I greet and bless you, using the very words with which the holy Bishop Eusebius concluded his Second Letter:   “I address you all, my holy brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, faithful of both sexes and of every age group, so that you may… bring our greeting also to those who are outside the Church, yet deign to nourish sentiments of love for us.”

St Eusebius of Vercelli, Pray for Us!dy ridrnus of vercelli pray for us no 2 2 aug 2019.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 3 August – ‘He is true God…’

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – Friday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 13:54–58 and The Memorial of St Eusebius of Vercelli (c 283-371)

Is not this the carpenter’s son?…And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.…Matthew 13:55,58

REFLECTION – “For if I do not understand the nature placed at my service, I discern Your goodness from the mere fact that it is there to serve me.   I perceive that I do not even understand myself but I wonder at You all the more…  You have given me intellect, life and human feeling, the source of so many joys, yet I do not begin to understand how I began to be…
So it is through failing to understand what surrounds me, that I grasp what You are and it is through perceiving what You are, that I come to adore You. That is why, in what concerns Your mysteries, my incomprehension, lessens not a bit my faith in Your omnipotence…  Your eternal Son’s birth exceeds even the idea of eternity, it is prior to the times everlasting.   Before any other thing that exists, He was Son proceeding from You, O God and Father.   He is true God…  You have never existed without Him… Before ever time was, You are the eternal Father of Your Sole Begotten One.”…St Hilary (315-368) Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Churchis-not-this-the-carpenters-son-matthew-13-5558-st-hilary-so-it-is-through-failing-to-understand-3-aug-2018.and 2 aug 2019jpg

PRAYER – “So long as I enjoy that breath of life granted to me by You, Holy Father, Almighty God, I will proclaim You as God eternal but also as Father eternal.   Never will I set myself up as judge of Your almighty power and mysteries, never will I set my limited understanding before the true appreciation of Your infinity, never will I claim You to have existed beforehand without Your Wisdom, Power and Word, God the Only-Begotten, my Lord Jesus Christ.   For even though human language is weak and imperfect when it speaks of You, this will not inhibit my mind, to the point of reducing my faith to silence, for lack of words, able to express the mystery of Your being…” (St Hilary)   Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You.   Strengthen in our hearts the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit kindled within us  . Grant that the prayers of St Eusebius of Vercelli, may assist us to grow in love of You.   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, eusebius of vercelli pray for us 2 aug 2019

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 2 August – Saint Eusebius of Vercelli (c 283-371)

Saint of the Day – 2 August – Saint Eusebius of Vercelli (c 283-371) Bishop, Confessor,  Founder of monasticism in his region – born in c 283 at Sardinia and died on 1 August 371 in Vercelli, Italy.   Patronages – Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Eusebius, Berzo Demo, Italy, Piedmont, Italy, Vercelli, Italy.  st eusebius glass vercelli

Saint Eusebius was born of a noble family on the island of Sardinia, where his father is said to have died in prison for the Faith.   He was brought up in Rome in the practice of piety and studied in Vercelli, a city of Piedmont.   Eusebius was ordained a priest there and served the Church of Vercelli with such zeal that when the episcopal chair became vacant he was unanimously chosen, by both clergy and people, to fill eusebius of vercelli snip.JPG

The holy bishop saw that the best and principal means to labour effectually for the edification and sanctification of his people, was to have a zealous clergy.   Saint Ambrose assures us that he was the first bishop who in the West, united the monastic life with the clerical, living and having his clergy live almost like the monks of the East in the deserts. They shared a common life of prayer and penance, in a single residence, that of the bishop, as did the clergy of Saint Augustine in his African see.   For this reason, the Canons Regular of St Augustine, honour him along with Augustine as their founder.

Saint Eusebius was very careful to instruct his flock in the maxims of the Gospel.   The force of the truth which he preached, together with his example, brought many sinners to a change of life.

When a Council was held in Italy, under the influence of the Emperor Constans and the Arian heretics, with the intention of condemning Saint Athanasius (297-373), bishop of Alexandria and Doctor of the Church, St Eusebius courageously resisted the heretics.   He attempted to have all present sign the Nicene Creed but the paper was torn out of his hands and his pen was broken.   With St Dionysus of Milan, he refused to sign the condemnation of the bishop of Alexandria.   The Emperor therefore had him banished to Scythopolis in Palestine with St Dionysus of Milan, then to Cappadocia, where St Dionysus died and finally, he was taken to the Upper Thebaid in Egypt, where he suffered grievously.   The Arians of these places loaded him with outrages and treated him cruelly and St Eusebius confounded them, wherever they eusebius of vercelli - old

At the death of Constans in 361, he was permitted to return to his diocese, where he continued to combat Arianism,  with St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) another Doctor of the Church.   Two of his letters, written from his dungeons, are still extant, as well as a part of the Codex which is believed to be by him, have survived.   One of the letters is addressed to his church, the other to the bishop of Elvira to encourage him to oppose a fallen heretic and not fear the power of eusebius of vercelli resize.jpg

Although in the middle ages he was sometimes referred to as a martyr, due primarily to two panegyrics appended to the works of Saint Ambrose, this was more to honour the sufferings he endured in standing up for his faith.   Later legends of his martyrdom, have no historical basis.

st eusebius of vercelli 559px-Sebastiano_Ricci_049.jpg
The Virgin Mary in Glory with Archangel Gabriel, and Saints Eusebius of Vercelli (seated), Saint Sebastian, and Saint Roch, Sebastiano Ricci.

In a General Audience in October 2007, Pope Benedict XVI observed:

Therefore, Pastors, Eusebius said, must urge the faithful not to consider the cities of the world as their permanent dwelling place but to seek the future city, the definitive heavenly Jerusalem.   This “eschatological reserve” enables Pastors and faithful, to preserve the proper scale of values, without ever submitting to the fashions of the moment and the unjust claims of the current political power.   The authentic scale of values – Eusebius’ whole life seems to say – does not come from emperors of the past, or of today but from Jesus Christ….

He died in 371.   His relics are in a shrine in the Cathedral of Vercelli which is dedicated to him.   The Statue below is on the Colonnade at St Peter’s, in the Vatican.StEusebius-SouthColonnade-100

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 2 August

St Eusebius of Vercelli (c 283-371) Bishop (Optional Memorial)
St Peter Julian Eymard SSS (1811-1868) – “Apostle of the Eucharist”

Our Lady of the Angels
St Auspicius of Apt
St Betharius of Chartres
St Centolla of Burgos
St Etheldritha of Croyland
Bl Frederic Campisani
Bl Giustino Maria Russolillo
Bl Gundekar of Eichstätt
Bl Joanna of Aza
Bl John of Rieti
St Maximus of Padua
St Pedro de Osma

St Peter Faber SJ (1506-1546) the “Second Jesuit”

St Plegmund
St Rutilius
St Serenus of Marseille
St Sidwell
St Pope Stephen I

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Fernando Olmedo Reguera
Bl Miguel Amaro Rodríguez