Posted in ARMOUR of CHRIST, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 6 August – Courage – Put on Christ!

Thought for the Day – 6 August – The Memorial of St Sixtus II (Died 258) Pope and Marty

St Sixtus II was Consecrated Bishop of the Church of Rome in 257. The following year, while celebrating the sacred liturgy over the tomb of a Martyr in the cemetery or Catacombs of Saint Callistus,
he was arrested by soldiers carrying out the edict of the Emperor Valerian.
On the same day, 6 August, he was put to death along with his Deacons and buried in the same cemetary.
This excerpt from a letter by Saint Cyprian, the North African Bishop of Carthage who was later Martyred in the same persecution, appears in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for the liturgical Memorial of St Sixtus.
May these words of St Cyprian give us the strength we need in our times, when all is darkness!

St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200 – c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church

Courage – Put on Christ!

“Dear brother, the reason why I could not write to you immediately was, that all the clergy were embroiled in the heat of the conflict. They could not possibly leave, all of them having prepared themselves for divine and heavenly glory.
But now, the messengers have come back, those whom I sent to the City to find out and report the truth of whatever decrees had been made about us – for people have been imagining all sorts of different possibilities. Here, then, is the truth:

Valerian sent a rescript to the Senate, saying that Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons should all receive immediate punishment; that Senators, Knights, and other men of importance, should lose their rank and their property and if they still persisted in being Christians, they should lose their heads and that Matrons should be deprived of their property and be sent into exile. Members of Caesar’s own household, whether they had confessed their faith before or were only confessing it now, should be deprived of their property, bound in chains and sent as slaves to his estates.

To this command, Valerian attached a copy of the letters which he had sent to the Governors of the various Provinces about us and we daily await the arrival of these letters, bracing ourselves, each according to the strength of his faith, for the suffering that is to be endured, and looking forward to the help and mercy of the Lord and the crown of eternal life.

You should know, however, that Sixtus was Martyred in the cemetery on the sixth of August and four deacons with him. Moreover, the prefects in the City are daily pushing forward this persecution and anyone who is presented to them is martyred and all his property confiscated by the state.

I beg you to make these things known to the rest of our colleagues, so that through their encouragement, the whole brotherhood may be strengthened and made ready for the spiritual conflict – so that, each one of us, may think less of death and more of immortality – so that, everyone, dedicated to the Lord, with full faith and total courage, may rejoice in this confession and not fear it, for they know, that the soldiers of God and Christ ,are not destroyed, but crowned.
Dearest brother, always fare well in the Lord!”

St Cyprian

(Epist 80 – CSEL 3, 839-840)

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 August – Saint Sixtus II (Died 258) Pope and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 6 August – Saint Sixtus II (Died 258) Pope and Martyr , Philosopher. 25th Pope from St Peter. Papal Ascension 30 August 257. Of Greek origin unknown birth date died by being beheaded on 6 August 258 in a cemetery on the Appian Way, Rome. He was Martyred along with seven deacons, (St Lawrence of Rome a few days later) during the persecutions of Christianity by Emperor Valerian. This is the St Sixtus who is commemorated in the Roman Canon Eucharistic Prayer. Also known as – Xystus. Patronage – Bellegra, Italy.

The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Rome, on the Appian road, in the cemetery of Calistus, the birthday of the blessed Xystus II, Pope and Martyr, who received the crown of martyrdom in the persecution of Valerian by being put to the sword. Also, the holy Martyrs Felicissimus and Agapitus, Deacons of blessed Xystus; Januarius, Magnus, Vincent and Stephen, Subdeacons, all of whom were beheaded with him and buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus. With them suffered also, blessed Quartus, as is related by St Cyprian.”

Painting by the Blessed Fra Angelica

Even as the storm of persecution created by Emperor Valerian raged against the Church, the Papal Throne was not vacant. Sixtus, a Greek, was elected to succeed Stephen. The Emperor’s decrees had ordered the Christians to take part in state religious ceremonies and forbade them to assemble in cemeteries. For nearly a year Sixtus managed to evade the authorities before he was gloriously martyred.

Valerian issued his second edict ordering the execution of Christian Bishops, Priests and Deacons. Sixtus had taken to holding Mass in the private cemetery of Praetextatus because, it was not watched as closely by the authorities, as was the cemetery of Calixtus. But, in early August of 258, while Sixtus was seated on his episcopal chair and surrounded by the brethren, the soldiers broke in arresting Sixtus and four Deacons who were in attendance.

After a formal judgement, Sixtus was led back to the very place where he had been arrested, to face execution. His chief Deacon St Lawrence, upon hearing the news, hastened to his side, desiring to die with his Bishop. Sixtus consoled his Deacon by telling him that he would follow in three days with even greater glory. The soldiers then placed Sixtus in his chair and swiftly beheaded him. True to the great Pope’s words, Lawrence was arrested three days later and executed the same day.

The remains of Sixtus were transferred by the Christian faithful to the Papal Crypt in the neighbouring cemetery of St Callistus. Behind his tomb was enshrined the bloodstained chair on which he had been beheaded.

The following inscription honouring Sixtus was placed on his tomb in the catacomb of Callixtus by Pope Damasus I:

At the time when the sword pierced the bowels of the Mother, I, buried here, taught as Shepherd, the Word of God; when suddenly the soldiers rushed in and dragged me from the chair. The faithful offered their necks to the sword but as soon as the Shepherd saw the ones who wished to rob him of the palm (of martyrdom) he was the first to offer himself and his own head, not tolerating that the (pagan) frenzy should harm the others. Christ, who gives recompense, made manifest the Shepherd’s merit, preserving unharmed the flock.

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, The TRANSFIGURATION

Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Nossa Senhora das Graças / Our Lady of Graces, Pesqueira, Pernambuco, Northeast, Brazil (1936) and Memorials of the Saints – 6 August

Transfiguration of Our Lord (Feast)
https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/06/feast-of-the-transfiguration-of-the-lord-6-august-todays-gospel-mark-92-10/
AND:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/august-6-the-feast-of-the-transfiguration-of-the-lord/

Nossa Senhora das Graças / Our Lady of Graces, Pesqueira, Pernambuco, Northeast, Brazil (1936) – 6 August :

On 6 August 1936, Maria da Luz Teixeira, 13, and Maria da Conceição, 16 (a poor girl living with the Teixeira family), were gathering castor beans on Guarda mountain in the Cimbres district, 15 miles from Pesqueira. There was a flash of light and then Maria da Conceição said, “Look, there’s an image that looks like Our Lady.” Maria da Luz saw it too, up on a rock. They ran home and told Maria da Luz’s parents. At her mother’s insistence, Artur Teixeira climbed the hill with the girls, who reached the spot long before he struggled up through the brush. He saw nothing unusual but, at his suggestion, the girls together asked the image, “Who are you?” “I am Grace.” They asked what she wanted. “I’ve come to warn of three punishments sent by God. Tell the people to pray much and do penance.”

After this the girls returned to the site daily, where they prayed with a growing crowd of pilgrims. On 9 August, the crowd demanded a sign; reluctantly, the girls asked for one. The next day, they found water flowing from the rock and two sets of footprints embedded in stone, one an adult’s and one a child’s. The apparition confirmed they belonged to her and her son. The Bishop conducted an investigation. Maria da Luz described Our Lady of Grace as “similar to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Pesqueira Cathedral but her mantle is blue and her dress cream, with a belt. She has a little child in her left arm and both have very beautiful crowns on their heads.”

Eventually the Virgin told her that the people’s response had been sufficient to avert the three chastisements, sometimes identified as armed bandits (particularly the notorious Lampião, killed by police in 1938) and the coming of World War II or a Communist regime to Brazil. Maria da Conceição died young. In 1940, Maria da Luz joined the Religious of Christian Instruction, taking the name Sister Adélia. In her absence, pilgrims continued to visit the Shrine at the apparition site, where 296 carved stone steps lead to a Statue of Our Lady of Grace (as depicted on the Miraculous Medal, without the Child, not as the girls saw her) and to report miracles there.
In 1966, the Vatican approved the apparitions. Sister Adélia has since participated in some events at the Shrine, including the anniversary pilgrimages of 1985 and 1986 and reported some new messages from Our Lady. As of 2010 she was still living, aged 87. Because the original site is located in the Xukuru Indian reservation, an area of constant conflict, the City and Diocese of Pesqueira have built a new Shrine to Our Lady of Grace, with a grotto and Chapel, on a Calvary Shrine hill closer to town.

Bl Gezelin of Schlebusch
St Gislain of Luxemburg
St Glisente of Brescia
Bl Goderanno
Bl Guillermo Sanz
St Hardulf of Breedon

St Pope Hormisdas (c 450-523) Bishop of Rome from 514 until his death in 523. A talented diplomat, arbitrator and negotiator.
His Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/06/saint-of-the-day-6-august-saint-pope-hormisdas-c-450-523/

St James the Syrian

St Justus and St Pastor of Alcala – Holy Martyred Children (Died 304) Saints Justus and Pastor of Alcala were two brothers, who in their tender age overcame, with an heroic courage, the rage and power of Dacian, armed with all the instruments of cruelty.
The Martyred Children:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/08/06/saints-of-the-day-6-august-saints-justus-and-pastor-the-holy-martyred-children-of-alcala-de-henares-in-spain-died-304/

Bl Octavian of Savona
St Pope Sixtus II (Died 258) Pope and Martyr

St Stephen of Cardeña
Bl Tadeusz Dulny
Bl William of Altavilla

Martyrs of Cardeña: Two hundred Benedictine monks at the Saint Peter of Cardegna monastery, Burgos, Spain who were martyred in the 8th century by invading Saracens. They were buried by local Christians in a nearby churchyard in Burgos, Spain and Beatified in 1603 by Pope Clement VIII (cultus confirmed).

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: 10 Beati
• Blessed Alejandro Casare Menéndez
• Blessed Andrés Soto Carrera
• Blessed José González Ramos Campos
• Blessed José María Recalde Magúregui
• Blessed Juan Silverio Pérez Ruano
• Blessed Saturnino Ortega Montealegre

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 7 August

St Pope Sixtus II (Died 258) Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/07/saint-of-the-day-7-august-st-pope-sixtus-ii-martyr/

St Cajetan (1480-1547) (Optional Memorial)

About St Cajetan:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/saint-of-the-day-7-august-st-cajetan-founder-of-the-theatine-order-the-father-of-providence/

St Afra of Augsburg
Bl Agathangelus Nourry
St Albert of Trapani O.Carm. (c 1240-1307)
His Life:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/07/saint-of-the-day-7-august-saint-albert-of-trapani-o-carm-c-1240-1307/
Bl Cassian Vaz Lopez-Neto
St Claudia of Rome
St Donat
St Donatian of Chalons-sur-Marne
St Donatus of Arezzo (Died 362) Bishop and possibly a Martyr
St Donatus of Besancon
Bl Edmund Bojanowski
Bl Edward Bamber
St Faustus of Milan
St Hilarinus of Ostia
St Hyperechios
Bl John Woodcock
Bl Jordan Forzatei
St Julian of Rome
St Miguel de la Mora
Bl Nicholas Postgate
St Peter of Rome
Bl Thomas Whitaker
Bl Vincent de L’Aquila
St Victricius of Rouen

Martyred Deacons of Rome – 6 saints: A group of deacons who were martyred with Pope Saint Sixtus II. We know nothing about them but their names and their deaths – Agapitus, Felicissimus, Januarius, Magnus, Stephen and Vincent. They were
beheaded on 6 August 258 in a cemetery on the Appian Way, Rome, Italy.

Martyrs of Como – 6 saints: A group of Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army. Martyred in the persecutions of Maximian. We know little else but the names – Carpophorus, Cassius, Exanthus, Licinius, Secundus and Severinus. c.295 on the north side of Lake Como, near Samolaco, Italy. Their relics in the church of San Carpoforo, Como, Italy.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: 10 Beati
Bl Dalmacio Bellota Perez
Bl Diodorus Hernando Lopez
Bl Francisco Gargallo Gascón
Bl Luis Villanueva Montoya
Bl María del Carmen Zaragoza y Zaragoza
Bl María Rosa Adrover Martí
Bl Rafaél Severiano Rodríguez Navarro
Bl Tomás Carbonell Miquel

Posted in CARMELITES, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 7 August

St Pope Sixtus II (Died 258) Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/07/saint-of-the-day-7-august-st-pope-sixtus-ii-martyr/

St Cajetan (1480-1547) (Optional Memorial)

About St Cajetan:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/saint-of-the-day-7-august-st-cajetan-founder-of-the-theatine-order-the-father-of-providence/

St Afra of Augsburg
Bl Agathangelus Nourry
St Albert of Trapani O.Carm. (c 1240-1307)
Bl Cassian Vaz Lopez-Neto
St Claudia of Rome
St Donat
St Donatian of Chalons-sur-Marne
St Donatus of Arezzo
St Donatus of Besancon
Bl Edmund Bojanowski
Bl Edward Bamber
St Faustus of Milan
St Hilarinus of Ostia
St Hyperechios
Bl John Woodcock
Bl Jordan Forzatei
St Julian of Rome
St Miguel de la Mora
Bl Nicholas Postgate
St Peter of Rome
Bl Thomas Whitaker
Bl Vincent de L’Aquila
St Victricius of Rouen

Martyred Deacons of Rome – 6 saints: A group of deacons who were martyred with Pope Saint Sixtus II. We know nothing about them but their names and their deaths – Agapitus, Felicissimus, Januarius, Magnus, Stephen and Vincent. They were
beheaded on 6 August 258 in a cemetery on the Appian Way, Rome, Italy.

Martyrs of Como – 6 saints: A group of Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army. Martyred in the persecutions of Maximian. We know little else but the names – Carpophorus, Cassius, Exanthus, Licinius, Secundus and Severinus. c.295 on the north side of Lake Como, near Samolaco, Italy. Their relics in the church of San Carpoforo, Como, Italy.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: 10 Beati
Bl Dalmacio Bellota Perez
Bl Diodorus Hernando Lopez
Bl Francisco Gargallo Gascón
Bl Luis Villanueva Montoya
Bl María del Carmen Zaragoza y Zaragoza
Bl María Rosa Adrover Martí
Bl Rafaél Severiano Rodríguez Navarro
Bl Tomás Carbonell Miquel

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 7 August – the Memorial of St Pope Sixtus II (Died 258) Martyr

Thought for the Day – 7 August – the Memorial of St Pope Sixtus II (Died 258) Martyr

On 6 August 258, Sixtus was presiding over a clandestine liturgy in the cemetery of Praetextatus when Roman officials burst in and captured the pontiff and four deacons. An epitaph placed on Sixtus’ tomb a century later by St Pope Damasus I (305-384) recounts the scene:

“At the time when the sword pierced the bowels of the Mother, I, buried here, taught as Pastor the Word of God;   when suddenly the soldiers rushed in and dragged me from the chair.   

The faithful offered their necks to the sword but as soon as the Pastor saw the ones who wished to rob him of the palm (of martyrdom) he was the first to offer himself and his own head, not tolerating that the (pagan) frenzy should harm the others.

Christ, who gives recompense, made manifest the Pastor’s merit, preserving unharmed the flock.”

St Pope Damasus I (305-384)

The Holy Father, embodying our Lord’s command in John 15:13, willingly laid down his very life for his friends, the flock he was called to protect at all costs.   Such a gesture is especially poignant for us as we navigate an increasingly hostile Western society.

The story of Sixtus II and his holy companions should not only stir within us a zeal for our own faith but should teach us the value of staying hope-filled amidst a fallen world. Hope, we ought to remember, isn’t simply bland optimism, but is rather, as Archbishop Charles Chaput put it recently, “Having confidence that the future is in God’s hands.”

Who are we beholden to in this life and just how serious are we about defending them with our own lives?   More to it, when the going gets particularly tough, are we hopeful in our prayer that we’ll have the courage to persevere?   Do we recognise that the Lord is the Divine Ruler of all things and thus will help us through those moments when the situation is bleakest?   Even especially when things look the worst?   (excerpt – Matthew Sewell NC Register)

St Pope Sixtus II, Pray for us!st pope sixtus II pray for us no 2 - 7 aug 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 August – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 14:22–36

One Minute Reflection – 7 August – Tuesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 14:22–36

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?”   And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.   And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”…Matthew 14:31-33jesus immediately reached out his hand - matthew 14 31-33 - 7 aug 2018

REFLECTION – “Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith in the Lord and in His Word does not open a way for us where everything is easy and calm, it does not rescue us from life’s storms.   Faith gives us the assurance of a Presence, the presence of Jesus who encourages us to overcome the existential tempests, the certainty of a hand that grabs hold of us so as to help us face the difficulties, pointing the way for us even when it is dark.

Faith, in short, is not an escape route from life’s problems but it sustains the journey and gives it meaning.   This episode offers a wonderful image of the reality of the Church throughout the ages – a boat that, as she makes the crossing, must also weather contrary winds and storms which threaten to capsize her.   What saves her are not the courage and qualities of her men, the guarantee against shipwreck is faith in Christ and in his Word.   This is the guarantee, faith in Jesus and in His Word.   We are safe on this boat, despite our wretchedness and weaknesses, especially when we are kneeling and worshipping the Lord, like the disciples who, in the end, fell down before Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God!”...Pope Francis – Angelus, 13 August 2017faith in short is not an escape route - pope francis - 7 aug 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, You enabled St Pope Sixtus II and his companions to lay down their lives for Your Word and to bear witness to Jesus, never fearing as they were tossed around in the tempest but always trusting in Your saving grace.   Give us a ready and true faith, the courage to profess it and to hold tightly to the hand of Your Son in all of life’s storms.   May the prayers of St Pope Sixtus, his companions and St Cajetan, fill us with strength.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st pope sixtus II - pray for us - 7 aug 2018st-cajetan-pray-for-us.7 aug 2017

 

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 August – St Pope Sixtus II Martyr

Saint of the Day – 7 August – St Pope Sixtus II Martyr was the Bishop of Rome from 31 August 257 until his death on 6 August 258.   He was martyred along with seven deacons, including St Lawrence of Rome during the persecutions of Christianity by Emperor Valerian.   This is the St Sixtus who is commemorated in the Eucharistic Prayer.

530px-Sandro_Botticelli_-_Sixte_II

Even as the storm of persecution created by Emperor Valerian raged against the Church, the papal throne was not vacant.   Sixtus, a Greek, was elected to succeed Stephen.   The emperor’s decrees had ordered the Christians to take part in state religious ceremonies and forbade them to assemble in cemeteries.   For nearly a year Sixtus managed to evade the authorities before he was gloriously martyred.pope-sixtus-ii-d5dfa3a0-606a-44e4-9d83-97aa13c6a1b-resize-750

Valerian issued his second edict ordering the execution of Christian bishops, priests and deacons.   Sixtus had taken to holding services in the private cemetery of Praetextatus because it was not watched as closely by the authorities as was the cemetery of Calixtus. But in early August of 258, while Sixtus was seated on his episcopal chair and surrounded by the brethren, the soldiers broke in arresting Sixtus and four deacons who were in attendance.   After a formal judgement, Sixtus was led back to the very place where he had been arrested, to face execution.   His chief deacon St Lawrence, upon hearing the news, hastened to his side, desiring to die with his bishop.   Sixtus consoled his deacon by telling him that he would follow in three days with even greater glory.   The soldiers then placed Sixtus in his chair and swiftly beheaded him.   True to the great pope’s words, Lawrence was arrested three days later and executed the same day.   The remains of Sixtus were transferred by the Christian faithful to the Papal Crypt in the neighbouring cemetery of St Callistus.   Behind his tomb was enshrined the bloodstained chair on which he had been beheaded.