Sts. Nereus and Achilleus
Devotion to these two saints goes back to the fourth century, though almost nothing is known of their lives. They were praetorian soldiers of the Roman army, became Christians and were removed to the island of Terracina, where they were martyred. Their bodies were buried in a family vault, later known as the cemetery of Domitilla. Excavations by De Rossi in 1896 resulted in the discovery of their empty tomb in the underground church built by Pope Siricius in 390. Two hundred years after their death, Pope Gregory the Great delivered his 28th homily on the occasion of their feast. "These saints, before whom we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet when peace, riches and health gave it charms."
Two hundred years after their death, Pope Gregory the Great delivered his 28th homily on the occasion of their feast. "These saints, before whom we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet when peace, riches and health gave it charms."
As in the case of many early martyrs, the Church clings to its memories though the events are clouded in the mists of history. It is a heartening thing for all Christians to know that they have a noble heritage. Our brothers and sisters in Christ have stood in the same world in which we live—militarist, materialist, cruel and cynical—yet transfigured from within by the presence of the Living One. Our own courage is enlivened by the heroes and heroines who have gone before us marked by the sign of faith and the wounds of Christ.
Pope Damasus wrote an epitaph for Nereus and Achilleus in the fourth century. The text is known from travelers who read it while the slab was still entire, but the broken fragments found by De Rossi are sufficient to identify it: "The martyrs Nereus and Achilleus had enrolled themselves in the army and exercised the cruel office of carrying out the orders of the tyrant, being ever ready, through the constraint of fear, to obey his will. O miracle of faith! Suddenly they cease from their fury, they become converted, they fly from the camp of their wicked leader; they throw away their shields, their armor and their blood-stained javelins. Confessing the faith of Christ, they rejoice to bear testimony to its triumph. Learn now from the words of Damasus what great things the glory of Christ can accomplish."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Daily Prayer - 2015-05-12
God is with me, but more, God is within me.
Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence
in my body, in my mind, in my heart,
as I sit here, right now.
Saint Ignatius thought that a thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never
I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me.
The Word of God
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 16:22-34
The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
Responsorial Psalm PS 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8
R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Alleluia See Jn 16:7, 13
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples:
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Some thoughts on today's scripture
Remembering that I am still in God's presence,
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me,
and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart,
speaking as one friend to another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Saints Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs
It is better for you that I go. (John 16:7)
Let's face it. The inclination to think "if only" arises more often than we like to admit. If only I could get the next best thing! A newer or more powerful or more economical car. The latest model phone. A hot or free or gourmet meal.
It's tempting to think "if only" about our faith, too. If only I could have had three years of daily contact with Jesus as the disciples did! If only he were here right now, I would be a better Catholic, evangelist, father, mother, student, co-worker ...
But that's not what Jesus said. Even though it grieved his disciples, he insisted, "It is better for you that I go" (John 16:7). They couldn't imagine anything better than Jesus walking with them, teaching them, healing them, and declaring the good news of the kingdom. But Jesus knew that his departure was better than his presence. Why? Because having returned to the Father, he would send the Spirit: the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, to dwell in their hearts.
It's hard to imagine that Jesus' absence is better than his presence, isn't it? But now, the Holy Spirit is present—and in the deepest part of your being. Yes, it would be exciting to watch Jesus perform awesome miracles or to hear him put the Pharisees in their place. But there's a difference between being excited and being changed. Only by speaking deeply to our consciences can the Spirit move us to repentance. Only by taking Jesus' words and writing them on our hearts can the Spirit fill us with consolation, peace, and joy. Only by pouring God's love into us can the Spirit soften our hearts and move us to treat each other with mercy and compassion.
So the next time you find yourself thinking "if only," remind yourself that you already have the "next best thing." In fact, you have the best thing ever! You have almighty God living in you. He is there to guide you, to offer his wisdom, and, best of all, to fill you with his life and love!
"Jesus, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit. Help me to sense the Spirit's presence today. Open my ears to hear his voice and my heart to follow his leading."
Acts 16:22-34; Psalm 138:1-3, 7-8