St. Damasus I
To his secretary St. Jerome, Damasus was "an incomparable person, learned in the Scriptures, a virgin doctor of the virgin Church, who loved chastity and heard its praises with pleasure."
Damasus seldom heard such unrestrained praise. Internal political struggles, doctrinal heresies, uneasy relations with his fellow bishops and those of the Eastern Church marred the peace of his pontificate.
The son of a Roman priest, possibly of Spanish extraction, Damasus started as a deacon in his father's church, and served as a priest in what later became the basilica of San Lorenzo in Rome. He served Pope Liberius (352-366) and followed him into exile.
When Liberius died, Damasus was elected bishop of Rome; but a minority elected and consecrated another deacon, Ursinus, as pope. The controversy between Damasus and the antipope resulted in violent battles in two basilicas, scandalizing the bishops of Italy. At the synod Damasus called on the occasion of his birthday, he asked them to approve his actions. The bishops' reply was curt: "We assembled for a birthday, not to condemn a man unheard." Supporters of the antipope even managed to get Damasus accused of a grave crime—probably sexual—as late as A.D. 378. He had to clear himself before both a civil court and a Church synod.
As pope his lifestyle was simple in contrast to other ecclesiastics of Rome, and he was fierce in his denunciation of Arianism and other heresies. A misunderstanding of the Trinitarian terminology used by Rome threatened amicable relations with the Eastern Church, and Damasus was only moderately successful in dealing with that challenge.
During his pontificate Christianity was declared the official religion of the Roman state (380), and Latin became the principal liturgical language as part of the pope's reforms. His encouragement of St. Jerome's biblical studies led to the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Scripture which twelve centuries later the Council of Trent declared to be "authentic in public readings, disputations, preachings."
The history of the papacy and the Church is inextricably mixed with the personal biography of Damasus. In a troubled and pivotal period of Church history, he stands forth as a zealous defender of the faith who knew when to be progressive and when to entrench.
Damasus makes us aware of two qualities of good leadership: alertness to the promptings of the Spirit and service. His struggles are a reminder that Jesus never promised his Rock protection from hurricane winds nor his followers immunity from difficulties. His only guarantee is final victory.
"He who walking on the sea could calm the bitter waves, who gives life to the dying seeds of the earth; he who was able to loose the mortal chains of death, and after three days' darkness could bring again to the upper world the brother for his sister Martha: he, I believe, will make Damasus rise again from the dust" (epitaph Damasus wrote for himself).
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-11
I slow myself down for a moment, and try to realise that God is present.
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Is 48:17-19
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 11:16-19
Jesus said to the crowds:
Some thoughts on today's scripture
What is stirring in me as I pray?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Damasus I, Pope (Optional Memorial)
Your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea. (Isaiah 48:18)
Think about what the prophet declares here! Our vindication before God, our pardon and release from condemnation, is to be like the waves of the sea. Powerful waves, crashing down on the sands of guilt and condemnation, breaking barriers of weakness, and washing away obstacles to our life in Christ. And prosperity—peace in body, mind, and heart—comes rolling in like a river, flowing endlessly, filling us with confidence in the Lord.
Notice, though, that these blessings flow as you "hearken" to God's commandments (Isaiah 48:18). They come as you give respectful, thoughtful attention to his words and try your best to yield your heart to them.
This is a crucial distinction. God doesn't want us simply to do what he commands, as if we were robots. He wants us to listen carefully to him, to let his philosophy of life become ours. He wants to form us, not just command us. He wants to be a Father to us, not just a boss or commanding officer. And so he invites us to come sit at his feet as he teaches, guides, and shapes our hearts.
Here is one way to "hearken" to the Lord: try to set aside time to sit each day with the Mass readings for that day. Read them slowly and prayerfully. See if a verse or a short phrase captures your attention. Does something sound particularly true or comforting? That may well be God speaking to you. Does it give you a sense that you should do (or avoid doing) something? Linger with it—God could be speaking to you. A striking idea, a creative solution to a problem, or an unexpected desire to visit a friend may come to mind. Mull it over. Maybe that's the Holy Spirit moving you. Don't worry about the words you don't notice; at the right time, they will attract your attention.
Over time, you'll find these words and senses growing and becoming more clear. You'll also find them affecting your actions. God is forming you—all because you have learned to hearken to him!
"Father, I want to hear what you have to say today. As I listen to your voice, lead me in your peace and righteousness."
Wisdom Is Vindicated
The 5 minutos (a reflection from Mexico) ended with:
"What does not count in Bethlehem, is to be indifferent to so many things, marvelous things. There is a carol that sings "we should not sleep on Holy Night" and much less to pass it indifferently."
From today's first Holy Scripture: "If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river". My kindergarden daughter has already asked me about dying, I'm guessing the death of the puppy brought it all up, and this is the second time she brings it up, at times saying "I don't want to die". Well, none of us want to die, but we have to. It's the greatest leap of faith we'll ever take, but the question is, will we be ready? I told her "if you do what God says, you won't die". We won't die. But it is very possible to die to a life of eternal glory. Yet that glory starts right now. I was practicing in the church last night with musicians to sing to our Lady of Guadalupe tomorrow at six in the morning. I noticed through the glass windows they were getting ready for daily Mass. Sitting among the group, none seemed to have taken notice or I don't know that it bothered them as much as it was weighing on my soul. Maybe God heard my yearning, because practice abruptly ended and I darted out "I'm going to Mass". I was a little late, but I was were the feast was being had, the Lord coming, and I would make myself available to Him as He made Himself available to Me. The dance will happen whether I go or not. The funeral will happen whether I decide or not. Salvation will occur whether I grasp for it or not.
The Psalms pray today "Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life". And this ain't just talking about life now, but LIFE, LIFE. LIfe eternal. We are talking about eternity here. Grasp the concept. Dance even if you don't feel like it, cry even though you don't feel like it, can it be that you heart is made of stone? And perhaps, just maybe, all I'm letting you do as I write, is to tune into God speaking to me "why the hard heart?" why can't you listen? It's the same as I tell and yell at my son "can't you hear me calling you? Why don't you listen? Didn't you hear your mother calling for help?" I think it was yesterday or the day before I told him "look son, as you do whatever you do, always be listening for the call". We have to program ourselves. We have to turn on all senses to the call. Because just as filth can enter our eyes, ears, and touch, so can goodness, and we have to be open to it, ready to be made soft. Often at charismatic retreats, I'll force myself to raise my hands and dance, it's like my body needs to be free, "how can others seem so happy and I can't be like that?", well you can! JUST DO IT! Faith. Forget about embarassment, that is an obstacle we all have to overcome. I'm going to goof up, you're going to goof up, I'm going to look goofy, you're going to look awesome. I've been helping my pregnant wife take kids to school in mornings sometimes, hence late emails, I apologize. But one day, I noticed a mother, seen her at church, as I rushed my son to get off so I could get out of the traffic that was pushing, as he was slamming the door, I noticed that lady was blessing her child, she was doing the sign of the cross on the child's forehead. Here I was rushing, not blessing.
In comes our Lord into our lives today "'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance". But Lord, when did you play the flute?
It's the same as when scripture says "'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' So maybe right now you say "I'm ready Lord". Ok, the Lord replies: "Go out and give what you have." But I'm so busy! Yeah. So busy I can't even pray with my own kids, in front of everyone. So busy I can't take them to Church. So busy I won't read a good Catholic book about how to be a saint. So busy, I don't care. The Lord said " I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me." Advent is a time to give. Give time. Give money. Give and give to the poor. But we don't give a care. The Lord isn't asking for the impossible. He is asking for what is possible. The hooking line for a retreat I went to this year in Kansas said "si tu quieres" (If YOU want). Child do you want? Do you want to go? Are you ready? Are you willing? Are you available? Because Jesus says "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me" and this line changed the life of Mother Teresa, I remember a picture of her tomb where the sisters of Calcutta hade written with flower petals on her tomb covering and it said "You Did It For Me". Imagine what you are doing day in and day out...who are you really serving? Who are you really doing things for? If I go to your house, I come knocking, and I ask you to surrender everything, would you consider me a terrorist, or a savior? Because that is how we are treating the Lord. We allow in our homes all sorts of ideas and even filth, but what about the Lord? We remain unmoved. I say this about myself, but also about so many men I deal with. Finally, a co-worker told me he would come to our prayer meeting Wednesday. I even double checked "are you really Really coming?" and he said yes. I was happy and told all the other guys he was finally coming. And we gathered, and that worker didn't come. It didn't hurt, but there was a little void, like love was leaking...rightly so because love was lacking on the other part. And that other part is our heart. God leaks out blood, drops of love, as much as it takes from the cross at one point forever, for if it lands on us, we are saved, the blood of the lamb of God, the unblemished from an immaculate mother. Last night a handy man texted me to come see me, I said I'll be at Our Lady of Guadalupe, and he replied "That is a cult". If you say it is. But I'm on the other side. It is not a cult. I simply texted back "Jesus is not a cult. And His mother is not just any other woman. We are to honor God more". I know who I am writing to, the man is lost, poor, always in dire need and the only reason he wants meet me is because he finally got some money to pay me back I had loaned him. LOL, loaned not given! I digress. Jesus is playing the flute. Kind David danced at the playing of the flute, so happy because the promise, the ark of the covenant (now Mary), the Holy of Holies (Jesus) was finally being brought into his home and temple. Jesus says our bodies are a temple. You've read this far and it means two things:
Jesus knocked on your door.
And you opened the door.
WIll you let Him be the Love of Your LIFE ?
COME INTO MY SOUL!!!
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