On Learning Patience [II]
- From: Weedy <richarra@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 09:30:53 -0800 (PST)
On Learning Patience [II]
If you say that you cannot endure much, how will you endure the fires
of Purgatory? Of two evils, always choose the lesser. Endeavor
patiently to endure for God's sake all the ills of this life, that you
may escape eternal punishment. Do you imagine that worldly men suffer
little or nothing? Ask the most wealthy, and you will not find it so.
But, you may say, they enjoy many pleasures, and follow their own
desires; in this way they make light of any troubles. Yet, even if
they enjoy whatever they desire, how long will this last?
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ, Bk 3, Ch 11
February 2nd - The Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion
Soon after the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross and
His Ascension into Heaven, a centurion by the name of Cornelius
settled at Caesarea in Palestine. He had lived previously in Thracian
Italy. Although he was a pagan, he distinguished himself by deep piety
and good deeds, as the holy Evangelist Luke says (Acts 10:1). The Lord
did not disdain his virtuous life, and so led him to the knowledge of
truth and to faith in Christ.
Once, Cornelius was praying in his home. An angel of God appeared to
him and said that his prayer had been heard and accepted by God. The
angel commanded him to send people to Joppa to find Simon, also called
Peter. Cornelius immediately fulfilled the command.
While those people were on their way to Joppa, the Apostle Peter was
at prayer, and he had a vision: three times a great sheet was lowered
down to him, filled with all kinds of beasts and fowl. He heard a
voice from Heaven commanding him to eat everything. When the apostle
refused to eat food which Jewish Law regarded as unclean, the voice
said: "What God hath cleansed, you must not call common" (Acts 10:15).
Through this vision the Lord commanded the Apostle Peter to preach the
Word of God to the pagans. When the Apostle Peter arrived at the house
of Cornelius in the company of those sent to meet him, he was received
with great joy and respect by the host together with his kinsmen and
comrades. Cornelius fell down at the feet of the apostle and
requested to be taught the way of salvation. St. Peter talked about
the earthly life of Jesus Christ, and spoke of the miracles and signs
worked by the Savior, and of His teachings about the Kingdom of
Heaven. Then St. Peter told him of the Lord's death on the Cross, His
Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. By the grace of the Holy
Spirit, Cornelius believed in Christ and was baptized with all his
family. He was the first pagan to receive Baptism.
He retired from the world and went preaching the Gospel together with
the Apostle Peter, who made him a bishop. When the Apostle Peter,
together with his helpers Sts Timothy and Cornelius, was in the city
of Ephesus, he learned of a particularly vigorous idol-worship in the
city of Skepsis. Lots were drawn to see who would go there, and St.
Cornelius was chosen. In the city lived a prince by the name of
Demetrius, learned in the ancient Greek philosophy, hating
Christianity and venerating the pagan gods, in particular Apollo and
Zeus. Learning about the arrival of St. Cornelius in the city, he
immediately summoned him and asked him the reason for his coming. St.
Cornelius answered that he came to free him from the darkness of
ignorance and lead him to knowledge of the True Light. The prince,
not comprehending the meaning of what was said, became angry and
demanded that he answer each of his questions. When St. Cornelius
explained that he served the Lord and that the reason for his coming
was to announce the Truth, the prince became enraged and demanded that
Cornelius offer sacrifice to the idols. The saint asked to be shown
the gods. When he entered the pagan temple, Cornelius turned towards
the east and uttered a prayer to the Lord. There was an earthquake,
and the temple of Zeus and the idols situated in it were destroyed.
All the populace, seeing what had happened, were terrified.
The prince was even more vexed and began to take counsel together with
those approaching him, about how to destroy Cornelius. They bound the
saint and took him to prison for the night. At this point, one of his
servants informed the prince that his wife and child had perished
beneath the rubble of the destroyed temple. After a certain while,
one of the pagan priests, by the name of Barbates, reported that he
heard the voice of the wife and son somewhere in the ruins and that
they were praising the God of the Christians. The pagan priest asked
that the imprisoned one be released, in gratitude for the miracle
worked by St. Cornelius, and the wife and son of the prince remained
alive. The joyful prince hastened to the prison in the company of
those about him, declaring that he believed in Christ and asking him
to bring his wife and son out of the ruins of the temple. St.
Cornelius went to the destroyed temple, and through prayer the
suffering were freed.
After this the prince Demetrius, and all his relatives and comrades
accepted holy Baptism. St. Cornelius lived for a long time in this
city, converted all the pagan inhabitants to Christ, and made Eunomios
a presbyter in service to the Lord. St. Cornelius died in old age and
was buried not far from the pagan temple he destroyed.
Prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures. It
fills them with light, strength and consolation; and gives them a
foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home.
--St Rose of Viterbo
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and
weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with
rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)
A PRAYER FOR PEACE OF MIND
(By Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini)
FORTIFY me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit
and give Your peace to my soul
that I may be free from all needless anxiety,
solicitude and worry.
Help me to desire always
that which is pleasing and acceptable to You
so that Your will may be my will.