Thursday, October 27, 2016


They will have the two-edged sword of the word of God in their mouths
and the blood-stained standard of the Cross on their shoulders.
They will carry the crucifix in their right hand
and the rosary in their left,
and the holy names of Jesus and Mary on their heart.
The simplicity and self-sacrifice of Jesus 

will be reflected in their whole behavior.

St. Louis de Montfort

St. Frumentius of Ethiopia

Around the year 330, Meropius, a Christian philosopher of Tyre, undertook a voyage to the coast of Arabia. With him were two young pupils, Frumentius and Aedesius.

On the voyage homeward, their vessel docked at an Ethiopian port. Falling out with some of the sailors, the natives massacred the crew and passengers, with the exception of the two lads who were studying under a tree at some distance.

When found, they were taken to the king who, impressed with their demeanor and knowledge, made Aedesius his cupbearer, and the elder, Frumentius, his secretary.

On his deathbed, in gratitude for their services, this prince granted them liberty. But the queen, regent for her young son, begged them to stay and help her, which they did.

Frumentius, having the principal management of affairs, convinced several Christian merchants who traded in Aksum to settle in the country, procuring for them all sorts of privileges and conveniences for religious worship.

When the young prince came of age and became king, ruling with his brother, the two Tyrians resigned their posts despite the young king’s entreaties that they remain. Aedesius returned to Tyre where he was ordained a priest, and related his adventures to Rufinus who wrote them in his Church History.  Frumentius sought out St. Theodosius in Alexandria and talked to him about his zeal for the conversion of the Ethiopians, entreating him to send a pastor to that country. Whereupon, St. Athanasius consecrated Frumentius bishop of Aksum, judging no one better suited for the task.

The consecration of Frumentius took place roughly around the year 350. Returning to Aksum, he gained numbers to the Faith through his preaching and miracles. The two royal brothers are said to have received baptism. But the conversion of the Aksumite kingdom was far from completed during the life of Frementius, though the population held him in the highest esteem.

He died about the year 383, and was reverently called Abuna – “Our Father” – and  Aba Salama – “Father of Peace”. To this day Abuna is the title of the primate of the Church of Ethiopia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It is very difficult to renounce sin without this

He who does not acquire the love of God
will scarcely persevere in the grace of God, for
it is very difficult to renounce sin
merely through fear of chastisement.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

St. Cedd of the East Saxons

What little is known about St. Cedd comes to us from the saintly Venerable Bede, an early English historian.

A native of the region of Northumbria, England, he was one of four brothers, one of whom was St. Chad. By the year 653 he had been ordained a priest.

At the time what is today the British isle was divided into several small kingdoms. Under the influence of St Augustine of Canterbury and other missionary saints the seeds of Christianity were sown far and wide throughout the land.

King Oswid of Northumbria, having been baptized by St. Finan, sent Cedd to evangelize the Middle Angles of Mercia. Mercia’s king was Penda, a pagan tolerant of Christianity, while his son, Peada, had promised to become Christian in exchange for the hand of King Oswid’s daughter in marriage.

Though Cedd made some headway in Mercia, his brother Chad reaped a greater harvest ten years later, probably under the more secure patronage of Peada.

From Mercia, Cedd was sent to re-evangelize the East Saxons at the request of King Sigeberht, who under the influence of King Oswid accepted baptism from St. Finan. Bede speaks of Cedd as a man unafraid to confront the powerful.

His success in this mission, earned for him the respect of St. Finan who consecrated him bishop of the East Saxons. Cedd built churches and founded two monasteries, one of which was the monastery of Lastingham. Both structures were eventually destroyed by the Danes.

In 664 Cedd was present at the Synod of Whitby, and was one of those who accepted the implementation of the Roman calendar and practices as opposed to the Celtic rite. Bede recounts that his ease with languages greatly aided in the communication of the various parties, which spoke Gaelic, early Welsh, Frankish, Old English and Latin.

He died of a plague that struck in 664. He was succeeded by his brother St. Chad as abbot of Lastingham.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How to keep purity

Humility is the safeguard of chastity.
In the matter of purity, there is no greater danger than not fearing the danger.
For my part, when I find a man secure of himself and without fear,
I give him up for lost.
I am less alarmed for one who is tempted and who resists by avoiding the occasions,
than for one who is not tempted and is not careful to avoid occasions.
When a person puts himself in an occasion, saying, I shall not fall,
it is an almost infallible sign that he will fall, and with great injury to his soul.

St. Philip Neri

St. Gaudentius of Brescia

Gaudentius succeed St. Philastrius as Bishop of Brescia, Italy, under whom he seems to have studied, and whom he calls his “father”. Prior to his election, being very popular in Brescia, Gaudentius went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem hoping to be forgotten. But upon returning and finding that his mentor had died, he also found that the Brescians would have no other as successor. He was consecrated by St. Ambrose in 387. A record of Gaudentius’ discourse made at the time of his elevation survives.

Brescia rejoiced in the treasure of so holy a pastor. A nobleman, Benevolus, who had been disgraced by the Empress Justina for refusing to uphold Arian beliefs, had retired to Brescia. Being ill, and missing the bishop’s Easter sermons, he convinced Gaudentius to write them for his benefit. Thus several of his sermons survive.

In 405, Pope Innocent I and Emperor Honorius charged Gaudentius to defend St. John Chrysostom, a personal friend of the bishop, before Emperor Arcadius. St. John Chrysostom had been unjustly accused by a heretic and exiled, and he had been replaced by another.

Ill received, the delegates were imprisoned in Thrace. Ultimately they were returned safely to Italy, though in a most untrustworthy vessel. Despite the failure of the mission, St. John Chrysostom sent a letter of thanks to his friend. Gaudentius died around the year 410.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wherever he goes

The man who burns with the fire of divine love
is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame;
he works with all this strength to inflame all men with the fire of God’s love.
Nothing deters him; he rejoices in poverty; he labors strenuously;
he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish.
He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him
by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only
for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

St. Anthony Maria Claret