February 21 -- St. Peter Damian
St. Peter Damian, the youngest in a poor but noble family, was born in 1007. His elder brother was instrumental in providing a him with a good education which enhanced his natural gifts of intelligence and piety.
In 1035, wishing to dedicate his life entirely to God through prayer and penance and to reject the scandals of the university, St. Peter joined the hermitage of Fonte-Avellana, donned the monastic habit and until his death remained the prior. Under his auspicious guidance, he enacted certain disciplines, one being a daily siesta to balance the fatigue of the night office.
From the seclusion of his cloister, St. Peter was diligent in watching the needs of the Church. When Gregory VI was crowned pontiff , he wrote urging him to deal immediately with the scandals in the church in Italy.
At the time, simony and clerical vices were causing much harm. Among his many writings was his outstanding treatise, "Liber Gomorrhianus", which condemned according to perennial Church teaching, homosexuality.
Although this work was thoroughly Catholic doctrine, it created all sorts of enmities and threats against the author. Undaunted St. Peter continued to defend the Church, even confronting rioters in the Cathedral while imposing sanctions and penance on the guilty.
Although St. Peter was inclined to spend his life in the solitude of the cloister, he submitted his intentions for those of God by traveling to places where the needs of the Church were being jeopardized. In art, he is depicted as a pilgrim holding a papal Bull signifying his many legations.
The Church today is going through several similar trials to those in the 11th century. Let us pray to St. Peter Damian to give us a clear understanding of the dangers of being complacent in the face of modern heresies and to completely reject the sins of sodomy and blasphemy.