Divine Office | By their fruits you will know them

In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from a sermon by Saint John Damascene, bishop.

John was born of a Christian family in Damascus in the second half of the seventh century, where his father was a high official under the Umayyad caliph; a post which he inherited. When the Iconoclast movement (seeking to prohibit the veneration of icons) gained acceptance in the Byzantine court, John, being under Muslim rather than Byzantine rule, was able to write effective treatises attacking Iconoclasm and attacking the emperor for supporting it. At about this time he retired to the monastery of Saint Sabas near Jerusalem, where he became a monk and was ordained. He died in the middle of the eighth century. He wrote many theological treatises in a dangerously clear and accessible style which made the issues understandable even by non-experts. His name was reviled and execrated by the imperial Iconoclast party even after his death. Sometimes known as “the last of the Church Fathers,” he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1883. Credit: Universalis.com.

For a reflection, "By their fruits you will know them," please click on the image.

Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St. Christopher

Saint Christopher is a beloved saint who was ousted from the Roman calendar in 1969. His image can be found inside of cars, on the walls of churches, and around the necks of safety-seeking travelers. His most prevalent image is that of a tall, formidable man who wades across an unruly river. Wooden staff firmly in hand, his face is often strained, looking upward to the sweet-faced child resting on his oversized shoulders. Though the life of this mighty martyr was later questioned by historians, Saint Christopher’s story and his worldwide appeal have proven invulnerable.
He is referenced in literature: Chaucer wrote about him in The Canterbury Tales; and in film, such as 2005’s Crash in which a habitual car thief uses his trusty Saint Christopher medal as a good-luck charm.

Saint Christopher—patron of travelers, protector against toothaches, hailstorms, and sudden death—is one of the most endearing for Catholics. His life and story, bordering somewhere between legend and legitimacy, is a complex, faith-affirming exercise in service, grace, and love.

Christopher has proven his resilience, growing in popularity over the centuries and withstanding suspicious historians who have questioned his validity. Though the life of this mighty martyr was later questioned by historians, Saint Christopher’s story and his worldwide appeal have proven invulnerable.

For more about this great saint, please click on the image.

Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St. James the Greater

James “the Greater” and his brother John are called by Jesus as they are mending their nets in their boat on the Sea of Galilee. He belongs to the inner circle of the Apostles. With Peter and John, he witnesses the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, Jesus’ Transfiguration, and his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. The mother of James and John asks Jesus to give them the seats at either side of him, positions of honor and authority. This prompts Jesus’ teaching: “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (credit: Magnificat, 25 Jul 2020).

For more about this great saint, witness of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and for a homily from St. John Chrysostom on the Sons of Zebedee, please click on the image.

Peace be with you!