Labora sicut bonus miles Christi
Jesu (2 Tim. 2.3) Labor as a good soldier of Christ Jesus
The Lengthening Shadow
Under the Son
O Lord, make me know my end. And what is the number
of my days: that I may know what is wanting to me.
Advent ... the summons
to the wood of the Cradle and the wood of the Cross — and in
this time, in this place, both are empty, the Cradle and the
Cross. The Baby Jesus is yet to be born and the Man Jesus is
yet to be crucified.
In this sense it is a time of emptiness — not so much fraught
with anticipation as with a deeply subdued hope of
things to be. It is a time of darkness that verges on impending
Light, a time of indistinct shadows in a twilight pervading
the universe and the deepest recesses of the soul. In our hope
we perceive our poverty and our misery — and we seek our deliverance.
We are wanting.
Whether we turn to the Son, or away from Him, the shadow remains
and nothing we do can diminish its length or alter its direction.
Advent is a time for us to reflect on our end in light of His
beginning, on our own death in light of His birth. We number
our days ... but to disordered ends. We behold dissolution,
and we despair ... instead of grasping the reality of the Resurrection,
Why, we ask ourselves, do our own hearts hesitate before every
acclamation of joy in this season? Why is the joy never more
than penultimate; why does it not attain to exultation within
Why in this Season of Coming do we find it far, far more redolent
of leaving, of things passing, of things that were and are no
more, and things that now are and that will soon no longer be;
a season of generations past, and a generation soon to pass.
We are invited, paradoxically, to rejoice in a coming that ineluctably
heralds our own leaving ...
Why is this? Symbols
of joy abound, but emptiness resounds within us. As the years
pass we become increasingly aware of the discordance, the disproportion
we find between the invitations to rejoice and a growing despair
within us. We are called to rejoice, and cannot. Why does Advent
provoke such sadness within us?
We grow sad — and not joyful — because we have lost sight of
the meaning of Advent: that our lasting home is in Heaven and
that Jesus came to bring us there. He did not come
to make our home here (although we try very hard, and always
fail, to make it so), He did not come to make this world ours.
"They do not belong to the
world any more than I belong to the world."
(St. John 17.16)
Failing to grasp this, we grow either despondent or cynical.
In either case we dismiss the possibility of ever reconciling
appearances to realities, the joy to the sadness, the coming
to the leaving.
Despair and cynicism. Both are deficient in knowledge and as
a consequence both are defective in the virtue of Hope — each
in a different way. Neither sufficiently understands the meaning
of Advent. Despair binds us to what we must relinquish, and
cynicism relinquishes what binds us to hope. The Cradle has
lost its continuity to the Cross.
Cradle and the Cross
The Cradle and the Cross — we have already read the
entire narrative, and know the end — and if we believe, we know
that the end is our beginning. He was not born to remain in
the world ... and neither were we. But we have forgotten this.
We cling to the world through memories that bind us to it; we
are tethered to things past that will never be again, people,
places, events, that we can never recapture but only recall
... and we are blinded by our tears.
The few that have been genuinely happy have always been fleet,
but with broad strokes of narrow moments we color our past,
beholding an endless field of uncut grass and nodding flowers
unmingled with thistles and knowing nothing of thorns; in the
distance we see the towering Cedars but no sad Cypress; like
children we paint a sky of unbroken blue and dazzling sunlight
impervious to cloud or the veil of cold rain.
We are dreamers. God be praised, because the dream is the pledge
of something real ... but not here.
Advent, Christmas ... times of such joy, redolent of such sorrow
... in our hearts we know that in a breath they will pass as
ever they have passed, leaving us looking wistfully back through
yet another window of another year. We look back ... when Advent
calls us too look forward!
Advent is not a season of what was, but of what will be — what
will be in the Cradle and on the Cross, and through that Cradle,
through that Cross, what will be everlastingly! Finem
in respice! Look to the end! Not here. Not now. Not
in this place of passing; not sorrowfully to what has been and
cannot remain, but joyfully to what will be ... and remain forever!
Turn your face to the Son in the Cradle and on the Cross — Who
has promised you that,
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither
has it entered in to the heart of man, what God has prepared
for those who love Him."
(I Cor. 2.9)
We have cause to rejoice. He has come to tells us so.
Boston Catholic Journal
The Crucifixion of Christianity in Islam
Yemeni Christian Crucified
"The jihadis shouted:
Convert to Islam, or you will be crucified like Jesus,"
Youssef said with a shaky voice in his daughter's al-Qassaa
Beleaguered Syrian Christians Fear Future
The Brutal Persecution,
Displacement and Death of Christians in Islamic States
hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that
he doth a service to God. And these things will they do
because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these
things I have told you, that when the hour shall come, you
may remember that I told you of them." (St. John
For some much needed perspective, let us go back
a mere 90 years to the week of September 13, 1920, when:
"... the persecution
of Christians culminated in their final expulsion
from the newly founded Republic of Turkey in the early
1920s [and] churches [were] demolished or converted
into mosques, and the communities that used to worship
in them [were] dispersed or dead. The burning of Smyrna
and the massacre and scattering of its 300,000 Christian
inhabitants is one of the great crimes of all times.
It marked the end of the Greek civilization on Asia
Minor. ... Sporadic killings of Christians, mostly Armenians,
started immediately after the Turks conquered it on
September 9, 1922 and within days escalated to mass
slaughter ... Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Chrysostomos
remained with his flock. ... The Muslim mob fell upon
him, uprooted his eyes and, as he was bleeding, dragged
him by his beard through the streets of the Turkish
quarter, beating and kicking him. Every now and then,
when he had the strength to do so, he would raise his
right hand and bless his persecutors, repeating, "Father,
forgive them." A Turk got so furious at this gesture
that he cut off the metropolitan's hand with his sword.
He fell to the ground and was hacked to pieces by the
angry mob. The carnage culminated in the burning of
Smyrna ... The remaining inhabitants were trapped at
the seafront, from which there was no escaping the flames
on one side, or Turkish bayonets on the other ... English,
American, Italian, and French ships were indeed anchored
in Smyrna's harbor. Ordered to maintain neutrality,
they would or could do nothing for the 200,000 desperate
Christians on the quay ... occasionally, a person would
swim from the dock to one of the anchored ships and
tried to climb the ropes and chains, only to be driven
off. On the American battleships, the musicians on board
were ordered to play as loudly as they could to drown
out the screams of the pleadings swimmers. The English
poured boiling water down on the unfortunates who reached
their vessel ... that was the end of Christianity in
Asia Minor." 1
The great "Christian" nations of that time:
America, England, France, and Italy — fully able to prevent
this atrocity that claimed the lives of over one quarter
million innocent Christians — were not only witness to it,
but by their carefully calculated political neutrality were
complicit in it. In that fearful and unmitigated slaughter
of Christians by Muslim Turks in 1920, not only had Christianity
ceased to be in Asia Minor, but it had ceased as
a religious and moral conscience in the West. Political
expedience trumped ... and trampled ... the very fabric
of Western culture that had been woven by Christianity for
2000 years. For short-sighted political gain it forfeited
— and repudiated — the very patrimony from which it sprung
in the false belief that placating Islam redounded to the
benefit of the West. After nearly 20 years of unrelenting
war in Muslim countries (remember ... to purportedly defend
Muslim "civilians" against fellow Muslim "militants" — not
to defend helpless third-class Christians deprived of nearly
all rights against Muslims and absolutely intolerant Islamic
courts and states) ... that continues to this day, we have
come to understand that we cannot placate Islam, nor, sadly,
appear able to peacefully co-exist with it. We have come
to understand — but we have learned nothing. Like children,
we deliberately close our eyes and pretend that what is
happening is not happening and that our pretension
will magically culminate in reality. It will not. Our brothers
and sisters living under the menace of Islam know this painfully
— and if those who continue to propagate the illusion that
Islam is compatible with Christianity (despite
what Muslim clerics, courts and states maintain
to the contrary) or that it is benign toward the values
— especially the secular values — they most cherish
in the West, then they justly deserve to live under
a Caliphate ... instead of under Christ.
Boston Catholic Journal
on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011- 2013
by Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and
All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
of Aid to the Church in Need, UK
click on image above to begin video
— "How can we live our faith in a time of great difficulty?
What can we do for those who are persecuted because of their
faith? To ask this question means above all interrogating
ourselves about the meaning of our faith. In order
to be able to speak about the time of persecution Christians
must really know their own faith.
In 2010, when I was appointed bishop of Mosul, I knew that
I would be coming to a city facing an extremely critical
situation with regard to security — for many Christians
had already been killed, and many had been forced to leave
the diocese. Brutal violence took the life of a priest,
as well as a bishop, my predecessor: both were murdered
in extremely gruesome fashion.
I came to Mosul Jan. 16, 2010. The very next day a series
of reprisal murders of Christians began, starting with the
killing of father of a young man who was praying with me
in church. For more than 10 days extremists continued to
kill, one or two people each day. The faithful left the
city to seek refuge in the small towns and villages nearby,
or in the monasteries.
Since then almost half of the faithful have now returned.
What can we do for these people? What can one do for those
who are living the difficult life of persecution?
These questions tormented me, forcing me to reflect on the
right path to follow so I could fulfill my mission of service.
I found the answer in the motto of my episcopate — namely,
hope. I came to this conclusion: during a time of crisis
and persecution we must remain full of hope. And so I remained
in the city, strengthened in hope, in order to give hope
to the many persecuted faithful who likewise continued to
Is this enough? To remain with the faithful in hope is a
crucial start, but it is not enough — there has to be something
more. Saint Paul reminds us that hope is linked to love,
and love to faith. To remain with those who are persecuted
is to give them a hope founded in love and faith. What can
we do build up this faith? I began to ask myself how our
faithful were living out their faith, how they were practicing
it in the difficult circumstances of every day. I realized
that, above all — in the face of suffering and persecution
— a true knowledge of our own faith and the cause of our
persecution is of fundamental importance.
By deepening our sense of what it means to be Christians,
we discover ways to give meaning to this life of persecution
and find the necessary strength to endure it. To know
that we may be killed at any moment, at home, in the street,
at work, and yet despite all this to retain a living and
active faith — this is the true challenge.
From the moment when we are waiting for death, under
threat from someone who may shoot us at any moment, we need
to know how to live well. The greatest challenge in facing
death because of our faith is to continue to know this faith
in such a way as to live it constantly and fully — even
in that very brief moment that separates us from death.
My goal in all this: to reinforce the fact that the Christian
faith is not an abstract, rational theory, remote from actual,
everyday life, but a means of discovering its deepest meaning,
its highest expression as revealed by the Incarnation. When
the individual discovers this possibility, he or she
will be willing to endure absolutely anything and will do
everything to safeguard this discovery — even if
this means having to die in its cause.
Many people living in freedom from persecution, in countries
without problems like ours, ask me what they can do for
us, how they can help us in our situation. First of all,
anyone who wants to do something for us should make
an effort to live out his or her own faith in a more profound
manner, embracing the life of faith in daily practice.
For us the greatest gift is to know that our situation is
helping others to live out their own faith with greater
strength, joy and fidelity.
Strength in daily life; joy in everything we encounter along
the path of life; confidence that the Christian faith holds
the answer to all the fundamental questions of life, as
well as helping us cope with all the relatively minor incidents
we confront along our way. This must be the overriding objective
for all of us. And to know that there are people in
this world who are persecuted on account of their faith
should be a warning—to you who live in freedom — to become
better, stronger Christians; a spur to demonstrating your
own faith as it confronts the difficulties of your own society;
and the recognition that you too are confronted with a certain
degree of persecution because of your faith, even in the
Anyone who wishes to respond to this emergency can help
those who are persecuted both materially and spiritually.
Help bring our situation to the notice of the world — you
are our voice. Spiritually, you can help us by making our
life and our suffering the stimulus for the promotion of
unity among all Christians. The most powerful thing you
can do in response to our situation is that you should rediscover
and forge unity —personally and as a community — and to
work for the good of your own societies. They are in great
need of the witness of Christians who live out their faith
with a strength and joy that can give others the courage
We are victims, and we suffer at the hands of fundamentalists
coming from distant countries to fight against what they
consider to be the infidels (us Christians), using as an
excuse that their brothers are being persecuted in various
countries. Their reaction is to kill others. Our reaction
to persecution must be that of becoming more loving, more
united, ever stronger in showing the world the true image
of life, as taught us by Jesus Christ.
The Christian world defends its persecuted faithful through
the revelation, the realization and the strength of
the love which is the foundation of faith and which embraces
everyone — even our persecutors. There is
a great temptation to which persecuted Christians can fall
victim and which I myself never tire of warning against:
namely that because of being persecuted, we can, with the
passing of time, end up becoming persecutors ourselves —
turning to violence in our way of thinking, in treating
our neighbour, in our way of living.
This temptation is very powerful: the sentiments that we
develop in a climate of persecution can change our way of
living — rejecting the Christian way which is imbued with
love — to a manner similar to that of those who demand and
speak of justice only, but never of love. Let us be very
careful not to live out our faith feebly because other Christians
are suffering. The difficulties of Christians should be
a prompting to demonstrate true faith.
When Christians are persecuted, we should take on more firmly
the responsibility of our own faith to joyfully give expression
to love, fidelity and justice. If there are Christians
in trouble, I should love my neighbour still more; I should
be more positive in my way of looking at the business of
life, in order to show those suffering the strength of my
You in the West are living in a way that persecuted
Christians cannot: since they do not have freedom, you must
live out the true meaning of freedom; since they cannot
publicly celebrate their faith, you must give public witness
of your faith in your own societies; since the women
in our countries do not have the possibility of feely choosing
to go outside their houses, women in the West should become
witnesses to true Christian freedom.
Still, we are happy, because we have the chance of reflecting
on our choice to be Christians. We are happy because
we have the opportunity of making our freedom concrete —
by defending with love the one who attacks us with rancour
and hatred. Ultimately, persecution cannot make
us sad or despairing, because we believe that human life
deserves to be always embraced in a perfect manner, as Jesus
showed us — even if death stares us in the face and
we have no more than a minute left in this world.
Saint Paul says that
abounded, grace did still more abound"
(Rom 5:20). With him, we may also say that wherever there
is persecution there too will be the grace of a strong faith
— and therein lies our salvation."
Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Nona heads the Diocese of Mosul,
Iraq. His letter was made available Oct. 24, 2013 to
Aid to the Church in Need,
an international Catholic charity under the guidance of
the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and
persecuted Church in more than 140 countries.
Printable PDF Version
The Report: Persecuted
and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their
Faith 2011- 2013
Download Printable MS Word Document, "Excerpts
and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their
Faith 2011- 2013:
an abbreviated version of the original PDF file, succinctly
highlighting significant facts from this important document,
or view it online here.
The Sword of the Prophet: Islam History,
Theology, Impact on the World, Serge Trifkovic, pp.124-125
(Regina Orthodox press, Inc. 2002)
"What is Holiness?"
Holiness — sanctity — is simply the conformity of the
will to the will of God.
If you listen to no other homily on being
a Catholic and your obligation to love God
and your neighbor ... listen
The Law of Love by Archbishop Fulton
The Complete Martyrology
Monday December 9th in
the Year of Grace 2013
Season of Advent
This Day, the Ninth Day of December
At Gray, in Burgundy, St. Peter Fourier,
Canon Regular of Our Saviour, and founder of the Canonesses Regular
of Our Lady for the education of girls. Because of his brilliant
virtues and miracles Leo XIII placed him in the catalogue of Saints.
At Toledo, in Spain, the birthday of the holy
virgin Leocadia, a martyr, in the persecution of the emperor
Diocletian. By Dacian, prefect of Spain, she was condemned to a
cruel imprisonment, where she was pining away, when, hearing of the
barbarous tortures of blessed Eulalia and the other martyrs, she
knelt down to pray, and yielded up her undefiled spirit to Christ.
At Carthage, St. Restitutus, bishop and martyr,
on whose feast St. Augustine delivered a discourse to the people in
which he set forth his praises. Also, in Africa, the holy martyrs
Peter, Successus, Bassian, Primitivus and twenty others.
At Limoges, in France, St. Valeria, virgin and
At Verona, during the persecution of Diocletian,
St. Proculus, bishop, who was buffeted,
scourged with rods and driven out of the city. Being at length
restored to his church, he rested in peace.
At Pavia, St. Syrus, first bishop of
that city, who was renowned for miracles and virtues worthy of an
At Apamea, in Syria, blessed Julian, bishop,
who was distinguished for holiness in the time of Severus.
At Perigueux, in France, the holy abbot
Cyprian, a man of great sanctity.
At Nazianzus, St. Gorgonia, sister of blessed Gregory the
Theologian, who has related her virtues
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors,
and holy virgins.
Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis. ("All ye Holy
Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany
of the Saints)
Response: Thanks be to God.
Roman Martyrology by Month
Why the Martyrs Matter
Each day we bring
you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs
who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride
the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men
and women for whom — and well they knew — their
Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.
They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church,
and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short
time longer (even the lapsi only postponed
their death — and at so great a cost!).1
What would motivate men, women, even children and
entire families to willingly undergo the most evil
and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death
rather than denial?
Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when
the first flame licked at their feet, after the
first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized”
in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured
over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer
incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession
would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after
all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of
the state? What is a little burned incense and a
few words uttered without conviction, compared to
your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely
God knows that you are merely placating the state
with empty gestures …
Did they love their wives, husbands, children —
their mothers, fathers and friends less than we
do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they
less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what
did they possess that we do not?
Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given
in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to
it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and
faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising
belief in the invincible reality of God, of life
eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting
apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality
of this passing world and all within it, and lives
lived in total accord with that adamant belief.
We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will
make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What
they died for, we will die for. If only we will!
For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom,
a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ,
for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside
the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides
with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people
who suffered unknown to the world, but known to
God. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides.
Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are
the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses
because they would not flee God, the Church, the
call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary
things of life made extraordinary through the grace
of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is
just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small sampling
of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless
men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but
whom the world does not know.
“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”,
Christ said to His Apostles
2. “I have given
you an example.” And His Martyrs give one
to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.
Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal
Note: We suggest that you explore our newly
edited and revised
"De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus— The Torments
and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs" for an
in-depth historical account of the sufferings of
INTRODUCTION TO THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY
J. Cardinal Gibbons,
Archbishop of Baltimore
THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official
and accredited record, on the pages of which are
set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words,
the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in
all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes
and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict
has beatified or canonized. In making up this long
roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that
instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God,
who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has
endowed her, and which permeates through and guides
all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without
spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and
undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and
to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort
her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley
of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is
one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject
to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she
teaches and practices what He commands.
If the world
has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also
the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the
ground of the truth? If men who have been stained
with blood, and women who have been tainted with
vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose
and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory,
because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved
great success, or were, to a greater or less extent,
benefactors of their race in the temporal order,
which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes
and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example,
have overcome themselves, risen superior to and
trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their
thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown,
and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal
and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men,
have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed
in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If
time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if
man, why should not God? "Thy friends, O Lord, are
exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly
exalted." Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world
crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and
crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly
honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth,
with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for
ages on ages.
of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled
only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated.
The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models.
Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through
them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost,
in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His
wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated
human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection.
Their example still appeals to our minds and to
our hearts, more eloquently even than did their
words to the men of their own generation, while
they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though
dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct
with sanctity, and through them they continue to
breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality
into which they have entered still lingers in their
bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains.
As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush
to the cannon's mouth by reading the exploits of
earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul
has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled
to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the
lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and
Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal,
is more potent in its influence on the human heart
and conduct than are words in their most eloquent
knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with
whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth,
with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and
ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men
and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under
her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading
this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive
conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul
of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his
life, the moment of his conversion "If other men
like me have attained to such sanctity, why not
I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of
the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown
of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and
dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and
glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven?
Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon
me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted,
in the petty contest for this world's evanescent
honors and riches, while the poor and contemned
lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize
of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of
God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain
His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?"
It is a consoling
evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this
country to find the Martyrology here published,
for the first time, in English, and thereby made
accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to
all classes of our population. It will prove highly
edifying and useful, not only to the members of
our numerous religious Communities of both sexes,
but also to the laity generally. Every day has here
its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a
Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied,
who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith
and with great profit, the brief page of each day's
models of Holiness. These belong to all classes
and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel,
from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the
philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks
of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.
Let all, then,
procure and read daily the appropriate portions
of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal
will console us in affliction, will animate us in
despondency, will make our souls glow with the love
of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and
hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to
the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for
us in Heaven!
J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland
The Lapsi were
early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either
sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor,
or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution
and death, and who later returned to the Faith when
persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us,
“Every one therefore that shall confess me before
men, I will also confess him before my Father who
is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men,
I will also deny him before my Father who is in
heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)