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St. Damasus I

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St. Damasus I

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PATRON OF Archaeologists, against fever

December 11 Saint of the Day

December 11 Saint of the Day

Podcast © Franciscan Media
Saint Damasus was highly praised by his secretary, Saint Jerome. This adulation must have been much appreciated, as Saint Damasus faced the trials of the papacy in his day. A fearless leader, Saint Damasus did not always achieve victory in this life.

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LITURGY OF THE HOURS - 2ND READING

We celebrate the martyrs with love and fellowship

The treatise of St Augustine against Faustus
We, the Christian community, assemble to celebrate the memory of the martyrs with ritual solemnity because we want to be inspired to follow their example, share in their merits, and be helped by their prayers. Yet we erect no altars to any of the martyrs, even in the martyrs’ burial chapels themselves.
No bishop, when celebrating at an altar where these holy bodies rest, has ever said, “Peter, we make this offering to you,” or “Paul, to you,” or “Cyprian, to you.” No, what is offered is offered always to God, who crowned the martyrs. We offer in the chapels where the bodies of those he crowned rest, so the memories that cling to those places will stir our emotions and encourage us to greater love both for the martyrs whom we can imitate and for God whose grace enables us to do so.
So we venerate the martyrs with the same veneration of love and fellowship that we give to the holy men of God still with us. We sense that the hearts of these latter are just as ready to suffer death for the sake of the Gospel, and yet we feel more devotion toward those who have already emerged victorious from the struggle. We honour those who are fighting on the battlefield of this life here below, but we honour more confidently those who have already achieved the victor’s crown and live in heaven.
But the veneration strictly called “worship,” or latria, that is, the special homage belonging only to the divinity, is something we give and teach others to give to God alone. The offering of a sacrifice belongs to worship in this sense (that is why those who sacrifice to idols are called idol-worshippers), and we neither make nor tell others to make any such offering to any martyr, any holy soul, or any angel. If anyone among us falls into this error, he is corrected with words of sound doctrine and must then either mend his ways or else be shunned.
The saints themselves forbid anyone to offer them the worship they know is reserved for God, as is clear from the case of Paul and Barnabas. When the Lycaonians were so amazed by their miracles that they wanted to sacrifice to them as gods, the apostles tore their garments, declared that they were not gods, urged the people to believe them, and forbade them to worship them.
Yet the truths we teach are one thing, the abuses thrust upon us are another. There are commandments that we are bound to give; there are breaches of them that we are commanded to correct, but until we correct them we must of necessity put up with them

St. Damasus I

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St. Damasus I

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Saint Stories for all Ages (Loyola Press)

St. Damasus I

Damasus I was elected pope at a crisis-filled time in the Church during the fourth century. Soon after he had been chosen, a minority elected another man, Ursinus, to be pope. He and his followers carried out a plot to accuse Damasus of a serious crime.
Only by defending himself both in civil court and in front of 44 bishops at a Church synod did Damasus prove himself innocent. Damasus’s faith in the risen Jesus shines out from the epitaph he wrote for his tomb:
He who walking on the sea could calm the bitter waves, who gives life to the dying seeds of the earth; he who was able to loose the mortal chains of death, and after three days’ darkness could bring again to the upper world the brother for sister Martha: he, I believe, will make Damasus rise again from the dust.
His projects included encouraging missionaries, getting architects to build and restore churches, and developing the papal chancery. He reformed the liturgy, making Latin its official language, commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the Bible, and fought heresy. He restored and decorated the tombs of the early martyrs in the catacombs.

Suggestions
  • Read aloud John 15:18–27—16:1–4. Discuss how Christ’s words apply to Saint Damasus.

Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
SOURCE: LoyolaPress.com

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