“…Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian and all Your Saints: we ask that through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by Your protecting help. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.” -Eucharistic Prayer I, Communicantes
Early Christian persecution had recently spared northern Africa. But, in 250 AD, the Emperor Decius, began a furious persecution of Christians. St Cyprian tells a group of Christian prisoners that their sufferings are earning them greater honors than the proud officials who confine them there will ever have. They have missed a whole year of changing seasons in the outside world, but their suffering brings them far better rewards in Heaven.
“Forget the judges and governors. Let them puff themselves up with the symbols of their dignity, which lasts for only a year. The heavenly dignity in you is already sealed by the brightness of a year’s honor, and its victorious glory continues into another year.
The changing months have passed, and Winter is gone; but you, shut up in prison, suffered the winter of persecution instead of the inclement weather outside. After Winter came the mildness of Spring, rejoicing with roses and crowned with flowers; but you had roses and flowers from the gardens of paradise, and heavenly garlands wreathed your brows.
Now the Summer bears its fruitful harvest, and the threshing-floor is full of grain; but you sowed glory, and are reaping the fruit of glory. On the Lord’s threshing-floor, you are seeing the chaff burned with unquenchable fire. Like grains of wheat, winnowed and precious, purged of chaff and gathered in, you see prison as your granary.
Nor does Autumn lack spiritual graces for the tasks of the season. The vintage is pressed outside, and the grape that will soon flow into the cups is pressed. You, rich bunches from the Lord’s vineyard, branches with fruit already ripe, pressed by worldly troubles, fill your wine vat in the torments of prison, and shed your blood instead of wine. Standing up bravely to your suffering, you willingly drink the cup of martyrdom.
So the year rolls on for the Lord’s servants. Thus we celebrate the changing seasons with spiritual honors and heavenly rewards.”
-Letter 15, St Cyrprian of Carthage, (200-258 AD), Bishop, Martyr, Father & Doctor of the Church
Blessed Good Friday!
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine