LST8 – Casting Flowers – The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux with Fr. Timothy Gallagher Podcast

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Episode 8 – In this conversation, Fr. Gallagher reflects on an important aspect of “the little way” as imaged by St. Therese of “casting flowers.” This is demonstrated by her relationship with a challenging novice, Sister Marie of Saint-Joseph

St. Therese of Liesuex

Here are some of the various texts Fr. Gallagher refers to in this episode:

The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. I: 1877-1890 (Critical edition of the complete works of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux)

Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II

This is one of the letters Fr. Gallagher refers to in this episode
LT 194 From Thérèse to Sister Marie of Saint-Joseph.(Fragment.)

September 8-17 (?), 1896
LC lost

I am delighted with the little child, and the one who carries her in His arms is still more delighted than I…. Ah! how beautiful is the little child’s vocation! It is not one mission that she must evangelize but all missions. How will she do this?… By loving, by sleeping, by THROWING FLOWERS to Jesus when He is asleep. Then Jesus will take these flowers, and, giving them an inestimable value, He will throw them in His turn; He will have them fly over all shores and will save souls (with the flowers, with the love of the little child, who will see nothing but will always smile even through her tears!… (A child, a missionary, and even a warrior, what a marvel!)

St. Therese of Lisieux. Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume II: General Correspondence 1890-1897 (Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Saint Therese of Lisieux Book 2) (Kindle Locations 5315-5322). ICS publications. Kindle Edition..


Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out “The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts” page

LST7 – The Personality of St. Therese – The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux with Fr. Timothy Gallagher Podcast

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Episode 7 – In this conversation, Fr. Gallagher continues to reflect on the illuminating personality of St. Therese, by examining several letters written about her and letters she wrote to extended family members.

St. Therese of Liesuex

Here are some of the various texts Fr. Gallagher refers to in this episode:

The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. I: 1877-1890 (Critical edition of the complete works of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux)

Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II

This is one of the letters Fr. Gallagher refers to in this episode
LT 166 From Thérèse to Mme. Pottier (Céline Maudelonde).

J.M.J.T.

Jesus †
Carmel, July 16, 1894

Dear little Céline,

Your letter gave me real joy. I marvel at how the Blessed Virgin is pleased to answer all your desires. Even before your marriage, she willed that the soul to whom you were to be joined form only one with yours by means of an identity of feelings. What a grace for you to feel you are so well understood, and, above all, to know your union will be everlasting, that after this life, you will still be able to love the husband who is so dear to you!…

They have passed away, then, for us both the blessed days of our childhood! We are now at the serious stage of life; the road we are following is different, however, the goal is the same. Both of us must have only one same purpose: to sanctify ourselves in the way God has traced out for us.1

I feel, dear little friend, that I can speak freely to you; you understand the language of faith better than that of the world, and the Jesus of your First Communion has remained the Master of your heart. In Him, you love the beautiful soul who forms only one with yours, and it is because of Him that your love is so tender and so strong.

Oh! how beautiful is our religion; instead of contracting hearts (as the world believes), it raises them up and renders them capable of loving, or loving with a love almost infinite since this love must continue after this mortal life which is given to us only for meriting the homeland of heaven where we shall find again the dear ones whom we have loved on earth!

I had asked for you, dear Céline, from Our Lady of Mount Carmel the grace you have obtained at Lourdes. How happy I am that you are clothed in the holy scapular!2 It is a sure sign of predestination, and besides are you not more intimately united by means of it to your little sisters in Carmel?…

You ask, dear little cousin, that I pray for your dear husband; do you think, then, I could fail in this?… No, I could not separate you in my weak prayers. I am asking Our Lord to be as generous in your regard as he was formerly to the spouses at the wedding of Cana. May He always change water into wine!3… That is to say, may He continue to make you happy and to soften as much as possible the trials that you encounter in life.

Trials, how could I place this word in my letter, when I know everything is happiness for you?…

Pardon me, dear little friend; enjoy in peace the joy God is giving you, without disturbing yourself regarding the future. He is reserving for you, I am sure, new graces and many consolations.

Our good Mother Marie de Gonzague is very appreciative of your kind remembrance of her, and she herself is not forgetting her dear little Céline. Our Mother and Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart are also very happy because of your joy, and they ask me to assure you of their affection.

I dare, dear little cousin,4 to beg you to offer my respectful regards to Monsieur Pottier, whom I cannot refrain from considering also as my cousin.

I leave you, dear Céline, remaining always united to you in my heart, and I shall, throughout my life, be happy to call myself, Your little sister in Jesus,

Thérèse of the Child Jesus
rel. carm. ind.

St. Therese of Lisieux. Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume II: General Correspondence 1890-1897 (Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Saint Therese of Lisieux Book 2) (Kindle Locations 3118-3148). ICS publications. Kindle Edition.


Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out “The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts” page

IP#305 Dr. Peter Kreeft – I Burned for Your Peace on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Peter Kreeft
These are indeed good days for book lovers because we are so blessed to have yet another Christian spiritual classic broken open for us by Dr. Peter Kreeft!  In “I Burned for Your Peace: Augustine’s Confessions Unpacked“, Dr. Kreeft gives us a  guided tour through one of the finest works in all Western literature.  In our conversation, we discuss how St. Augustine, in many ways, is the everyman and why is life is so important for us today. Written in a personal dialogue with God, the saint’s “Confessions” is more than an autobiography or a book of theology, it is, in the end, a living prayer.   It is one man’s compelling witness that is, as  Dr. Kreeft will say, astonishingly contemporary.  St. Augustine looks at himself, so honestly, we can’t help but see ourselves in the reflection.  “I Burned for Your Peace” is the must have book to accompany you on this spiritual journey, especially if your heart is a restless one.  So plan your pilgrimage now!  Get the Frank Sheed translation of the “Confessions” as mentioned by Dr. Kreeft in our conversation and grab this book today

I_Burned_for_Your_Peace.inddYou can find the book here

“Two teachers we all know and trust enter into a dialogue to bring forth a Confessions for our day.”
— Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Editor, The Confessions of St. Augustine

“Kreeft is always brilliant, and in this book he is even more astonishing than ever. If I were allowed only one book on the Confessions, this would be it.”
Joseph Pearce, Author, Catholic Literary Giants

“Kreeft illustrates the truth of Augustine’s comment that God is more intimate to us than we are even to ourselves. Only when we realize that we are loved into being by the Triune God, will we experience the profound peace that sustains the pilgrimage to eternal life.”
Fr. Matthew Lamb, Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University

 

BTP-IC7 – Fourth Mansions Chapter 1 – The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles Podcast

In this episode, Dr. Lilles discusses the Fourth Mansions Chapter 1 of the “Interior Castle” which covers:

1. Souls in the Third Mansions. 2. Insecurity of this life. 3. Our danger of falling from grace. 4. The Saint bewails her past life. 5. Our Lady’s patronage. 6. Fear necessary even for religious. 7. St. Teresa’s contrition. 8. Characteristics of those in the Third Mansions. 9. The rich young man in the Gospel. 10. Reason of aridities in prayer. 11. Humility. 12. Tepidity. 13. We must give all to God. 14. Our debt. 15. Consolations and aridities

For the Discerning Hearts audio recording of the “Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila  you can visit here


For other audio recordings of various spiritual classics you can visit the Discerning Hearts Spiritual Classics page

For other episodes in the series visit
The Discerning Hearts “The Interior Castle with Dr. Anthony Lilles”

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

 

DC17 St. Isidore of Seville – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

 

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Isidore of Seville

Born: c. 560 Cartagena, Spain

Died: 4 April 636 Seville, Spain
For more on St. Isidore of Seville and his teachings

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings ofPope Benedict XVI General Audience 2008

To understand Isidore better it is first of all necessary to recall the complexity of the political situations in his time to which I have already referred: during the years of his boyhood he was obliged to experience the bitterness of exile. He was nevertheless pervaded with apostolic enthusiasm. He experienced the rapture of contributing to the formation of a people that was at last rediscovering its unity, both political and religious, with the providential conversion of Hermenegild, the heir to the Visigoth throne, from Arianism to the Catholic faith. Yet we must not underestimate the enormous difficulty of coming to grips with such very serious problems as were the relations with heretics and with the Jews. There was a whole series of problems which appear very concrete to us today too, especially if we consider what is happening in certain regions in which we seem almost to be witnessing the recurrence of situations very similar to those that existed on the Iberian Peninsular in that sixth century. The wealth of cultural knowledge that Isidore had assimilated enabled him to constantly compare the Christian newness with the Greco-Roman cultural heritage, however, rather than the precious gift of synthesis it would seem that he possessed the gift of collatio, that is, of collecting, which he expressed in an extraordinary personal erudition, although it was not always ordered as might have been desired.

In any case, his nagging worry not to overlook anything that human experience had produced in the history of his homeland and of the whole world is admirable. Isidore did not want to lose anything that man had acquired in the epochs of antiquity, regardless of whether they had been pagan, Jewish or Christian. Hence, it should not come as a surprise if, in pursuing this goal, he did not always manage to filter the knowledge he possessed sufficiently in the purifying waters of the Christian faith as he would have wished. The point is, however, that in Isidore’s intentions, the proposals he made were always in tune with the Catholic faith which he staunchly upheld. In the discussion of the various theological problems, he showed that he perceived their complexity and often astutely suggested solutions that summarize and express the complete Christian truth. This has enabled believers through the ages and to our times to profit with gratitude from his definitions. A significant example of this is offered by Isidore’s teaching on the relations between active and contemplative life. He wrote: “Those who seek to attain repose in contemplation must first train in the stadium of active life; and then, free from the dross of sin, they will be able to display that pure heart which alone makes the vision of God possible” (Differentiarum Lib. II, 34, 133: PL 83, col 91A). Nonetheless, the realism of a true pastor convinced him of the risk the faithful run of reducing themselves to one dimension. He therefore added: “The middle way, consisting of both of these forms of life, normally turns out to be more useful in resolving those tensions which are often aggravated by the choice of a single way of life and are instead better tempered by an alternation of the two forms” (op. cit. 134; ibid., col 91B).

Isidore sought in Christ’s example the definitive confirmation of a just orientation of life and said: “The Saviour Jesus offers us the example of active life when during the day he devoted himself to working signs and miracles in the town, but he showed the contemplative life when he withdrew to the mountain and spent the night in prayer” (op. cit. 134: ibid.). In the light of this example of the divine Teacher, Isidore can conclude with this precise moral teaching: “Therefore let the servant of God, imitating Christ, dedicate himself to contemplation without denying himself active life. Behaving otherwise would not be right. Indeed, just as we must love God in contemplation, so we must love our neighbour with action. It is therefore impossible to live without the presence of both the one and the other form of life, nor can we live without experiencing both the one and the other” (op. cit., 135; ibid. col 91C). I consider that this is the synthesis of a life that seeks contemplation of God, dialogue with God in prayer and in the reading of Sacred Scripture, as well as action at the service of the human community and of our neighbour. This synthesis is the lesson that the great Bishop of Seville has bequeathed to us, Christians of today, called to witness to Christ at the beginning of a new millennium.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

LST2 – A Glimpse of Zélie – The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux with Fr. Timothy Gallagher Podcast

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Episode 2 – In this conversation, Fr. Gallagher reflects on the letters of  Zélie Martin, which offers a compelling glimpse of the life of the Martin family and the tender love she had for her children and others.  She was a beautiful example of what Pope St. John Paul II called “the gift of self.”

Here are some of the various texts Fr. Gallagher refers to in this episode:

St. Therese of Lisieux by Those Who Knew Her (Testimonies from the Process of Beatification)

Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (1864-1885)

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out “The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts” page

DC16 St. Gregory the Great pt. 2 – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Gregory the Great part 2

Born: 540 AD, Rome, Italy

Died: March 12, 604 AD, Rome, Italy
For more on St. Gregory the Great and his teachings

In the theological plan that Gregory develops regarding his works, the past, present and future are compared. What counted for him more than anything was the entire arch of salvation history, that continues to unfold in the obscure meanderings of time. In this perspective it is significant that he inserted the news of the conversion of the Angles in the middle of his Book of Morals, a commentary on Job: to his eyes the event constituted a furthering of the Kingdom of God which the Scripture treats. Therefore, it could rightly be mentioned in the commentary on a holy book. According to him the leaders of Christian communities must commit themselves to reread events in the light of the Word of God: in this sense the great Pontiff felt he had the duty to orient pastors and the faithful on the spiritual itinerary of an enlightened and correct lectio divina, placed in the context of one’s own life.

Before concluding it is necessary to say a word on the relationship that Pope Gregory nurtured with the Patriarchs of Antioch, of Alexandria and of Constantinople itself. He always concerned himself with recognizing and respecting rights, protecting them from every interference that would limit legitimate autonomy. Still, if St Gregory, in the context of the historical situation, was opposed to the title “ecumenical” on the part of the Patriarch of Constantinople, it was not to limit or negate this legitimate authority but rather because he was concerned about the fraternal unity of the universal Church. Above all he was profoundly convinced that humility should be the fundamental virtue for every Bishop, even more so for the Patriarch. Gregory remained a simple monk in his heart and therefore was decisively contrary to great titles. He wanted to be – and this is his expression –servus servorum Dei. Coined by him, this phrase was not just a pious formula on his lips but a true manifestation of his way of living and acting. He was intimately struck by the humility of God, who in Christ made himself our servant. He washed and washes our dirty feet. Therefore, he was convinced that a Bishop, above all, should imitate this humility of God and follow Christ in this way. His desire was to live truly as a monk, in permanent contact with the Word of God, but for love of God he knew how to make himself the servant of all in a time full of tribulation and suffering. He knew how to make himself the “servant of the servants”. Precisely because he was this, he is great and also shows us the measure of true greatness.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

DC15 St. Gregory the Great pt 1 – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson Podcast

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Gregory the Great

Born: 540 AD, Rome, Italy

Died: March 12, 604 AD, Rome, Italy
For more on St. Gregory the Great and his teachings
From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI General Audience 2008

Today I would like to present the figure of one of the greatest Fathers in the history of the Church, one of four Doctors of the West, Pope St Gregory, who was Bishop of Rome from 590 to 604, and who earned the traditional title of Magnus/the Great. Gregory was truly a great Pope and a great Doctor of the Church! He was born in Rome about 540 into a rich patrician family of the gens Anicia, who were distinguished not only for their noble blood but also for their adherence to the Christian faith and for their service to the Apostolic See. Two Popes came from this family: Felix III (483-492), the great-great grandfather of Gregory, and Agapetus (535-536). The house in which Gregory grew up stood on the Clivus Scauri, surrounded by majestic buildings that attested to the greatness of ancient Rome and the spiritual strength of Christianity. The example of his parents Gordian and Sylvia, both venerated as Saints, and those of his father’s sisters, Aemiliana and Tharsilla, who lived in their own home as consecrated virgins following a path of prayer and self-denial, inspired lofty Christian sentiments in him.

In the footsteps of his father, Gregory entered early into an administrative career which reached its climax in 572 when he became Prefect of the city. This office, complicated by the sorry times, allowed him to apply himself on a vast range to every type of administrative problem, drawing light for future duties from them. In particular, he retained a deep sense of order and discipline: having become Pope, he advised Bishops to take as a model for the management of ecclesial affairs the diligence and respect for the law like civil functionaries . Yet this life could not have satisfied him since shortly after, he decided to leave every civil assignment in order to withdraw to his home to begin the monastic life, transforming his family home into the monastery of St Andrew on the Coelian Hill. This period of monastic life, the life of permanent dialogue with the Lord in listening to his word, constituted a perennial nostalgia which he referred to ever anew and ever more in his homilies. In the midst of the pressure of pastoral worries, he often recalled it in his writings as a happy time of recollection in God, dedication to prayer and peaceful immersion in study. Thus, he could acquire that deep understanding of Sacred Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church that later served him in his work.

But the cloistered withdrawal of Gregory did not last long. The precious experience that he gained in civil administration during a period marked by serious problems, the relationships he had had in this post with the Byzantines and the universal respect that he acquired induced Pope Pelagius to appoint him deacon and to send him to Constantinople as his “apocrisarius” – today one would say “Apostolic Nuncio” in order to help overcome the last traces of the Monophysite controversy and above all to obtain the Emperor’s support in the effort to check the Lombard invaders. The stay at Constantinople, where he resumed monastic life with a group of monks, was very important for Gregory, since it permitted him to acquire direct experience of the Byzantine world, as well as to approach the problem of the Lombards, who would later put his ability and energy to the test during the years of his Pontificate. After some years he was recalled to Rome by the Pope, who appointed him his secretary. They were difficult years: the continual rain, flooding due to overflowing rivers, the famine that afflicted many regions of Italy as well as Rome. Finally, even the plague broke out, which claimed numerous victims, among whom was also Pope Pelagius II. The clergy, people and senate were unanimous in choosing Gregory as his successor to the See of Peter. He tried to resist, even attempting to flee, but to no avail: finally, he had to yield. The year was 590.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

BTP-IC4 – Second Mansions – The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles Podcast

In this episode, Dr. Lilles discusses the Second Mansions  of the “Interior Castle” which covers:

1. Souls in the second mansions. 2. Their state. 3. Their sufferings. 4. They cannot get rid of their imperfections. 5. How God calls these souls. 6. perseverance is essential. 7. Temptations of the devil. 8. Delusion of earthly joys. 9. God alone to be loved. 10. Reasons for continuing the journey. 11. War fare of the devil. 12. Importance of choice of friends. 13. Valour required. 14. Presumption of expecting spiritual consolations at first. 15. In the Cross is strength. 16. Our falls should raise us higher. 17. Confidence and perseverance. 18. Recollection. 19. Why we must practise prayer. 20. Meditation kindles love.

For the Discerning Hearts audio recording of the “Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila  you can visit here


For other audio recordings of various spiritual classics you can visit the Discerning Hearts Spiritual Classics page

For other episodes in the series visit
The Discerning Hearts “The Interior Castle” with Dr. Anthony Lilles”

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

 

DC14 St. Peter Chrysologus – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Peter Chrysologus

  • Born: 406 AD, Imola, Italy
  • Died: July 31, 450 AD
For more on St. Peter Chrysologus and his teachings

Peter was born in Imola, where Cornelius, bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Imola, baptized him, educated him, and ordained him a deacon. He was made an archdeacon through the influence of Emperor Valentinian III. Pope Sixtus III appointed Peter as Bishop of Ravenna (or perhaps archbishop) circa 433, apparently rejecting the candidate whom the people of the city ofRavenna elected. The traditional account, as recorded in the Roman Breviary, is that Sixtus had a vision of Pope Saint Peter the Apostle and Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna, the first bishop of that see, who showed Sixtus a young man, the next Bishop of Ravenna. When a group from Ravenna arrived, including Cornelius and his archdeacon Peter from Imola, Sixtus recognized Peter as the young man in his vision and consecrated him as a bishop.

People knew Saint Peter Chrysologus, the Doctor of Homilies, for his short but inspired talks; he supposedly feared boring his audience. His piety and zeal won universal admiration. After hearing oratory of his first homily as bishop, Roman Empress Galla Placidia supposedly gave him the surname Chrysologus, meaning “golden-worded.” Empress Galla Placidia patronized many of projects of Bishop Saint Peter.

In his extant homilies, bishop Peter explained Biblical texts briefly and concisely. He also condemned Arianism and Monophysitism as heresies and explained beautifully the Apostles’ Creed, the mystery of the Incarnation, and other topics in simple and clear language. He dedicated a series of homilies to Saint John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Peter advocated daily reception of Eucharist. He urged his listeners to confide in the forgiveness offered through Christ. He shared the confidence of Saint Pope Leo I the Great (440-461), another doctor of the Church.

A synod held in Constantinople in 448 condemned Eutyches for Monophysitism; Eutyches then appealed to Saint Peter Chrysologus but failed in his endeavour to win the support of the Bishop. The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon(451) preserves the text of letter of Saint Peter Chrysologus in response to Eutyches; Peter admonishes Eutyches to accept the ruling of the synod and to give obedience to the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Saint Peter.

Archbishop Felix of Ravenna in the early eighth century collected and preserved 176 of his homilies. Various authors edited and translated these works into numerous languages.

Death and veneration

St Peter died circa or after 450 during a visit to Imola, the town of his birth. Older reference books say he died on 2 December, but a more recent interpretation of the ninth-century “Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis” indicated that he died on 31 July. When in 1729 he was declared a Doctor of the Church, his feast day, not already included in the Tridentine Calendar, was inserted in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints for celebration on 4 December. In 1969 his feast was moved to 30 July, as close as possible to the day of his death, 31 July, the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

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