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Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Ordinary Time: September 16th
Memorial of Sts. Cornelius, pope and martyr and Cyprian, bishop and martyr
Old Calendar: St. Cornelius, pope and martyr and St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr; Sts. Euphemia, Lucy and Geminanus, martyrs.
Today the Church commemorates two friends in the service of Christ and his Church. Cornelius, a Roman, was the twenty-first Pope during the reign of the Emperor Gallus and Volusian. He had to oppose Novatian, the first anti-pope, who believed that apostates who repented could not be forgiven. Helped by St. Cyprian, Cornelius confirmed his papal authority. He was beheaded in exile at Civitavecchia, Italy in 253. Saints Cyprian and Cornelius are mentioned in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) of the Mass.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of the commemoration of Sts. Euphemia, Lucy and Geminianus. Veneration of St. Euphemia, a virgin of Chalcedon martyred under Diocletian, was widespread in the East. Over her tomb was built the basilica in which assembled the Council of Chalcedon in 451. St. Euphemia was also venerated in the West, especially in Italy. St. Lucy is the martyr of Syracuse. Little is known of St. Geminianus whose cult is associated with that of St. Lucy.
Pope Cornelius (251-253) was the successor to Pope Fabian. During his reign a controversy arose concerning the manner of reinstating those who had fallen from the faith under the duress of persecution. The Novatians accused the Pope of too great indulgence and separated themselves from the Church. With the help of St. Lucina, Cornelius transferred the remains of the princes of the apostles to places of greater honor. On account of his successful preaching the pagans banished him to Centumcellae, where he died. St. Cyprian sent him a letter of condolence. At the time of Pope Cornelius there were at Rome forty-six priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes, fifty-two clerics and more than five hundred widows who were supported by the Church (according to Cornelius’ letter to Bishop Fabian of Antioch).
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patron: against ear ache; against epilepsy; fever; cattle; domestic animals.
Symbols: horn and triple papal cross; cows or oxen; font; tall cross; sword; also papal symbols of tiara, church and/or triple cross; martyr’s crown; palm frond (for martytr); papal tiara.
Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus, illustrious as a pagan rhetorician in Carthage, embraced the true faith in the year 246 and was soon thereafter consecrated priest and bishop of that city (248). He was an energetic shepherd of souls and a prolific writer. He defended the unity of the Church against schismatic movements in Africa and Italy, and greatly influenced the shaping of Church discipline relative to reinstating Christians who had apostatized. He fled during the Decian persecution but guided the Church by means of letters. During the Valerian persecution (258) he was beheaded. He suffered martyrdom in the presence of his flock, after giving the executioner twenty-five pieces of gold. St. Jerome says of him: “It is superfluous to speak of his greatness, for his works are more luminous than the sun.” Cyprian ranks as an important Church Father, one whose writings are universally respected and often read in the Divine Office. His principal works are: On the Unity of the Church; On Apostates; a collection of Letters; The Lord’s Prayer; On the Value of Patience.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patron: Algeria; North Africa.
Symbols: twenty gold coins; crown; axe; palm frond (for martytr); martyr’s crown; bishop’s mitre.
Things to Do:
- Read St. Cyprian’s encouraging words to the martyrs of his day, learn more about Roman persecutions, catacombs, apostates, Novatian and Novatus.
- Study the Sacrament of Penance.
Sts. Euphemia, Lucy and Geminanus
At Chalcedon, were the deaths of St. Euphemia, virgin and martyr, under Emperor Diocletian and the proconsul Priscus. For her faith in our Lord she was subjected to tortures, imprisonment, blows, the torment of the wheel, fire, the crushing weight of stones, the teeth of the beasts, scourging with rods, the cutting of sharp saws, and burning pans, all of which she survived. But when she was again exposed to the beasts in the amphitheater, praying to our Lord to receive her spirit, one of the animals inflicted a bite on her holy body although the rest of them licked her feet, and she yielded her unspotted soul to God . . . At Rome, the holy martyrs Lucy, a noble matron, and Geminanus, were subjected to grievous afflictions and were for a long time tortured by the command of Emperor Diocletian. Finally, being put to the sword, they obtained the glorious victory of martyrdom.
Excerpted from The Roman Martyrology
Meditation: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs (Memorial)
Pray, lifting up holy hands. (1 Timothy 2:8)
What’s in your hands? In order to lift up “holy hands” in prayer, you may need to let go of some of the things you’re holding on to. Because, let’s face it, when we hold on tightly to some things—whether future expectations, past wounds, current resentments, or strident demands—we find it harder to pray with faith and surrender.
We all know how easy it is to hold on to resentments, especially when we feel justified in our anger or bitterness. Or how hard it can be to let go of our judgments about another person, especially when we are convinced that we’re right. Maybe you and your spouse disagree on the best way to raise your child. You might be praying, “Lord, help her recognize I’m right,” instead of being open to working together to find a solution. You might be angry with God, wondering how he has allowed something bad to happen to you or a loved one. Like Job, you shake your fist at the Lord, unwilling to abandon yourself to his wise and loving plan.
If you realize you’re holding on to something like this, Jesus is giving you a chance to empty your hands today.
When you sit down to pray and you remember that you’ve been arguing with your spouse or a coworker, make the choice to let it go. Ask forgiveness. Then start praying. If you’ve stormed off after an angry outburst, take a deep breath and try to make things right with the person you’ve hurt. Remember, when your fists are clenched around anger or self-righteousness, it’s harder to raise your hands to the Lord in prayer. It’s harder for him to fill you because your hands are already full.
So what’s in your hands? What are you holding on to that might be keeping you from receiving all the gifts God wants to give you? If you can identify something, take the next step and try to let it go. Lift up your hands to God, as empty as you can make them, and watch as he fills them with every good and perfect gift.
“Father, I believe you want to give me good things. So help me to let go of whatever I’m holding on to that keeps me from you.”
Psalm 28:2, 7-9
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Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
Daily Marriage Tip for September 16, 2019:
Generosity does not mean never saying “no.” Boundaries are important in every relationship. If you feel stretched too thin, check your priorities and pray for guidance in when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
September 16, 2019 – Lord, Say the Word…
Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Father David Daly, LC
When Jesus had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me; And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you came into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you and in your power to transform my soul, by your grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.
Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me the gift of a deeper faith.
- The Centurion: Frequently the people to whom God has given the most recognize him the least. For that reason, he extends the gift of faith to other men and women, especially the simple and humble of heart. The centurion exemplifies this dynamic of God’s grace in our lives. We should strive to be like him: simple, humble, and confident in the powerful action of Jesus in our daily lives.
- Lord, I Am Not Worthy That You Should Enter Under My Roof: These words manifest the centurion’s humility. They should also manifest our humility and faith in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, since they are the words we pray at every Mass just before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion. When we receive the Blessed Sacrament, we truly receive Christ — body, blood, soul and divinity. Our faith is the key to opening up our hearts to Christ’s healing grace.
- Not Even in Israel Have I Found Such Faith: Don’t we want Jesus to say these words to us? Isn’t it much better than hearing those other words of Christ: “When the Son of Man returns will there be any faith on earth?” (see Luke 18:8). Christ calls us to be a fresh well of faith, hope and love so that even if he does not find it anywhere else, he can always be consoled by our undying faith.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to repeat these words of the centurion. I do believe in you and in your Real Presence in the Eucharist. In my times of doubt or weakness of faith, I will call out to you, “Only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Resolution: I resolve to pray these words with all my heart today at Mass, in a visit to the Eucharist or in a spiritual communion.