Friday, May 25, 2007

A Cloud of Witnesses

There are a plethora of saints to be mentioned today.

The Carmelite calendar keeps the 16th century mystic St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi today as does the Pauline calendar. The "Lives of the Saints" of Fr Kalberer, O.S.B. says that "She seems to have kept a place in the revised Roman calendar because she taught so effectively the vlaue of suffering voluntarily accepted for the love of Christ and the salvation of souls."

The traditional Roman calendar keeps today as the feast of Pope St Gregory VII. St Gregory, known as Hildebrand before his election, was at one time Cardinal and Abbot of St Paul-outside-the-Walls. He spent his pontificate trying to maintain the church's right to elect its popes and nominate its bishops free from the control of secular governments. A thousand years later, the Los Angeles Times is still under the impression that it should be the principal voice in ecclesiastical appointments. St Gregory holds the record for having deposed, removed, or otherwise fired more bishops than any other pope, a fact that keeps popping up here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood for some reason. The Pauline liturgy keeps Pope St Gregory as one of the memorial options on this day. His battle for the church in his lifetime was not successful and he was exiled by the apostate emperor Henry. The saint's last words were a sad re-working of the psalm, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

And also today, Bede the Venerable, Priest, Monk, and Doctor of the Church. His renown comes principally from his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Fr Kalberer says
"In it, limpid style, serenity, humility, a judicious sense of historical truth, and the gift of story telling combine to produce a masterpiece, cherished by those who love unspoiled tales of saintliness and self-sacrifice. A deep piety, that never appears strained or put on, is the author's most characteristic trait; but critics continue to marvel particularly at his finished scholarship at a time when study was just beginning in England."
The good old Catholic Encyclopædia has a decent sized life and appreciation here.
A hymn he wrote for Ascensiontide can be found here.