Posted by: fvbcdm | January 13, 2014

Feast of Saint Hilary of Poitiers (13 January 2014)

About the year 300, a devout Catholic was born in the province of the Roman Empire called Gaul, in a town called Poitiers. That area called Gaul is now France, but the city of Poitiers is still very much there with its very ancient cathedral and other buildings that date from the Roman days. The man I speak of became a priest and eventually the bishop of Poitiers.  His name is Hilary—Saint Hilary of Poitiers, one of the principal leaders of the Church in early French history.  His name comes from the Latin word for mirth, joy, laughter. We get “hilarious” from it, and it refers to the joy and happiness of being a Christian.

Today the Church celebrates Saint Hilary and reads a passage from one of his writings in her Liturgy of the Hours. That passage begins like this: “I am well aware, almighty God and Father, that in my life I owe you a most particular duty. It is to make my every thought and word speak of you.” We get this same idea often in the lives of the saints.  Saint Paul says to us “Pray always.” We are told of Saint Dominic that he spoke often TO God or ABOUT him.

This reminds me of another concept dear to the people of Israel before and at the time of Jesus. They thought of themselves as a very special, unique people who had two great duties to perform: to praise God constantly as his special children on earth, and to live according to his laws. When they made the three annual pilgrimages to the temple in Jerusalem that were required of every devout Jewish man able to undertake them, they thought of themselves as approaching the spot from which divine praise rose up unceasingly before God’s throne in heaven. They addressed God as, “You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” The columns of praise, hymns, prayers, and the smoke rising from the altar of incense in the temple were thought of as strong pillars which supported the divine throne in heaven just as the retaining walls held up the marble temple in the heart of Jerusalem.

Let us apply these beautiful concepts to ourselves.  Let our hearts be altars either of incense or of prayer, from which divine praise rises incessantly to heaven.  And let our minds, hearts, and bodies perform those works of the intellectual, affective, and physical order which will accomplish God’s holy will daily in our lives. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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