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Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: September 26, 2012
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: May you be magnified, O Lord, by the revered memory of your Saints Cosmas and Damian, for with providence beyond words you have conferred on them everlasting glory, and on us, your unfailing help. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Ordinary Time: September 26th

Optional Memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs

Old Calendar: Sts. Cyprian and Justina, martyrs; Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf and Companions, Martyrs (USA)

The only thing we know about Sts. Cosmas and Damian is that they suffered martyrdom in Syria during the Roman persecution of Diocletian, around 303 A.D. Tradition says they were twin brothers and medical doctors, and have been honored since the 6th century. These brothers never charged a fee for their medical services. Their names are in the Roman Canon of the Mass. This feast is highly celebrated in Italian communities.

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Cyprian and Justina. They were Christians of Antioch who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian at Nicomedia. It is also the feast of Sts. Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf and Companions, Martyrs (USA). Their feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on October 19.

Sts. Cosmas and Damian
This is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, and these two martyrs have been honored in the East and West in many ways, including the building of churches in their honor in Rome and Constantinople. Along with St. Luke, they are the patron saints of doctors. Little is known of their true history, but the legend that has come down to us is of very early origin.

Sts. Cosmas and Damian were venerated in the East as the "moneyless ones" because they practiced medicine gratis. According to the legend, they were twin brothers, born in Arabia, who studied in Syria and became skilled physicians. They were supposed to have lived on the Bay of Alexandretta in Cilicia, in what is now Turkey.

Since they were prominent Christians, they were among the first arrested when the great persecution under Diocletian began. Lysias, the governor of Cilicia, ordered their arrest, and they were beheaded. Their bodies, it was said, were carried to Syria and buried at Cyrrhus.

What is certain is that they were venerated very early and became patrons of medicine, known for their miracles of healing. The Emperor Justinian was cured by their intercession and paid special honor to the city of Cyrrhus where their relics were enshrined. Their basilica in Rome, adorned with lovely mosaics, was dedicated in the year 530. They are named in the Roman Martyrology and in the Canon of the Mass, testifying to the antiquity of their feast day.

The great honor in which they are held and the antiquity of their veneration indicate some historical memory among the early Christians who came out of the great persecutions with a new cult of Christian heroes. Cosmas and Damian were not only ideal Christians by their practice of medicine without fee, they also symbolized God's blessing upon the art of healing and that respect for every form of science, which is an important part of Christian tradition.

Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

Patron: Apothecaries; barbers; blind; chemists; druggists; hairdressers; hernias; marital harmony; midwives; physicians; pharmacists; relief from pestilence; surgeons; Gaeta, Italy.

Symbols: A phial; phials and jars; vases; arrows; surgical instruments; lancet; red vestments; box of ointment; rod of Aesculapius (rod with serpent wrapped around, symbol of medicine); cylinder; stake and fagots; arrows; cross; swords; millstones.

Things to Do:

  • Contemplate how these brothers imitated Christ by healing the WHOLE person, both body and soul.

  • A Christian is generous: with his time, with his talents, with his money. Sts. Cosmas and Damian practiced medicine free, looking upon this as a Christian service to others. I may not be able to imitate them in this, but my own spirit of generosity should be a clear part of my Christian witness.

  • Pray for those in the medical field.

  • Find out more about the miracles attached to the relics of Cosmas and Damian.

  • If you are close to Cambridge, MA drop in on the annual Italian festival of the healing of Saints Cosmas and Damian which has been held for the past 77 years in September.

Sts. Cyprian and Justina
Cyprian and Justina, Christians of Antioch were martyred at Nicomedia, September 26, 304 during the persecution of Decius. Already in the same century, quite a colorful legend arose about them. The legend says that at the beginning of St. Cyprian's life he was anything but saintly. Much of his early training had taken place in North African Carthage, in modern Tunisia. He had been one of the leading sorcerers of the ancient world; he was a model and guide for many in the arts of darkness, and had ensnared many souls for evil. One time, as he was attempting by demonic means to seduce a young Christian virgin, Justina, on behalf of a lustful youth, Aglaidas, which backfired. St. Justina in her simplicity traced on herself the symbol of the Cross, at which the evil spirit fled. Cyprian's pride was stung. After many other unsuccessful attempts, Cyprian recognized the power of Christ and His Gospel. He not only renounced his old ways and was baptized, but soon thereafter became a deacon, then a priest, and finally a bishop.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Things to Do:

  • Read this detailed account of the life and sufferings of these martyrs at the Orthodox Christian Information Center.

32 posted on 09/26/2012 2:39:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 9:1-6

Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs

“He sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:2)

Anyone who has been present at the birth of a baby would have to admit it’s a breathtaking experience. It is truly awe inspiring to see a new life come forth, to hear a strong cry coming from one so fragile, and to see the mother weep tears of joy that miraculously wash away the pain of labor. How privileged we feel to behold it!

How much more awesome it is to witness the life of Jesus come to birth in someone as he or she turns to the Lord in conversion! How amazing that we can behold heaven touching earth in so dramatic and personal a fashion!

Do you know what’s even more amazing? We aren’t simply onlookers. We can be active participants in the process. We are essential, necessary co-workers with Jesus in his plan of salvation. In fact, Jesus has called each of us to become his hands, feet, and voice in our world today. As he did with the Twelve, he has sum­moned us, given us a share in his power, and sent us out.

Granted, we are merely jars of clay—cracked pots, as one author put it. Still, in our weakness and frailty, Jesus wants to make us into vessels of honor, carrying within our­selves his presence and his promises. He knows how weak we are, but he also knows that he has redeemed us and made us into a new creation. We are so much more than our human weaknesses or failings! The question is: “will I take hold of my heritage as a child of God?”

The apostles in today’s Gospel reading “went from village to village proclaiming the good news” (Luke 9:6). Limited novices though they were, they went out looking for peo­ple to convert. And God went with them and worked through them— despite their flaws.

Follow the apostles’ lead. Embrace your calling to bring people from death to life. It doesn’t take much more than an eager heart and a touch of courage. As you step out and try, you’ll find God filling the gaps in you—and changing you in the process!

“Lord, I am amazed at your awesome calling. Empty me of myself and fill me with you so that I can bring your life wherever I go!”

Proverbs 30:5-9 Psalm 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163

33 posted on 09/26/2012 2:44:50 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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