Skip to comments.[Catholic Caucus] Saint Apollinaris, Bishop/Martyr; Commem./Saint Liborius, Bishop (Gueranger)
Posted on 07/22/2018 9:14:52 PM PDT by CMRosary
RAVENNA, THE MOTHER OF CITIES, invites us today to honor the martyr bishop, whose labors did more for her lasting renown than did the favor of emperors and kings. From the midst of her ancient monuments, the rival of Rome, though now fallen, points proudly to her unbroken chain of Pontiffs, which she can trace back to the Vicar of the Man-God through Apollinaris. This great Saint has been praised by Fathers and Doctors of the Universal Church, his sons and successors. Would to God that the noble city had remembered what she owed to St. Peter.
Apollinaris had left family and fatherland, and all he possessed to follow the Prince of the Apostles. One day, the master said to the disciple: “Why stayest thou here with us? Behold thou art instructed in all that Jesus did; rise up, receive the Holy Ghost, and go to that city which knows him not.” And blessing him, he kissed him and sent him away. Such sublime scenes of separation, often witnessed on those early days, and many a time since repeated, show by their heroic simplicity the grandeur of the Church.
Apollinaris sped to the sacrifice. Christ, says St. Peter Chrysologus, hastened to meet his martyr, the martyr pressed on towards his King; but the Church, anxious to keep this support of her infancy, intervened to defer, not the struggle, but the crown; and for twenty-nine years, adds St. Peter Damian, his martyrdom was prolonged through such innumerable torments, that the labors of Apollinaris alone were sufficient testimony of the faith for those regions, which had no other witness unto blood. According to the traditions of the Church he so powerfully established, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove directly and visibly designated each of the twelve successors of Apollinaris, up to the age of peace.
The holy Liturgy devotes the following lines to the history of this brave Apostle:
Venantius Fortunatus, coming from Ravenna to our Northern lands, has taught us to salute from afar thy glorious tomb. Answer us by the wish thou didst frame during the days of thy mortal life: May the peace of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, rest upon you! Peace, the perfect gift, the first greeting of an Apostle, the consummation of all grace: how thou didst appreciate it, how jealous of it thou wert for thy sons, even after thou hadst quitted this earth! By it thou didst obtain from the God of peace and love, that miraculous intervention which pointed out, for so long a time, the bishops who were to succeed thee in thy See. Thou didst thyself appear one day to the Roman Pontiff, showing him Peter Chrysologus as the elect of Peter and of Apollinaris. And later on, knowing that the cloister was to be the home of the Divine peace banished from the rest of the world, thou camest twice in person to bid Romuald obey the call of grace, and go and people the desert. How comes it that more than one of thy successors, no longer, alas! designated by the Divine Dove, should have become intoxicated with earthly favors, and so soon have forgotten the lessons left by thee to thy Church? Was it not sufficient honor for that Church, the Daughter of Rome, to occupy among her illustrious sisters the first place at her mother’s side? For surely the Gospel sung on this feast for now thirteen centuries, and perhaps more, ought to have been a safeguard against the deplorable excesses which hastened her fall. Rome, warned by sinister indications, seems to have foreseen the sacrilegious ambition of a Guibert, when she fixed her choice on this passage of the sacred text: There was also a strife amongst the disciples, which of them should seem to be the greater. And what more significant, and at the same time more touching commentary could have been given to this Gospel than the words of St. Peter himself in the Epistle: "The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, to feed the flock of God, not as lording it over the clergy, but being models to them of disinteredness and love; and let all insinuate humility one to another, for God resisteth the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace." Pray, O Apollinaris, that both pastor and flocks throughout the Church, may, now at least, profit by these apostolic and Divine teachings, so that we may all one day have a place at the eternal banquet, where our Lord invites his own to sit down with Peter and with thee in his Kingdom.
While Apollinaris adorns holy Mother Church with the bright purple of his martyrdom, another noble son crowns her brow with the white wreath of a Confessor-Pontiff. Liborius, the heir of Julian, Thuribius, and Pavacius, was a brilliant link in the glorious chain connecting the Church of Le Mans with Clement, the successor of St. Peter; he came to bring peace after the storm, and to restore to the earth a hundredfold fruitfulness after the ruin caused by the tempest. The fanatical disciples of Odin invading the west of Gaul, had committed more havoc in this part of our Lord’s vineyard than had the proconsuls with their cold legalism, or the ancient druids with their fierce hatred. Liborius, defender of the earthly fatherland, and guide of souls to the heavenly one, brought the enemy to be citizen of both by making him Christian. As a Pontiff, he labored with purest zeal for the magnificence of Divine worship, which renders homage to God, and gives health to the earth; as apostle, he took up again the work of evangelization begun by the first messengers of the faith, driving idolatry from the strongholds it had reconquered, and from the country parts, where it had always reigned supreme: his friend St. Martin had not in this respect a more worthy rival.
Five centuries after the close of his laborious life, his blessed body was removed from the sanctuary where it lay among his fellow bishops, and scattering miracles all along the way, was carried to Paderborn; pagan barbarism once more fled at the approach of Liborious, and Westphalia was won to Christ. Le Mons and Paderborn, uniting in the veneration of their common apostle, have thus sealed a friendship which a thousand years have not destroyed.
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