അനുദിനവിശുദ്ധർ

Saint of the Day November 23rd – St. Pope Clement I & St. Columban

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) November 23rd – St. Pope Clement I & St. Columban

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അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) November 23rd – St. Pope Clement I & St. Columban

Pope St. Clement I:
On Nov. 23 Roman Catholics remember the fourth Pope, St. Clement I, a disciple of the apostles who inherited the authority of St. Peter in the first century. The details of Clement’s life, before his conversion and even afterward, are largely unknown. Tradition suggests that Clement was the son of a Roman named Faustinus, and that he joined the Church in Rome during its early years through the preaching of St Peter or St Paul. He went on to share in the missionary journeys of the apostles, and may even have assisted the first Pope in running the Church on a local level. After the deaths of St. Peter’s first two successors, the canonized Popes Linus and Cletus, Clement took up St. Peter’s position of primacy in the Church around the year 90. One of his most important tasks was to resolve serious problems in the Church of Corinth. Clement’s own letter to the Corinthians, though not part of the biblical canon, offers an important look at the role of authority and charity in the early Church. “Let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling,” Pope Clement wrote in his call to repentance. “Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of him who formed us.” The Pope also warned the Corinthians to follow “those who cultivate peace with godliness,” rather than “those who hypocritically profess to desire it.” The Church Clement headed was one that honored tradition and right order as fundamentals of its life. “It behooves us to do all things in order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times,” he told the Corinthians. God, he said, “has enjoined offerings and service to be performed … not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours.” “Where and by whom (God) desires these things to be done, he himself has fixed by his own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to his good pleasure, may be acceptable to him.” The 4th Pope’s writings reveal much about the early Church, but little about his own life. According to one later account, he died in exile during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, who purportedly banished Clement to Crimea (near modern Ukraine) and had him killed in retaliation for evangelizing the local people. In 868 the Greek missionary St. Cyril claimed to have recovered St. Clement’s bones. St. Clement I probably died around the year 100. He is among the saints mentioned in the Western Church’s most traditional Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon.

St. Columban:
Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit’s life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor.

After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture.

Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported back to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry, and his monastic rule. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Columban is November 23.

Reflection
Now that public sexual license is becoming extreme, we need the Church’s memory of a young man as concerned about chastity as Columban. And now that the comfort-captured Western world stands in tragic contrast to starving millions, we need the challenge to austerity and discipline of a group of Irish monks. They were too strict, we say; they went too far. How far shall we go?

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