Tuesday, December 6, 2005
St. Nicholas
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): December 6
Double (1955 Calendar): December 6

Today is the feastday of St. Nicholas, the model of the modern-day Santa Claus. St. Nicholas was from the 4th Century and was Bishop of Myra. The many churches built to honor him and the stories about him are all testimonials to his holiness. St. Nicholas is best remembered for his compassion towards the poor. Born at Patara in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor, he became bishop of Myra and became known for his zeal and piety. He was present at the Council of Nicaea and condemned the heresy of Arianism.

In one story, St. Nicholas saved three unjustly incarcerated officers one time, and at another time, he saved three boys from death. St. Nicholas helped one man, who couldn't pay the dowries for his three daughters by throwing gold through the window of the home. He did it several times and each was done secretly until the last time when he threw the gold in the home. The man inside saw him and was overjoyed in thanking him.

St. Nicholas is an example of a man living a life for Christ Jesus, Our Lord and God. He did great actions but we too must do the same. We don't have to go throw gold in windows or anything like that, but we too are called to be a saint. A saint is simply defined as a person in Heaven and we all are called to this joy. Imagine being in the greatest joy, the presence of Our Lord, for all eternity. That is what was made possible on through the Cross and Resurrection. Don't just believe in Jesus, but follow Him! "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26)

Traditional Matins Reading:

Nicholas was born of a noble family at Patara, in the province of Lycia. His birth was the fruit of his parents’ prayers. Evidences of his great future holiness were given from his very cradle. For when he was an infant, he would take his food only once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and then not till evening; whilst on all other days he frequently took the breast: he kept up this custom of fasting during the rest of his life. Having lost his parents when he was a boy, he gave all his goods to the poor. Of his Christian kindheartedness there is the following noble example. One of his fellow-citizens had three daughters; but being too poor to obtain them an honourable marriage, he was minded to abandon them to a life of prostitution. Nicholas having come to know the case, went to the house during the night, and threw in by the window a sum of money sufficient for the dower of one of the daughters; he did the same a second and a third time; and thus the three were married to respectable men.

Having given himself wholly to the service of God, he set out for Palestine, that he might visit and venerate the holy places. During this pilgrimage, which he made by sea, he foretold to the mariners on embarking, though the heavens were then serene and the sea tranquil, that they would be overtaken by a frightful storm. In a very short time the storm arose. All wore in the most imminent danger, when he quelled it by his prayers. His pilgrimage ended, he returned home, giving to all men example of the greatest sanctity. He went, by an inspiration from God, to Myra, the metropolis of Lycia, which had just lost its bishop by death, and the bishops of the province had come together for the purpose of electing a successor. Whilst they were holding council for the election, they were told by a revelation from heaven, that they should choose him who, on the morrow, should be the first to enter the church, his name being Nicholas. Accordingly, the requisite observations were made, when they found Nicholas to be waiting at the church door: they took him, and, to the incredible delight of all, made him the bishop of Myra. During his episcopate, he never flagged in the virtues looked for in a bishop; chastity, which indeed he had always preserved, gravity, assiduity in prayer, watchings, abstinence, generosity, and hospitality, meekness in exhortation, severity in reproving.

He befriended widows and orphans by money, by advice, and by every service in his power. So zealous a defender was he of all who suffered oppression, that, on one occasion, three tribunos having been condemned by the emperor Constantine, who had been deceived by calumny, and having heard of the miracles wrought by Nicholas, they recommended themselves to his prayers, though he was living at a very great distance from that place: the saint appeared to Constantine, and looking angrily upon him, obtained from the terrified emperor their deliverance. Having, contrary to the edict of Diocletian and Maximian, preached in Myra the truth of the Christian faith, he was taken up by the servants of the two emperors. He was taken off to a great distance and thrown into prison, where he remained until Constantine, having become emperor, ordered his release, and the saint returned to Myra. Shortly afterwards, he repaired to the Council which was being held at Nicæa; there he took part with the three hundred and eighteen fathers in condemning the Arian heresy. Scarcely had he returned to his see, than he was taken with the sickness of which he soon died. Looking up to heaven, and seeing angels coming to meet him, he began the psalm, ‘In thee, O Lord, have I hoped;' and having come to those words, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit,’ his soul took its flight to the heavenly country. His body, having been translated to Bari in Apulia, is the object of universal veneration.

Patron: against imprisonment; against robberies; against robbers; apothecaries; bakers; barrel makers; boatmen; boot blacks; boys; brewers; brides; captives; children; coopers; dock workers; druggists; fishermen; grooms; judges; lawsuits lost unjustly; longshoremen; maidens; mariners; merchants; murderers; newlyweds; old maids; parish clerks; paupers; pawnbrokers; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; pilgrims; poor people; prisoners; sailors; scholars; schoolchildren; shoe shiners; spinsters; students; thieves; travellers; unmarried girls; watermen; Greek Catholic Church in America; Greek Catholic Union; Bari, Italy; Fossalto, Italy; Duronia, Italy; Portsmouth, England; Greece; Lorraine; Russia; Sicily

Prayer:

O God, Who didst adorn the blessed Bishop Nicholas with countless miracles: grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the flames of hell. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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