Wednesday, June 22, 2016
St. Paulinus of Nola

Double (1955 Calendar): June 22

St. Paulinus, whose feast day we celebrate today, was born in 354 to a wealthy Roman family in Gaul. His father was the praetorian prefer of Gaul, and as such, his status helped ensure that Paulinus received a complete education.  St. Paulinus eventually became a lawyer and then the prefer of Rome. He married a Spanish noblewoman and lived a life of luxury.

In 390, tragedy struck in the death of Paulinus' son.  Immediately following, he retreated from his earthly affairs and was baptized by St. Delphinus in Aquitaine.  Along with his wife, he gave away all of his earthly possessions to the poor and the Church.  Together, they lived a life of penance and sought true Christian perfection.

In 393 AD, St. Paulinus was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Barcelona, who nearly forced the duty on the saint.  After his ordination, he moved to an estate near the tomb of St. Nola in Naples.  Along with his wife (as this was back before the days of obligatory priestly celibacy), they established a community of monks and continued their austere life.  He went so far as to sell all of his estates in Gaul and divide the money to the poor.  He was not lacking in charitable works - helping to build hospitals, aqueducts, and basilicas.

In 409 AD, he was elected as Bishop of Nola, serving in that holy office until his death in 431.  He was a friend of Ss. Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, and the others of that era.  He was also a gifted poet and the author of more than 51 letters, 32 poems, and several pieces of prose.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Paulinus, bishop of Nola, instructed in human letters and the Holy Scriptures, composed, both in verse and prose, many elegant and remarkable works. The charity of this man was particularly celebrated: for when Campania was being ravaged by the Goths, he devoted all his substance to the feeding of the poor and the redeeming of captives, not reserving to himself even the necessaries of life. At which time, as Saint Augustine writes, having from the greatest opulency voluntarily come down to the utmost exigency, yet withal most rich in sanctity, being now taken captive by the barbarians, he made this prayer to God: ‘Lord, suffer me not to be put to the torture for the sake of gold and silver; verily, where all my riches are, thou well knowest.' Afterwards, when the Vandals were infesting these shores, he, being entreated by a widow to redeem her son, all his effects being now consumed in works of charity, delivered himself up to slavery in place of the young man.

Wherefore, being taken into Africa, he received the charge of cultivating the garden of his master, who was son-in-law of the king. At length, by the gift of prophecy having foretold to his master the death of the king, and the king himself having likewise in a dream beheld Paulinus, seated between two other judges, wrest from his hands the scourge which he held; how great a man he was, being thus made known, he was honourably dismissed, and was moreover granted the liberation of all his fellow-citizens who had been led away captives with him. Being now returned to Nola and to his episcopal functions, by word and example he more and more inflamed all unto Christian piety, until at last, being seized by a pain in his side, presently the chamber wherein he lay was shaken by an earthquake, and shortly afterwards he rendered up his soul to God.


O God, You promised a hundredfold reward and eternal life to those who forsake the world for Your sake. May we walk in the footsteps of Your holy bishop Paulinus, despising the things of the earth and desiring only those of heaven; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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