Tuesday, 20 February 2018

 

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Những tài liệu này thuộc quyền sở hữu của Trường Thánh Tôma Thiện. Khi sử dụng, quý vị đồng ý chỉ sử dụng trong việc giáo dục, không sử dụng cho việc kinh doanh dưới bất cứ hình thức nào. Quý vị cũng đồng ý sẽ không sao chép, thay đổi nội dung hoặc phân phối nếu chưa có sự chấp thuận của trường.

Nếu quý vị thấy tài liệu này hữu ích trong công việc giáo dục các em, xin giúp chúng tôi trang trải chi phí cho việc biên soạn để chúng tôi có thể tiếp tục cung cấp các tài liệu miễn phí trong tương lai. Xin chân thành cảm ơn quý vị.

JANUARY 13 - ST. HILARY OF POITIERS

In the early centuries of Christianity, there were still many people who did not believe in God as we do. They believed that there were many gods, some more powerful than others. These people were not bad. They just did not know any better. They were called pagans.

St. Hilary was born into just such a family in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education. He married and raised a family.

Through his studies, Hilary learned that a person should practice patience, kindness, justice and these good acts would be rewarded in the life after death.

Hilary’s studies also made him realize that there could only be one God who is eternal, all-powerful and good. He read the Bible for the first time. When he came to the story of Moses and the burning bush, Hilary was very impressed by the name God gave himself: I AM WHO AM.

Hilary read the writings of the prophets, too. Then he read the whole New Testament. By the time he finished, he was completely converted to Christianity and was baptized.

Hilary was such a good Catholic that he was made bishop. This did not make his life easy because the emperor was interfering in Church matters. When Hilary refused to do wrong as the emperor commanded him, he was sent away from the country.

Hilary did not let this worry him, instead with great courage and patience he accepted the emperor’s punishment calmly and used the time to write books explaining the faith to the pagans.

Since he was becoming famous and many pagans were converting to Christianity, Hilary’s enemies asked the emperor to send him back to his hometown. There he would not be able to create too much trouble.

So Hilary returned to Poitiers in 360. He continued writing and teaching the people about the faith. Hilary died eight years later, at the age of fifty-two. His books are used by the Church even today. That is why he is called a Doctor of the Church.

JANUARY 15 - ST. PAUL THE HERMIT

Paul was born at Lower Thebes, in Egypt. He belonged to an upperclass, Christian family, was well educated and was fluent in Greek and Egyptian.

Paul’s parents showed him by their own lives how to love God and worship him with one’s whole heart. Paul was very sad as both his parents died when he was just fifteen years old.

A few years later, in 250, Emperor Decius started a cruel persecution of the Church. Paul hid in his friend’s house, but he still was not safe. His brother-in-law was after his money and property and could easily betray him.

So Paul ran away to the desert. He found a cave near a palm tree and a spring of fresh water. There he settled. He sewed palm branches together for clothes, and he lived on fruit and water.

Paul had only planned to stay there while the persecution lasted. But by the time it was over, he had fallen in love with the life of prayer. He felt so close to God. How could he give that up?

He decided to stay in the desert and never return to his wealthy city life. Instead, he would spend his life praying daily for the needs of all people and performing penance for sin.

There was another holy hermit at the same time named Anthony. Anthony thought he was the only hermit but God showed Paul to him in a dream and told Anthony to go visit him.

Paul was so happy to see Anthony because he knew he was going to die in a few days. Anthony was sad because he did not want to lose his new friend so soon. But, as Paul had expected, he died on January 15, 342.

Anthony buried him in a cloak that had belonged to St. Athanasius. Then Anthony took home and treasured the garment of palm leaves that Paul had been wearing. He never forgot his wonderful friend. Paul’s biography was written by Saint Jerome.

JANUARY 14 - ST. MACRINA

St. Macrina, was the grandmother of St. Basil the Great. She helped raise St. Basil and was one of his favourite people. As an adult, he praised his grandmother for all the good she had done for him. He especially thanked her openly for having taught him to love the Christian faith from the time he was very small.

Macrina and her husband paid a high price for being true to their Christian beliefs. During the Roman persecutions of Galerius and Maximinus, Basil’s grandparents were forced to go into hiding. They found shelter in the forest at Pontus near their home and somehow managed to escape the Roman soldiers who were looking for them.

They were always hungry, almost starving and afraid, but they would not give up their faith. Instead, they patiently waited and prayed for the persecution to end. They hunted for food and ate the wild vegetation and somehow managed to live like this for seven years.

During another persecution, Macrina and her husband had all their property and belongings taken from them. They were left with nothing but their faith and trust in God’s care for them. St. Macrina died around 340.

St. Macrina survived her husband but the exact year of each of their deaths is not recorded. It is believed that Macrina died around 340. Her grandchild, Basil, died in 379.

JANUARY 16 - ST. BERARD AND COMPANIONS

St. Berard was born at Carbio in Italy and came from a noble family. When he was older he joined the order of Saint Francis of Assisi as a Franciscan Friar. St. Berard later became a priest and was a good preacher who also spoke Arabic.

St. Francis of Assisi asked some of his Franciscan friars, including St. Berard to go to Morocco and preach. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims. The Friars agreed and Berard, Peter, Adjutus, Accursio and Odo traveled by ship in 1219.

Morocco is in the northwest corner of Africa and the journey was long and dangerous. The group arrived at Seville, Spain. They started preaching immediately, on streets and in public squares.

The people there thought they were crazy and had them arrested. To save themselves from being sent back home, the friars declared they wanted to see the sultan. So the governor of Seville sent them to Morocco.

The sultan welcomed the friars and gave them freedom to preach in the city. But some of the people did not like this and complained to the authorities. The sultan tried to save the friars by sending them to live in Marrakech, on the west coast of Morocco.

A Christian prince and friend of the sultan, Dom Pedro Fernandez, took them into his home. But the friars knew that their mission was to preach the faith and they returned to the city as often as they could.

This angered the people who did not want to hear the friars’ message. Their complaints finally angered the sultan so much that one day when he saw the friars preaching, he ordered them to stop or leave the country.

Since they had been sent to fulfill a mission, they refused to do both and were beheaded right then and there. It was January 16, 1220.

Dom Pedro Fernandez went to claim the bodies of the martyrs and later brought their remains to Holy Cross Church in Coimbra, Portugal. The friars’ mission to Morocco had been brief and looked like a failure. But the results were surprising.

The story of these heroes fired the first Franciscans with the desire to be missionaries and martyrs too. It was their particular witness that inspired a young man to dedicate his life to God as a Franciscan priest. We know him as St. Anthony of Padua. His feast day is June 13.

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