FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF
NOVEMBER 15-21, 2015
We have much for which to pray – first for the victims of terrorism in Paris and in the Mid-Eastern countries. Evil walks our earth; demons of hate take many forms. Mercy and love must be our banners to combat such viciousness. Goodness is the “weapon” against such evil. We start here at home to deal with the injustices on our streets and in our homes.
This week we celebrate the Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. The history of St. Peter’s Basilica begins in an ancient Roman cemetery, on which at one time stood the temples of Apollo and Idaea, mother of the gods. When St. Peter died, the Christians quickly buried him in this cemetery to keep his body hidden from being desecrated. For a thousand years this information was passed from generation to generation, but the exact location of the body was lost. Emperor Constantine built St. John Lateran, which we celebrated last week, outside the walls of Rome in the fourth century. However, because many Christians prayed at Vatican Hill where it was believed Peter was buried, Constantine built a Basilica. For a thousand years frequent restorations were done until in the 16th century it was about to collapse. Pope Julius II ordered it razed and commissioned a new one. The present day Basilica of St. Peter took about two centuries to complete. If you visit the underground area of the Basilica today, you will see the remnants of Constantine’s church.
It is still not certain that the bones, attributed to St. Peter, are his. No pope has declared definitively that they are so. These bones are kept beneath the main altar in St. Peter’s. However, for the first time, Pope Francis exhibited the relics publicly in 2014 for veneration.
St. Paul’s Out-Side-the-Wall was also erected by Constantine. It is believed that it is in the location of St. Paul’s beheading.
Many saints are honored this week – St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Gertrude, St. Elizabeth Hungary and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. These women are strong examples of the fact that holiness is not confined to rich or poor or the nobility or commoner. Those who walk the road of justice and mercy will win the prize.
This week concludes with the beautiful Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. At a very early age Anna and Joachim presented their three year old daughter, Mary, to God. Though there is no historical basis for this event, tradition tells us that Mary’s parents did this because Anna had been childless for many years. This incident is closely connected to the Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Birth of Mary. Mary was the favored child from the moment of her conception and was to be the temple of the Messiah. In turn, Jesus was the temple and, thus, each of God’s human creations. We are all temples of the Holy Spirit.
“Walking home together,”
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF