O holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, I choose you this day and forever to be my special patrons and advocates; thee, Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, because thou art the Rock, upon which Almighty God hath built His Church; thee, Saint Paul, because thou wast fore-chosen by God as the Vessel of election and the Preacher of truth in the whole world. Obtain for me, I pray you, lively faith, firm hope, and burning love; complete detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, attention in prayer, purity of heart, a right intention in all my works, diligence in fulfilling the duties of my state of life, constancy in my resolutions, resignation to the will of God and perseverance in the grace of God even unto death; that so, by means of your intercession and your glorious merits, I may be able to overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and may be made worthy to appear before the chief and eternal Shepherd of souls, Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for endless ages, to enjoy His presence and love Him forever. Amen.Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
V. Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.
R. They shall be mindful of Thy name, O Lord.
Let us pray:
O God, Whose right hand raised up blessed Peter, when he walked upon the water and began to sink, and thrice delivered his fellow-Apostle Paul from the depths of the sea, when he suffered shipwreck: graciously hear us and grant, by the merits of them both, that we also may attain unto everlasting glory: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen(An Indulgence of 500 days.)
Prayer to Sts. Peter and Paul
for the Holy Catholic Church
Defend, O Lord, thy servants, we beseech thee, from all dangers both of body and soul; and, by the intercession of the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of blessed N., and of all thy saints, mercifully grant us the blessings of peace and safety ; that all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may freely and securely serve thee; through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Prayer to St. Paul
Thou art the Vessel of election, Saint Paul the Apostle, the Preacher of truth in the whole world.
V. Pray for us, Saint Paul the Apostle,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Almighty and everlasting God, Who, of Thy divine mercy, didst instruct Thy blessed Apostle Paul what he should do that he might be filled with the Holy Ghost; by his admonitions directing us and his merits interceding for us, grant that we may serve Thee in fear and trembling and so be filled with the comfort of Thy heavenly gifts. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.(An Indulgence of 500 days)
Defend, O Lord, Thy people: and as they put their trust in the patronage of Thy holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, keep them ever by Thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen (Roman Missal).(An Indulgence of 300 days)
Hymn: Exultet orbis gaudiis
Common of the Apostles
Now let the earth with joy resound,
And heaven the chant re-echo round;
Nor heaven nor earth too high can raise
The great Apostles' glorious praise.
O ye who, throned in glory dread,
Shall judge the living and the dead,
Lights of the world forevermore!
To you the suppliant prayer we pour.
Ye close the sacred gates on high;
At your command apart they fly:
Oh! loose for us the guilty chain
We strive to break, and strive in vain.
Sickness and health your voice obey;
At your command they go or stay:
From sin's disease our souls restore;
In good confirm us more and more.
So when the world is at its end,
And Christ to judgment shall descend,
May we be called those joys to see
Prepared form all eternity.
Praise to the Father, with the Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One;
As ever was in ages past,
And so shall be while ages last.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles
(from the Liturgical Year, 1904)
After the great solemnities of the movable cycle, and the Feast of St. John the Baptist, none is more ancient, nor more universal in the Church, than that of the two Princes of the Apostles. From the beginning, Rome celebrated their triumph on the very day itself which saw them go up from earth to heaven, June 29th. Her practice prevailed, at a very early date, over the custom of several other countries, which put the Apostles' feast towards the close of December. It was, no doubt, a fair thought which inspired the placing of these Fathers of the Christian people in the cortege of Emmanuel at his entry into this world. But, as we have already seen, today's teachings have intrinsically an important preponderance in the economy of Christian dogma; they are the completion of the whole Work of the Son of God; the cross of Peter fixes the Church in her stability, and marks out for the Divine Spirit the immutable centre of his operations. Rome, therefore, was well inspired when, leaving to the Beloved Disciple the honour of presiding over his brethren at the Crib of the Infant God, she maintained the solemn memory of the Princes of the Apostles upon the day chosen by God Himself to consummate their labours and to crown, at once, both their life and the whole cycle of mysteries.
Fully today, do the heavens declare the glory of God, as David expresses it, today do they show us the course of the Spouse completed on the eternal hills (Ps. xviii. 2-6). Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night revealeth the deep secret (Ibid. 3). From north and south of the new Sion, from either side of her stream, Peter and Paul waft one to other, as a farewell song, as a sacred Epithalamium, the good Word (Ps. xliv. 2); sublime that echo, sonorous its power, vocal still throughout the whole earth (Ibid. xviii. 4, 5), and yet to resound as long as the world lasts. These two torches of salvation blend their flames above the palaces of ancient Rome; the passing darkness of their death, that night of which the Psalmist sings, now concentrates light, forever, in the midst of the queen city. Beside the throne of the Bridegroom fixed forever and ever on yonder seven hills (Ps. xliv. 7-10), the Gentile world, now become the Bride, is resplendent in glory (Eph. v. 27), all fair in that peerless purity which she derives from their blood united as it is to that of the Son of God.
But seemly is it, not to forget, on so great a day, those other messengers sent forth by the divine householder, and who watered earth's highways with their sweat and with their blood, the while they hastened the triumph and the gathering in of the guests invited to the Marriage feast (St. Matth. xxii. 8-10). To them is it due, if now the law of grace is definitively promulgated throughout all nations, and if in every language and upon every shore the good tidings have been sounded (Ps. xviii. 4, 5). Thus the festival of St. Peter, completed by the more special memory of St. Paul his comrade in death, has been from earliest times regarded as the festival likewise of the whole Apostolic college. In those primitive times it seemed impossible to dream of separating from their glorious leader any of those whom Our Lord had so intimately joined together in the responsibility of one common work. But in course of time, however, particular solemnities were successively consecrated to each one of the Apostles, and so the feast of June 29th was more exclusively attributed to the two Princes whose martyrdom rendered this day illustrious. More than this; as we shall presently see, the Roman Church, thinking it impossible fittingly to honour both of these on the same day, deferred till the morrow her more explicit praises of the Doctor of the Gentiles.
The Antiphons and Capitulum of First Vespers take us back to the opening days of the apostolic ministry. They place us in the midst of those which immediately follow the Descent of the Holy Ghost. Peter and John go up together to the temple of Jerusalem. Calvary's sacrifice has put an end to its figurative oblations; but it, nevertheless, still continues to be a place of prayer, pleasing to heaven, on account of its grand memories. At the door of the sacred edifice, a man, lame from his birth, begs an alms of the Apostles. Peter, lacking both silver and gold, exerts in his favour the power of healing which he possesses in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The Synagogue yields no more to the miracles of the disciple than she did to those of the Master; she will not be converted; and presently a new Herod, wishing to please the Jews, finds no better means of doing so than the putting to death of James the brother of John, and the imprisoning of Peter.
But the angel of the Lord comes down into the prison where he is sleeping, on the eve of the day fixed for his death; the angel bids him arise, put on his garments, and follow him. The Apostle, set free, proclaims the reality of that which at first he thought but a dream. He departs from Jerusalem, now hopelessly the accursed city; and on all sides of the gentile world into whose midst he has entered, is verified the prophecy: Tu es Petrus: Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church (St. Matth. xvi. 18).Capitulum. (Acts, xii.)
Ant. Peter and John went up to the temple at the ninth hour of prayer.
Ant. Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give unto thee.
Ant. The Angel said to Peter: Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
Ant. The Lord hath sent his Angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod. Alleluia.
Ant. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.
Herod the king stretched out his hand to afflict some of the church; and he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take up Peter also.
Lo! beauteous Light Eternal floods, with sacred fires, this golden day which crowns the Princes of Apostles and opens out unto the guilty a free path to Heaven.V. Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth.
The Teacher of the whole earth, as well as the Doorkeeper of Heaven, both of them Fathers of Rome, and Judges of nations, each a victor of death, the one by the sword, the other by the cross, laurel-crowned, both take their seats in the Senate of Eternal Life.
O happy Rome, by noble gore of Princes twain art thou now consecrated; empurpled by the blood of such as these, thou alone in beauty dost surpass all the rest of earth.
To the Trinity in Unity that governeth all things through ages of ages, may there be eternal glory, honour, power, and jubilation. Amen.
R. And their words unto the ends of the world.
Antiphon of the Magnificat
Thou art the Shepherd of the sheep, O Prince of the sheep, O Prince of the Apostles, to thee were delivered the keys of the kingdom of heaven.Prayer:
O God, who hast consecrated this day by the martyrdom of thine Apostles Peter and Paul; grant to thy Church that she may in all things follow their instruction by whom she received the Faith. Through our Lord, &c.
The sun is bending towards the horizon. The Church is about to resume her chants, and to begin the sacred Vigil which will be continued until morning with all the pomp and continuity of the greatest solemnities. In heart, at least, let us keep watch with her. This night is the last during which the visible Head given to her by the Spouse, is fulfilling his ministry of prayer and suffering in Nero's dungeons; so much the less, therefore, will she leave him, and so much the more eager is she to spend herself in extolling his greatness. When once again the day-star shall appear in the east, gilding with his rays those seven hills whereon the Queen of nations is seated, the hour of sacrifice will have sounded for the Vicar of the Man-God. Let us, then, prepare to form a part of his cortege, by representing to ourselves in thought the historic details of this glorious drama, and the facts which led to it.
Since the terrible persecution of the year 64, Rome had become for Peter a sojourn fraught with peril, and he remembered how his Master had said to him, when appointing him Shepherd of both lambs and sheep: Follow thou me (St. John, xxi). The Apostle, therefore, awaited the day when he must mingle his blood with that of so many thousands of Christians, whom he had initiated into the faith, and whose Father he truly was. But before quitting earth, Peter must triumph over Simon the Magician, his base antagonist. This heresiarch did not content himself with seducing souls by his perverse doctrines; he sought even to mimic Peter in the prodigies operated by him. So he proclaimed that on a certain day, he would fly in the air. The report of this novelty quickly spread through Rome, and the people were full of the prospect of such a marvelous sight. If we are to believe Dion Chrysostom, Nero seems even to have entertained at his court this wondrous personage, who pledged himself to soar aloft in mid-air. More than that, the emperor would even with his own presence honor this rare sight (Orat. xxi). The imperial lodge was reared upon the Via Sacra, where the scene was to be enacted.
But cruel for the impostor did this deception prove. "Scarce had this Icarus begun to poise his flight," says Suetonius, "than he fell close to Nero's lodge which was bathed in his blood." The gravest writers of Christian antiquity are unanimous in attributing to the prayer of Peter this humiliation inflicted on the Samaritan juggler in the very midst of Rome, where he had dared to set himself up as the rival of Christ's Vicar.Prayer:
The disgrace, as well as the blood of the heresiarch, had fallen on the emperor himself. Curiosity and ill-will but needed, therefore, to be combined, in order to attract personally upon Peter an attention that might prove disastrous. Moreover, be it remembered, there was yet another danger, and to this Saint Paul alludes, namely, the peril of false brethren. To understand this term and justly to appreciate the situation, we must bear in mind how inevitable are the clashings of certain characters in a society so numerous as was already that of the Christians in Rome; and how discontent is necessarily caused to vulgar minds when existing circumstances sometimes demand higher interests to be exclusively consulted, in the always difficult question of choosing persons to offices of trust, or to special confidence. These things well borne in mind, it will be easy to account for what Saint Clement, an eye-witness of the Apostle's martyrdom, attests in a letter to the Corinthians, viz., that "rivalries and jealousies" had a large share in the tragic end brought about, through the suspicions at last conceived by the authorities against "this Jew."
The filial devotedness of the Christians of Rome took alarm, and they implored Saint Peter to elude the danger for a while, by instant flight. "Although he would have much preferred to suffer," says Saint Ambrose (Contra Auxent), Peter set out along the Appian Way. Just as he reached the Capuan gate, Christ suddenly presented Himself, seemingly about to enter the city. " Lord, whither goest thou? cried out the Apostle. " To Rome," Christ replied, "to be there crucified again." The disciple understood his Master; he at once retraced his steps, having now no thought but to await his hour of martyrdom. This Gospel-like scene expresses the sequel of our Lord's designs upon the venerable old man. With a view to founding the Christian Church in unity, He had extended to his disciple his own prophetic name of the "Rock," or " Stone," Petrus; now, even unto the Cross itself, was He about to make him His participator. Rome having replaced Jerusalem must likewise have her Calvary.
In his flight, Peter dropped from his leg a bandlet which a disciple picked up, with much respect. A monument was afterwards raised on the spot where this incident occurred: it is now the Church of Saints Nereus and Achilles, anciently called Titulus fascioloe, the Title of the bandlet. According to the designs of Providence the humble fasciola was to recall the memory of that momentous meeting at the gates of Rome, where Christ in person stood face to face with His Apostle, the visible Head of His Church, and announced that the hour of his sacrifice on the cross was at hand.
From that moment Peter set everything in order with a view to his approaching end. It was at this time he wrote his Second Epistle, which is, as it were, his last testament and loving farewell to the Church. Therein he declares that the close of his life is near, and compares his body to a temporary shelter, a tent which one takes down to journey further on. The laying away of this my tabernacle is at hand, according as our Lord Jesus Christ also hath signified to me (2 St. Pet. i. 14). These his words are evidently an allusion to the apparition on the Appian Way.
On the day fixed by God's decree, pagan power gave orders for the Apostle's arrest. Details are wanting as to the judicial procedure which followed, but the constant tradition of the Roman Church is that he was incarcerated in the Mamertine Prison. By this name is known the dungeon constructed at the foot of the Capitoline hill, by Ancus Martius, and afterwards completed by Servius Tullus, whence it is also called Carcer Tullianus. Two outer staircases, called the steps of sighs, led to this frightful den. An upper dungeon gave immediate entrance to that which was to receive the prisoner and never to deliver him up alive, unless he were destined to a public execution. To be put into this horrible place, he had to be let down by cords, through an opening above, and by the same was he finally drawn up again, whether dead or alive. The vaulting of this lower dungeon was high and its darkness was utter and horrible, so that it was an easy task to guard a captive detained therein, specially if he were laden with chains.
On the twenty-ninth of June, in the year sixty-seven, Peter was at length drawn up to be led to death. According to Roman law, he must first be subjected to the scourge, the usual prelude to capital punishment. An escort of soldiers conducted the Apostle to his place of martyrdom, outside the city walls, as the laws required. Peter was marched to execution, followed by a large number of the Faithful, drawn by affection along his path, and for his sake defying every peril.
Beyond the Tiber, facing the Campus Martins, there stretches a vast plain, which is reached by the bridge named the Triumphal, whereby the city is put in communication with the Via Triumphalia and the Via Cornelia, both of which roads lead to the North. On its further side from the river, the plain is bounded on the left by the Janiculum, and beyond that, in the background, by the Vatican hills whose chain continues along to the right in the form of an amphitheatre. Along the bank of the Tiber the land is occupied by immense gardens, which three years previously had been made by Nero the scene of the principal immolation of the Christians, just at this same season also. To the west of the Vatican Plain and beyond Nero's gardens was a circus of vast extent, usually called by his name, although in reality it owes its origin to Caligula, who placed in its centre an obelisk which he had transported from Egypt. Outside the Circus, towards its furthest end, rose a temple to Apollo, the protector of the public games. At the other end, the declivity of the Vatican hill begins, and about the middle, facing the Obelisk, was planted a turpentine tree well known to the people. The spot fixed upon for Peter's execution was close to this said turpentine tree. There, likewise, was his tomb already dug. No other spot in all Rome could be more suitable for so august a purpose. From remotest ages, something mysterious had hovered over the Vatican. An old oak, said by the most ancient traditions to be anterior to the foundation of Rome, was there held in great reverence. There was much talk of oracles heard in this place. Moreover, where could a more choice resting-place be found for this old man who had just conquered Rome, than a mound beneath this venerated soil, opening upon the " Triumphal Way " and the " Cornelian Way," thus uniting the memories of victorious Rome and the name of the Cornelii, which had now become inseparable from that of Peter?
There is something supremely grand in the taking possession of these places by the Vicar of the Man-God. The Apostle, having reached the spot and come up to the instrument of death, implored of his executioners to set him thereon, not in the usual way, but head downwards, in order, said he, that the servant be not seen in the same position once taken by the Master. His request was granted; and Christian tradition, in all ages, renders testimony to this fact which adds further evidence to the deep humility of so great an Apostle. Peter, with outstretched arms, prayed for the city, prayed for the whole world, the while his blood flowed down upon that Roman soil the conquest of which he had just achieved. At this moment Rome became forever the new Jerusalem. When the Apostle had gone through the whole round of his sufferings, he expired; but he was to live again in each one of his Successors, unto the end of time.
O Peter, we also hail thy glorious tomb! Well does it behove us, thy chosen sons of the West, to celebrate with faith and love the glories of this day. If all nations are moved at the tidings of thy triumphant death; if all tongues proclaim that from Rome perforce must the law of the Lord come forth, unto the whole world; is it not because this death of thine has turned Babylon into that city of divine oracles hailed by the son of Amos, in his prophecy (Is. ii. 1. 5)? is it not because the mountain prepared, in distant ages, to bear the house of the Lord, begins to peer from out the mist, and now stands forth in full day-light to the eyes of the nations. The site of the new Sion is forever fixed; for on this day, is the corner-stone laid (Ibid. xxviii. 16), and Jerusalem is to have no other foundation, than this tried and precious Stone.
O Peter, on thee must we build; for fain are we to be dwellers in the Holy City. We will follow our Lord's counsel (St. Matth. vii. 24-27), by raising our structure upon the rock, so that it may resist the storm, and may become an eternal abode. Our gratitude to thee, who hast vouchsafed to uphold us, is all the greater, since this our senseless age, pretends to construct a new social edifice, which it would fix on the shifting sands of public opinion, and hence realizes naught save downfall and ruin! Is the stone rejected by our modern architects any the less, head of the corner? And does not its strength appear in the fact (as it is written) that having rejected and cast it aside, they stumble against it and are hurt, yea broken?
Standing erect, amid these ruins, firm upon the foundation, the rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail,--we have all the more right to extol this day, on which the Lord hath, as our Psalm says established the earth (Ps. xcii. 1). The Lord did indeed manifest His greatness, when He cast the vast orbs into space, and poised them by laws so marvelous, that the mere discovery thereof does honour to science; but His reign, His beauty, His power, are far more stupendous when He lays the basis prepared by him to support that temple of which a myriad worlds scarce deserve to be called the pavement. Of this immortal day, did Eternal Wisdom sing, when divinely foretasting its pure delights, and preluding our gladness, he thus led on our happy chorus: "When the mountains with their huge bulk were being established, and when the earth was being balanced on its poles, when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters, when he laid the foundations of the earth, I was with Him, forming all things; and was delighted every day playing before him at all times ; playing in the world, for my delights are to be with the children of men (Prov.viii).
The Commemoration of St. Paul Apostle
(from the Liturgical Year, 1904)
On the Twenty fifth of January, we beheld Stephen leading to Christ's mystic crib, the once ravenous wolf of Benjamin (Gen. xlix. 27), tamed at last, but who in the morning of his impetuous youth, had filled the Church of God with tears and bloodshed. His evening did indeed come when as Jacob had foreseen, Saul, the persecutor, would outstrip all his predecessors among Christ's disciples, in giving increase to the Fold, and in feeding the Flock, with the choicest food of His heavenly doctrine.Prayer:
By an unexampled privilege, Our Lord though already seated at the Right Hand of His Father, vouchsafed not only to call, but personally to instruct this new disciple, so that he might one day be numbered amongst His Apostles. The ways of God can never be contradictory one to another; hence, this creation of a new apostle may not be accomplished in a manner derogatory to the divine constitution already delivered, to the Christian Church by the Son of God. Therefore, as soon as the illustrious convert emerges from those sublime contemplations, during which the Christian dogma has been poured into his soul, he must needs go to Jerusalem to see Peter, as he himself relates to his disciples in Galatia. "It behoved him," says Bossuet, "to collate his own Gospel with that of the prince of the Apostles." From that moment, aggregated as a co-operator in the preaching of the Gospel, we see him at Antioch (in the "Acts of the Apostles"), accompanied by Barnabas, presenting himself to the work of opening the Church unto the Gentiles, the conversion of Cornelius having been already effected by Peter himself. He passes a whole year in this city, reaping an abundant harvest. After Peter's imprisonment in Jerusalem, at his subsequent departure for Rome, a warning from on high makes known to those who preside over the Church at Antioch, that the moment is come for them to impose hands on the two missionaries, and confer on them the sacred character of Ordination.
From that hour Paul attains the full stature of an apostle, and it is clear that the mission unto which he had been preparing is now opened. At the same time, in St. Luke's narrative, Barnabas almost disappears, retaining but a very secondary position. The new Apostle has his own disciples, and he henceforth takes the lead in a long series of peregrinations marked by as many conquests. His first is to Cyprus, where he seals an alliance with ancient Rome, analagous to that which Peter contracted at Cesarea.
In the year 43, when Paul landed in Cyprus, its pro-consul was Sergius Paulus, illustrious for his ancestry, but still more so for the wisdom of his government. He wished to hear Paul and Barnabas: a miracle worked by Paul, under his very eyes, convinced him of the truth of his teaching; and the Christian Church counted, that day, among her sons one who was heir to the proudest name among the noble families of Rome. Touching was the mutual exchange that took place on this occasion. The Roman Patrician had just been freed by the Jew from the yoke of the Gentiles; in return, the Jew hitherto called Saul received and thenceforth adopted the name of Paul, as a trophy worthy of the Apostle of the Gentiles.
From Cyprus Paul travelled successively to Cilicia, Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia, everywhere preaching the Gospel and founding Churches. He then returned to Antioch in the year 47, and found the Church there in a state of violent agitation. A party of Jews, who had come over to Christianity from the ranks of the Pharisees, whilst consenting indeed to the admission of gentiles into the Church, were maintaining that this could only be on condition of their being likewise subjected to Mosaic practices, such as, circumcision, distinction of meats, etc. The Christians, who had been received from among the gentiles, were disgusted at this servitude to which Peter had not subjected them; and thus the controversy became so hot, that Paul deemed it necessary to undertake a journey to Jerusalem where Peter had lately arrived, a fugitive from Rome, and where the Apostolic College was at that moment furthermore represented by John, as well as by James the bishop of the city. These being assembled to deliberate on the question, it was decreed, in the name and under the influence of the Holy Ghost, that the exacting of anything relative to Jewish rites should be utterly forbidden in the case of gentile converts. It was on this occasion, too, that Paul received from these Pillars, as he styles them, the confirmation of this his apostolate superadded to that of the Twelve, and to be specially exercised in favour of the gentiles. By this extraordinary ministry deputed to the nations, the Christian Church definitively asserted her independence of Judaism; and the gentiles could now freely come flocking into her bosom.
Paul then resumed his course of apostolic journeys over all the Provinces he had already evangelized, in order to confirm the Churches. Thence, passing through Phrygia, he came to Macedonia, stayed a while at Athens, and then on to Corinth, where he remained a year and a half. At his departure he left in this city a flourishing Church, whereby he excited against him the fury of the Jews. From Corinth, Paul went to Ephesus, where he stayed two years. So great was his success with the gentiles there, that the worship of Diana was materially weakened; whereupon a tumult ensuing, Paul thought the moment come for his departure from Ephesus. During his abode there he made known to his disciples a thought that had long haunted him: I must needs see Rome: the capital of the gentile world was indeed calling the Apostle of the Gentiles.
The rapid growth of Christianity in the capital of the empire had brought face to face and in a manner more striking than elsewhere, the two heterogeneous elements which formed the Church of that day: the unity of Faith held together in one fold those that had formerly been Jews, and those that had been pagans. Now it so happened, that some of both of these classes, too easily forgetting the gratuity of their common vocation to the faith, began to go so far as to despise their brethren of the opposite class, deeming them less worthy than themselves of that baptism which had made them all equal in Christ. On the one side, certain Jews disdained the gentiles, remembering the polytheism which had sullied their past life with all those vices which come in its train. On the other side, certain gentiles contemned the Jews, as coming from an ungrateful and blinded people, who had so abused the favours lavished upon them by God as to crucify the Messias.
In the year 53, Paul, already aware of these debates, profited of a second journey to Corinth, to write to the Faithful of the Church in Borne that famous Epistle in which he emphatically sets forth how gratuitous is the gift of faith; and maintains how Jew and gentile alike, being quite unworthy of the divine adoption, have been called solely by an act of pure mercy. He likewise shows how Jew and gentile, forgetting the past, have but to embrace one another in the fraternity of one same faith, thus testifying their gratitude to God through whom both of them have been alike prevented by grace. His apostolic dignity, so fully recognized, authorized Paul to interfere in this matter, though touching a Christian centre not founded by him. Whilst awaiting the day when he could behold with his own eyes the queen of all Churches, lately fixed by Peter on the Seven Hills, the Apostle was anxious once again to make a pilgrimage to the City of David. Jewish rage was just at that moment rampant in Jerusalem against him; national pride being more specially piqued, in that he, the former, disciple of Gamaliel, the accomplice of Stephen's murder, should now invite the gentiles to be coupled with the sons of Abraham, under the one same Law of Jesus of Nazareth. The Tribune Lysias was scarce able to snatch him from the hands of these bloodthirsty men, ready to tear him to pieces.
The following night Christ appeared to Paul, saying to him: Be constant, for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. It was not, however, till after two years of captivity, that Paul, having appealed to Caesar, landed in Italy at the beginning of the year 56. Then at last the Apostle of the Gentiles made his entry into Rome: the trappings of a victor surrounded him not; he was but a humble Jewish prisoner led to the place where all appellants to Cassar were mustered; yet was he that Jew whom Christ himself had conquered on the way to Damascus. No longer Saul, the Benjamite, he now presented himself under the Roman name of Paul; nor was this a robbery on his part, for after Peter, he was to be the second glory of Rome, the second pledge of her immortality. He brought not the primacy with him indeed, as Peter had done, for that had been committed by Christ to one alone; but he came to assert in the very centre of the gentile world, the divine delegation which he had received in favour of the nations, just as an affluent flows into the main stream, which mingling its waters with its own, at last empties them unitedly into the ocean. Paul was to have no successor in his extraordinary mission; but the element which he had deposited in the Mistress, the Mother Church, was of such value, that in course of ages the Roman Pontiffs, heirs to Peter's monarchical power have ever appealed to Paul's memory as well; pronouncing their mandates in the united names of the " Blessed " Apostles Peter and Paul."
Instead of having to await in prison the day whereon his cause was to be heard, Paul was at liberty to choose a lodging place in the city. He was obliged, however, to be accompanied day and night by a soldier to whom, according to the usual custom, he was chained, but only in such a way as to prevent his escape: all his movements being otherwise left perfectly free, he could easily continue to preach the Word of God. Towards the close of the year 57, in virtue of his appeal to Caesar, the Apostle was at last summoned before the pretoritim; and the successful pleading of his cause resulted in his acquittal.
Being now free, Paul revisited the East, confirming on his Evangelical course the Churches he had previously founded. Thus Ephesus and Crete once more enjoyed his presence; in the one he left his disciple Timothy as bishop, and in the other Titus. But Paul had not quitted Rome for ever: marvelously illumined as she had been by his preaching, the Roman Church was yet to be gilded by his parting rays and empurpled by his blood. A heavenly warning, as in Peter's case, bade him also return to Rome where martyrdom was awaiting him. This fact is attested by St. Athanasius (De fuga sua. xviii): we learn the same also from St. Asterius of Ameseus, who hereupon remarks, that the Apostle entered Rome once more, "in order to teach the very masters of the world; to turn them into his disciples; and by their means to wrestle with the whole human race. There, Paul finds Peter engaged in the same work; he at once yokes himself to the same divine chariot with him, and sets about instructing the children of the Law, within the Synagogues, and the Gentiles outside (Homil. viii.)."
At length Rome possesses her two Princes conjointly: the one seated on the eternal chair, holding in his hands the keys of the kingdom of heaven; the other surrounded by the sheaves he has garnered from the fields of the Gentile world. They shall now part no more; even in death, as the Church sings, they shall not be separated. The period of their being together was necessarily short, for they must needs render to their Master the testimony of blood before the Roman world should be freed from the odious tyranny under which it was groaning. Their death was to be Nero's last crime; after that he was to fade from sight, leaving the world horrorstricken at his end, as shameful as it was tragic.
It was in the year 65 that Paul returned to Rome; once more signalizing his presence there by the manifold works of his apostolate. From the time of his first labours there, he had made converts even in the very palace of the Caesars: being now returned to this former theatre of his zeal, he again finds entrance into the imperial abode. A woman who was living in criminal intercourse with Nero, as likewise a cup-bearer of his, were both caught in the apostolic net, for it were hard indeed to resist the power of that mighty word. Nero, enraged at "this foreigner's" influence in his very household, was bent on Paul's destruction. Being first of all cast into prison, his zeal cooled not, but he persisted the more in preaching Jesus Christ. The two converts of the imperial palace having abjured, together with paganism, the manner of life they had been leading, this twofold conversion of theirs did but hasten Paul's martyrdom. He was well aware that it would be so, as can be seen in these lines addressed to Timothy: "I labour even unto bands, as an evil doer; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed, like a victim already sprinkled with the lustral water, and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of Justice which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day (2 Tim)."
On the Twenty-ninth of June, in the year 67, whilst Peter, having crossed the Tiber by the Triumphal bridge, was drawing nigh to the cross prepared for him on the Vatican plain, another martyrdom was being consummated on the left bank of the same river. Paul, as he was led along the Ostian Way, was also followed by a group of the Faithful who mingled with the escort of the condemned. His sentence was that he should be beheaded at the Salvian Waters. A two miles' march brought the soldiers to a path leading eastwards, by which they led their prisoner to the place fixed upon for the martyrdom of this, the Doctor of the Gentiles. Paul fell on his knees, addressing his last prayer to God; then having bandaged his eyes, he awaited the death stroke. A soldier brandished his sword, and the Apostle's head, as it was severed from the trunk, made three bounds along the ground; three fountains immediately sprang up on these several spots. Such is the local tradition; and to this day, three fountains are to be seen on the site of his martyrdom, over each of which an altar is raised.
Let us unite our voice of homage to that of preceding ages in honour of this Vessel of Election, whence salvation flows so abundantly over our earth.
Praise then be to thee, O Apostle, now and forever! Eternity itself will not suffice to exhaust the gratitude of us, the "Nations." Accomplish thy work in each one of us during all ages; permit not that, by the falling off of any one amongst those called by Our Lord to complete His mystic Body, the Bride be deprived of one single increase on which she might have counted. Uphold and brace against despondency the preachers of the sacred Word, all those who by the pen or by any title whatsoever, are continuing thy work of light. Multiply those valiant apostles who are ever narrowing upon our globe the boundaries of darkness. Thou didst promise to remain with us, to be ever watchful of faith's progress in souls, and to cause the pure delights of divine union to be ever developing there. Keep thy promise; because of thy going away to Jesus, thy word is none the less plighted to those who, like ourselves, could not know thee here below. For to those who have not seen thy face in the flesh, thou hast left, in one of thine immortal Epistles, the assurance that thou wilt take care that their hearts be comforted, being instructed in charity, and unto all riches of fullness of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ Jesus, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Coloss. ii. 1-3).
During this season of the sacred cycle, the reign of the Holy Spirit Who formeth saints (Rom. viii), grant that Christians of good will may be brought to understand how, by their very baptism, they are put in possession of that sublime vocation which is too often imagined to be the happy lot of but a chosen few. Oh! would that they could seize this grand yet very simple idea, which thou hast given of the mystery wherein is contained the absolute and universal principle of Christian Life (Ibid. vi); that, having been buried with Jesus under the waters, and thereby incorporated with Him, they must necessarily be bound by every right and title to become saints, to aim at union with Jesus in His Life, since they have been granted union with Him in His Death. Ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Coloss. iii. 3) these were the words addressed by thee to our forefathers: oh! then, repeat them to us likewise, for thou didst give them as a truth intended for all without distinction! Suffer not, O Doctor of us, Gentiles, that the light grow dim among us, to the great detriment of the Lord and of His Bride.