Sunday, March 27, 2011

Commemorating the Last of the Fathers, the First of the Scholastics


Share/Bookmark From Matins of the Feast of St. John Damascene, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
Online Source: www.breviary.net

Absolutio: Ipsíus píetas et misericórdia nos ádjuvet, qui cum Patre et Spíritu Sancto vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.R.  Amen.
Absolution:  May his loving-kindness and mercy assist us.  Who, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, for ever and ever.
R.  Amen.
V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 4: Deus Pater omnípotens sit nobis propítius et clemens.
R.  Amen.
Benediction 4:  May God the Father Almighty shew us his mercy and pity.
R.  Amen.
Lesson iv
Joánnes, a pátrio loco Damascénus dictus, nóbili génere natus, humánis divinísque lítteris a Cosma mónacho Constantinópoli fuit excúltus ; cumque ea tempestáte imperátor Leo Isáuricus nefário bello sacrárum imáginum cultum insectarétur, Joánnes, hortátu Gregórii tértii Románi Pontíficis, et sermóne et scriptis sanctitátem illíus cultus sédulo propugnávit.  Quo facto tantam Leónis advérsum se invídiam concitávit, ut hic confíctis lítteris ipsum tamquam proditórem accusárit apud Damásci calípham, qui Joánne consiliário et adminístro utebátur.  Crédulus fraudi princeps Joánni nequídquam calúmniam ejuránti præcídi déxteram jussit.  Verum innocéntiæ vindex ádfuit cliénti suo sanctíssima Virgo, cujus opem précibus eníxe imploráverat, ejúsque benefício trunca manus restitúta ita bráchio coáluit, ac si divísa numquam fuísset.  Quo máxime miráculo permótus Joánnes, quod pridem ánimo concéperat, éxsequi státuit.  Itaque ægre a calípha impetráto secéssu, suas omnes facultátes in egénos distríbuit, et servos libertáte donávit ; tum sacra Palæstínæ loca peregrínus lustrávit, ac demum una cum Cosma institutóre suo in lauram sancti Sabbæ prope Hierosólymam concéssit, ibíque présbyter initiátus est.
This John is called John of Damascus, from his native place.  He was of noble birth, and studied sacred and profane letters at Constantinople, under the monk Cosmas.  At what time the Emperor Leo the Isaurian was making a wicked attack upon the honouring of holy images, John, at the desire of the Roman Pontiff Gregory III, earnestly defended both by his words and his writings, the holiness of this honour.  By this he roused against him so great a hatred on the part of Leo, that that Prince, by forged letters, accused John as a traitor to the Caliph of Damascus, whom he was serving as a councillor and minister.  John denied the charge, but the Caliph was deceived by it, and caused his right hand to be cut off.  He called earnestly for the help of the most holy Virgin, and she manifested the innocency of her servant by reuniting his hand to his arm, as though it had never been cut off.  This miracle moved John to carry out a design which he had long had in mind.  He obtained from the Caliph, albeit with difficulty, leave to go away, distributed all his goods to feed the poor, and freed all his slaves, then visited as a pilgrim the holy places in Palestine, and at length withdrew, along with his teacher Cosmas, to the monastery of St. Saba, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.  There he was ordained priest.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.

The monastery of Mar Saba
R.  Honéstum fecit illum Dóminus, et custodívit eum ab inimícis, et a seductóribus tutávit illum : * Et dedit illi claritátem ætérnam.V.  Justum dedúxit Dóminus per vias rectas, et osténdit illi regnum Dei.
R.  Et dedit illi claritátem ætérnam.
R.  The Lord multiplied the fruit of his labours and defended him from his enemies, and kept him safe from those that lay in wait. * And gave him perpetual glory.
V.  The Lord guided the righteous in right paths, and shewed him the kingdom of God.
R.  And gave him perpetual glory.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 5: Christus perpétuæ det nobis gáudia vitæ.R.  Amen.
Benediction 5: May Christ bestow upon us the joys of life eternal.
R.  Amen.
Lesson v
In religióne vitæ palæstra præclarióra virtútum exémpla mónachis præbuit, demissiónis potíssimum et obediéntiæ.  Abjectíssima quæque cœnóbii múnia véluti sibi própria deposcébat, ac sédulo obíbat.  Contéxtas a se spórtulas venditáre Damásci jussus, in ea nimírum civitáte ubi olim summis honóribus perfúnctus fúerat, irrisiónes ac ludíbria vulgi ávide captábat.  Obediéntiam ádeo cóluit, ut non modo ad quémlibet prǽsidum nutum præsto esset ; sed ne causam quidem eórum quæ præcipiebántur, quamvis árdua essent et insólita, quæréndam sibi umquam putárit.  Inter has virtútum exercitatiónes, cathólicum dogma de sanctárum imáginum cultu impénse tuéri numquam déstitit.  Quare ut ante Leónis Isáurici, ita póstmodum Constantíni Coprónymi advérsum se ódia vexationésque provocávit ; eo vel magis quod líbere arrogántiam imperatórum retúnderet, qui fídei negótia pertractáre, deque his senténtiam arbitrátu suo ferre audébant.
As a monk John set a bright example to all the others, especially as regarded lowliness and obedience.  He sought for the lowest offices in the community, as though they were in a peculiar sense his own, and fulfilled them with the greatest care.  When he was sent to Damascus to sell baskets made by himself, he welcomed the mockery and jests of the lowest classes in that city where he had before time been charged with the most honourable offices.  He was so devoted to obedience that he not only started up to obey every nod of his superiors, but also never thought it right to ask the reason of any duty laid upon him, however difficult or however strange it might be.  While thus living he never ceased earnestly to defend the Catholic doctrine as to the honouring of holy images.  For this reason he drew upon himself the hatred and persecution of the Emperor Constantine Copronymus, as he had first done that of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian, and this all the more because he freely rebuked the arrogance of these Emperors, who must needs take in hand matters concerning the faith, and pronounce sentence upon them according to their own judgment.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Amávit eum Dóminus, et ornávit eum : stolam glóriæínduit eum, * Et ad portas paradísi coronávit eum.V.  Induit eum Dóminus lorícam fídei, et ornávit eum.
R.  Et ad portas paradísi coronávit eum.
R.  The Lord loved him and adorned him; he clothed him with a robe of glory : * And crowned him at the gates of Paradise.V.  The Lord hath put on him the breast-plate of faith, and hath adorned him.
R.  And crowned him at the gates of Paradise.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 6: Ignem sui amóris accéndat Deus in córdibus nostris.
R.  Amen.
Benediction 6: May God enkindle in our hearts the fire of his holy love.
R.  Amen.
Lesson vi
Mirum sane est quam multa tum ad fidem tutándam, tum ad pietátem fovéndam, et solúta et adstrícta númeris oratióne, Joánnes elucubráverit ; dignus sane qui ab áltera Nicæna synodo amplíssimis láudibus celebrarétur, et ob áureum oratiónis flumen Chrysórrhoas appellarétur.  Neque solum contra Iconómachos orthodóxam fidem deféndit ; sed omnes ferme hæréticos, præsértim Acéphalos, Monothelítas, Theopaschítas strénue impugnávit.  Ecclésiæ jura potestatémque egrégie vindicávit.  Primátum Príncipis Apostolórum disertíssimis verbis asséruit ; ipsúmque ecclesiárum cólumen, infráctam petram, orbis terrárum magístrum et moderatórem sæpius nóminat.  Univérsa autem ejus scripta non modo eruditióne et doctrína præstant, sed étiam quemdam ingénuæ pietátis sensum prǽferunt, præcípue cum Genitrícis Dei laudes prǽdicat, quam singulári cultu et amóre prosequebátur.  Illud vero máxime in laudem Joánnis cedit, quod primus univérsam theologíam recto órdine comprehénderit et sancti Thomæ viam complanáverit ad sacram doctrínam tam præclára méthodo tractándam.  Tandem vir sanctíssimus méritis plenus devexáque jam ætáte, in pace Christi quiévit anno círciter septingentésimo quinquagésimo quarto.  Ejus Offícium et Missam Leo décimus tértius Póntifex máximus, áddito Doctóris título, univérsæ Ecclésiæ concéssit.
It is a marvel how many things John devised both for the protection of the faith, and for the encouragement of godliness, and expressed in his writings both in prose and verse.  He was worthy of the high praise which was given him by the Second Council of Nice.  On account of the golden streams of his eloquence, he was surnamed Chrysorrhoas, or John of the golden streams.  It was not against the enemies of holy images alone that he defended the orthodox faith.  He fought stoutly against the Acephali, the Monothelites, and the Theopaschites.  He maintained the laws and the power of the Church.  He taught with great learning the Primacy of the Prince of the Apostles, and many times calleth him the Pillar of the Churches, the unbroken rock, and the Teacher and Ruler of the world.  The whole of his writings are not only steeped in learning and teaching, but have a certain savour or simple piety, especially when he is praising the Mother of God, toward whom he was filled with a special reverence and love.  But the greatest praise of John is that he was the first who arranged in order a complete course of theology, and prepared the way in which holy Thomas Aquinas hath so clearly dealt with the whole body of sacred doctrine.  This truly holy man, full of days and good works, fell asleep in the peace of Christ about the year of salvation 754.  The supreme Pontiff, Leo XIII, established his office and Mass throughout the universal Church, whereof he also gave him the title of doctor.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.

The Cathedral of St. John Baptist, Damascus
now in the hands of the infidel and desecrated as a mosque
R.  Iste homo perfécit ómnia quæ locútus est ei Deus, et dixit ad eum : Ingrédere in réquiem meam : * Quia te vidi justum coram me ex ómnibus géntibus.
V.  Iste est, qui contémpsit vitam mundi, et pervénit ad cæléstia regna.
R.  Quia te vidi justum coram me ex ómnibus géntibus.
V.  Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R.  Quia te vidi justum coram me ex ómnibus géntibus.
R.  This is he which did according to all that God commanded him ; and God said unto him : Enter thou into my rest : * For thee have I seen righteous before me among all people.V.  This is he which despised his life in this world, and is come unto an everlasting kingdom.
R.  For thee have I seen righteous before me among all people.V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R.  For thee have I seen righteous before me among all people.

The Tomb and Cave of St. John of Damascus
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