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ST. PAUL was born at Tarsus, of Jewish parents, and studied at Jerusalem, at the feet of Gamaliel. While still a young man, he held the clothes of those who stoned the proto-martyr Stephen; and in his restless zeal he pressed on to Damascus, "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ." But near Damascus a light from heaven struck him to the earth. He heard a voice which said, "Why persecutest thou Me? " He saw the form of Him Who had been crucified for his sins, and then for three days he saw nothing more. He awoke from his trance another man—a new creature in Jesus Christ. He left Damascus for a long retreat in Arabia, and then, at the call of God, he carried the Gospel to the uttermost limits of the world, and for years he lived and labored with no thought but the thought of Christ crucified, no desire but to spend and be spent for Him. He became the apostle of the Gentiles, whom he had been taught to hate, and wished himself anathema for his own countrymen, who sought his life. Perils by land and sea could not damp his courage, nor toil and suffering and age dull the tenderness of his heart. At last he gave blood for blood. In his youth he had imbibed the false zeal of the Pharisees at Jerusalem, the holy city of the former dispensation. With St. Peter he consecrated Rome, our holy city, by his martyrdom, and poured into its Church all his doctrine with all his blood. He left fourteen Epistles, which have been a fountain-head of the Church's doctrine, the consolation and delight of her greatest Saints. His interior life, so far as words can tell it, lies open before us in these divine writings, the life of one who has died forever to himself and risen again in Jesus Christ. "In what," says St. Chrysostom, "in what did this blessed one gain an advantage over the other apostles? How comes it that he lives in all men's mouths throughout the world? Is it not through the virtue of his Epistles?" Nor will his work cease while the race of man continues. Even now, like a most chivalrous knight, he stands in our midst, and takes captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Reflection. —St. Paul complains that all seek the things which are their own, and not the things which are Christ's. See if these words apply to you, and resolve to give yourself without reserve to God.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
I know Whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day; being a just judge. Ps. 138, 1, 2. Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me: Thou has known my sitter down, and my rising up. Glory be …
O God, Who didst teach the multitude of the nations by the preaching of the blessed apostle, Paul, grant us, we beseech Thee, that, venerating his natal day, we may experience the benefits of his intercession with Thee. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St. Peter.
O God, Who in conferring upon blessed Peter, Thine apostle, the keys of the heavenly kingdom, didst commit to him the priestly power of binding and losing, grant that, by the help of his intercession, we may be delivered from the bonds of our sin.
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.
[He blames the Galatians for suffering themselves to be imposed upon by new teachers. The apostle's calling.]
BRETHREN, I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion: how that, beyond measure, I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it. And I made progress in the Jews' religion above many of my equals in my own nation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased him, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, immediately I condescended not to flesh and blood. Neither went I to Jerusalem, to the apostles who were before me: but I went into Arabia, and again I returned to Damascus. Then, after three years, I went to Jerusalem, to see Peter, and I tarried with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord. Now the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I lie not.
He who wrought in Peter to the apostleship, wrought in me also among the gentiles, and they knew the grace of God, which was given to me. The grace of God in me hath not been void; but His raced always remaineth in me.Alleluia, alleluia. Holy apostle Paul, preacher of truth, and doctor of the Gentiles, intercede for us. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[Christ sends out his twelve apostles, with the power of miracles. The lessons he gives them.]
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.
To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened.
Moved by the prayers of Thine apostle, Paul, O Lord, do Thou sanctify the gifts of Thy people, that what is pleasing to Thee, Who hast ordained it, may be the more pleasing by the patronage of his supplication. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St. Peter.
Sanctify, O Lord, the offerings of Thy people, by the prayer of Thine apostle Peter, that those things which are pleasing to Thee by Thine own institution may become the more pleasing by the favor of his intercession.
Amen I say to you, that you who have left all things, and have followed Me, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
Having partaken of Thy sacraments, O Lord, we implore Thee, that what we have celebrated in honor of blessed Paul, Thine apostle, may, by his intercession, avail us as a healing remedy. Through our Lord.
Commemoraton of St. Peter
May the gift we have offered fill our hearts with joy, O Lord, that, as we declare Thee wonderful in Thine apostle Peter, so through him we may receive the abundance of Thy pardon.