ST. POLYCARP, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of St. John. He wrote to the Philippians, exhorting them to mutual love and to hatred of heresy. When the apostate Marcion met St. Polycarp at Rome, he asked the aged Saint if he knew him. "Yes," St. Polycarp answered, "I know you for the first-born of Satan." These were the words of a Saint most loving and most charitable, and specially noted for his compassion to sinners. He hated heresy, because he loved God and man so much. In 167, persecution broke out in Smyrna. When Polycarp heard that his pursuers were at the door, he said, "The will of God be done; " and meeting them, he begged to be left alone for a little time, which he spent in prayer for "the Catholic Church throughout the world." He was brought to Smyrna early on Holy Saturday; and, as he entered, a voice was heard from heaven, "Polycarp, be strong." When the proconsul besought him to curse Christ and go free, Polycarp answered, "Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" When he threatened him with fire, Polycarp told him this fire of his lasted but a little, while the fire prepared for the wicked lasted forever. At the stake he thanked God aloud for letting him drink of Christ's chalice. The fire was lighted, but it did him no hurt; so he was stabbed to the heart, and his dead body was burnt. "Then," say the writers of his acts, "we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!"
Reflection .—If we love Jesus Christ, we shall love the Church and hate heresy, which rends His mystical body, and destroys the souls for which He died. Like St. Polycarp, we shall maintain our constancy in the faith by loves of Jesus Christ, Who is its author and its finisher.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Dan 3, 84, 87
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye holy and humble of heart, praise God. Dan. 3, 57 All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him above all forever. Glory be …
O God, who dost gladden us with the yearly festival of blessed Polycarp, Thy martyr and bishop, mercifully grant that, as we venerate his festival, we may also rejoice in his protection. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 1 John 3, 10-16
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed John the Apostle.
[Of the love of God to us. How we may distinguish the children of God and those of the devil. Of loving one another and of purity of conscience. ]
Most dearly beloved, Whosoever is not just, is not of God, nor he that loveth not his brother. For this is the declaration, which you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of the wicked one, and killed his brother. And wherefore did he kill him? Because his own works were wicked: and his brother' s just. Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself. In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Gradual • Ps. 8, 6, 7
Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor. And hast set him over the works of Thy hands, O Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia. This is the priest whom the Lord hath crowned. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 10, 26-32
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, nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.
Offertory • Ps. 88, 21, 22
I have found David My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him; for My hand shall help him and My arm shall strengthen him. Through our Lord.
Sanctify, O Lord, the gifts dedicated to Thee, and by the intercession of blessed Polycarp, Thy martyr and bishop, look upon them with approval. Through our Lord.
Communion • Ps. 20, 4
Thou hast set on his head, O Lord, a crown of precious stones.
Refreshed by participation in the sacred gift, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that, through the intercession of blessed Polycarp, Thy martyr and bishop, we may ever experience the effect of the worship we offer. Through our Lord.