Sts. Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus
AFTER the miraculous victory obtained by the prayer; of the Christians under Marcus Aurelius, in 174, the Church enjoyed a kind of peace, though it was often disturbed in particular places by popular commotions, or by the superstitious fury of certain governors. This appears from the violent persecution which was raised three years after the aforesaid victory, at Vienne and Lyons, in 177, whilst St. Pothinus was Bishop of Lyons, and St. Irenæus, who had been sent thither by St. Polycarp out of Asia, was a priest of that city. Many of the principal Christians were brought before the Roman governor. Among them was a slave, Blandina: and her mistress, also a Christian, feared that Blandina lacked strength to brave the torture. She was tormented a whole day through, but she bore it all with joy till the executioners gave up, confessing themselves outdone. Red-hot plates were held to the sides of Sanctus, a deacon of Vienne, till his body became one great sore, and he looked no longer like a man; but in the midst of his tortures he was "bedewed and strengthened by the stream of heavenly water which flows from the side of Christ." Meantime, many confessors were kept in prison and with them were some who had been terrified into apostasy. Even the heathens marked the joy of martyrdom in the Christians who were decked for their eternal espousals, and the misery of the apostates. But the faithful confessors brought back those who had fallen, and the Church, "that Virgin Mother," rejoiced when she saw her children live again in Christ. Some died in prison, the rest were martyred one by one, St. Blandina last of all, after seeing her younger brother put to a cruel death, and encouraging him to victory.
Reflection. —In early times the Christians were called the children of joy. Let us seek the joy of the Holy Spirit to sweeten suffering, to temper earthly delight, till we enter into the joy of Our Lord.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 144, 10, 11
Thy saints, O Lord, shall bless Thee; They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 144, 1. I will extol Thee, O God, my king; and I will bless Thy name for ever, yea for ever and ever. Glory be …
O God, Who dost gladden us with the annual feast of Thy blessed martyrs, Marcelinus, Peter, and Erasmus, grant, we beseech Thee, that as we rejoice in their virtues, we may be quickened by their example. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 1 Peter 1, 3-7
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Peter the Apostle.
[He gives thanks to God for the benefit of our being called to the true faith and to eternal life, into which we are to enter by many tribulations. He exhorts to holiness of life, considering the holiness of God and our redemption by the blood of Christ.]
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that can not fade, reserved in heaven for you, Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.
Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Thy saints, O Lord, shall flourish like the lily, and shall be as the odor of balsam before Thee. Alleluia. Ps. 115,15. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Alleluia.
Gospel • John 15, 5-11
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John.
[A continuation of Christ's discourse to his disciples.]
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples, I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you. In this is my Father glorified; that you bring forth very much fruit, and become my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father's commandments, and do abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled.
Offertory • Ps. 31, 11
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice ye just; and glory all ye right of hear, alleluia, Alleluia.
May this sacrifice, which we offer in commemoration of Thy holy martyrs, O Lord, both loose the bonds of our base instincts and win us the gifts of Thy mercy. Through our Lord.
Communion • Ps. 32, 1
Rejoice in the Lord, ye just, alleluia; praise becometh the upright, alleluia.
Regaled with Thy sacred gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that what we celebrate in the fulfilment of our bounden service, we may feel as the increase of Thy salvation. Through our Lord.