Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Commenting yesterday on St. Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus allowed Pope Benedict to reflect on the life of the early Church, which his fans will know is one of his favorite subjects.
GENERAL AUDIENCE ADDRESS
January 28, 2009
Dear brothers and sisters:
The final letters of the Pauline collection, about which I would like to speak today, are called the pastoral letters, because they were sent to unique figures among the pastors of the Church: two to Timothy and one to Titus, close collaborators with St. Paul.
In Timothy, the Apostle saw almost an alter ego; in fact he entrusted him with important missions (in Macedonia: cf. Acts 19:22; in Thessalonica: cf. 1 Timothy 3:6-7; in Corinth: cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10-11) and afterward he wrote flattering praise of him: “For I have no one comparable to him for genuine interest in whatever concerns you” (Philippians 2:20).
According to the 4th-century Church History of Eusebius of Caesarea, Timothy was later the first bishop of Ephesus (cf. 3,4).
Regarding Titus, he must have also been very beloved by the Apostle, who defined him explicitly as “full of zeal … my companion and collaborator” (2 Corinthians 8:17,23), and even more “my true son in the common faith” (Titus 1:4). He had been entrusted with a couple very delicate missions in the Church of Corinth, the results of which comforted Paul (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:6-7,13; 8:6). Straight away, from what we know, Titus caught up to Paul in Nicopolis of Epirus, in Greece (cf. Titus 3:12) and was later sent by him to Dalmatia (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10). According to the letter directed to him, he ended up being the bishop of Crete (cf. Titus 1:5).
The letters directed to these two pastors occupy an entirely unique spot in the New Testament. It seems to the majority of exegetes today that these letters wouldn’t have been written by Paul himself, and that their origin would be in the “Pauline school” and reflected his inheritance to a new generation, perhaps integrating some brief writing or word from the Apostle himself. For example, some words from the Second Letter to Timothy seem so authentic that they could only have come from the heart and lips of the Apostle.
Praise the holy name of the Lord;
the heart that seeks him will rejoice.
From the Catholic News Agency:
Villana de’Botti was a wife and a Third Order Dominican. She was born in Florence in 1332. She was a very pious child, and at age 13 she ran away from home to join a convent. She was refused and returned home. Soon after, her family married her to Rosso di Piero.
The rejection at the convent and the marriage seemed to change Villana. She became lazy and worldly, concerned only with pleasure. One day, as she was getting dressed, her reflection in her mirrors suddenly changed to a demon. Villana understood this to be a reflection of her sinful soul. She tore off her clothes, put on something poor and simple, and ran to the Dominican Fathers for help.
She became a Dominican tertiary, concentrated on her vocation of married life, and spent her free time praying and reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. She was given to religious ecstasies at Mass, visions of Our Lady and the saints, and had the gift of prophecy. She became the object of much ridicule and slander, but even her fiercest opponents eventually came to see her as a living saint.
She died in 1361 of natural causes at the age of 30. Her body was taken to the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, which was under the care of the Dominican Fathers. The priests were unable to bury her for a month due to the constant crowd of mourners. She was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1824.
O God, our merciful Father,
you called Blessed Villana back
from the emptiness of the world
and aroused in her a spirit
of humility and true penitence.
Recreate in our hearts the power of your love
and, filled by that same spirit,
may we serve you in newness of life.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
This news clip is a couple of years old, but it covers the yearly celebration of the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in Toulouse, the southern French city where the Angelic Doctor’s relics are enshrined. Toulouse’s old Jacobins (Dominican) church and priory are now state owned (thank you French Revolution!), but the Dominicans there are allowed access to the church once a year to celebrate Aquinas’s feast and venerate his relics. As you can see, they do it well.