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JPII and St. Nicholas

Friday, October 14, 2016

The "Banker" turned Undertaker St. Callistus


 
Along the lines of St. Matthew and T.S. Eliot, Today’s St. Callistus the 1st was a repentant banker.  Early on in his life, he squandered the entrusted funds of widows in Rome. 

Sent to the mines to do hard labor, Callistus later encountered the mercy of Christ in his exile and was released on account of his own confession of faith.  As proof of his repentance, he took charge of a cemetery in Rome, which was posthumously named the Catacombs of St. Callistus. 

JPII says of the place:

«I am conscious of the important historical and spiritual significance of these monuments» John Paul II said in a recent address to the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology. «By visiting these monuments, one comes into contact with the evocative traces of early Christianity, and one can, so to speak, tangibly sense the faith that motivated these ancient Christian communities... How can we fail to be moved by the humble but eloquent traces of these first witnesses to the faith?». Then considering the goals of the Year 2000, the Pope concluded: «Today attention is focused on the historic event of the Great Jubilee, when the Roman catacombs will again become a favourite place of prayer and pilgrimage... Together with the great Roman basilicas, the catacombs should be a necessary destination for the Holy Year pilgrims».[1]       

From squandering money at the bank for widows to his conversion as an undertaker, St. Callistus could have been remembered merely for the events of his early life.  But he actually was elected Pope in the 3rd Century AD!  Then he was martyred in Rome, not far from where he had been a banker years before.



[1] http://www.vatican.va//jubilee_2000/magazine/documents/ju_mag_01091997_p-70_en.html#top

Monday, October 10, 2016

Santa Maria


 
Coming from Columbus, Ohio I have always admired Christopher Columbus.  There is a beautiful replica of his flagship, Santa Maria, in my hometown and I have boarded it many times for tours, etc.  The Knights of Columbus are named after the Explorer of course and JPII was a staunch advocate of theirs, including in his native Poland.

Rather than try to defend Columbus or the Knights, who are easily defended in the faith, I was impressed a few years ago to see Apocalypto.  This is the story of a native of the new world who was captured and nearly subjected to human sacrifice.  He then escaped, and after finding his family well, views in the distant a ship much like the Santa Maria. 

The question is, were the natives of the New World better off without the Conquistadors like Columbus?  Were they better off with human sacrifice and slavery by dominant tribes?