March 24, 2017: ST. GABRIEL, ARCHANGEL & ST. SIMON OF TRENT
March 24: ST. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL
Rank: Greater Double.
Today, the eve of the Annunciation, it is just that we should honour St. Gabriel the Archangel. Tomorrow we shall see this heavenly ambassador of the blessed Trinity coming down to the Holy Virgin of Nazareth.
In the Gospel According to St. Luke, St. Gabriel the Archangel tells Zachary that he stands before the face of God (St. Luke i. 19). He is also the Angel of the Incarnation, which feast is celebrated tomorrow (The Annunciation).
This Archangel prepares for this sublime office, even in the Old Testament. First of all, he appeared to Prophet Daniel, and such was the majesty of his person that Daniel fell on his face trembling. (Dan. viii. 17). Shortly afterwards, he appeared again to the same prophet, telling him the exact time of the coming of the Messias: 'Know thou and take notice: that from the going forth of the word to build up Jerusalem again, unto Christ the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks,' (Dan. ix. 25) that is, sixty-nine weeks of years.
When the fullness of time had come, and Heaven was about to send the last of the prophets (St. John, the Baptist) , who, is to preach to men, the approach of the Messias, in the words: 'Behold the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world,' Gabriel descends from Heaven to the temple of Jerusalem, and prophesies to Zachary the birth of John the Baptist, (St. Luke i. 13) which was to be followed by that of Jesus Himself.
Six months later on, the holy Archangel again appears on the earth; and brings the News of all news to the Virgin Mary; he has been sent to her by the most high God, to offer her the immense honour of becoming the ‘Mother of God’. It is the Archangel Gabriel that receives the great Fiat, the consent of Mary.
The hour at length came, when the Mother of the Emmanuel was to bring forth the blessed Fruit of her virginal Womb. Jesus was born amidst poverty; but Heaven willed that His crib should be surrounded by fervent adorers. An Angel appeared to some shepherds (St. Luke ii. 10), inviting them to go to the stable in Bethlehem. He is accompanied by a multitude of the heavenly army, sweetly singing their hymn: 'Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will!' This Angel, who is continuing his ministry as messenger of the good tidings, is the Archangel Gabriel, according to the opinion of several learned writers.
Lastly, when Jesus is suffering His agony in the garden of Gethsemani, an Angel appears to Him, not merely as a witness of His sufferings, but that he might strengthen Him under the fear His human nature felt at the thought of the chalice of the Passion He was about to drink. (St. Luke xxii. 42, 43) This Angel is the Archangel Gabriel, as we learn from the writings of several holy and learned authors.
The Archangel Gabriel prepares the way for Jesus. He foretells the precise time of His coming; he announces the birth of His Precursor; he is present at the solemn moment when the Word is made Flesh; he invites the shepherds of Bethlehem to come to the crib, and adore the Divine Babe; and when Jesus, in His agony, is to receive strength from one of His own creatures, Gabriel is found ready in the garden of Gethsemani, as he had been at Nazareth and Bethlehem.
Pray for us Oh Holy Archangel Gabriel,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!
March 24, 2017: ST. SIMON, AN INFANT OF TRENT, MARTYR
In the year 1472, when the Jews of Trent (famous for the last general council held there) met in their synagogue on Tuesday in Holy Week, to deliberate on the preparations for the approaching festival of the Passover, which fell that year on the Thursday following, they came to a resolution of sacrificing to their inveterate hatred of the Christian name, some Christian infant on the Friday following, or Good Friday. A Jewish physician undertook to procure such an infant for the horrid purpose. And while the Christians were at the office of Tenebræ on Wednesday evening, he found a child called Simon, about two years old, whom, by caresses, and by showing him a piece of money, he decoyed from the door of a house, the master and mistress whereof were gone to church, and carried him off. On Thursday evening the principal Jews shut themselves up in a chamber adjoining to their synagogue, and at midnight began their cruel butchery of this innocent victim. Having stopped his mouth with an apron, to prevent his crying out, they made several incisions in his body, gathering his blood in a basin. Some, all this while, held his arms stretched out in the form of a cross: others held his legs. The child being half dead, they raised him on his feet, and while two of them held him by the arms, the rest pierced his body on all sides with their awls and bodkins. When they saw the child had expired, they sung round it: "In the same manner did we treat Jesus, the God of the Christians: thus may our enemies be confounded forever." The magistrates and parents making strict search after the lost child, the Jews hid it first in a barn of hay, then in a cellar, and at last threw it into the river. But God confounded all their endeavors to prevent the discovery of the fact, which being fully proved upon them, with its several circumstances, they were put to death: the principal actors in the tragedy being broke upon the wheel and burnt. The synagogue was destroyed, and a chapel was erected on the spot where the child was martyred. God honored this innocent victim with many miracles. The relics lie in a stately tomb in St. Peter's church at Trent: and his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology.
Taken from: The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints
Also see: www.stsimonoftrent.com