July 13, 2017: ST. ANACLETUS
July 13, 2017: ST. ANACLETUS, POPE AND MARTYR
“This saint fought even unto death for the law of his God, and feared not the words of the wicked; for he was founded on a firm rock.”
O God, who, by the yearly solemnity of blessed Anacletus thy Martyr and Bishop, rejoicest the hearts of thy faithful: mercifully grant that we, who celebrate his martyrdom, may enjoy his protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
The name of Anacletus (25 A.D. – 88 A.D.) sounds like a lingering echo of the solemnity of June 29th. Linus, Clement, and Cletus, the immediate successors of St. Peter, received from his hands the pontifical consecration; Anacletus had a less but still inestimable glory of being ordained priest by the Vicar of the Man-God... It was also during his pontificate that the Eternal City had the glory of receiving within its walls the beloved disciple, who had come to fulfil his promise and drink of his Master's chalice. “O happy Church,” exclaims Tertullian, “into whose bosom the Apostles poured not only all their teaching, but their very blood; where Peter imitated his Lord's Passion by dying on the cross; where Paul, like John the Baptist, received his crown by means of the sword; whence the Apostle John, after coming forth safe and sound from the boiling oil, was sent to the isle of his banishment.”
By the almighty power of the Spirit of Pentecost, the progress of the faith in Rome was proportionate to the bountiful graces of our Lord. Little by little the great Babylon, drunk with the blood of the martyrs, was being transformed into the Holy City. This new-born race, so full of promise for the future, could already reckon among its members representatives of every class of society. Beside the boiling cauldron where the Prophet of Patmos (St. John the Apostle & Evangelist) did homage to the New Jerusalem by offering within her walls his glorious confession, two consuls, one representing the ancient patrician rank, the other the more modern nobility of the Cæsars, Acilius Glabrio, and Flavius Clemens, together fell by the sword of martyrdom. Anacletus adorned the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, and provided a burial-place for the other pontiffs. Following his example, the distinguished families of Rome opened galleries for subterranean cemeteries, all along the roads leading to the imperial city. There rest innumerable soldiers of Christ, victorious by their blood; and there, too, sleep in peace with the anchor of salvation beside them, the most illustrious names of earth.
Following is the narrative given us by the Church, for this day.
Anacletus, an Athenian by birth, governed the Church in the days of the Emperor Trajan. He decreed that a bishop should be consecrated by no fewer than three bishops; that clerics should be publicly admitted to Holy Orders, by their own bishop; and that at Mass all should communicate after the Consecration. He adorned the tomb of blessed Peter, and set aside a place for the burial of the Pontiffs. He held two ordinations in the month of December, and made five priests, three deacons, and six bishops. Having sat in St. Peter's Chair nine years, three months, and ten days, he was crowned with martyrdom and buried on the Vatican.
Taken from: The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II,
The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. IV, Dublin, Edition 1901.
Pray for us, Pope St. Anacletus;
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.