September 23, 2021: POPE ST. LINUS
September 23, 2021: ST. LINUS, POPE AND MARTYR
Simon Barjona was invested with the sovereign pontificate by our Lord in person, and openly before all; thou, O blessed Pontiff, didst receive in secret, yet none the less directly from Jesus, the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
O God, who, by the yearly solemnity of blessed Linus, 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 lives of the first Vicars of Christ are buried in a mysterious obscurity; just as the foundations of a monument built to defy the ravages of time are concealed from view. To be the supports of the everlasting Church is a sufficient glory: sufficient to justify our confidence in them, and to awaken our gratitude. Let us leave the learned to discuss certain points in the following short legend; as for ourselves, we will rejoice with the Church on this feast, and pay our loving veneration to the humble and gentle Pontiff, who was the first laid to rest beside St. Peter in the Vatican crypts.
Pope Linus was born at Volterra in Tuscany, and was the first to succeed St. Peter in the government of the Church. His faith and holiness were so great, that he not only cast out devils, but even raised the dead to life. He wrote the acts of blessed Peter, and in particular what he had done against Simon Magus. He decreed that no woman should enter a church with her head uncovered. On account of his constancy in confessing the Christian faith, this Pontiff was beheaded by command of Saturninus, a wicked and ungrateful ex-consul, whose daughter he had delivered from the tyranny of the devils. He was buried on the Vatican, near the sepulchre of the prince of the apostles, on the ninth of the Kalends of October. He governed the Church eleven years, two months, and twenty-three days. In two ordinations in the month of December he consecrated fifteen bishops and eighteen priests.
Another account of Pope St. Linus.
St. Linus was the immediate successor of St. Peter in the see of Rome, as St. Irenӕus, Eusebius, St. Epiphanius, St. Optatus, St. Austin, and others assure us. Tertullian says that St. Clement was appointed by St. Peter to be his successor; but either he declined that dignity till St. Linus and St. Cletus had preceded him in it, or he was at first only vicar of St. Peter, to govern under him the Gentile converts, whilst that apostle presided over the whole church, yet so as to be chiefly taken up in instructing the Jewish converts, and in preaching abroad. St. Linus, succeeding St. Peter, after his martyrdom, sat twelve years, and is named among the martyrs in the canon of the Roman mass, which is certainly older in this part than the sacramentary of Gelasius, and of the greatest authority in this point. It is not indeed impossible that he might be called a martyr on account of his sufferings for the faith, without dying by the sword. St. Linus was buried on the Vatican hill, near the tomb of St. Peter.
This saint distinguished himself among the illustrious disciples of the apostles, who were formed upon their model to perfect virtue, and filled with the holy spirit of the gospel. How little are we acquainted with this spirit of fervour, charity, meekness, patience, and sincere humility; without which it is in vain that we bear the honourable name of Christians, and are a reproach and scandal to so sacred a profession!
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. V, Edition 1910;
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. II; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
Pope St. Linus, pray for us.