But no apostolic cause was dearer to the heart of this great man of faith than that of the unity and harmony within the Church. It was as if he had always before his mind the prayer of Jesus, on the night before his Sacrifice on the Cross: “That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us”.
Today the Church solemnly recalls with love and gratitude all his efforts to resist threats of disunity and to encourage the clergy and faithful to maintain unity with the See of Peter and the universal Church. His success in this, as in all his many undertakings, was undoubtedly due to the intense charity and prayer which characterized his daily life, his close communion with Christ and his love for the Church as the visible Body of Christ on earth.
Saint John Paul II Homily for the Beatification of Kuriakose Elias Chavara 8 February 1986, Kottayam
Born about 1305 in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelites when he was twenty-one. He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches. He was translated to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363, he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta on Cyprus in 1366.
From the Common of Pastors
Office of Readings
The First Reading 1 Timothy 1:1-7, 15-19, 2:1-8
A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy
The calling of a pastor
From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.
As I asked you when I was leaving for Macedonia, please stay at Ephesus, to insist that certain people stop teaching strange doctrines and taking notice of myths and endless genealogies; these things are only likely to raise irrelevant doubts instead of furthering the design of God which are revealed in faith. The only purpose of this instruction is that there should be love, coming out of a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. There are some people who have gone off the straight course and taken a road that leads to empty speculation; they claim to be doctors of the Law, but they understand neither the arguments they are using nor the opinions they are upholding.
Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life. To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Timothy, my son, these are the instructions that I am giving you: I ask you to remember the words once spoken over you by the prophets, and taking them to heart to fight like a good soldier with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.
My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone — petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving — and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our Savior: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and — I am telling the truth and no lie — a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.
In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.
R/. Bear with one another in love; do all that you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together; there is one body and one Spirit, * — just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. V/. A servant of the Lord is to aim for holiness and faith, love, and peace, in union with all those who call on the Lord with pure minds; * — just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.
The Second Reading Bk I, Ch 6
A reading from The Book of the Institution of the First Monks
Love your neighbor as yourself
The Lord says, “The man who hears My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.” And the first of all commandments is: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. This is the greatest and first commandment.” This cannot be observed without love of neighbor, because “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen;” “and the second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” namely, in the things and for the reason that you love yourself. “His soul hates him who loves violence,” says the Psalmist. Therefore, love your neighbor as yourself in good and not in evil, and “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” and “what you hate, do not do to anyone.” Thus, you must love your neighbor, and so act that he becomes just if he is wicked, or remains just if he is good.
Again you must love yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God. Whatever is loved because of itself is thus made a source of joy and a happy life, the hope of attaining which is comforting even on earth. But you must not place the hope of a blessed life in yourself or another man. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Therefore, you must make the Lord the source of your joy and the happy life, as the apostle says: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If you understand this clearly, you must love God because of Himself, and yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God; and, since you must love your neighbor as yourself, you must love him, not because of himself, nor because of yourself, but because of God, and what else is this but to love God in your neighbor? “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandment.” In the preparation of your soul you do all of this if you love God because of Himself and your neighbor as yourself because of God. “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
R/. With all our hearts we desired nothing better than to share with you our own lives, as well as God’s gospel, * — so greatly had we learned to love you. V/. My little children, I am in travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you, * — so greatly had we learned to love you.
You inspired in Your bishop St. Peter Thomas
an intense desire to promote peace and Christian unity.
Following His example
may we live steadfast in the faith
and work perseveringly for peace.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. I am the good shepherd; I lay down my life for my sheep; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Canticle of Mary
Ant.May the peace of Christ fill your hearts with joy, that peace to which all of you are called as one body.
Raphael Kalinowski was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. Following military service, he was condemned in 1864 to ten years of forced labor in Siberia. In 1877 he became a Carmelite and was ordained a priest in 1882. He contributed greatly to the restoration of the Discalced Carmelites in Poland. His life was distinguished by zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907.
From the common of pastors or of holy men (religious)
Office of Readings
From the exhortations of Saint Raphael, Religious
(C. Gil, O. Rafal Kalinowski, pp. 109-110)
You must be holy
The Holy Scriptures praise nothing more than a perfect and holy life lived in the exact and perfect fulfillment of each one’s duties. In the Old Testament our Lord and God taught his people and told them: You must be holy because I am holy.
The Eternal Father gave us our Lord Jesus Christ as our teacher, master, and guide. He confirmed and ratified the Old Testament injunction where he taught us that we must emulate the holiness of the Father: You must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect. How does one become perfect and holy? The Doctors of the Church, the leaders of souls, and the masters of the spiritual life answer: If you would be perfect and become holy, fulfill your duties faithfully.
Once a desert father was asked by a certain young hermit what books he ought to study in order to advance in holiness. The old man replied: My practice is to read two books only. In the morning hours I read the Gospel, and in the evening I read the Rule. The first teaches me the way I should walk as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. The other teaches me what I should do to be a good religious. That is enough for me.
Let us, therefore, be students of the laws of God so that we may conduct ourselves according to them. When you walk, these will guide you; when you lie down, watch over you; when you wake, talk with you. Wherever we may be or go, may they go with us to direct our footsteps. May they be so near us when we sleep that they may fill our thoughts as soon as we awaken. His voice will speak to us in them. He will refresh us for the day ahead. Through his laws, we will gain the victory over our doubts. We will cast away every obstacle. We will free ourselves of that sluggishness of nature which is the enemy of strength, the foe of devotion, and the lover of ease. The law of life will help us to overcome our fears in the time of temptation and to follow eagerly in the way of obedience. May it always be at hand to counsel us, so that by it we may find the strength to follow God’s call with generous hearts and willing souls.
Free your minds, then, of encumbrances, since it is the Holy One who has called you —be holy in all you do.
For it is I, the Lord, who am your God;
you have been sanctified and have become holy because I am holy. —be holy in all you do.
Lord God, you made your priest Saint Raphael
strong in adversity and filled him with
a great love in promoting Church unity.
Through his prayers, make us strong in faith
and in love for one another,
that we too may generously work together
for the unity of all believers in Christ.
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.