Saint Nicholas of Myra, whose feast was commemorated yesterday, Tuesday, December 6, 2013, was a Successor of the Apostles who had a generous, loving heart in the pattern of the Most Sacred Heart of the Good Shepherd Himself, Christ the King, but who was also a firm and unequivocal foe of the heretic Arius and his heresy, Arianism.
The account of this great saint's life as found in the Blessed Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend is what we should read to our children, not Clement Clarke Moore's '"A Visit from Saint Nicholas," in order to teach our children about Saint Nicholas's unfailing devotion to the cause of dogmatic truth, something that must inspire them to be as courageous as he was in this time of apostasy and betrayal as they grow up with figures of Antichrist all around them. It is appended below for your own meditation on this great feast day.
According an Athenian monk named Damaskinos, Saint Nicholas was imprisoned, albeit for a brief time, after he had slapped Arius at the Council of Nicea:
"The emperor was sitting on this throne, flanked by 159 bishops to his left and 159 to his right. Arian was presenting his views with great vigor and detail. As Saint Nicholas observed the scene, the bishops listened to Arius in complete silence without interrupting his discourse. Outraged and prompted by his saintly vigor, he left his seat and walked up to Arius, faced him squarely and slapped his face.
"At this, the assembly was shocked. Arius's supporters turned to the emperor, asking that he intervene and punish Nicholas. They said, 'Oh Just One, tell us, can it be fair that in your very presence someone should be permitted, without hindrance, to assault another? If he has anything to say in rebuttal, by all means let him have his say. But if he is not sufficiently learned to make a proper argument, then it were better if he remain in his seat, quietly, and listen to others who are prepared to state their case in words.'
'Arius himself spoke directly to the emperor, 'Should anyone who has the temerity to hit me, in from of Your Majesty, remain unpunished?' Emperor Constantine replied, 'Indeed, there is a law which forbids anyone to lift his hand in violence in the presence of the emperor and it specifies that his hand be cut off. However, it is not up to me, in this in Assembly, to act upon it. Instead, Your Holinesses, should make the decision in this case; I leave it to your judgment, whether and how this act is to be punished.'
"The bishops conferred with each other, and when they came to a decision, they said to the emperor, 'Your Majesty, the bishop of Myra has acted wrongfully. We all saw it happen and attest to it. We therefore ask your permission to let us strip him of his clerical garments, shackle him, and place him under guard as a prisoner. In this way, he shall not be permitted to participate in the proceedings of the Council for the rest of the deliberations. Once the synod is completed, a final judgment in his case may be made.'
"As a result, that evening, Nicholas was made a prisoner in another wing of the palace. He was placed in a jail-like room, without his bishop's mantle and shackled on hand and foot. However, during the night he was visited by Jesus [and His] Mother. They observed Saint Nicholas in his cell and said, 'Nicholas, why are you imprisoned?' And Saint Nicholas said, 'Because of my love for you." First they freed him from his shackles. And then Jesus said, 'Take this! and he gave him a volume of the Holy Scripture. Then [Mary] went away, returned, and brought him his bishop's garments, so that he might clothe himself with appropriate dignity. At peace, he studied the Holy Book through the night.
"The next morning, a jailer came to bring him bread, saw that Nicholas was no longer shackled, that he was clothed in the garments of his position, an that he was studying the Scriptures in the cell. Even his stole was in one hand, while he held the book with the other. News of this miraculous event was quickly brought to the emperor. He asked that Nicholas be freed, and when the two men met, the emperor asked the bishop's forgiveness (Ebon, 34-35)." (As found in Joe Wheeler and Jim Rosenthal, St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas, published by Nelson Reference and Electronic, a Division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 2005, pp. 46-47.)
That's the Saint Nicholas we should follow, not the false "Santa Clauses" of the false opposites of Modernity or the false "Santa Clauses" who have given away the Holy Faith in the name of "aggiornamento" and who have given away her moral authority to various "world governing" bodies (see Finishing Off The Overthrow of the Papal States).
The readings for Matins as found in the Divine Office for today's feast provide us with additional inspiration of a saint of true Catholic charity, starting with a love for God and the integrity of His Sacred Deposit of Faith:
Nicolas was born at the famous city of Patara in Lycia. His parents obtained him from God by prayer, and the holiness of his life was marked even from the cradle. When he was at the breast he never would suck more than once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that always after sunset, though he sucked freely on other days. This custom of fasting he never broke through during his whole life. While he was still a young man he lost both his father and mother, after which he gave his whole property away to the poor. One particular example is given of his Christian charity. There was a certain needy man in the city who had three marriageable daughters, for whom he could not get husbands, and so thought to make them harlots. When Nicolas heard of it, he went to the house by night and threw in by the window such a sum of money as made a dowry for one of them. This he did a second and a third time, and thus by his charity they were honourably given in marriage.
When he had given himself entirely to God he set forth for Palestine, that he might see the Holy Places, and worship therein. During this pilgrimage he embarked once on board a ship when the sky was clear and the sea calm, but he foretold a great storm, which afterwards arose and raged until the sailors were afraid; and then the saint by prayer stilled the tempest. After he had returned home, and his holy life was known to all men, God bade him go to Myra, which is the chief city of Lycia, at a time when the Bishop had just died and the Bishops of the Province were called together to choose a successor. While they deliberated, they received a warning from heaven to choose that Nicolas who should first come into the church in the morning. In obedience to that warning, Nicolas was seized at the door of the church, and with universal consent consecrated Archbishop. In his great office he was an unceasing model of purity, as he had always been, of gravity, of regularity in prayer, of watching, of abstinence, of charity, of hospitality, of meekness in exhortation, and of sternness in rebuke.
He was the comforter of widows and orphans by money, by advice, and by labour. He was the deliverer of the oppressed, so mightily, that it is related that the Emperor Constantine once unjustly condemned three Tribunes to death, and these unhappy men called upon Nicolas, though living and absent, to save them, who yet appeared in a vision to the Emperor, and forced him by threats to set them free. When the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian published their edict against Christianity, Nicolas did not cease to preach the truth at Myra, wherefore he was seized by the soldiers of the Emperors, carried away from his See, and thrown into prison, where he remained until the accession of Constantine. This Prince set him free, and he returned to Myra. He betook himself to the first Council of Nice, where he was one of the 318 Bishops who condemned the heresy of Arius. He returned thence to his Bishopric, and, not long after, became aware of the approach of death. When his last moment was come, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and, when he saw the Angels coming to meet him, he began to recite the thirtieth Psalm, In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust, and when he had said, Into thy hands I commend my spirit, he passed to the heavenly Fatherland. His body was finally removed to Bari in Apulia, where it is kept with great fame and honour. (Matins for the Feast of Saint Nicholas.)
Archbishop Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend includes several remarkable stories wrought by Saint Nicholas, both in life and after his death:
And when his father and mother were departed out of this life, he began to think how he might distribute his riches, and not to the praising of the world but to the honour and glory of God. And it was so that one, his neighbour, had then three daughters, virgins, and he was a nobleman: but for the poverty of them together, they were constrained, and in very purpose to abandon them to the sin of lechery, so that by the gain and winning of their infamy they might be sustained. And when the holy man Nicholas knew hereof he had great horror of this villainy, and threw by night secretly into the house of the man a mass of gold wrapped in a cloth. And when the man arose in the morning, he found this mass of gold, and rendered to God therefor great thankings, and therewith he married his oldest daughter.
And a little while after this holy servant of God threw in another mass of gold, which the man found, and thanked God, and purposed to wake, for to know him that so had aided him in his poverty. And after a few days Nicholas doubled the mass of gold, and cast it into the house of this man. He awoke by the sound of the gold, and followed Nicholas, which fled from him, and he said to him: Sir, flee not away so but that I may see and know thee.
Then he ran after him more hastily, and knew that it was Nicholas; and anon he kneeled down, and would have kissed his feet, but the holy man would not, but required him not to tell nor discover this thing as long as he lived.
There was a man that had borrowed of a Jew a sum of money, and sware upon the altar of S. Nicholas that he would render and pay it again as soon as he might, and gave none other pledge. And this man held this money so long, that the Jew demanded and asked his money, and he said that he had paid him.
Then the Jew made him to come tofore the law in judgment, and the oath was given to the debtor. And he brought with him an hollow staff, in which he had put the money in gold, and he leant upon the staff. And when he should make his oath and swear, he delivered his staff to the Jew to keep and hold whilst he should swear, and then sware that he had delivered to him more than he ought to him. And when he had made the oath, he demanded his staff again of the Jew, and he nothing knowing of his malice delivered it to him.
Then this deceiver went his way, and anon after, him list sore to sleep, and laid him in the way, and a cart with four wheels came with great force and slew him, and brake the staff with gold that it spread abroad. And when the Jew heard this, he came thither sore moved, and saw the fraud, and many said to him that he should take to him the gold; and he refused it, saying, But if he that was dead were not raised again to life by the merits of S. Nicholas, he would not receive it, and if he came again to life, he would receive baptism and become Christian. Then he that was dead arose, and the Jew was christened.
Another Jew saw the virtuous miracles of S. Nicholas, and did do make an image of the saint, and set it in his house, and commanded him that he should keep well his house when he went out, and that he should keep well all his goods, saying to him: Nicholas, lo! here be all my goods, I charge thee to keep them, and if thou keep them not well, I shall avenge me on thee in beating and tormenting thee.
And on a time, when the Jew was out, thieves came and robbed all his goods, and left, unborne away, only the image. And when the Jew came home he found him robbed of all his goods. He areasoned the image saying these words: Sir Nicholas, I had set you in my house for to keep my goods from thieves, wherefore have ye not kept them? Ye shall receive sorrow and torments, and shall have pain for the thieves. I shall avenge my loss, and refrain [subdue] my woodness [madness] in beating thee.
And then took the Jew the image, and beat it, and tormented it cruelly. Then happed a great marvel, for when the thieves departed the goods, the holy saint, like as he had been in his array, appeared to the thieves, and said to them: Wherefore have I been beaten so cruelly for you and have so many torments? See how my body is hewed and broken; see how that the red blood runneth down by my body; go ye fast and restore it again, or else the ire of God Almighty shall make you as to be one out of his wit, and that all men shall know your felony, and that each of you shall be hanged.
And they said: Who art thou that sayest to us such things? And he said to them: I am Nicholas the servant of Jesu Christ, whom the Jew hath so cruelly beaten for his goods that ye bare away.
Then they were afeard, and came to the Jew, and heard what he had done to the image, and they told him the miracle, and delivered to him again all his goods. And thus came the thieves to the way of truth, and the Jew to the way of Jesu Christ. (Archbishop Jacobus de Vorgaine, O.P., The Golden Legend: Saint Nicholas.)
Saint Nicholas of Myra did not tolerate heresy in life, and he did not countenance it in death. He was ever-seeking to correct error and to refute falsehood while also, of course, seeking the unconditional conversion of all others, including Jews, to the true Faith, In other words, he stands as yet another saintly rebuke to conciliarism and its false ecumenism, whose lords have proven themselves to be the true anti-Semites on the face of the earth by refusing to seek their conversion so that the the scales can drop from the eyes of their immortal souls just as they had fallen from the bodily and spiritual eyes of Saul of Tarsus, who was, to be use his phrase, chosen out of time, by Our Lord Himself to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.
The prayer composed by Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., for this feast day is very relevant to our own days of apostasy and betrayal:
Holy pontiff Nicholas, how great is thy glory in God's Church! Thou didst confess the name of Jesus before the proconsuls of the world's empire and suffer persecution for His name's sake; afterwards thou wast witness to the wonderful workings of God, when He restored peace to His Church; and a short time after this again, thou didst open thy lips, in the assembly of the three hundred and eighteen fathers, to confess with supreme authority the Divinity of our Saviour Jesus Christ, for whose sake so many millions of martyrs had already shed their blood. Receive the devout felicitations of the Christian people throughout the universe, who thrill with joy when the think of thy glorious merits. Help us by thy prayers during these days when we are preparing for the coming of Him, whom thou didst proclaim to be consubstantial with the Father. Vouchsafe to assist our faith and to obtain fresh fervor to our love. Thou now beholdest face to face that Word by whom all things were made and redeemed; beseech Him to permit our unworthiness to approach Him. Be thou our intercessor with Him. Thou hast taught us to now Him as the sovereign and eternal God; teach us also to love Him as the supreme benefactor of the children of Adam. It was that tender compassion for the sufferings of they fellow-men, which made all thy miracles to be so many acts of kindness: cease not, now that thou art in the company of the angels, to have pity on us and to succour our miseries.
Stir up and increase the faith of mankind in the Saviour whom the Lord hath sent them. May this be one of the fruits of thy prayers, that the divine Word may be no longer unknown and forgotten in this world, which He has redeemed with His Blood. Ask for the pastors of the Church that spirit of charity, which shone so brilliantly in thee; that spirit which makes them like their divine Master, and wins them the hearts of their people.
Remember, too, O holy pontiff, that Church of the east which still loves thee so fervently. When thou wast on this earth, God gave thee power to raise the dead to life; pray now, that the true life, which consists in faith and unity, may return once more and animate that body which schism has robbed of its soul. By thy supplications, obtain of God that the sacrifice of the Lamb, who is soon to visit us, may be again and soon celebrated under the cupolas of St. Sophia. May the sanctuaries of Kiev and Moscow became resanctified by the return of the people to unity. May the pride of the crescent be humbled into submission to the cross, and the schismatic be brought to acknowledge the power of the keys of St. Peter' that thus there may be henceforth neither Scythian, nor barbarian, but one fold under one Shepherd. (As found in Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
Saint Nicholas of Myra made no terms with error or heresy. Neither can we.
The saint whose feast is celebrated today, Wednesday, December 7, Saint Ambrose of Milan, who baptized Saint Augustine of Hippo in the year 387 A.D., also made no terms with the Arian heresy that Saint Nicholas himself had fought at the Council of Nicea, something that the readings for Matins from today's office explains:
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was the son of another Ambrose, a Roman citizen, and was born when his father was Prefect of Gaul, about the year of our Lord 340. A swarm of bees settled upon his face when he was in his cradle, which was considered an omen of his future eloquence. He received a liberal education at Rome. He was afterwards, under the Prefect Probus, made governor of Liguria and Emilia, and so came with authority to Milan. Auxentius, an Arian, who had been intruded into the Bishoprick of Milan, happening to die, the most violent disputes arose about the choice of a successor. Ambrose came to the church in his official capacity, and urged upon the contending factions, in a long and powerful speech, the necessity of keeping the public peace; whereupon a child suddenly cried out, Ambrose, Bishop, and the whole assembly took it up, and unanimously called for his election.
Ambrose refused, and would not yield to their prayers, whereupon they carried their petition to the Emperor Valentinian. It was very pleasing to this Prince that those he had appointed as judges should be chosen Bishops, as also to the Prefect Probus, who had, as it were prophetically, said to him when he appointed him, Go and govern them more like a Bishop than a Judge. When the will of the Emperor was added to the desire of the people, Ambrose yielded, and received Baptism, (for hitherto he was only a Catechumen,) Confirmation, and Communion, and then the several Orders on successive days, till on the eighth day, which was the 7th of December, in the year 374, the weight of the Episcopate was laid upon his shoulders. Being made Bishop, he showed himself a stout upholder of the Catholic faith, and the discipline of the Church, and turned to the truth great numbers of Arians and other heretics, and, among them, he begat in Christ Jesus that burning and shining light of the Church, Austin [Augustine].
After the murder of the Emperor Gratian, in 383, Ambrose was sent as an ambassador to Maximus, by whom he had been slain, and, as he refused to repent, the Bishop renounced his communion. After the massacre which the Emperor Theodosius had commanded at Thessalonica, in 390, he refused to permit that Prince to enter a church. The Emperor pleaded that he was no worse than David, who had been guilty of adultery and murder, to which Ambrose answered him, As thou hast followed him in his sin, follow him also in his repentance. Then Theodosius humbly did public penance laid upon him by the Bishop. At length the Saint was worn out with his continual labour and care for the Church, (for the which also he composed many excellent books,) and foretold that the day of his death was at hand, though he had not then fallen into his last sickness. As he lay dying, Honoratus, Bishop of Vercelli, heard a voice from God three times crying to him that the hour of Ambrose's departure was come, whereupon he went to him quickly, and gave him the sacred Body of our Lord. When he had received It, the Saint, still praying, with his hands stretched out in the form of a cross, gave his spirit to God, upon the 4th day of April, in the year of Christ, 397. (Matins, Divine Office, Feast of Saint Ambrose.)
Dom Prosper Gueranger's prayer to this great Bishop of Milan who baptized the former profligate Augustine of Hippo, should inspire us to be as uncompromising as he was:
And we, too, O immortal Ambrose, unworthy though we may be to take part in such a choir, we, too, will praise thee! We will praise the magnificent gifts which our Lord bestowed upon thee. Thou art the light of the Church and the salt of the earth by thy heavenly teachings; thou are the vigilant pastor, the affectionate father, the unyielding pontiff; oh! how must thy heart have loved Jesus, for whom we are now preparing! With what undaunted courage thou didst at the risk of thy life, resist them that blasphemed this divine Word! Well indeed has thou thereby merited to be made one of the patrons of the faithful, to lead them, each year, to Him who is their Saviour, and their King! Let, then, a ray of the truth, which filled thy sublime soul whilst here on earth, penetrate even into our hearts; give us a relish for thy sweet and eloquent writings; get us a sentiment of devoted love for the Jesus who is soon to be with us. Obtain for us, after they example, to take up His cause with energy, against the enemies of the holy faith, against the spirits of darkness, and against ourselves. Let everything yield, let everything be annihilated, let ever knee bow, let every heart confess itself conquered, in the presence of Jesus, the eternal Word of the Father, the Son of God, and the Son of Mary, our Redeemer, our Judge, our All.
Glorious saint! humble us, as thou didst Theodosius; raise us up again contrite and converted, as thou didst lovingly raise up this thy strayed sheep and carry him back to thy fold. Pray, too, for the Catholic hierarchy, of which thou wast one of the brightest ornaments. Ask of God, for the priests and bishops of His Church, that humble yet inflexible courage wherewith they should resist the powers of the world, as often as these abuse the authority which God has put into their hands. Let their face, as our Lord Himself speaks, become hard as adamant against the enemies of the Church, and may they set themselves as a wall for the house of Israel; may they consider it as the highest privilege, and the greatest happiness, to be permitted to expose their prosperity and peace, and life, for the liberty of this holy bride of Christ.
Valiant champion of truth! arm thyself with thy scourge, which the Church has given thee as they emblem; and drive far from the flock of Christ the wolves of the Arian tribe, which, under various names, are even now prowling round the fold. Let our ears be no longer shocked with the blasphemies of these proud teachers, who presume to scan, judge, approve, and blame, by the measure of their vain conceits, the great God who has given them everything they are and have, and who, out of infinite love for His creatures, has deigned to humble Himself and become one of ourselves, although knowing that men would make this very condescension an argument for denying that He is God.
Remove our prejudices, O thou great lover of truth! and crush within us those time-serving and unwise theories, which tend to make us Christians forget that Jesus is King of this world, and look on the law, which equally protects error and truth, as the perfection of modern systems. May we understand that the rights of the Son of God and of His Church do not cease to exist, because the world ceases to acknowledge them; that to give the same protection to the true religion and to those false doctrines which men have set up in opposition to the teachings of the Church, is to deny that all power has been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth; that those scourges which periodically come upon the world are the lessons which Jesus gives to those who trample on the rights of His Church, rights which He so justly acquired by dying on the cross for all mankind; that, finally, though it be out of our power to restore those rights to people that have had the misfortune to resign them, yet it is our duty, under pain of being accomplices with those who would not have Jesus reign over them, to acknowledge that they are the rights of the Church.
And lastly, dear saint, in the midst of the dark clouds which lower over the world, console our holy mother the Church, who is now but a stranger and a pilgrim amidst those nations which were her children, but have now denied her; may she cull the flowers of holy virginity among the faithful, and may that holy state be the attraction of those fortunate sols who understand how grand is the dignity of being a bride of Christ. If, at the very commencement of her ministry, during the age of persecution, the holy Church could lead countless virgins to Jesus, may it be so even now in our own age of crime and sensuality; may those pure and generous hearts, formed and consecrated to the Lamb by this holy mother, become more and more numerous; and so give to her enemies this irresistible proof that she is not barren, as they pretend, and that it is she that alone preserves the world from universal corruption, by leavening it with angelic purity. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
We must be willing to stand up for the truths of our Catholic Faith, including the Social Reign of Christ the King, without any equivocation or compromise in the slightest, yes, no matter if doing so costs us our very physical lives as to die for Our King will win us the crown of the only life that matters, eternal life in the glory of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost in Heaven.
Every Rosary we pray, offered up to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, will help to make reparation for our sins, which are so responsible for the state of the Church Militant on earth and for that of the world-at-large, and those of the whole world, including the conciliarists who blaspheme God regularly by means of lies such as the "hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity." The final triumph belongs to the Immaculate Heart of the very Mother of God who brought forth her Divine Son on Christmas Day.
Let us take confidence always in this triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as we let her, who was given by her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to be our own Mother as she was given by Him to Saint John the Beloved, who represented us at the foot of the Holy Cross, to be his Mother. The conciliarists lose in the end. Christ the King will emerge triumphant once again as the fruit of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of His Mother and our Queen, Mary Immaculate.
What are we waiting for?
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas of Myra, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.