Today Christians Honor the First Martyrs for Jesus Christ of the Church of Rome

First Martyrs

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome Image: The Unpaved Path

(CNA) The early Christian protomartyrs of Rome were the first to be persecuted and executed en masse by the Emperor Nero in the year 64 and 65 before the martyrdom of St’s Peter and Paul (Feast Day: 29 June)

Nero was widely believed to have caused the fire that burned down much of Rome in 64 AD (rumor had it according to Franciscan Media that he wanted to enlarge his palace) which he blamed on the Christians and put them to death–many by crucifixion, others being fed to wild animals in the circus or being tied to posts and burned to death.

These first Christian Martyrs were called the ‘Disciples of the Apostles’ and their steadfastness in the face of their gruesome deaths were a powerful testimony that led to many conversions in the early Church.

“May we have the same courage to witness (for) Jesus Christ and to change our society by the force of our love and example.”
Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles

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ISIS Threatens Christians Jerusalem(Arutz Sheva) ISIS announcement calling for genocide against Christians
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Image Courtesy: Haaretz

Riiight… Maybe in Obamaland where Fairy’s and Unicorns exist.

H/T: Brigitte Gabriel

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Fr Jonathan Morris

(Fox News) Where’s the Moral Outrage? Fr. Jonathan Morris Spat Upon
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H/T: Feisty Floridian

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Day 9: Reflections for the Fortnight For Freedom

Fortnight For FreedomFortnight4Freedom Reflection For Today —USCCB@Twitter

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feasts of Saint’s Peter & Paul, Martyrs for Jesus Christ

Saints Peter and PaulFeasts of Saint’s Peter & Paul –Image Courtesy: Vatican

(Franciscan Media) Saint Peter (Martyred/Crucified Head Down in 64 at Italy Rome)Saint Mark (Feast Day: 25 April) ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax–he’s recorded doubt, opposition and misunderstanding (Peter’s Declaration About Jesus: Mark 8:27-29 of many who that Jesus was. Now St. Peter, makes his great confession of faith: “You are the Christ.” —Mark 8:29

This was one of the many glorious moments in St. Peter’s life, beginning with the day that he was called from his fishing nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a ‘Fisher of Men’ for Jesus. —Matthew 4:18-20

The New Testament clearly shows St. Peter as the leader of the apostles chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him. — With St.James (Feast Day: 25 July) and St. John (Feast Day: 27 December) he (St. Peter) was privileged to witness the transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jarius to life and the agony of Gethsemane — His Mother-in-Law was cured by Jesus, he was sent with St. John, to prepare the last Pesach Seder (Passover meal) before Jesus’ death and his name is first on every list of apostles.

To Peter only did Jesus say:

“Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jona — For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in Heaven and I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” —Matthew 16:17-19

The Gospels prove their own trustworthiness by the unflattering details they include about St. Peter, he clearly was no public-relations person, it is great comfort for us to know that St. Peter also has his human weaknesses, even in the presence of Jesus.

St. Peter generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childlike self-regard–what are we going to get for all this: “Lo, we have left everything and followed you, what then shall we have?” —Matthew 19:27

With this, St. Peter received the full force of Jesus’ anger when he objects to the idea of the Suffering Messiah must go to Jerusalem –Foretelling of His Death: ‘Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan. You are a hindrance to me; For you are not on the side of God but of men.” —Matthew 16:23

St. Peter was willing to accept Jesus’ doctrine of forgiveness but suggested a limit of seven times:

  • Peter walked on the water of faith but sinks in doubt;
  • Peter refuses to let Jesus wash his feet;
  • Then wants his whole body cleansed;
  • Peter vowed at ‘The Last Supper’ that he would never deny Jesus;
  • Peter then swears to a Servant Maid that he’s never known Jesus;
  • Peter loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off  Malchus’ ear;
  • Peter in the end, runs away with the others.

In the depth of sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgave him and he goes out and sheds bitter tears. — The Risen Jesus Christ, told Peter to feed His lambs and His sheep. —John 21:15-17

Saint Paul (Martyred/Beheaded in 65 at Italy Rome) — If the most well known Minister today suddenly began preaching that the United States should adopt Marxism and not rely on the Constitution, the angry reaction would help us to understand St. Paul’s life when he began ministering that Jesus alone can save us.

Paul had been the most Pharisaic (self-righteous; obsessiveness) of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Torah Lawyers and now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate. — Paul’s central conviction was simple and absolute:

Only God can save humanity. No human effort, even the most strict observance of the Torah, can create a human good which he can bring to God as reparation of sin and payment for grace. To be saved from sin, from Satan, the fires of Hell,  from eternal separation of God and death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus.

Paul never lost his love for his family, though he carried a lifelong debate with them about the usefulness of the Torah without Jesus Christ. St. Paul, reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of their Jewish brethren, who remained God’s ‘chosen people’ the children and ancestors of the promise.

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

Day 8 — As One Starts Their Day, Here is a Reflection for the Fortnight For Freedom

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Irenaeus of Lyons

St IrenaeusSt. Irenaeus “The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive” –Image: Patheos

(CNA) Born in Smyrna (Asia Minor — Modern Day Turkey Izmir) Irenaeus was a Bishop and Writer in what is present day France, he is best remembered for defending Christian orthodoxy, especially the reality of Jesus Christ’s human Incarnation against the set of heresies known as Gnosticism an ancient cult that believed in salvation by knowledge; Gnostics were people that believed that the faith taught in the Church was merely symbolism for the simple-minded that were unable to grasp difficult concepts.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke admiringly of Saint Irenaeus in March, 2007, recalling how this early Church Father, “refuted the Gnostic dualism and pessimism which debased corporeal realities. He (St. Irenaeus) decisively  claimed the original holiness of matter, of the body, of the flesh no less than of the spirit but his works went far beyond the confutation of heresy: in fact one can say that he emerges as the first great Theologian who created systematic theology; he himself speaks of the system of theology, that is, of the internal coherence of all faith. At the heart of his doctrine is the question of the ‘rule of faith’ and its transmission. For Irenaeus the ‘rule of faith’ coincided in the practice with the ‘Apostles Creed’ which gives us the key for interpreting the Gospel, for interpreting the Creed in light of the Gospel. The Creed, which is a sort of Gospel synthesis , helps us understand what it means and how we should read the Gospel itself.”

While some of Saint Irenaeus most important writings have survived, the details of his life are not well preserved.

We do know that Saint Irenaeus  became a Priest in served in the Church of Lyons during a difficult time in the late 170s During this time of state persecution and doctrinal controversy, Fr. Irenaeus was sent to Rome to provide Pope Saint Eleutherius with a letter about the heretical movement known as ‘Montanism’ — After returning to Lyons, Fr. Irenaeus, became the city’s second Bishop, following the Martyrdom of Saint Pothinus (Feast Day: 02 June)

Bishop Irenaeus refuted the ‘Gnostic’ errors in his concise book “Against Heresies’ which is still studied to this day for its historical value and theological insights.

Saint Irenaeus earthly life ended around 220, some have speculated that he was Martyred however as with his birth and youth, the details of his death are not definitively known.

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