OCTOBER 23 – ST. THEODORET, MARTYR.
ABOUT the year 361, Julian, uncle to the emperor of that name, and like his nephew an apostate, was made Count of the East. He closed the Christian churches at Antioch, and when St. Theodoret assembled the Christians in private, he was summoned before the tribunal of the count and most inhumanly tortured. His arms and feet were fastened by ropes to pulleys, and stretched until his body appeared nearly eight feet long, and the blood streamed from his sides. “O most wretched man,” he said to his judge, “you know well that at the day of judgment the crucified God whom you blaspheme will send you and the tyrant whom you serve to hell.” Julian trembled at this awful prophecy, but he had the Saint despatched quickly by the sword, and in a little while the judge himself was arraigned before the judgment-seat of God.
REFLECTION: Those who do not go down to hell in spirit are very likely to go there in reality. Take care to meditate upon the four last things, and to live in holy fear. You will learn to love God better by thinking how He punishes those who do not love Him.
WORD OF THE DAY
CONGREGATIONALISTS. Those Protestants who believe that each local church (congregation) is to be independent and autonomous. They profess to represent the principle of democracy in church government, a policy, they hold, claiming that Christ alone is the head of the Church he founded.
Since the members of the Church are baptized Christians, they are all priests of God. No one, therefore, may claim to have priestly powers that others do not profess, or the right to teach or rule in Christ’s name, except insofar as he or she is delegated by the congregation. Where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in their midst, and the local church comes into existence as an expression and representation of the Church Universal. Congregationalists say that this system of church structure is the most primitive in Christianity and all other forms are later human additions and changes.
Although the Congregationalist principle began with Luther (1483-1546), it was not put into consistent practice until the English Reformation. With the rise of Anglicanism various separatists broke with the parent English Church to form what eventually became the Congregational Churches of Anglo-Saxon Protestantism. In the United States, most local Protestant groups of churches follow the Congregational pattern, even when they have other denominational names.Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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