Happy Feast of St. Nicholas, one of the most beloved of all the saints. This morning, we friars woke up to find little stockings on our doors filled with candy. The tradition of getting gifts on this day was new to me when I joined the Order. Coming from a Pentecostal family, we did not have this custom.
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In the preaching for this day, Fr. Dominic related some terrific stories of St. Nicholas. Two related to Nicholas's love and protection of children. One, however, came from the Council of Nicaea. According to the story, Arius was addressing the assembly. Apparently, he was speaking his typical heresy, part of which related to the relationship of the persons of the Holy Trinity. For example, Arius believed there was a time was Jesus, the Divine Logos, did not exist, and that Jesus and the Father were not "one in being". As St. Nicholas listened to Arius speaking, he grew piously indignant, and crossed the room to slap Arius across the face. There was a law, unfortunately, that said that no one may strike another in the presence of the emperor, so St. Nicholas was taken away. The guards stripped him of his bishop's clothes and put him in chains. Sure enough, however, Our Lord and his Blessed Mother came to visit him, asking wherefore he was in chains and without his proper episcopal garb. Nicholas explained, and at that, Christ gave to him a copy of the Holy Gospels, and Our Lady gave him new vestments. If you look at the icon above, you will see this represented.
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We pray, today, especially for children, that they will be safe and delivered from all harm, especially the sin of sexual exploitation and abuse.
St. Nicholas, pray for us!
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Br. Paul, OP~