Saint John Damascene (John of Damascus, 676-749), hymn-writer, defender of icons, and Doctor of the Church. Saint John is considered the last of the four fathers of the Eastern Church. He devoted himself to religious poetry, theological arguments in defense of Church doctrine, and refutation of heresies. A prolific writer, many of his works remain, including beautiful canons on the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother, Easter, and the Ascension. His eloquent defense of icons and Christian art earned him the title, “The Doctor of Christian Art.”
A prolific writer, Saint John wrote a text entitled “On Heresies.” Below, an excerpt on the Holy Trinity.
one Godhead in three hypostases;
one will, one operation, alike in three persons;
wisdom incorporeal, uncreated, immortal, incomprehensible,
without beginning, unmoved, unaffected, without quantity,
without quality, ineffable, immutable, unchangeable, uncontained,
equal in glory, equal in power, equal in majesty, equal in might, equal in nature,
exceedingly substantial, exceedingly good,
thrice radiant, thrice bright, thrice brilliant.
Wisdom the Father, Wisdom the Son, Wisdom the Holy Ghost;
one God and not three Gods;
one Lord the Holy Trinity discovered in three hypostases.
Father is the Father, and unbegotten;
Son is the Son, begotten and not unbegotten, for He is from the Father;
Holy Ghost, not begotten but proceeding, for He is from the Father.
but there is unity and trinity
- there was, there is, and there shall be forever -
which is perceived and adored by faith -
by faith, not by inquiry, nor by searching out, nor by visible manifestation;
for the more He is sought out, the more He is unknown, and the more He is investigated, the more He is hidden.
And so, let the faithful adore God with a mind that is not overcurious. And believe that He is God in three hypostases, although the manner in which He is so is beyond manner, for God is incomprehensible. Do not ask how the Trinity is Trinity, for the Trinity is inscrutable.
Think of the Father as a spring of life begetting the Son like a river and the Holy Ghost like a sea, for the spring and the river and sea are all one nature.
Think of the Father as a root, and of the Son as a branch, and the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance in these three is one.
The Father is a sun with the Son as rays and the Holy Ghost as heat.
Be persuaded, moreover, that the incarnate dispensation of the Son of God was begotten ineffably without seed of the blessed Virgin, believing Him to be without confusion and without change both God and man, who for your sake worked all the dispensation. And to Him by good works give worship and adoration, and venerate and revere the most holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary as true Mother of God, and all the saints as His attendants.
Doing thus, you will be a right worshiper of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Ghost, of the one Godhead, to whom be glory and honor and adoration forever and ever. Amen
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."