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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Harmonious Working Together, Part I

Saint Clement I of Rome

Beloved, Jesus Christ is our salvation, he is the high priest through whom we present our offerings and the helper who supports us in our weakness. Through him our gaze penetrates the heights of heaven and we see, as in a mirror, the most holy face of God. Through Christ the eyes of our hearts are opened, and our weak and clouded understanding reaches up toward the light. Through him the Lord God willed that we should taste eternal knowledge, for Christ is the radiance of God's glory, and as much greater than the angels as the name God has given him is superior to theirs.

So then, my brothers, let us do battle with all our might under his unerring command. Think of the men serving under our military commanders. How well disciplined they are! How readily and submissively they carry out orders! Not everyone can be a prefect, a tribune, a centurion, or a captain of fifty, but each man in his own rank executes the orders of the emperor and the officers in command. The great cannot exist without those of humble condition, nor can those of humble condition exist without the great. Always it is the harmonious working together of its various parts that insures the well-being of the whole. Take our own body as an example: the head is helpless without the feet; and the feet can do nothing without the head. Even our least important members are useful and necessary to the whole body, and all work together for its well-being in harmonious subordination. To be continued tomorrow…

Saint Clement I (+99) was a Roman and the third pope to rule the Roman Church after Saint Peter. He reigned toward the end of the first century. According to tradition he was probably a freed man in the imperial household and was baptized by Saint Peter. He succeeded Cletus as Pope in 91, was exiled to Crimea by Emperor Trajan. He labored so zealously preaching the faith among the prisoners working in the mines there that he was condemned to death and thrown into the sea with an anchor around his neck.

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