RULE-DECEMBER 31/MARTYROLOGY-JANUARY 1
The reading appointed from the Rule of St. Benedict for December 31:
Of This, that Not the Whole Observance of Righteousness Is Laid Down in this Rule
Now, we have written this Rule that, observing it in monasteries, we may show that we have acquired at least some moral righteousness, or a beginning of the monastic life.
On the other hand, he that hasteneth on to the perfection of the religious life, hath at hand the teachings of the holy Fathers, the observance of which leadeth a man to the height of perfection. For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and the New Testament is not a most exact rule of human life? Or, what book of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may go straight to our Creator? So, too, the collations of the Fathers, and their institutes and lives, and the rule of our holy Father, Basil -- what are they but the monuments of the virtues of exemplary and obedient monks? But for us slothful, disedifying, and negligent monks they are a source for shame and confusion.
Thou, therefore, who hastenest to the heavenly home, with the help of Christ fulfil this least rule written for a beginning; and then thou shalt with God's help attain at last to the greater heights of knowledge and virtue which we have mentioned above.
Roman Martyrology-January 1st-on this date in various years-
The Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the octave of his Nativity.
At Rome, under Emperor Alexander, St. Martina, virgin, who endured various kinds of torments, and being beheaded, received the palm of martyrdom. Her feast is kept on the 30th of this month.
At Caesarea in Cappadocia, the death of St. Basil the Great, bishop, confessor, and doctor of the Church, renowned for his learning and wisdom and gifted with every virtue, who during the reign of Emperor Valens wonderfully displayed his talents as he defended the Church with great constancy against the Arians and Macedonians. His feast, however, is appropriately kept on the 14th of June, the day on which he was consecrated bishop.
In Tuscany, on Mount Senario, St. Bonfilius, confessor, one of the seven founders of the Order of the Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, having honoured her devoutly, was suddenly called to heaven by her. His feast, with that of his companions, is kept on February 12th.
At Rome, St. Almachius, martyr, who, by the command of Alipius, governor of the city, was killed by the gladiators for saying, "Today is the Octave of our Lord's birth; put an end to the worship of idols, and abstain from unclean sacrifices."
In the same city, on the Appian Way, the crowning with martyrdom of thirty holy soldiers under Emperor Diocletian.
At Spoleto, in the time of Emperor Antoninus, St. Concordius, priest and martyr, who was beaten with clubs, then stretched on the rack, and after a long confinement in prison, where he was visted by an angel, lost his life by the sword.
The same day, St. Magnus, martyr.
In Africa, St. Fulgentius, bishop of Rusp, who suffered much from the Arians, during the persecution of the Vandals, for holding the Catholic faith and teaching an excellent doctrine. After being banished to Sardinia, he was permitted to return to his diocese, where he ended his life by a holy death, leaving a reputation for sanctity and eloquence.
At Chieti in Abruzzo, the birthday of St. Justin, bishop of that city, illustrious for holiness of life and for his miracles.
In the diocese of Lyons, in the monastery of St. Claude, St. Eugendus, abbot, whose life was eminent for virtues and miracles.
At Souvigny in France, St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, who was the first to prescribe that the commemoration of all the faithful departed should be made in his monasteries the day after the feast of All Saints. This practice was afterwards received and approved by the universal Church.
At Rome, the birthday of St. Vincent Maria Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, of the Order of Passionists, renowned for his pastoral zeal, whom Pope Pius XII numbered among the saints.
At Alexandria, the departure from this world of St. Euphrosyna, virgin, who was renowned in her monastery for the virtue of abstinence, and for the gift of miracles.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.