Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 23

FEAST OF ST. CLEMENT, BISHOP OF ROME. Died perhaps by martyrdom, about the year 100.

ST. PAUL writes to the Philippians (iv. 3): --"Clement, also, and . . . other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life."

Notwithstanding some alleged difficulty in the way of identification, this saint, certified as such by the voice of inspiration, is considered to be the same as the St. Clement we memorialize today, and who is counted either as the immediate or as the third successor of St. Peter.

His own writings survive as his worthy monument. Otherwise, despite its remaining historically uncertain whether or not he attained the martyr's palm branch, a legend assigns to him as monument a beautiful chapel raised by angels beneath the sea and enshrining his body. For, according to this tradition, he had been exiled from Rome to the marble quarries of Pontus; where he found and encouraged fellow-Christians, and converted pagans: for which latter good work he was condemned to be drowned with an anchor fastened to his neck. Afterwards, in answer to prayer, the sea receded and disclosed the angelic erection.

Another pretty legend relates how in his place of banishment water could only be procured from a spring six miles distant, adding to the weary toil of the quarries. "One day Clement saw a lamb scraping at the soil with one of its forefeet. He took it as a sign that water was there; dug, and found a spring."

Yet what matter mistakes or silence of earthly records concerning any "whose names are in the Book of Life?" Of all such we know assuredly that they shall thirst no more, but the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, where there shall be no more sea.

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