Acta Sanctorum: St. Peter Damian (Feb 21)
February 21, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


February 21
St. Peter Damian
Life (1007-1072)
Peter was born in Italy in 1007. When his parents died, he went to live with one of his older brothers, who treated him cruelly. Sometimes Peter was forbidden to eat any of his brother’s food. Another brother helped solve the problem by giving Peter money so that he could afford to go away to school.
Peter did so well in school that he became a professor when he was only 25. After the school day was finished, Peter often invited students and poor people to his home for dinners that he served himself. He remembered what it felt like to be hungry.
Peter became a priest and then a Benedictine monk. He spent his days in prayer and study. After a short time Peter was elected abbot, or superior, of the community. Although this new responsibility took Peter away from his quiet life, he was an excellent leader. So many men were attracted to religious life because of his example that he established five new monasteries.
Peter was ordained the bishop of Ostia, a diocese near Rome. As bishop, Peter worked to solve problems in his diocese and to remind his priests of their mission.
Pope Stephen X recognized Peter’s gifts and asked him to represent the Church in settling disputes and helping to stop practices that were preventing the Church from doing Christ’s work in the world. Peter was so skilled as a peacemaker and reformer that he advised seven popes and traveled to many places representing the Holy Father. He worked with priests, bishops, kings, and emperors—all to serve Jesus.
As a monk, a bishop, and a saint, Peter Damian lived one of the Benedictine Rules completely: “Do not prefer anything to the love of Christ.” He died in 1072 and is considered to be a Doctor of the Church. St. Peter Damian helps us to remember that if we put Jesus first in our lives, the Lord will always guide us in living as his faithful disciples.
Scripture. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine
but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry. 
(Year B). The Church of Christ is united by a bond of mutual love so strong that not only is it a single entity subsisting in many members, but in each member it is also mysteriously present in its plenitude. So it is that the entire universal Church is rightly said to be the one and only bride of Christ, and each person, through the mystery of the Sacrament, is believed to be the Church in its fullness. One in all and entire in each, holy Church is single in the plurality of its members thanks to the unity of faith, and manifold in each of them thanks to the bond of charity and the diversity of charisms, for they all come from One. 
Although holy Church is thus diversified by the multiplicity of its members, it is nevertheless entirely fused into one by the fire of the Holy Spirit; and therefore even though its various parts seem to be spatially separated from one another, the mystery of its interior unity is in no way diminished; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. This Spirit, therefore, is undoubtedly both one and multiple, one in majestic essence, multiple in diverse gifts; he fills the Church, and causes it to be both one in its universal extension, and whole in each of its parts. The secret of this indivisible unity was revealed by the Word when, speaking of his disciples, he said to the Father: Not for them alone do 1 pray but for those also who through their word will believe in me. May they all be one; as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you that sent me. I, for my part, have given them the glory which you gave to me, so that they may be one as we are one. If those who believe in Christ are one, then through the mystery of the Sacrament the entire Body is present where bodily eyes see but a single member. Solitude prevents no one from speaking in the plural; nor is it inappropriate for the multitude of believers to speak in the singular, for through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is present in each and fills all, it is clear that the solitude is full of people and the multitude forms a unity. 
Our holy Fathers regarded this intimate relationship and communion of believers in Christ as so certain that they included it in the creed stating the Catholic faith, and commanded us frequently to call it to mind along with the other basic elements of Christian belief. For immediately after we say: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church” we add: “the communion of saints”. Thus in the very act by which we bear witness to the God in whom we believe, we also affirm the communion that marks the Church which is one with him. For this communion of saints in the unity of faith is such that, because they believe in one God, are reborn in one Baptism, and are strengthened by the one Holy Spirit, they are admitted, through the grace of adoption, into the one everlasting life. (Liber Dominus Vobiscum)
Musical Selection (“No Eye Hath Seen What Joys The Saints Obtain"; Lyrics in video)
Almighty God,
grant that we may follow
the teaching and example of your bishop Peter Damian,
so that, placing Christ above all else
and devoting ourselves always to the service of your Church,
we may come to the joyful vision of eternal light.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)