Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Maronite Year XXIII

Maron, or Maroun, was a Syrian monk in the fourth century who eventually retired to Cyrrhus to become a hermit. He was an open-air hermit; he lived outside, even in the wind, rain, or hail, and tended a pagan temple he had converted into a church. As word began to spread, more people joined him. Theodoret of Cyr, who was bishop of Antioch at the time, gives us a few snapshots of this blossoming ascetic movement. The Maronite ascetic movement became a central pillar of the Christian community in the mountains of Syria and Lebanon, and that community, of course, would eventually become the Maronite Church.

The memorial of St. Maron has been celebrated on February 9 since the seventeenth century (prior to that it was on January 5). He is on the universal calendar, and so his memorial is celebrated on February 9 in the Latin Church, as well. The day is a Holy Day of Obligation for Maronites.

Feast of Saint Maron
2 Timothy 3:10-17; John 12:23-30

How arrayed is Maron with blessings!
Christ said, "Follow," and he followed,
giving up all for the pearl of price.
Prayer, penitence, and virtue,
humility and true devotion,
simplicity that endures all,
led him to carry the hermit's cross,
to praise God on the mountaintops.
To his plain solitude many came,
seeking devotion to the Lord,
so that he increased heaven's numbers;
they became strangers to all else,
continuing in what they received,
furnished to every good work.

How arrayed is Maron with blessings!
He was anointed a father,
gathering a nation from nations.
He was a plow of the garden,
preparing hearts for the seed of truth.
O Father Maron, pray for us,
that we may remember you in joy,
that we may have beatitude,
a poverty of spirit in faith.
Who serves the Son is honored well.
We glorify the one Father,
who calls the faithful to solitude,
and the only Son, the one way,
and the Spirit who crowns victory.

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