Life of St. Nicholas – Dec 06 – Homily – Fr John Lawrence

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Fr John Lawrence gives the homily at Bloomington, IN, on Dec 06, 2023, on the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, highlighting his acts of charity and his role in early Church history, his role in the Council of Nicaea and even the legend of Santa Claus.

St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century, celebrated for his charity and piety. Born around 270 in Patara, Asia Minor, Nicholas inherited wealth, which he used to aid the needy. He is famed for saving three impoverished girls from destitution by secretly providing dowries, a story that evolved into the Santa Claus legend. Ordained a priest and later a bishop, Nicholas' life intersects with biblical narratives, such as St. Paul's journey through Patara and Myra mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

Nicholas' commitment to faith was evident during Diocletian's persecution. He reportedly attended the Council of Nicaea in 325, which condemned Arianism, a doctrine stating Jesus was not divine like God the Father. A later legend, emerging in the 14th century, suggests Nicholas struck Arius in defense of orthodoxy. This act, although historically uncertain, became iconic in religious art. The homily also notes Nicholas' intervention in saving unjustly condemned officials under Emperor Constantine. St. Nicholas died between 345-352 and was buried in Myra, leaving a legacy of devotion and benevolence.

The original homily continued with the many miracles associated with his relics and how they were transferred to Bari, Italy. However we started having audio recording issues after this point.

00:00 – Introduction
00:15 – Early Life and Background
00:45 – St. Nicholas's Charity
01:47 – Evolution of St. Nicholas to Santa Claus
02:00 – Ecclesiastical Career
02:51 – Diocletian's Persecution and the Nicaea Council
03:17 – Controversy with Arius and Iconographic Representations
04:13 – Historical References and Legacy of St. Nicholas

Ave Maria!

Mass: St. Nicholas - Opt Mem -
Readings: Wednesday in the 1st Week in Advent -
1st: isa 25:6-10
Resp: psa 23:1-6
Gsp: mat 15:29-37

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