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Saint Mark - Repent and believe the Gospel
 
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Saint Mark - Repent and believe the Gospel
Saint Mark - Repent and believe the Gospel
Saint Mark - Repent and believe the Gospel
Saint Mark - Repent and believe the Gospel
 
 
 
 

 
 

Sermon of Saint Mark in Alexandria by Giovanni Bellini (1426-1516 ); 1504-07; Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy;
www.wga.hu
 
 
Saint Mark, Evangelist
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger

Two Saints by the name of Mark, are mentioned in Holy Writ. The first is Mark the Evangelist, whose festival we celebrate today. The other is Mark, surnamed John, who assisted Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas in the promulgation of the Gospel. He of whom we speak here was by birth a Jew, of the tribe of Levi. Some say that he was one of the seventy disciples of Christ, but others, more authentic, say that he was converted on the day of Pentecost by the sermon of Saint Peter, and was also baptized by this Apostle. Hence the latter, in his Epistle, calls him his son, because he was through him spiritually born again in holy baptism. For the same reason, Saint Paul calls Onesimus his son, and wrote to the Corinthians that he had regenerated him through the Gospel.

After Saint Mark had been baptized he manifested such zeal in his new faith that Saint Peter chose him as his travelling companion and interpreter. At Rome, whither he went with the apostle, he had the joy to see the effect of the preaching of the latter in the daily increasing number of the converted. When Saint Peter was obliged to leave Rome for a time, he gave the newly converted Christians into the charge of Mark. As these most earnestly requested him to give them in writing all that they had heard, from him and Saint Peter, of the Saviour’s teaching and miracles, so that they might remember it better and conduct themselves more according to His divine precepts, Saint Mark wrote the Gospel which is still extant in the Church of Christ.

Saint Peter read it after his return and approving of it, sanctioned the reading of it in the assemblies of the faithful. Saint Peter afterwards sent his companion into Egypt and other surrounding countries to preach the Gospel, which was done by the Saint with truly apostolic zeal. He went to each city and village, and was so successful in his teaching that not only thousands of idols were thrown from their altars, and numberless heathens adopted the true faith, but the newly converted also endeavored to lead most holy lives. This was the cause that Egypt, until then so addicted to idolatry, became the home of so many hermits and fervent servants of the Almighty. The newly converted were not content with merely discharging the duties which the Gospel enjoined, but observed most scrupulously all counsels given to them by the Evangelists. They divided their property among the poor; possessed nothing as their own; and were extremely temperate, as, after the example of their holy teacher, they abstained from meat and wine, and fasted almost daily.

Numberless were those who preserved perpetual virginity. Christians as zealous as these filled the whole land, especially Alexandria, where Mark governed the Church which he had founded, for nineteen years. He had there encountered the most embittered heathens, who could not even endure to hear a Christian speak about them. And yet, notwithstanding this, Mark had increased the number of the faithful to such an extent, by his preaching, his holy life and by the many miracles he had performed on people, by the sign of the Cross, or by calling on the most holy name of Jesus, that the house in which the converts had always assembled to hear the words of Christ, could no longer contain them all, and several additional houses had to be selected.

 
Saint Mark, Evangelist
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger

Two Saints by the name of Mark, are mentioned in Holy Writ. The first is Mark the Evangelist, whose festival we celebrate today. The other is Mark, surnamed John, who assisted Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas in the promulgation of the Gospel. He of whom we speak here was by birth a Jew, of the tribe of Levi. Some say that he was one of the seventy disciples of Christ, but others, more authentic, say that he was converted on the day of Pentecost by the sermon of Saint Peter, and was also baptized by this Apostle. Hence the latter, in his Epistle, calls him his son, because he was through him spiritually born again in holy baptism. For the same reason, Saint Paul calls Onesimus his son, and wrote to the Corinthians that he had regenerated him through the Gospel.

After Saint Mark had been baptized he manifested such zeal in his new faith that Saint Peter chose him as his travelling companion and interpreter. At Rome, whither he went with the apostle, he had the joy to see the effect of the preaching of the latter in the daily increasing number of the converted. When Saint Peter was obliged to leave Rome for a time, he gave the newly converted Christians into the charge of Mark. As these most earnestly requested him to give them in writing all that they had heard, from him and Saint Peter, of the Saviour’s teaching and miracles, so that they might remember it better and conduct themselves more according to His divine precepts, Saint Mark wrote the Gospel which is still extant in the Church of Christ.

Saint Peter read it after his return and approving of it, sanctioned the reading of it in the assemblies of the faithful. Saint Peter afterwards sent his companion into Egypt and other surrounding countries to preach the Gospel, which was done by the Saint with truly apostolic zeal. He went to each city and village, and was so successful in his teaching that not only thousands of idols were thrown from their altars, and numberless heathens adopted the true faith, but the newly converted also endeavored to lead most holy lives. This was the cause that Egypt, until then so addicted to idolatry, became the home of so many hermits and fervent servants of the Almighty. The newly converted were not content with merely discharging the duties which the Gospel enjoined, but observed most scrupulously all counsels given to them by the Evangelists. They divided their property among the poor; possessed nothing as their own; and were extremely temperate, as, after the example of their holy teacher, they abstained from meat and wine, and fasted almost daily.

Numberless were those who preserved perpetual virginity. Christians as zealous as these filled the whole land, especially Alexandria, where Mark governed the Church which he had founded, for nineteen years. He had there encountered the most embittered heathens, who could not even endure to hear a Christian speak about them. And yet, notwithstanding this, Mark had increased the number of the faithful to such an extent, by his preaching, his holy life and by the many miracles he had performed on people, by the sign of the Cross, or by calling on the most holy name of Jesus, that the house in which the converts had always assembled to hear the words of Christ, could no longer contain them all, and several additional houses had to be selected.



 
 
 

 
 

Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 19v - The Martyrdom of Saint Mark the Musée Condé, Chantilly, France;
commons.wikimedia.org
 
 

The idolatrous priests, enraged at this wonderful progress of Christianity instigated the heathens against Saint Mark, and endeavored to make away with him. The holy man, fearing that a general persecution of the faithful might ensue, which might lead many, for fear of death, to abandon their faith, consecrated Anianus, who had been one of the early converts in Alexandria, and whom the Saint had well instructed in the faith, as bishop, and secretly left the city, to be absent for some time. After two years, which time he employed in visiting other churches, founded by him, he came back to Alexandria. Soon after his return, which could not be kept a secret long, the heathens held a celebration in honor of the idol Serapis, on which occasion many sacrifices were made to this false god. The idolatrous priests, whose rage against Saint Mark his absence had not cooled, cried loudly that above all they should search for the Galilean--thus they designated the Saint--and as the most bitter enemy of their gods, sacrifice him to Serapis. The people following these madmen, sought for Saint Mark, and found him before the altar offering to God the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass. Binding a cord around his body, they threw him upon the ground, and thus dragged him out of the church and through the streets with such violence, that the whole way was stained, with his blood, and his body cruelly mangled.

At sunset, they threw him into a dark, damp dungeon. During the night, an angel appeared to him, who said: "Mark, servant of the Most High; thy name stands written in the Book of Life. Thy memory shall never die, and the archangels will receive thy soul into everlasting peace." Scarcely had this comforting vision departed, when Christ, our Saviour, appeared to him in the same form in which he had lived when on earth, saying to him these divine words: "Mark! peace be with thee!" The joy of the Saint at this vision was inexpressible. He passed the whole night in prayers and praises to God. The following day at early dawn, the barbarous heathens again dragged him through the streets as they had done the day previous, until his soul went to God. During his martyrdom, he ceased not to praise the Almighty, to preach Christ, and to assure all that he considered it great happiness to die for the faith of the Saviour. His last words were those spoken by the Lord upon the Holy Cross: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." The heathens would have burned the Saint’s remains, but a sudden hailstorm drove them away, and this gave an opportunity to the Christians to take possession of them and bury them in a cave hewed out of a rock. After many years they were transported to Venice, where at this day they are preserved and held in high honor.

 

The idolatrous priests, enraged at this wonderful progress of Christianity instigated the heathens against Saint Mark, and endeavored to make away with him. The holy man, fearing that a general persecution of the faithful might ensue, which might lead many, for fear of death, to abandon their faith, consecrated Anianus, who had been one of the early converts in Alexandria, and whom the Saint had well instructed in the faith, as bishop, and secretly left the city, to be absent for some time. After two years, which time he employed in visiting other churches, founded by him, he came back to Alexandria. Soon after his return, which could not be kept a secret long, the heathens held a celebration in honor of the idol Serapis, on which occasion many sacrifices were made to this false god. The idolatrous priests, whose rage against Saint Mark his absence had not cooled, cried loudly that above all they should search for the Galilean--thus they designated the Saint--and as the most bitter enemy of their gods, sacrifice him to Serapis. The people following these madmen, sought for Saint Mark, and found him before the altar offering to God the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass. Binding a cord around his body, they threw him upon the ground, and thus dragged him out of the church and through the streets with such violence, that the whole way was stained, with his blood, and his body cruelly mangled.

At sunset, they threw him into a dark, damp dungeon. During the night, an angel appeared to him, who said: "Mark, servant of the Most High; thy name stands written in the Book of Life. Thy memory shall never die, and the archangels will receive thy soul into everlasting peace." Scarcely had this comforting vision departed, when Christ, our Saviour, appeared to him in the same form in which he had lived when on earth, saying to him these divine words: "Mark! peace be with thee!" The joy of the Saint at this vision was inexpressible. He passed the whole night in prayers and praises to God. The following day at early dawn, the barbarous heathens again dragged him through the streets as they had done the day previous, until his soul went to God. During his martyrdom, he ceased not to praise the Almighty, to preach Christ, and to assure all that he considered it great happiness to die for the faith of the Saviour. His last words were those spoken by the Lord upon the Holy Cross: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." The heathens would have burned the Saint’s remains, but a sudden hailstorm drove them away, and this gave an opportunity to the Christians to take possession of them and bury them in a cave hewed out of a rock. After many years they were transported to Venice, where at this day they are preserved and held in high honor.



 
 
 

 
 

Saint Mark by Donatello (1386-1466 );
commons.wikimedia.org
 
 

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Saint Mark, an Evangelist of Jesus Christ, abstained from meat and wine and fasted almost daily, besides leading the newly converted Christians to the same self-abnegation by his precept. Did Saint Mark possess the divine spirit of the Saviour and His Gospel? Who can doubt it? Hence the spirit of Jesus Christ, the spirit of the Gospel, is a spirit of mortification; one that incites to self-immolation. Which spirit rules you when you not only detest self-mortification, but permit to your body all that it desires, though this is evidently against the laws of God and the Church. Why do you take such tender care of it and indulge it in all its caprices? Why will you not mortify it in anything? The spirit of the Saviour has not thus taught you; and neither; His spirit nor that of the Church? has hitherto been your guide. Lend him at least your ear, in future and do not permit to your body any sinful pleasures. Deprive it rather, sometimes, even of some of those which are admissible. Punish it, after the example of the Saint, with voluntary penance. "We ought to treat our body," says Saint Bernard; "like one who is sick. We refuse the sick many things which they desire, and which in themselves are not hurtful. In like manner we require of them much that they dislike." After this fashion treat your body. If you act differently, allowing it all it desires only to satisfy it; the words of Saint Paul to the Roman will become true in your case: "For, if you live according to the flesh, you shall die" (Rom. viii.), namely, an unhappy, eternal death.

 

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Saint Mark, an Evangelist of Jesus Christ, abstained from meat and wine and fasted almost daily, besides leading the newly converted Christians to the same self-abnegation by his precept. Did Saint Mark possess the divine spirit of the Saviour and His Gospel? Who can doubt it? Hence the spirit of Jesus Christ, the spirit of the Gospel, is a spirit of mortification; one that incites to self-immolation. Which spirit rules you when you not only detest self-mortification, but permit to your body all that it desires, though this is evidently against the laws of God and the Church. Why do you take such tender care of it and indulge it in all its caprices? Why will you not mortify it in anything? The spirit of the Saviour has not thus taught you; and neither; His spirit nor that of the Church? has hitherto been your guide. Lend him at least your ear, in future and do not permit to your body any sinful pleasures. Deprive it rather, sometimes, even of some of those which are admissible. Punish it, after the example of the Saint, with voluntary penance. "We ought to treat our body," says Saint Bernard; "like one who is sick. We refuse the sick many things which they desire, and which in themselves are not hurtful. In like manner we require of them much that they dislike." After this fashion treat your body. If you act differently, allowing it all it desires only to satisfy it; the words of Saint Paul to the Roman will become true in your case: "For, if you live according to the flesh, you shall die" (Rom. viii.), namely, an unhappy, eternal death.



 
 
 

 
 

Egmond Gospels, Fol. 69v and 70r; Evangelist symbol of Mark and Saint Mark; Franco-Saxon illuminator; circa 900; The Hague, the National Library of the Netherlands;
commons.wikimedia.org
 
 

2. It was revealed to Saint Mark, that his name was written in the Book of Life. Is your name also inscribed therein? I am not able to answer this question; but I am able to give you the hope that your name will be found there if you act according to the will of the Lord as laid down in His Gospel.

In it Christ has shown the path which leads to Heaven. If you follow it you walk towards eternal happiness. He has clearly indicated what is needful to gain salvation, and if you fulfil His Commandments, your name will surely be written in the Book of Life. Instead, therefore, of empty, impure, heretical books, take the Gospel of Christ: in your hand, read it carefully, examine yourself and then consider how you must regulate your life in accordance with it. For, it is not enough to confess one self a Christian and to read the Gospel, but one must also live in accordance with its teachings. "Repent, and believe the Gospel:" said Christ in his first sermon to the people (Mark i.). But whoever truly believes the Gospel, not only believes what it contains, but follows its commandments. "How can a man say that he believes in Christ, when he obeys not His commandments," says Saint Cyprian.

And I say; how can a man say that he believes the Gospel, if he follows not its precepts, and does not regulate his life in accordance with them? There is no hope for him to believe that his name is recorded in the Book of Life, if he follows not the teachings of the Gospel. "But all do not obey the Gospel," writes Saint Paul (Romans x.). And this is the reason why the names of so many are not inscribed in the Book of Life. "My sheep hear my voice," says Christ (St. John x.). The sheep that will one day be placed at the right hand of the Lord are the elect. They hear the voice of Christ and obey the calling. That voice sounds in the Gospel. Christ, the Lord, speaks through its words. Whoever wishes to be numbered with the elect must obey the Gospel. "My sheep hear my voice." Do you hear it?


 

2. It was revealed to Saint Mark, that his name was written in the Book of Life. Is your name also inscribed therein? I am not able to answer this question; but I am able to give you the hope that your name will be found there if you act according to the will of the Lord as laid down in His Gospel.

In it Christ has shown the path which leads to Heaven. If you follow it you walk towards eternal happiness. He has clearly indicated what is needful to gain salvation, and if you fulfil His Commandments, your name will surely be written in the Book of Life. Instead, therefore, of empty, impure, heretical books, take the Gospel of Christ: in your hand, read it carefully, examine yourself and then consider how you must regulate your life in accordance with it. For, it is not enough to confess one self a Christian and to read the Gospel, but one must also live in accordance with its teachings. "Repent, and believe the Gospel:" said Christ in his first sermon to the people (Mark i.). But whoever truly believes the Gospel, not only believes what it contains, but follows its commandments. "How can a man say that he believes in Christ, when he obeys not His commandments," says Saint Cyprian.

And I say; how can a man say that he believes the Gospel, if he follows not its precepts, and does not regulate his life in accordance with them? There is no hope for him to believe that his name is recorded in the Book of Life, if he follows not the teachings of the Gospel. "But all do not obey the Gospel," writes Saint Paul (Romans x.). And this is the reason why the names of so many are not inscribed in the Book of Life. "My sheep hear my voice," says Christ (St. John x.). The sheep that will one day be placed at the right hand of the Lord are the elect. They hear the voice of Christ and obey the calling. That voice sounds in the Gospel. Christ, the Lord, speaks through its words. Whoever wishes to be numbered with the elect must obey the Gospel. "My sheep hear my voice." Do you hear it?




 
 
 

 
 

Ceiling fresco in nave, depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd; Church of the Holy Trinity and Saint Leonard, Bocksberg, District of Laugna, Dillingen, Bavaria;
commons.wikimedia.org
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
April 25 - Saint Mark, Evangelist and Martyr (1st Century) - Repent and believe the Gospel


 
 

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OUR FATHER

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Liberate us from all temptation[*]
And deliver us from all evil. Amen



[*] Liberate us is in keeping with the original Latin text.
       God usually does not "lead us" to temptation
       (unless we are tested),
       but gives us the grace to overcome and/or resist it
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HAIL MARY

Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art though among women,
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb, Jesus.
 
Holy Mary, Mary of God
Pray for us sinners
Now, and in the hour
Of our death. Amen


 
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APOSTLE'S CREED
I believe in God, the Father Almighty
Creator of Heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the
[work and grace of the] Holy Ghost,[*]
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into the Dead.[**]
On the third day, He rose again;
He ascended into Heaven,
And sits at the right hand of God,
the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge
the living and the dead.
 
I believe in the Holy Ghost,[*]
The Holy Catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins.
The resurrection of the body,
And life everlasting. Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
[**] the Dead: "inferi", the underworld or the dead in Latin.
X
GLORIA

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost[*],
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
X
DE PROFUNDIS

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall abide it.
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law,
I have waited for Thee, O Lord.

My soul hath waited on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning-watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all her iniquities.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost[*],
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
X
DE PROFUNDIS

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice
of my supplication.

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall abide it.
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law,
I have waited for Thee, O Lord.

My soul hath waited on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning-watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

V. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. From the gate of hell.
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with Thy Spirit.

(50 days indulgence to all who pray the De Profundis with V. and R.
"Requiem aeternam" (Eternal Rest) three times a day.
Pope Leo XIII, February 3, 1888)


Let us pray:
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all
the faithful, we beseech Thee to grant
to the souls of Thy servants the remission
of their sins, so that by our prayers
they may obtain pardon for which they long.
O Lord, who lives and reigns,
world without end. Amen

May they rest in peace. Amen

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PADRE NUESTRO

Padre Nuestro,
que estas en los Cielos
Santificado sea Tu Nombre;
Venga a nosotros tu Reino;
Hágase Tu Voluntad
en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día;
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
Como también nosotros
perdonamos a los que nos ofenden,
No nos dejes caer en la tentación,
y líbranos del mal. Amén
 
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AVE MARÍA

Dios te salve, María,
llena eres de gracia;
El Señor es Contigo;
Bendita Tú eres
entre todas las mujeres,
Y bendito es el fruto
De tu vientre, Jesús.
 
Santa María,
Madre de Dios,
Ruega por nosotros
pecadores,
Ahora y en la hora
De nuestra muerte.
Amén
 
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CREDO
Creo en Dios, Padre Todopoderoso,
Creador del cielo y de la tierra.
Creo en Jesucristo,
Su único Hijo, Nuestro Señor,
Que fue concebido por obra
y gracia del Espíritu Santo,
Nació de la Santa María Virgen;
Padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato,
Fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado,
Descendió a los infiernos,
Al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos,
Subió a los cielos
Y está sentado a la derecha de Dios,
Padre Todopoderoso.
Desde allí ha de venir a juzgar
a los vivos y a los muertos.

Creo en el Espíritu Santo,
La Santa Iglesia Católica,
La comunión de los santos,
El perdón de los pecados,
La resurrección de la carne
Y la vida eterna. Amén
 
 
CERRAR
DE PROFUNDIS

Desde lo hondo a Ti grito, Señor; Señor,
escucha mi voz;
Estén Tus oidos atentos
a la voz de mi súplica.

Si llevas cuenta de los delitos, Señor,
¿quién podrá resistir?
Pero de ti procede el perdón,
y así infundes respeto.
Mi alma espera en el Señor.

Espera en su palabra;
mi alma aguarda al Señor,
más que el centinela la aurora.
Aguarda Israel al Señor.

Como el centinela la aurora;
porque del Señor viene la misericordia.
la redención copiosa;
y Él redimirá a Israel de todos sus delitos.

Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al
Espíritu Santo,
como es desde el principio,
es ahora y será por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén

X
GLORIA

Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al
Espíritu Santo,
como es desde el principio,
es ahora y será por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén

CERRAR
DE PROFUNDIS y QUE DESCANSEN EN PAZ

Desde lo hondo a Ti grito, Señor;
Señor, escucha mi voz;
Estén Tus oidos atentos a
la voz de mi súplica.

Si llevas cuenta de los delitos, Señor,
¿quién podrá resistir?

Pero de ti procede el perdón,
y así infundes respeto.
Mi alma espera en el Señor.

Espera en su palabra;
mi alma aguarda al Señor,
más que el centinela la aurora.
Aguarda Israel al Señor.

Como el centinela la aurora;
porque del Señor viene la misericordia,
la redención copiosa;
y Él redimirá a Israel de todos sus delitos.

V. Dadles, Señor, a todas las almas
el descanso eterno.
R. Y haced lucir sobre ellas
vuestra eterna luz.
V. Que en paz descansen.
R. Amén.