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Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Daily Saint

February 21: St. Peter Damian

St. Peter Damian was born in 1007, and was left an orphan as a little child. He was taken in by an older brother who abused and starved him. Another brother named Damian became aware of the boy's real situation. He brought him to his own home. It was then that Peter's life took on a whole new direction. He was treated with love, affection and care. So grateful was he that when he became a religious he took the name Damian after his loving brother. Damian educated Peter and encouraged his studies. Peter eventually taught at the university while he was in his twenties. He was thought of as a great teacher. But the Lord was directing him in ways he could never have thought of.

Peter lived in times when many in the Church were too influenced by secular goals. Peter realized that the Church is divine and has the grace from Jesus to save all people. He wanted the Church to shine with the holiness of Jesus. After seven years of teaching, he made the decision to become a monk. He wanted to live the rest of his life in prayer and penance. He would pray and sacrifice so that many people in the Church would become holy. He went to a monastery of St. Romuald. Peter Damian wrote a rule for the monks. He also wrote a life of their holy founder, Romuald. Peter wrote many works of theology to help people deepen their faith. Twice his abbot sent him to neighboring monasteries. He helped the monks begin reforms that would encourage them to live closer to God. The monks were grateful because Peter was so kind and respectful.

Peter was finally called from the monastery. He became a bishop and a cardinal. He was sent on very important missions for various popes throughout his long life. St. Peter Damian died in 1072 at the age of sixty-five. Because he was a champion of truth and a peacemaker, he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828. The poet Dante (who lived from 1265 to 1321) recognized the greatness of St. Peter Damian. In his poem, the "Divine Comedy," Dante places Damian in the "seventh heaven." That was his place for holy people who loved to think about or contemplate God.

Reflection: Despite his difficult childhood experienced, St. Peter Damian learned to find the Lord with childlike trust. Do I allow the Lord to come into my life? Do I really trust him?