Jul 18, 2022, 2:45:45 AM7/18/22
July 18th – St. Philastrius of Brescia
Also known as Filastrius, Philaster
Memorial 18 July
8 July on some calendars
We know nothing certain of this saint's country, but he quitted it and
the house and inheritance of his ancestors, like Abraham, the more
perfectly to disengage himself from ties of the world. He traveled
through many provinces to oppose infidels and heretics, especially the
Arians, whose errors were at that time dispersed over the whole
Church. His zeal and faith gave him courage to rejoice with the
Apostle in suffering for the truth, and to bear in his body the marks
of a severe scourging which he underwent for asserting the true
godhead of Jesus Christ. At Milan he vigorously opposed the endeavours
of Auxentius, the Arian, who laboured to destroy the flock of Christ
there; and he preached and held disputations with heretics in Rome
itself, and afterwards went to Brescia.
Being chosen bishop of this see, he exerted himself with such vigour
as even to outdo himself. Alban Butler is understating when he says
that Philastrius was not equal in learning to the Ambroses and
Augustines of that age; but what was wanting in that respect was
abundantly made up by the example of his life, his spirit of humility
and piety, and his unwearied application to every pastoral duty: he is
an instance of what eminent service moderate abilities may be capable
of when they are joined with a high degree of virtue.
To caution his flock against the danger of errors in faith St.
Philastrius wrote his “Catalogue of Heresies”, in which he does not
take that word in its strict sense and according to the theological
definition, but includes among his 128 "heresies" a number of
opinions--which are matters of dispute: not only that, but he branded
as heretics those who, for example, call the days of the week by
heathen names (he would have approved the practice of the Society of
Friends in this respect). The work has little value in itself, but is
of interest to scholars for the light it may throw on the work of
other writers, e.g. Hippolytus. St. Gaudentius in a panegyric of St.
Philastrius praises his modesty, quietness and sweetness towards all
men; he extended his liberality, not only to all that were reduced to
beggary, but also to tradesmen and others, whom he generously enabled
to carry on or to enlarge their business. St. Augustine met St.
Philastrius at Milan with St. Ambrose about the year 384. He died
before St. Ambrose, his metropolitan, who after his death placed his
disciple St. Gaudentius in the see of Brescia.
See the Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. iv. The authenticity of the
panegyric by St. Gaudentius, which is the source of most of our scanty
information about Philastrius, has been questioned, but it is
vindicated by Knappe and Poncelet: see the Analecta Bollandiana, vol.
xxviii (1909), p. 224; and cf. Bardenhewer, Patrologie, § 89. See also
P. de Labriolle and G. Bardy, Histoire de Ia littérature latine
chrétienne (1947), pp. 432-434.
The remembrance of the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ is the door
through which the soul enters into intimate union with God, interior
recollection and most sublime contemplation...
--St. Paul of the Cross
11 Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace
and pursue it: 12 Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and
his ears unto their prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them
that do evil things. (1 Peter 3:11-12) DRB