St. Hilary of Poitiers
Today is the optional memorial of St. Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St. Hilary of Poitiers was one of the great champions of the Catholic belief in the divinity of Christ. By his preaching, his treatise on the Trinity, his part in the Councils, his daring opposition to the Emperor Constantius, he showed himself a courageous apostle of the truth. He could not tolerate that the specious plea of safeguarding peace and unity should be allowed to dim the light of Gospel teaching. St. Pius IX proclaimed him a doctor of the Church.
Hillary was born in Poitiers in Gaul in what is today France in 315 and raised as a pagan. As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith, and was converted by the end of the New Testament. Married during his early years, he soon converted his wife and daughter who enthusiastically embraced the faith. Because celibacy was not a requirement at that time for the clergy, at the age of 35, Hillary was elected as the new bishop of Poitier. He devoted his tongue and pen to fighting the Arian heresy, which denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and was exiled for four years in the East for his fidelity to the faith. His writings drew many converts to the faith. Hillary died in 368 A.D. Hilary is sometimes called “the Athanasius of the West.”
A favorite motto of St. Hilary was, Ministros veritatis decet vera proferre, “Servants of the truth ought speak the truth.”
“Now it is time to speak, the time for silence is past. We must expect Christ’s return, for the reign of Antichrist has begun. The shepherds must give the warning signals because the hirelings have fled. Let us lay down our lives for the sheep, for brigands have entered the fold and the roaring lion is rampaging about. Be ready for martyrdom! Satan himself is clothed as an angel of light.”
“Impart to us the meaning of the words of Scripture and the light to understand it.”
“Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill-will, bad temper, arrogance and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord’s own humility, we must return to the simplicity of God’s little ones.”
~ Saint Hilary of Poitiers
Patron: Against snakes; backward children; snake bites.