Maybe because he was orphaned and had been treated shabbily by one of his brothers, Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.
Peter escaped poverty and the neglect of his own brother when his other brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him under his wing. His brother sent him to good schools and Peter became a professor.
Already in those days, Peter was very strict with himself. He wore a hair shirt under his clothes, fasted rigorously and spent many hours in prayer. Soon, he decided to leave his teaching and give himself completely to prayer with the Benedictines of the reform of Saint Romuald at Fonte Avellana. They lived two monks to a hermitage. Peter was so eager to pray and slept so little that he soon suffered from severe insomnia. He found he had to use some prudence in taking care of himself. When he was not praying, he studied the Bible.
The abbot commanded that when he died Peter should succeed him. Abbot Peter founded five other hermitages. He encouraged his brothers in a life of prayer and solitude and wanted nothing more for himself. The Holy See periodically called on him, however, to be a peacemaker or troubleshooter, between two abbeys in dispute or a cleric or government official in some disagreement with Rome.
Finally, Pope Stephen IX made Peter the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He worked hard to wipe out simony—the buying of church offices–and encouraged his priests to observe celibacy and urged even the diocesan clergy to live together and maintain scheduled prayer and religious observance. He wished to restore primitive discipline among religious and priests, warning against needless travel, violations of poverty, and too comfortable living. He even wrote to the bishop of Besancon complaining that the canons there sat down when they were singing the psalms in the Divine Office.
He wrote many letters. Some 170 are extant. We also have 53 of his sermons and seven lives, or biographies, that he wrote. He preferred examples and stories rather than theory in his writings. The liturgical offices he wrote are evidence of his talent as a stylist in Latin.
He asked often to be allowed to retire as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, and finally Pope Alexander II consented. Peter was happy to become once again just a monk, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate. When returning from such an assignment in Ravenna, he was overcome by a fever. With the monks gathered around him saying the Divine Office, he died on February 22, 1072. In 1828, he was declared a Doctor of the Church.
INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 15: 5
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. v. 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. Repeat In the midst of the Church…
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O almighty Got to follow the admonitions and examples of blessed Peter, Thy confessor and bishop; that by despising earthly things we may obtain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 15: 1-6
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. He that feareth God will do good: and he that possesseth justice shall lay hold on her, and she will meet him as an honorable mother. With the bread of life and understanding she shall feed him and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved: and she shall hold him fast, and he shall not be confounded: and she shall exalt him among his neighbors, and in the midst of the Church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory. The Lord our God shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.
GRADUAL/TRACT Ecclus. 44. 1, 20
Behold a great priest who in his days pleased God. V.: There was not any found like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. TRACT: Psalm 111: 6-7 Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he delights exceedingly in His commandments. V. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed. V. Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.
GOSPEL S. John 21: 19-24
At that time Jesus said to Peter: ‘ Follow Me.’ Peter turning about saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on His breast at supper and said: ‘Lord, who is he that shall betray Thee?’ Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: ‘Lord, and what shall this man do?’ Jesus saith to him: ‘So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? Follow thou Me.’ This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but: ‘So I will have him to remain till I come: what is it to thee?’ This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things: and we know that the testimony is true.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalms 91: 13
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus.
Receive, O Lord, the gifts we bring to Thee on the feast of him, by whose pleading we hope to be delivered. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
COMMUNION ANTIPHON John 21: 23
This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain until I come.
We who have been refreshed by heavenly food and drink, humbly entreat Thee, O our God, that we may be strengthened also by the prayers of him, in whose commemoration we have received them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.