Author Topic: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.  (Read 1105 times)

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2019, 10:13:56 AM »
Jan 20 ST. FABIAN, POPE, M.

[See Tillemont, t. 3, p. 362.]

A. D. 250.

HE succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate, in the year 236. Eusebius relates,[1] that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian; and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian.[2] St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerom witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man; and says, that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.[3]

The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. “God,” says St. Austin,[4] “in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, ‘Thou, O Lord, art my portion.’ 5 Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures, for my part, Thou art my portion, Thee alone have I chosen for my whole inheritance.”
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2019, 12:42:06 AM »
Jan 21 SAINT AGNES, V. M.

[The following relation is taken from Prudentius, de Coron. hym. 14, St. Ambrose,1. 1, de Virgin. & Offic[1]. c. 41, and other fathers. Her acts are as ancient as the seventh century; but not sufficiently authentic: nor are those given us in Chaldaic by Stephen Assemani of a better stamp. They contradict St. Ambrose and Prudentius in supposing that she finished her martyrdom by fire.[1] See Tillemonl, t. 5.]

A. D. 304, or 305.

ST. JEROM says, that the tongues and pens of all nations are employed in the praises of this saint, who overcame both the cruelty of the tyrant and the tenderness of her age, and crowned the glory of chastity with that of martyrdom. St. Austin observes,[2] that her name signifies chaste in Greek, and lamb in Latin. She has been always looked upon in the church as a special patroness of purity, with the immaculate Mother of God and St. Thecla. Rome was the theatre of the triumph of St. Agnes; and Prudentius says, that her tomb was shown within sight of that city. She suffered not long after the beginning of the persecution of Dioclesian, whose bloody edicts appeared in March in the year of our Lord 303. We learn from St. Ambrose and St. Austin, that she was only thirteen years of age at the time of her glorious death. Her riches and beauty excited the young noblemen of the first families of Rome, to vie with one another in their addresses, who should gain her in marriage.[3] Agnes answered them all, that she had consecrated her virginity to a heavenly spouse, who could not be beheld by mortal eyes. Her suitors finding her resolution impregnable to all their arts and importunities, accused her to the governor as a Christian; not doubting but threats and torments would overcome her tender mind, on which allurements could make no impression. The judge at first employed the mildest expressions and most inviting promises; to which Agnes paid no regard, repeating always, that she could have no other spouse than Jesus Christ. He then made use of threats, but found her soul endowed with a masculine courage, and even desirous of racks and death. At last, terrible fires were made, and iron hooks, racks, and other instruments of torture displayed before her, with threats of immediate execution. The young virgin surveyed them all with an undaunted eye; and with a cheerful countenance beheld the fierce and cruel executioners surrounding her, and ready to dispatch her at the word of command. She was so far from betraying the least symptom of fear, that she even expressed her joy at the sight, and offered herself to the rack. She was then dragged before the idols, and commanded to offer incense: “but could by no means be compelled to move her hand, except to make the sign of the cross,” says St. Ambrose.

The governor seeing his measures ineffectual, said he would send her to a house of prostitution, where what she prized so highly should be exposed to the insults of the debauchces.[4] Agnes answered that Jesus Christ was too jealous of the purity of his spouses, to suffer it to be violated in such a manner; for he was their defender and protector. “You may,” said she, “stain your sword with my blood, but will never be able to profane my body, consecrated to Christ.” The governor was so incensed at this, that he ordered her to be immediately led to the public brothel, with liberty to all persons to abuse her person at pleasure. Many young profligates ran thither, full of the wicked desire of gratifying their lust; but were seized with such awe at the sight of the saint, that they durst not approach her; one only excepted, who, attempting to be rude to her, was that very instant, by a flash, as is were, of lightning from heaven, struck blind, and fell trembling to the ground. His companions, terrified, took him up, and carried him to Agnes, who was at a distance, singing hymns of praise to Christ, her protector. The virgin by prayer restored him to his sight and health.*

The chief prosecutor of the saint, who at first sought to gratify his lusy and avarice, now labored to satiate his revenge, by incensing the judge against her; his passionate fondness being changed into anger and rage. The governor wanted not others to spur him on; for he was highly exasperated to see himself baffled, and set at defiance by one of her tender age and sex. Therefore, resolved upon her death, he condemned her to be beheaded. Agnes, transported with joy on hearing this sentence, and still more at the sight of the executioner, “went to the place of execution more cheerfully,” says St. Ambrose, “than others go to their wedding.” The executioner had secret instructions to use all means to induce her to a compliance: but Agnes always answered she could never offer so great an injury to her heavenly spouse; and having made a short prayer, bowed down her neck to adore God, and receive the stroke of death. The spectators wept to see so beautiful and tender a virgin loaded with fetters, and to behold her fearless under the very sword of the executioner, who with a trembling hand cut off her head at one stroke. Her body was buried at a small distance from Rome, near the Nomentan road. A church was built on the spot in the time of Constantine the Great, and was repaired by pope Honorius in the seventh century. It is now in the hands of Canon-Regulars, standing without the walls of Rome; and is honored with her relics in a very rich silver shrine, the gift of pope Paul V., in whose time they were found in this church, together with those of St. Emerentiana.† The other beautiful rich church of St. Agnes within the city, built by pope Innocent X., (the right of patronage being vested in the family of Pamphili,) stands on the place where her chastity was exposed. The feast of St. Agnes is mentioned in all Martyrologies, both of the East and West, though on different days. It was formerly a holyday for the women in England, as appears from the council of Worcester, held in the year 1240. St. Ambrose, St. Austin, and other fathers have wrote her panegyric. St. Martin of Tours was singularly devout to her. Thomas à Kempis honored her as his special patroness, as his works declare in many places. He relates many miracles wrought, and graces received through her intercession.

Marriage is a holy state, instituted by God, and in the order of providence and nature the general or most ordinary state of those who live in the world. Those, therefore, who upon motive’s of virtue, and in a Christian and holy manner engage in this state, do well. Those, nevertheless, who for the sake of practising more perfect virtue, by a divine call, prefer a state of perpetual virginity, embrace that which is more perfect and more excellent. Dr. Wells, a learned Protestant, confesses that Christ[5] declares voluntary chastity, for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, to be an excellency, and an excellent state of life.[6] This is also the manifest inspired doctrine of St. Paul,[7] and in the revelations of St. John,[8] spotless virgins are called, in a particular manner, the companions of the Lamb, and are said to enjoy the singular privilege of following him wherever he goes. The tradition of the church has always been unanimous in this point; and among the Romans, Greeks Syrians, and Barbarians, many holy virgins joyfully preferred torments and death to the violation of their integrity, which they bound themselves by vow to preserve without defilement, in mind or body. The fathers, from the very disciples of the apostles, are all profuse in extolling the excellency of holy virginity, as a special fruit of the incarnation of Christ, his divine institution, and a virtue which has particular charms in the eyes of God, who delights in chaste minds, and chooses to dwell singularly in them. They often repeat that purity raises men, even in this mortal life, to the dignity of angels; purifies the soul, fits it for a more perfect love of God and a closer application to heavenly things, and disengages the mind and heart from worldly thoughts and affections. It produces in the soul the nearest resemblance to God. Chastity is threefold; that of virgins, that of widows, and that of married persons; in each state it will receive its crown, as St. Ambrose observes,[9] but in the first is most perfect, so that St. Austin calls its fruit an hundred fold, and that of marriage sixty fold; but the more excellent this virtue is, and the higher its glory and reward, the more heroic and the more difficult is its victory; nor is it perfect unless it be embellished with all other virtues in an heroic degree, especially divine charity and the most profound humility.
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2019, 11:21:20 AM »
ST. VINCENT, MARTYR

From Prudentius, hymn 5, and St. Austin, serm. 274, 275, 276, 277, all four preached on his festivals. His ancient acts in Bollandus are also authentic, but not those in Metaphrastes and Surius. See Tillement t. 5, p. 217.

A. D. 304.

THE most glorious martyr St. Vincent was born, some say at Saragossa, others at Valentia, but most authors, and most probably, at Osca, now Huesca, in Granada. He was instructed in the sacred sciences and in Christian piety by Valerius, the bishop of that city, who ordained him his deacon, and appointed him, though very young, to preach and instruct the people. Dacian, a most bloody persecutor, was then governor of Spain. The emperors Dioclesian and Maximian published their second and third bloody edicts against the Christian clergy in the year 303, which in the following year were put in force against the laity. It seems to have been before these last that Dacian put to death eighteen martyrs at Saragossa, who are mentioned by Prudentius, and in the Roman Martyrology, January the 16th, and that he apprehended Valerius and Vincent. They spilt some of their blood at Saragossa, but were thence conducted to Valentia, where the governor let them lie long in prison, suffering extreme famine and other miseries. The proconsul hoped that this lingering torture would shake their constancy; but when they were brought out before him, he was surprised to see them still intrepid in mind, and vigorous in body, and reprimanded his officers, as if they had not treated the prisoners according to his orders. Then, turning to the champions of Christ, he employed alternately threats and promises to induce them to sacrifice. Valerius, who had an impediment in his speech, making no answer, Vincent said to him: “Father, if you order me, I will speak.” “Son,” said Valerius, “as I committed to you the dispensation of the word of God, so I now charge you to answer in vindication of the faith which we defend.” The holy deacon then acquainted the judge that they were ready to suffer every thing for the true God, and little regarded either his threats or promises in such a cause. Dacian contented himself with banishing Valerius.* As for St. Vincent, he was determined in assail his resolution by every torture his crue! temper could suggest. St. Austin assures us. that he suffered torments far beyond what any man could possibly have endured, unless supported by a supernatural strength; and that he preserved such a peace and tranquillity in his words, countenance, and gestures in the midst of them, as astonished his very persecutors, and visibly appeared as something divine; while the rage and distraction of Dacian’s soul was as visible in the violent agitations of his body, by his eyes sparkling with fury, and his faltering voice.

The martyr was first stretched on the rack by his hands and feet, drawn by cords and pulleys, till his joints were almost torn asunder: while he hung in this posture, his flesh was unmercifully torn off with iron hooks. Vincent, smiling, called the executioners weak and faint-hearted. Dacian thought they spared him, and caused them to be beaten, which afforded the champion an interval of rest: but they soon returned to him, resolved fully to satisfy the cruelty of their master, who excited them all the while to exert their utmost strength. They twice stayed their hands to take breath, and let his wounds grow cold; then began with fresh vigor to rend and tear his body, which they did in all its limbs and parts with such cruelty, that his bones and bowels were in most places exposed bare to sight. The more his body was mangled, the more did the divine presence cherish and comfort his soul, and spread a greater joy on his countenance. The judge, seeing the streams of blood which flowed from all the parts of his body, and the frightful condition to which it was reduced, was obliged to confess, with astonishment, that the courage of the young nobleman had vanquished him, and his rage seemed somewhat abated. Hereupon he ordered a cessation of his torments, begging of the saint for his own sake, that if he could not be prevailed upon to offer sacrifice to the gods, he would at least give up the sacred books to be burnt, according to the order of the late edicts. The martyr answered, that he feared his torments less than that false compassion which he testified. Dacian, more incensed than ever, condemned him to the most cruel of tortures, that of fire upon a kind of gridiron, called by the acts the legal torture.[1] The saint walked with joy to the frightful engine, so as almost to get the start of his executioners, such was his desire to suffer. He mounted cheerfully the iron bed, in which the bars were framed like scythes, full of sharp spikes made red-hot by the fire underneath. On this dreadful gridiron the martyr was stretched out at length, and bound fast down. He was not only scourged thereon, but, while one part of his body was broiling next the fire, the other was tortured by the application of red-hot plates of iron. His wounds were rubbed with sait, which the activity of the fire forced the deeper into his flesh and bowels. All the parts of his body were tormented in this manner, one after the other, and each several times over. The melted fat dropping from the flesh, nourished and increased the flames; which, instead of tormenting, seemed, as St. Austin says, to give the martyr new vigor and courage; for the more he suffered, the greater seemed to be the inward joy and consolation of his soul. The rage and confusion of the tyrant exceeded all bounds: he appeared not able to contain himself, and was continually inquiring what Vincent did and what he said; but was always answered, that he suffered with joy in his countenance, and seemed every moment to acquire new strength and resolution. He lay unmoved, his eyes turned towards heaven, his mind calm, and his heart fixed on God in continual prayer.

At last, by the command of the proconsul, he was thrown into a dungeon and his wounded body laid on the floor strewed with broken potsherds, which opened afresh his ghastly wounds, and cut his bare flesh. His legs were set in wooden stocks, stretched very wide, and strict orders were given that he should be left without provisions, and that no one should be admitted to see or speak to him. But God sent his angels to comfort him, with whom he sung the praises of his protector. The jailer observing through the chinks the prison filled with light, and the saint walking and praising God, was converted upon the spot to the Christian faith, and afterwards baptized. At this, news Dacian chafed, and even wept through rage, but ordered some repose should be allowed the prisoner. The faithful were then permitted to see him, and coming in troops wiped and kissed his wounds, and dipped cloths in his blood, which they kept as an assured protection for themselves and their posterity. After this a soft bed was prepared for him, on which he was no sooner laid but he expired, the happy moment he had not ceased to pray for ever since his torments, and his first call to martyrdom. Dacian commanded his body to be thrown on a marshy field among rushes; but a crow defended it from wild beasts and birds of prey. The acts in Ruinart and Bollandus, and the sermon attributed to St. Leo, add, that it was then tied to a great stone and cast into the sea in a sack, but miraculously carried to the shore, and revealed to two Christians. They laid it in a little chapel out of the walls of Valentia, where God honored these relics with many miracles, as the acts and St. Austin witness. Prudentius informs us, that the iron on which he lay, and other instruments of his passion, were likewise preserved with veneration. Childebert, king of France, or rather of Paris, besieging Saragossa, wondered to see the inhabitants bushed continually in making processions. Being informed they carried the stole of St. Vincent about the walls in devout prayer, and had been miraculously protected by that martyr’s intercession, he raised the siege upon condition that relic should be given him. This he with great solemnity brought to Paris, and enriched with it the magnificent church and abbey of St. Vincent, now called St. Germain-des-Prés, which he built in 559, and which his successor Clotaire caused to be dedicated.[2] In the year 855, his sacred bones were discovered at Valentia, and conveyed into France, and deposited in the abbey of Castres, now an episcopal see in Languedoe, where they remain; but several portions have been given to the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés at Paris, and other churches; and part was burnt at Castres by the Huguenots about the end of the sixteenth century.[3] Aimoinus, a contemporary monk, wrote the history of this translation, with an account of many miracles which attended it.* St. Gregory of Tours mentions a portion of his relies to have been famous for miracles, in a village church near Poictiers.[4] In the life of St. Domnolus, mention is made of a portion placed by him in a great monastery in the suburb of the city of Mans. But it is certain that the chief part of this martyr’s body was conveyed to Lisbon. To escape the cruel persecution of the Saracen king Abderamene, at Valently, many Christians privately withdrew themselves, and, carrying with them the body of St. Vincent, took shelter on the southwest cape, called the Sacred Promontory, and from these relies St. Vincent’s, in the kingdom of Algarb, then under the Saracens. Alphonsus Henry, the must pious first king of Portugal, son of count Henry, having defeated five Moorish kings, at Ourique, in the year 1139, received from those faithful keepers the body of St. Vincent, sent it by sea to Lisbon, and built the royal monastery of the Cross of regular canons of St. Austin, in which he most religiously deposited this treasure, rendered more famous by miracles, in the year 1148. This account is recorded by contemporary unexceptionable vouchers in Bollandus, p. 406. Mariana, and especially Thomas ab Incarnatione, a regular canon, in his Historiâ Ecclesiæ Lusitanæ, printed at Lisbon, A. D. 1759, Sæc. 4, c. 6, t. 1, p. 215. The Portuguese, ever since the year 1173, keep an annual commemoration of this translation on the 15th of September, which feast was confirmed by Sixtus V.

Prudentius finishes his hymn on this holy martyr by a prayer to him, that he would present the marks of his sufferings to Christ, to move him to compassion in his behalf.

God never more visibly manifested his power, nor gave stronger or more wonderful proofs of his tenderness and love for his church, than when he suffered it to groan under the most violent oppression and persecution; nor does his grace anywhere appear more triumphant than in the victories of his martyrs under the severest trials, and in the heroic virtues which they displayed amidst torments and insults. Under the slightest disappointments and afflictions we are apt to fall into discouragement, and to imagine, by our sloth and impatience, that our situation is of all others the most unhappy and intolerable. If nature feels, and we implore the divine mercy, and a deliverance, if this may be conducive to God’s honor, we must be careful never to sink under the trials, or consent to the least secret murmuring: we must bear them if not with joy, at least with perfect submission; and remain assured that God only seems to withdraw himself from us, that we may follow him more earnestly, and unite ourselves more closely to him.
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2019, 06:14:48 AM »
Jan 23 ST. RAYMUND, OF PENNAFORT, C.

From the bull of his canonization, by Clement VIII. in 1601, and his life, written by several Spanish Italian, and French authors. See Fleury, b. 78, n. 55, 64, and chiefly Touron, Hommes Illustres de I’Ordre de S. Domin. t. 1, p. 1.

A. D. 1275.

THE house of Pegnafort, or, as it is pronounced, Pennafort, was descended from the counts of Barcelona, and nearly allied to the kings of Aragon. Raymund was born in 1175, at Pennafort, a castle in Catalonia, which in the fifteenth century was changed into a convent of the order of St. Dominick. Such was his rapid progress in his studies, that at the age of twenty he taught philosophy at Barcelona, which he did gratis, and with so great reputation, that he began then to be consulted by the ablest masters. His principal care was to instil into his scholars the most perfect maxims of a solid piety and devotion, to compose all differences among the citizens, and to relieve the distressed. He was about thirty years of age when he went to Bologna, in Italy, to perfect himself in the study of the canon and civil law, commenced Doctor in that faculty, and taught with the same disinterestedness and charity as he had done in his own country. In 1219 Berengarius, bishop of Barcelona, who had been at Rome, took Raymund home with him, to the great regret of the university and senate of Bologna; and not content with giving him a canonry in his church, made him his archdeacon, grand vicar, and official. He was a perfect model to the clergy, by his innocence, zeal, devotion, and boundless liberalities to the poor, whom he called his creditors. In 1222 he took the religious habit of St. Dominick at Barcelona, eight months after the death of the holy founder, and in the forty-seventh year of his age. No person was ever seen among the young novices more humble, more obedient, or more fervent. To imitate the obedience of a Man-God, who reduced himself to a state of subjection to his own creatures, to teach us the dangers and deep wound of self-will, and to point out to us the remedy, the saint would depend absolutely on the lights of his director in all things. And it was upon the most perfect self-denial that he laid the foundation of that high sanctity which he made the object of his most earnest desires. The grace of prayer perfected the work which mortification had begun. In a spirit of compunction he begged of his superiors that they would enjoin him some severe penance, to expiate the vain satisfaction and complacency which he said he had sometimes taken in teaching. They indeed imposed on him a penance, but not such a one as he expected. It was to write a collection of cases of conscience for the instruction and conveniency of confessors and moralists. This produced his Sum, the first work of that kind. Had his method and decisions been better followed by some later authors of the like works, the holy maxims of Christian morality had been treated with more respect by some moderns than they have been, to our grief and confusion.

Raymund joined to the exercises of his solitude the functions of an apostolical life, by laboring without intermission in preaching, instructing, hearing confessions with wonderful fruit, and converting heretics, Jews, and Moors. Among his penitents were James, king of Aragon, and St. Peter Nolasco with whom he concerted the foundation of the Order of the B. Virgin of mercy for the redemption of captives. James, the young king of Aragon, had married Eleonora of Castile within the prohibited degrees, without a dispensation. A legate was sent by pope Gregory IX. to examine and judge the case. In a council of bishops of the two kingdoms, held at Tarragon, he declared the marriage null, but that their son Don Alphonso should be reputed lawfully born, and heir to his father’s crown. The king had taken his confessor with him to the council, and the cardinal legate was so charmed with his talents and virtue, that he associated him in his legation, and gave him a commission to preach the holy war against the Moors. The servant of God acquitted himself of that function with so much prudence, zeal, and charity, that he sowed the seeds of the total overthrow of those infidels in Spain. His labors were no less successful in the reformation of the manners of the Christians detained in servitude under the Moors, which were extremely corrupted by their long slavery or commerce with these infidels. Raymund showed them, by words full of heavenly unction and fire, that, to triumph over their bodily, they must first conquer their spiritual enemies, and subdue sin in themselves, which made God their enemy. Inculcating these and the like spiritual lessons, he ran over Catalonia, Aragon, Castile, and other countries. So general a change was wrought hereby in the manners of the people, as seemed incredible to all but those who were witnesses of it. By their conversion the anger of God was appeased, and the arms of the faithful became terrible to their enemies. The kings of Castile and Leon freed many places from the Moorish yoke. Don James, king of Aragon, drove them out of the islands of Majorca and Minorca, and soon after, in 1237, out of the whole kingdom of Valentia. Pope Gregory IX. having called St. Raymund to Rome in 1230, nominated him his chaplain, (which was the title of the Auditor of the causes of the apostolic palace,) as also grand penitentiary. He made him likewise his own confessarius, and in difficult affairs came to no decision but by his advice. The saint still reserved himself for the poor, and was so solicitous for them that his Holiness called him their father. He enjoined the pope, for a penance, to receive, hear, and expedite immediately all petitions presented by them. The pope, who was well versed in the car on law, ordered the saint to gather into one body all the scattered decree of popes and councils, since the collection made by Gratian in 1150. Raymund compiled this work in three years, in five books, commonly called the Decretals, which the same pope Gregory confirmed in 1234. It is looked upon as the best finished part of the body of the canon law; on which account the canonists have usually chosen it for the texts of their comments. In 1235, the pope named St. Raymund to the archbishopric of Tarragon, the capital of Aragon: the humble religious man was not able to avert the storm, as he called it, by tears and entreaties; but at length fell sick through anxiety and fear. To restore him to his health, his Holiness was obliged to consent to excuse him, but required that he should recommend a proper person. The saint named a pious and learned canon of Gironne. He refused other dignities with the like constancy.

For the recovery of his health he returned to his native country, and was received with as much joy as if the safety of the whole kingdom, and of every particular person, had depended on his presence. Being restored again to his dear solitude at Barcelona, he continued his former exercises of contemplation, preaching, and administering the sacrament of penance. Except on Sundays, he never took more than one very small refection in the day. Amidst honours and applause he was ever little in his own eyes: he appeared in the schools like a scholar, and in his convent begged the superior to instruct him in the rules of religious perfection, with the humility and docility of a novice. Whether he sung the divine praises with his brethren, or prayed alone in his cell, or some corner of the church, he poured forth an abundance of tears; and often was not able to contain within himself the ardor of his soul. His mildness and sweetness were unalterable. The incredible number of conversions of which he was the instrument, is known only to Him who, by his grace, was the author of them. He was employed frequently in most important commissions, both by the holy see and by the king. But he was thunderstruck by the arrival of four deputies from the general chapter of his order at Bologna, in 1238, with the news that he was chosen third general, Jordan of Saxony being lately dead He wept and entreated, but at length acquiesced in obedience. He made the visitation of his order on foot, without discontinuing any of his penitential austerities, or rather exercises. He instilled into his spiritual children a love of regularity, solitude, mortification, prayer, sacred studies, and the apostolical functions, especially preaching. He reduced the constitutions of his order into a clearer method, with notes on the doubtful passages. This his code of rules was approved in three general chapters. In one held at Paris in 1239, he procured the establishment of this regulation, that a voluntary demission of a superior, founded upon just reasons, should be accepted. This he contrived in his own favor; for, to the extreme regret of the order, he in the year following resigned the generalship, which he had held only two years. He alleged for his reason his age of sixty-five years. Rejoicing to see himself again a private religious man, he applied himself with fresh vigor to the exercises and functions of an apostolical life, especially the conversion of the Saracens. Having this end in view, he engaged St. Thomas to write his work ‘Against the Gentiles;’ procured the Arabic and Hebrew tongues to be taught in several convents of his order; and erected convents, one at Tunis, and another at Murcia, among the Moors. In 1256, he wrote to his general that ten thousand Saracens had received baptism. King James took him into the island of Majorca. The saint embraced that opportunity of cultivating that infant church. This prince was an accomplished soldier and statesman, and a sincere lover of religion, but his great qualities were sullied by a base passion for women. He received the admonitions of the saint with respect, and promised amendment of life, and a faithful compliance with the saint’s injunctions in every particular; but without effect. St. Raymund, upon discovering that he entertained a lady at his court with whom he was suspected to have criminal conversation, made the strongest instances to have her dismissed, which the king promised should be done, but postponed the execution. The saint, dissatisfied with the delay, begged leave to retire to his convent at Barcelona. The king not only refused him leave, but threatened to punish with death any person that should undertake to convey him out of the island. The saint, full of confidence in God, said to his companion, “A king of the earth endeavors to deprive us of the means of retiring; but the King of heaven will supply them.” He then walked boldly to the waters, spread his cloak upon them, tied up one corner of it to a staff for a sail, and having made the sign of the cross, stepped upon it without fear, while his timorous companion stood trembling and wondering on the shore. On this new kind of vessel the saint was wafted with such rapidity, that in six hours he reached the harbor of Barcelona, sixty leagues distant from Majorca. Those who saw him arrive in this manner met him with acclamations. But he, gathering up his cloak dry, put it on, stole through the crowd, and entered his monastery. A chapel and a tower, built on the place where he landed, have transmitted the memory of this miracle to posterity. This relation is taken from the bull of his canonization, and the earliest historians of his life. The king became a sincere convert, and governed his conscience, and even his kingdoms, by the advice of St. Raymund from that time till the death of the saint. The holy man prepared himself for his passage to eternity, by employing days and nights in penance and prayer. During his last illness, Alphonsus, king of Castile, with his queen, sons, and brother; and James, king of Aragon, with his court, visited him, and received his last benediction. He armed himself with the last sacraments; and, in languishing sighs of divine love, gave up his soul to God, on the 6th of January, in the year 1275, and the hundredth of his age. The two kings, with all the princes and princesses of their royal families, honored his funeral with their presence: but his tomb was rendered far more illustrious by miracles. Several are recorded in the bull of his canonization, published by Clement VIII. in 1601. Bollandus has filled fifteen pages in folio with an account of them. His office is fixed by Clement X. to the 23d of January.

The saints first learned in solitude to die to the world and themselves, to put on the spirit of Christ, and ground themselves in a habit of recollection and a relish only for heavenly things, before they entered upon the exterior functions even of a spiritual ministry. Amidst these weighty employments, not content with reserving always the time and means of frequent retirement for conversing with God and themselves, in their exterior functions by raising their minds to heaven with holy sighs and desires, they made all their actions in some measure an uninterrupted prayer and exercise of divine love and praise. St. Bonaventure reckons it among the general exercises of every religious or spiritual man,[1] “That he keep his mind always raised, at least virtually, to God: hence, whensoever a servant of God has been distracted from attending to him for ever so short a space, he grieves and is afflicted, as if he was fallen into some misfortune, by having been deprived of the presence of such a friend who never forgets us. Seeing that our supreme felicity and glory consists in the eternal vision of God, the constant remembrance of him is a kind of imitation of that happy state: this the reward, that the virtue which entitles us to it. Till we are admitted to his presence, let us in our exile always bear him in mind: every one will behold him in heaven with so much the greater joy, and so much the more perfectly, as he shall more assiduously and more devoutly have remembered him on earth. Nor is it only in our repose, but also in the midst of our employments, that we ought to have him present to our minds, in imitation of the holy angels, who, when they are sent to attend on us, so acquit themselves of the functions of this exterior ministry as never to be drawn from their interior attention to God. As much as the heavens exceed the earth, so much larger is the field of spiritual meditation than that of all terrestrial concerns.”
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2019, 11:15:31 AM »
Sorry for the delay. Will have to catch up later.

Jan 24 ST. TIMOTHY, B. AND M.

See Tillemont, t. 2, p. 142.

ST. TIMOTHY, the beloved disciple of St. Paul, was of Lycaonia, and probably of the city Lystra. His father was a Gentile, but his mother Eunice a Jewess. She, with Lois his grandmother, embraced the Christian religion, and St. Paul commends their faith. Timothy had made the holy scriptures his study from his infancy.[1] When St. Paul preached in Lycaonia, in the year 51, the brethren of Iconium and Lystra gave him so advantageous a character of the young man, that the apostle, being deprived of St. Barnaby, took him for the companion of his labors, but first circumcised him at Lystra. For though the Jewish ceremonies ceased to be obligatory from the death of Christ, it was still lawful to use them (but not as of precept and obligation) till about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem with the temple, that the synagogue might be buried with honor. Therefore St. Paul refused to circumcise Titus, born of Gentile parents, to assert the liberty of the gospel, and to condemn those who erroneously affirmed circumcision to be still of precept in the New Law. On the other side, he circumcised Timothy, born of a Jewess, by that condescension to render him the more acceptable to the Jews, and to make it appear that himself was no enemy to them law. St. Chrysostom[2] here admires the prudence, steadiness and charity of St. Paul; and we may add, the voluntary obedience of the disciple. St. Austin[3] extols his zeal and disinterestedness in immediately forsaking his country, his house, and his parents, to follow this apostle, to share in his poverty and sufferings. After he was circumcised, St. Paul, by the imposition of hands, committed to him the ministry of preaching, his rare virtue making ample amends for his want of age. From that time the apostle regarded him not only as his disciple and most dear son, but as his brother, and the companion of his labors.[4] He calls him a man of God,[5] and tells the Philippians, that he found no one so truly united to him in heart and sentiments, as Timothy.[6] This esteem of the apostle is a sufficient testimony of the extraordinary merit of the disciple, whose vocation and entrance into the ministry was accompanied with prophecies in his behalf.[7]

St. Paul travelled from Lystra over the rest of Asia, sailed into Macedon, and preached at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berœa, in the year 52. Being compelled to quit this last city by the fury of the Jews, he left Timothy behind him, to confirm the new converts there. On St. Paul’s arrival at Athens he sent for him, but being informed that the Christians of Thessalonica lay under a very heavy persecution for the faith, he soon after deputed him to go thither, to comfort and encourage them under it; and he returned to St. Paul, then at Corinth, to give him an account of his success in that commission.[8] Upon this the apostle wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians. From Corinth St. Paul went to Jerusalem, and thence to Ephesus, where he spent two years. Here he formed a resolution of returning into Greece, and sent Timothy and Erasms before him through Macedon, to apprize the faithful in those parts of his intention, and to prepare the alms intended to be sent the Christians of Jerusalem.

Timothy had a particular order to go afterwards to Corinth, to correct certain abuses, and to revive in the minds of the faithful there the doctrine which the apostle had taught them; who, writing soon after to the Corinthians, earnestly recommended this disciple to them.[9] St. Paul waited in Asia for his return, and then went with him into Macedon and Achaia. St. Timothy left him at Philippi, but rejoined him at Troas. The apostle on his return to Palestine was imprisoned, and after two years custody at Cæsarea, was sent to Rome. Timothy seems to have been with him all or most of this time, and is named by him in the titles of his epistles to Philemon, and to the Philippians and Thessalonians, in the years 61 and 62. St. Timothy himself suffered imprisonment for Christ, and glorionsly confessed his name, in the presence of many witnesses; but was set at liberty.[10] He was ordained bishop by a prophecy, and a particular order of the Holy Ghost.[11] He received by this imposition of hands, not only the grace of the sacrament, and the authority to govern the church, but also the power of miracles, and the other exterior gifts of the Holy Ghost. St. Paul being returned from Rome into the East, in the year 64, left St. Timothy at Ephesus, to govern that church, to oppose false teachers, and to ordain priests, deacons, and even bishops.[12] For St. Chrysostom[13] and other fathers observe, that he committed to him the care of all the churches of Asia: and St. Timothy is always named the first bishop of Ephesus.[14]

St. Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy from Macedon, in 64; and his second, in 65, from Rome, while there in chains, to press him to come to Rome, that he might see him again before he died. It is an effusion of his heart, full of tenderness towards this his dearest son. In it he encourages him, endeavors to renew and stir up in his soul that spirit of intrepidity, and that fire of the Holy Ghost, with which he was filled at his ordination; gives him instructions concerning the heretics of that time, and adds a lively description of such as would afterwards arise.[15]

We learn[16] that St. Timothy drank only water: but his austerities having prejudiced his health, on account of his weak stomach and frequent infirmities, St. Paul ordered him to use a little wine. The fathers observe that he only says a little, even in that necessity, because the flesh is to be kept weak, that the spirit may be vigorous and strong. St. Timothy was them young: perhaps about forty. It is not improbable that he went to Rome to confer with his master. In the year 64 he was made by St. Paul bishop of Ephesus, before St. John arrived there, who resided also in that city as an apostle, and exercising a general inspection over all the churches of Asia.* St. Timothy is styled a martyr in the ancient martyrologies.

His acts, in some copies ascribed to the famous Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, but which seem to have been written at Ephesus, in the fifth or sixth age, and abridged by Photius. relate, that under the emperor Nerva, in the year 97, St. John being still in the isle of Patmos, St. Timothy was slain with stones and clubs by the heathens, while he was endeavoring to oppose their idolatrous ceremonies on one of their festivals called Catagogia, kept on the 22d of January, on which the idolaters walked in troops, every one carrying in one hand an idol, and in the other a club. St. Paulinus,[17] Theodorus Lector, and Philostorgius,[18] inform us, that his relics were with great pomp translated to Constantinople in the year 356, in the reign of Constantius. St. Paulinus witnesses, that the least portion of them wrought many miracles wherever they were distributed. These precious remains, with those of St. Andrew and St. Luke, were deposited under the altar, in the church of the apostles in that city, where the devils, by their howlings, testified how much they felt their presence, says St. Jerom;[19] which St. Chrysostom also confirms.[20]

Pious reading was the means by which St. Timothy, encouraged by the example and exhortations of his virtuous grandmother and mother, imbibed in his tender years, and nourished during the whole course of his life, the most fervent spirit of religion and all virtues; and his ardor for holy reading and meditation is commended by St. Paul, as the proof of his devotion and earnest desire of advancing in divine charity. When this saint was wholly taken up in the most laborious and holy functions of the apotolic ministry, that great apostle strongly recommends to him always to be assiduous in the same practice,[21] and in all exercises of devotion. A minister of the gospel who neglects regular exercises of retirement, especially self-examination, reading, meditation, and private devotion, forgets his first and most essential duty, the care he owes to his own soul. Neither can he hope to kindle the fire of charity in others, if he suffer it to be extinguished in his own breast. These exercises are also in dispensably necessary in a certain degree, in all states and circumstances of life; nor is it possible for a Christian otherwise to maintain a spirit of true piety, which ought to animate the whole body of all his actions, and without which even spiritual functions want as it were their soul.
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2019, 11:20:08 AM »
Jan 25 THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

See Tillemont, t. 1, p. 192.

THIS great apostle was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin. At his circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, he received the name of Saul. His father was by sect a Pharisee, and a denizen of Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia: which city had shown a particular regard for the cause of the Cæsars; on which account Cassius deprived it of its privileges and lands; but Augustus, when conqueror, made it ample amends by honoring it with many new privileges, and with the freedom of Rome, as we read in the two Dions and Appian. Hence St. Paul, being born at Tarsus, was by privilege a Roman citizen, to which quality a great distinction and several exemptions were granted by the laws of the empire.[1] His parents sent him young to Jerusalem, where he was educated and instructed in the strictest observance of the law of Moses, by Gamaliel,[2] a learned and noble Jew, and probably a member of the Sanhedrim; and was a most scrupulous observer of it in every point. He appeals even to his enemies to bear evidence how conformable to it his life had been in every respect.[3] He embraced the sect of the Pharisees, which was of all others the most severe, though by its pride the most opposite to the humility of the gospel.[4] It was a rule among the Jews that all their children were to learn some trade with their studies, were it but to avoid idleness, and to exercise the body, as well as the mind, in something serious.* It is therefore probable that Saul learned in his youth the trade which he exercised even after his apostleship, of making tents.†

Saul, surpassing all his equals in zeal for the Jewish law and their traditions, which he thought the cause of God, became thereby a blasphemer, a persecutor, and the most outrageous enemy of Christ.[5] He was one of those who combined to murder St. Stephen, and by keeping the garments of all who stoned that holy martyr, he is said by St. Austin to have stoned him by the hands of all the rest;[6] to whose prayers for his enemies he ascribes the conversion of St. Paul:[7] “If Stephen,” said he, “had not prayed, the church would never have had St. Paul.”

After the martyrdom of the holy deacon, the priests and magistrates of the Jews raised a violent persecution against the church at Jerusalem, in which Saul signalized himself above others. By virtue of the power he had received from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses loaded them with chains, and thrust them into prison.[8] He procured them to be scourged in the synagogues and endeavored by torments to compel them to blaspheme the name of Christ. And as our Saviour had always been represented by the leading men of the Jews as an enemy to their law, it was no wonder that this rigorous Pharisee fully persuaded himself that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.[9] By the violences he committed, his name became everywhere a terror to the faithful. The persecutors not only raged against their persons, but also seized their estates and what they possessed in common,[10] and left them in such extreme necessity, that the remotest churches afterwards thought it incumbent on them to join in charitable contributions to their relief. All this could not satisfy the fury of Saul; he breathed nothing but threats and the slaughter of the other disciples.[11] Wherefore, in the fury of his zeal, he applied to the high priest and Sanhedrim for a commission to take up all Jews at Damascus who confessed Jesus Christ, and bring them bound to Jerusalem, that they might serve as public examples for the terror of others. But God was pleased to show forth in him his patience and mercy; and, moved by the prayers of St. Stephen and his other persecuted servants, for their memies, changed him, in the very heat of his fury, into a vessel of election, and made him a greater man in his church by the grace of the apostleship, than St. Stephen had ever been, and a more illustrious instrument of his glory. He was almost at the end of his journey to Damascus, when about noon, he and his company were on a sudden surrounded by a great light from heaven, brighter than the sun.[12] They all saw the light, and being struck with amazement, fell to the ground. Then Saul heard a voice, which to him was articulate and distinct; but not understood, though heard by the rest:* Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? Christ said not: Why dost thou persecute my disciples? but me: for it is he, their head, who is chiefly persecuted in his servants. Saul answered: Who art thou, Lord? Christ said: Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad: “to contend with one so much mightier than thyself. By persecuting my church you make it flourish, and only prick and hurt yourself.” This mild expostulation of our Redeemer, accompanied with a powerful interior grace, strongly affecting his soul, cured his pride, assuaged his rage, and wrought at once a total change in him. Wherefore, trembling and astonished, he cried out: Lord, what will thou have me to do? What to repair the past? What to promote your glory? I make a joyful oblation of myself to execute your will in every thing, and to suffer for your sake afllictions, disgraces, persecutions, torments, and every sort of death. The true convert expressed this, not in a bare form of words, nor with faint languid desires, nor with any exception lurking in the secret recesses of his heart; but with an entire sacrifice of himself, and an heroic victory over the world with its frowns and charms, over the devils with their snares and threats, and over himself and all inclinations of self-love; devoting himself totally to God A perfect model of a true conversion, the greates work of almighty grace! Christ ordered him to arise and proceed on his journey to the city, where he should be informed of what he expected from him. Christ would not instruct him immediately by himself, but, St. Austin observes,[13] sent him to the ministry* which he had established in the church, to be directed in the way of salvation by those whom he had appointed for that purpose. He would not finish the conversion and instruction of this great apostle, whom he was pleased to call in so wonderful a manner, but by remitting him to the guidance of his ministers; showing us thereby that his holy providence has so ordered it, that all who desire to serve him, should seek his will by listening to those whom he has commanded us to hear, and whom he has sent in his own name and appointed to be our guides. So perfectly would he abolish in his servants all self-confidence and presumption, the source of error and illusion. The convert, rising from the ground, found that, though his eyes were open, he saw nothing. Providence sent this corporal blindness to be an emblem of the spiritual blindness in which he had lived, and to signify to him that he was henceforward to die to the world, and learn to apply his mind totally to the contemplation of heavenly things. He was led by the hand into Damascus, whither Christ seemed to conduct him in triumph. He was lodged in the house of a Jew named Judas, where he remained three days blind, and without eating or drinking. He doubtless spent his time in great bitterness of soul, not yet knowing what God required of him. With what anguish he bewailed his past blindness and false zeal against the church, we may conjecture both from his taking no nourishment during those three days, and from the manner in which he ever after remembered and spoke of his having been a blasphemer and a persecutor. Though the entire reformation of his heart was not gradual, as in ordinary conversions, but miraculous in the order of grace, and perfect in a moment; yet a time of probation and a severe interior trial (for such we cannot doubt but he went through on this occasion) was necessary to crucify the old man and all other earthly sentiments in his heart, and to prepare it to receive the extraordinary graces which God designed him. There was a Christian of distinction in Damascus, much respected by the Jews for his irreproachable life and great virtue; his name was Ananias. Christ appeared to this holy disciple, and commanded him to go to Saul, who was then in the house of Judas at prayer: Ananias trembled at the name of Saul, being no stranger to the mischief he had done in Jerusalem, or to the errand on which he was set out to Damascus. But our Redeemer overruled his fears, and charged him a second time to go to him, saying: Go, for he is a vessel of election to carry my name before Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: and I will show him how much he has to suffer for my name. For tribulation is the test and portion of all the true servants of Christ. Saul in the mean time saw in a vision a man entering, and laying his hands upon him, to restore his sight. Ananias, obeying the divine order, arose, went to Saul, and laying his hands upon him, said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to thee on thy journey, hath sent me that thou mayest receive thy right, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his eyesight. Ananias added: The God of our fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldst know his will and see the just one, and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth: and thou shalt be his witness unto all men to publish what thou hast seen and heard. Arise, therefore, be baptized and washed from thy sins, invoking the name of the Lord. Saul then arose, was baptized, and took some refreshment. He stayed some few days with the disciples at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues, that Jesus was the Son of God, to the great astonishment of all that heard him, who said: Is not this he who persecuted at Jerusalem those who invoked the name of Jesus, and who is come hither to carry them away prisoners? Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an apostle, and chosen to be one of the principal instruments of God in the conversion of the world.

St. Paul never recalled to mind this his wonderful conversion, without raptures of gratitude and praise to the divine mercy. The church, in thanksgiving to God for such a miracle of his grace, from which it has derived such great blessings, and to commemorate so miraculous an instance of his almighty power, and to propose to penitents a perfect model of a true conversion, has instituted this festival, which we find mentioned in several calendars and missals of the eighth and ninth centuries, and which pope Innocent III. commanded to be observed with great solemnity. It was for some time kept a holy day of obligation in most churches in the West; and we read it mentioned as such in England in the council of Oxford in 1222, in the reign of king Henry III.14
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 
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Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2019, 11:34:12 PM »
Jan 26 ST. POLYCARP, BISHOP OF SMYRNA, M.

From his acts, written by the Church of Smyrna in an excellent circular letter to the churches of Pontus, immediately after his martyrdom: a piece abridged by Eusebius, b. 4, c. 14, highly esteemed by the ancients. Joseph Scaliger, a supercilious critic, says that nothing in the whole course of church history so strongly affected him, as the perusal of these acts, and those relating to the martyrs of Lyons: that he never read them but they gave him extraordinary emotions. Animad. in Chron. Eusebii, n. 2183, &c. They are certainly most valuable pieces of Christian antiquity. See Eusebius. St. Jerom, and St. Irenæus. Also Tillemont, t. 2, p. 327. Dom Ceillier, t. 1. Dom Marechal, Concordance des Péres Grees et Latins, t. 1.

A. D. 166.

ST. POLYCARP was one of the most illustrious of the apostolic fathers, who, being the immediate disciples of the apostles, received instructions from their mouths, and inherited of them the spirit of Christ, in a degree so much the more eminent, as they lived nearer the fountain head. He embraced Christianity very young, about the year 80; was a disciple of the apostles, in particular of St. John the Evangelist, and was constituted by him bishop of Smyrna, probably before his banishment to Patmos, in 96: so that he governed that important see seventy years. He seems to have been the angel or bishop of Smyrna, who was commended above all the bishops of Asia by Christ himself in the Apocalypse,[1] and the only one without a reproach. Our Saviour encouraged him under his poverty, tribulation, and persecutions, especially the calumnies of the Jews, called him rich in grace, and promised him the crown of life by martyrdom. This saint was respected by the faithful to a degree of veneration. He formed many holy disciples, among whom were St. Irenæus and Papias. When Florinus, who had often visited St. Polycarp, had broached certain heresies, St. Irenæus wrote to him as follows:[2] “These things were not taught you by the bishops who preceded us. I could tell you the place where the blessed Polycarp sat to preach the word of God. It is yet present to my mind with what gravity he everywhere came in and went out: what was the sanctity of his deportment, the majesty of his countenance and of his whole exterior, and what were his holy exhortations to the people. I seem to hear him now relate how he conversed with John and many others, who had seen Jesus Christ; the words he had heard from their mouths. I can protest before God, that if this holy bishop had heard of any error like yours, he would have immediately stopped his ears, and cried out, according to his custom: Good God! that I should be reserved to these limes to hear such things! That very instant he would have fled out of the place in which he had heard such doctrine.” St. Jerom[3] mentions, that St. Polycarp met at Rome the heretic Marcion, in the streets, who resenting that the holy bishop did not take that notice of him which he expected, said to him: “Do not you know me, Polycarp?” “Yes,” answered the saint, “I know you to be the first-born of Satan.” He had learned this abhorrence of the authors of heresy, who knowingly and willingly adulterate the divine truths, from his master St. John, who fled out of the bath in which he saw Cerinthus.[4] St. Polycarp kissed with respect the chains of St. Ignatius, who passed by Smyrna on the road to his martyrdom, and who recommended to our saint the care and comfort, of his distant church of Antioch; which he repeated to him in a letter from Troas, desiring him to write in his name to those churches of Asia to which he had not leisure to write himself.* St. Polycarp wrote a letter to the Philippians shortly after, which is highly commanded by St. Irenæus, St. Jerom, Eusebius, Photius, and others, and is still extant. It is justly admired both for the excellent instructions it contains, and for the simplicity and perspicuity of the style; and was publicly read in the church in Asia, in St. Jerom’s time. In it he calls a heretic, an above, the eldest son of Satan. About the year 158, he undertook a journey of charity to Rome, to confer with pope Anicetus about certain points of discipline, especially about the time of keeping Easter, for the Asiatic churches kept it on the fourteenth day of the vernal equinoctial moon, as the Jews did, on whatever day of the week it fell; whereas Rome, Egypt, and all the West, observed it on the Sunday following. It was agreed that both might follow their custom without breaking the bands of chanty. St. Anicetus, to testify his respect, yielded to him the honor of celebraning the Eucharist in his own church.[5] We find no further particulars concerning our saint recorded before the acts of his martyrdom.

In the sixth year of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Vents, Statins Quadratus being proconsul of Asia, a violent persecution broke out in that country, in which the faithful gave heroic proofs of their courage and love of God, to the astonishment of the infidels. When they were torn to pieces with scourges till their very bowels were laid bare, amidst the moans and tears of the spectators, who were moved with pity at the sight of their torments, not one of them gave so much as a single groan: so little regard had they for their own flesh in the cause of God. No kinds of torture, no inventions of cruelty were forborne to force them to a conformity to the pagan worship of the times. Germanicus, who had been brought to Smyrna with eleven or twelve other Christians, signalized himself above the rest, and animated the most timorous to suffer. The proconsul in the amphitheatre called upon him with tenderness, entreating him to have some regard for his youth, and to value at least his life: but he, with a holy impatience, provoked the beasts to devour him, to leave this wicked world. One Quintus, a Phrygian, who had presented himself to the judge, yielded at the sight of the beast let out upon him, and sacrificed. The authors of these acts justly condemn the presumption of those who offered themselves to suffer,[6] and says that the martyrdom of St. Polycarp was conformable to the gospel, because he exposed not himself to the temptation, but waited till the persecutors laid hands on him, as Christ our Lord taught us by his own example. The same venerable authors observe, that the martyrs by their patience and constancy demonstrated to all men, that, while their bodies were tormented, they were in spirit estranged from the flesh, and already in heaven; or rather that our Lord was present with them and assisted them; for the fire of the barbarous executioners seemed as if it had been a cooling refreshment to them.* The spectators, seeing the courage of Germanicus and his companions, and being fond of their impious bloody diversions, cried out: “A way with the impious; let Polycarp be sought for.” The holy man, though fearless, had been prevailed upon by his friends to withdraw and conceal himself in a neighboring village during the storm, spending most of his time in prayer. Three days before his martyrdom, he in a vision saw his pillow on fire; from which he understood by revelation, and foretold his companions, that he should be burnt alive. When the persecutors were in quest of him he changed his retreat, but was betrayed by a boy, who was threatened with the rack unless he discovered him. Herod. the Irenarch, or keeper of the peace, whose office it was to prevent misdemeanors and apprehend malefactors, sent horsemen by night to beset his Jodgings. The saint was above stairs in bed, but refused to make his escape, saying: “God’s will be done.” He went down, met them at the door, ordered them a handsome supper, and desired only some time for prayer before he went with them. This granted, he began his prayer standing. which he continued in that posture for two hours, recommending to God his own flock and the whole church with so much earnestness and devotion, that several of those that were come to seize him repented they had undertaken the commission. They set him on an ass, and were conducting him onwards the city, when he was met on the road by Herod and his father Nicetes, who took him into their chariot, and endeavored to persuade him to a little compliance, saying: “What harm is there in saying Lord Cæsar, or even in sacrificing, to escape death?” By the word Lord was meant nothing less than a kind of deity or godhead. The bishop at first was silent, in imitation of our Saviour: but being pressed, he gave them this resolute answer: “I shall never do what you desire of me.” At these words, taking off the mask of friendship and compassion, they treated him with scorn and reproaches, and thrust him out of the chariot with such violence, that his leg was bruised by the fall. The holy man went forward cheerfully to the place where the people were assembled. Upon his entering it a voice from heaven was heard by many: “Polycarp, be courageous, and act manually.”* He was led directly to the tribunal of the proconsul, who exhorted him to respect his own age, to swear by the genius of Cæsar, and to say: “Take away the impious,” meaning the Christians. The saint turning towards the people in the pit, said, with a stern countenance: “Exterminate the wicked,” meaning by this expression either a wish that they might cease to be wicked by their conversion to the faith of Christ: or this was a prediction of the calamity which befell their city in 177, when Smyrna was overturned by an earthquake, as we read in Dion[7] and Aristides.[8] The proconsul repeated: “Swear by the genius of Cæsar, and I discharge you; blaspheme Christ.” Polycarp replied: “I have served him these fourscore and six years, and he never did me any harm, but much good; and how can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour? If you require of me to swear by the genius of Cæsar, as you call it, hear my free confession: I am a Christian; but if you desire to learn the Christian religion, appoint a time, and hear me.” The proconsul said: “Persuade the people.” The martyr replied: “I addressed my discourse to you; for we are taught to give due honor to princes as far as is consistent with religion. But the populace is an incompetent judge to justify myself before.” Indeed, rage rendered them incapable of hearing him.

The proconsul then assuming a tone of severity, said: “I have wild beasts:” “Call for them,” replied the saint: “for we are unalterably resolved not to change from good to evil. It is only good to pass from evil to good.” The proconsul said: “If you contemn the beasts, I will cause you to be burnt to ashes.” Polycarp answered: “You threaten me with a fire which burns for a short time, and then goes out; but are yourself ignorant of the judgment to come, and of the fire of everlasting torments which is prepared for the wicked. Why do yon delay? Bring against me what you please.* While he said this and many other things, he appeared in a transport of joy and confidence, and his countenance shone with a certain heavenly grace, and pleasant cheerfulness, insomuch that the proconsul himself was struck with admiration. However, he ordered a crier to make public proclamation three times in the middle of the Stadium, (as was the Roman custom in capital cases:) “Polycarp hath confessed himself a Christian.” At this proclamation the whole multitude of Jews and Gentiles gave a great shout, the latter crying out: “This is the great teacher of Asia; the father of the Christians; the destroyer of our gods, who preaches to men not to sacrifice to or adore them.” They applied to Philip the Asiarch,† to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. He told them that it was net in his power, because those shows had been closed. Then they unanimously demanded that he should be burnt alive. Their request was no sooner granted, but every one ran with all speed to fetch wood from the baths and shops. The Jews were particularly active and busy on this occasion. The pile being prepared, Polycarp put off his garments, untied his girdle, and began to take off his shoes; an office he had not been accustomed to, the Christians having always striven who should do these things for him, regarding it as a happiness to be admitted to touch him. The wood and other combustibles were heaped all round him. The executioners would have nailed him to the stake; but he said to them: “Suffer me to be as I am. He who gives me grace to undergo this fire, will enable me to stand still without that precaution.” They therefore contented themselves with tying his hands behind his back, and in this posture, looking up towards heaven, he prayed as follows: “O Almighty Lord God, Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of thee, God of angels, powers, and every creature, and of all the race of the just that live in thy presence! I bless thee for having been pleased in thy goodness to bring me to this hour, that I may receive a portion in the number of thy martyrs, and partake of the chalice of thy Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life, in the incorruptibleness of the holy Spirit. Amongst whom grant me to be received this day as a pleasing sacrifice, such an one as thou thyself hast prepared, that so thou mayest accomplish what thou, O true and faithful God! hast foreshown. Wherefore, for all things I praise, bless, and glorify thee, through the eternal high priest Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee and the Holy Ghost be glory now and for ever Amen.” He had scarce said Amen, when fire was set to the pile, which increased to a mighty flame. But behold a wonder, say the authors of these acts, seen by us, reserved to attest it to others; the flames forming themselves into an arch, like the sails of a ship swelled with the wind, gently encircled the body of the martyr, which stood in the middle, resembling not roasted flesh, but purified gold or silver, appearing bright through the flames; and his body sending forth such a fragrancy, that we seemed to smell precious spices. The blind infidels were only exasperated to see his body could not be consumed, and ordered a spearman to pierce him through, which he did, and such a quantity of blood issued out of his left side as to quench the fire.‡ The malice of the devil ended not here: he endeavored to obstruct the relics of the martyr being carried off by the Christians; for many desired to do it, to show their respect to his body Therefore, by the suggestion of Satan, Nicetes advised the proconsul not to bestow it on the Christians, lest, said he, abandoning the crucified man, they should adore Polycarp: the Jews suggested this, “Not knowing,” say the authors of the acts, “that we can never forsake Christ, nor adore any other, though we love the martyrs, as his disciples and imitators, for the great love they bore their king and master.” The centurion, seeing a contest raised by the Jews, placed the body in the middle, and burnt it to ashes. “We afterwards took up the bones,” say they, “more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them decently in a place at which may God grant us to assemble with joy, to celebrate the birthday of the martyr.” Thus these disciples and eye-witnesses. It was at two o’clock in the afternoon, which the authors of the acts call the eighth hour, in the year 166, that St. Polycarp received his crown, according to Tillemont; but, in 169, according to Basnage.* His tomb is still shown with great veneration at Smyrna, in a small chapel. St. Irenæus speaks of St. Polycarp as being of an uncommon age.

The epistle of St. Polycarp to the Philippians, which is the only one among those which he wrote that has been preserved, is, even in the dead letter, a standing proof of the apostolic spirit with which he was animated, and of that profound humility, perfect meekness, burning charity, and holy zeal, of which his life was so admirable an example. The beginning is an effusion of spiritual joy and charity with which he was transported at the happiness of their conversion to God, and their fervor in divine love. His extreme abhorrence of heresy makes him immediately fall upon that of the Docætæ, against which he arms the faithful, by clearly demonstrating that Christ was truly made man, died, and rose again: in which his terms admirably express his most humble and affectionate devotion to our divine Redeemer, under these great mysteries of love. Besides walking in truth, he takes notice, that to be raised with Christ in glory, we must also do his will, keep all his commandments, and love whatever he loved; refraining from all fraud, avarice, detraction, and rash judgment; repaying evil with good forgiving and showing mercy to others that we ourselves may find mercy. “These things,” says he, “I write to you on justice, because you incited me; for neither I, nor any other like me, can attain to the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, into whose epistles if you look, you may raise your spiritual fabric by strengthening faith, which is our mother, hope following, and charity towards God, Christ, and our neighbor preceding us. He who has charity is far from all sin.” The saint gives short instructions to every particular state, then adds; “Every one who hath not confessed that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is antichrist;[9] and who hath not confessed the suffering of the cross, is of the devil; and who hath drawn the oracles of the Lord to his passions, and hath said that there is no resurrection nor judgment, he is the oldest son of Satan.” He exhorts to watching always in prayer, lest we be led into temptation; to be constant in fasting, persevering, joyful in hope, and in the pledge of our justice, which is Christ Jesus, imitating his patience: for, by suffering for his name, we glorify him. To encourage them to suffer, he reminds them of those who had suffered before their eyes: Ignatius, Zozimus, and Rufus, and some of their own congregation,* “who are low,” says our saint, “in the place which is due to them with the Lord, with whom they also suffered.”
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
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Jan 27 ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

From Socrates, Theodoret, and other historians: as also from the saint’s works, and his life, written by way of dialogue, with great fidelity, by his friend and strennous advocate Palladius, a holy bishop, but a distinct person from Palladius the bishop of Helenopolls and author of the Lausiac history, who was then young, and is evidently distinguished by this writer in many places, as Tillemont, Montiaucon, and Stilting show against Baillet and others; though also Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, exerted himself in defence of St. Chrysostom. Palladius, author of the Dialogue on the life of St. Chrysostom, was never accused of Origenism except by those who, at least in the proofs alleged for this charge, confounded him with the bishop of Helenopolis. F. Stilting clears also the latter from the charge of Origenism, and answers the arguments produced by Baronius against him. Comm. Hist. §1. p. 404. The later Greek pnnegyrists, George, patriarch of Alexandria, in 620, the emperor Leo the Wise, in 890, &c., deserve very little notice. See the life of our saint compiled by Dom Montfancon. Op. t. 13. And lastly, the accurate commentary on his life given by F. Stilting the Bollandist, on the 14th of September, from p. 401 to 709, t. 4.

A. D. 407.

THIS incomparable doctor, on account of the fluency and sweetness of his eloquence, obtained soon after his death the surname of Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth, which we find given him by St. Ephrem of Antioch, Theoloret, and Cassiodorus. But his tender piety, and his undaunted courage and zeal in the cause of virtue, are titles far more glorious, by which he holds an eminent place among the greatest pastors and saints of the church. About the year 344, according to F. Stilting, Antioch, the capital city of the East, was ennobled by his illustrious birth. He had one elder sister, and was the only son and heir of Secundus, master of the horse, that is, chief commander of the imperial troops in Syria. His mother, Anthusa, left a widow at twenty years of age, continued such the remainder of her life, dividing her time between the care of her family and the exercises of devotion. Her example in this respect made such an impression on our saint’s master, a celebrated pagan sophist, that he could not forbear crying out, “What wonderful women have the Christians!”1 She managed the estate of her children with great prudence and frugality, knowing this to be part of her duty to God, but she was sensible that their spiritual instruction in virtue was of infinitely greater importance. From their cradle she instilled into them the most perfect maxims of piety, and contempt of the world. The ancient Romans dreaded nothing more in the education of youth, than their being ill taught the first principles of the sciences; it being more difficult to unlearn the errors then imbibed, than to begin on a mere tabula rasa, or blank paper. Wherefore Anthusa provided her son the ablest masters in every branch of literature, which the empire at that time afforded. Eloquence was esteemed the highest accomplishment, especially among the nobility, and was the surest means of raising men to the first dignities in the state. John studied that art under Libanius, the most famous orator of that age; and such was his proficiency, that even in his youth he excelled his masters. Libanius being asked by his pagan friends on his death-bed, about the year 390, who should succeed him in his school: “John,” said he, “had not the Christians stolen him from us.”2 Our saint was then priest. While he was only a scholar, that sophist one day read to an assembly of orators a declamation composed by him, and it was received with unusual tokens of admiration and applause. Libanins pronounced the young orator happy, “as were also the emperors,” he said, “who reigned at a time when the world was possessed of so great a treasure.”3 The progress of the young scholar in philosophy, under Andragatius, was no less rapid and surprising; his genius shone in every disputation. All this time his principal care was to study Christ, and to learn his spirit. He laid a solid foundation of virtue, by a perfect humility, self-denial, and a complete victory over himself. Though naturally hot and inclined to anger, he had extinguished all emotions of passion in his breast.[4] His modesty, meekness, tender charity, and singular discretion, rendered him the delight of all he conversed with.

The first dignities of the empire were open to John. But his principal desire was to dedicate himself to God, without reserve, in holy solitude. However, not being yet twenty years of age, he for some time pleaded at the par. In that employment he was drawn by company into the diversions of the world, and sometimes assisted at the entertainments of the stage. His virtue was in imminent danger of splitting against that fatal rock, when God opened his eyes. He was struck with horror at the sight of the precipice upon the brink of which he stood; and not content to flee from it himself, he never ceased to bewail his blindness, and took every occasion to caution the faithful against that lurking place of hellish sirens, but more particularly in his vehement sermons against the stage. Alarmed at the danger he had narrowly escaped, full of gratitude to God his deliverer, and to prevent the like danger for the time to come, he was determined to carry his resolution of renouncing the world into immediate execution. He began by the change of his garb, to rid himself the more easily of the importunities of friends: for a penitential habit is not only a means for preserving a spirit of mortification and humility, but is also a public sign and declaration to the world, that a person has turned his back on its vanities, and is engaged in an irreconcilable war against them. His clothing was a coarse gray coat: he watched much, fasted every day, and spent the greater part of his time in prayer and meditation on the holy scriptures: his bed was no other than the hard floor. In subduing his passions, he found none of so difficult a conquest as vainglory;[5] this enemy he disarmed by embracing every kind of public humiliation. The clamors of his old friends and admirers, who were incensed at his leaving them, and pursued him with their invectives and censures, were as arrows shot at random. John took no manner of notice of them: he rejoiced in contempt, and despised the frowns of a world whose flatteries he dreaded: Christ crucified was the only object of his heart, and nothing could make him look back after he had put his hand to the plough. And his progress in virtue was answerable to his zealous endeavors.

St. Meletius, bishop of Antioch, called the young ascetic to the service of the church, gave him suitable instructions, during three years, in his own palace, and ordained him Reader. John had learned the art of silence, in his retirement, with far greater application than he had before studied that of speaking. This he discovered when he appeared again in the world, though no man ever possessed a greater fluency of speech, or a more ready and enchanting eloquence, joined with the most solid judgment and a rich fund of knowledge and good sense; yet in company he observed a modest silence, and regarded talkativeness as an enemy to the interior recollection of the heart, as a source of many sins and indiscretions, and as a mark of vanity and self-conceit. He heard the words of the wise with the humble docility of a scholar, and he bore the impertinence, trifles, and blunders of fools in discourse, not to interrupt the attention of his soul to God, or to make an ostentatious show of his eloquence or science: yet with spiritual persons he conversed freely on heavenly things, especially with a pious friend named Basil, one of the same age and inclinations with himself, who had been his most beloved school-fellow, and who forsook the world to embrace a monastic life, a little before our saint. After three years, he left the bishop’s house to satisfy the importunities of his mother, but continued the same manner of life in her house, during the space of two years. He still saw frequently his friend Basil, and he prevailed on two of his school-fellows under Libanius to embrace an ascetic life; Theodorus, afterwards bishop of Mopsuestia, and Maximus, bishop of Seleucia. The former returned in a short time to the bar, and fell in love with a young lady called Hermione. John lamented his fall with bitter tears before God, and brought him back to his holy institute by two tender and pathetic exhortations to penance, “which breathe an eloquence above the power of what seems merely human,” says Sozomen. Not long after, hearing that the bishops of the province were assembled at Antioch, and deliberated to raise him and Basil to the episcopal dignity, he privately withdrew, and lay hid till the vacant sees were filled. Basil was made bishop of Raphanæa near Antioch; and had no other resource in his grief for his promotion, but in tears and complaints against his friend who had betrayed him into so perilous a charge. John, being then twenty-six years old, wrote to him in his own justification six incomparable books, Of the Priesthood.

Four years after, in 374, he retired into the mountains near Antioch, among certain holy anchorets who peopled them, and whose manner of life is thus described by our saint:[6] They devoted all the morning to prayer, pious reading, and meditating on the holy scriptures. Their food was bread with a little salt; some added oil, and those who were very weak, a few herbs or pulse; no one ever ate before sunset. After the refection it was allowed to converse with one another, but only on heavenly things. They always closed their night-prayers with the remembrance of the last judgment, to excite themselves to a constant watchfulness and preparation; which practice St. Chrysostom earnestly recommends to all Christians with the evening examination.[7] These monks had no other bed than a mat spread on the bare ground. Their garments were made of the rough hair of goats or camels, or of old skins, and such as the poorest beggars would not wear, though some of them were of the richest families, and had been tenderly brought up. They wore no shoes; no one possessed any thing as his own; even their poor necessaries were all in common. They inherited their estates only to distribute them among the poor; and on them, and in hospitality to strangers, they bestowed all the spare profits of their work. They all used the same food, wore a uniform habit, and by charity were all one heart. The cold words mine and thine, the baneful source of lawsuits and animosities among men, were banished from their cells. They rose at the first crowing of the cock, that is, at midnight, being called up by the superior; and after the morning hymns and psalms, that is, matins and lauds, all remained in their private cells, where they read the holy scriptures, and some copied books. All met in the church at the canonical hours of tierce, sext, none, and vespers, but returned to their cells, none being allowed to speak, to jest, or to be one moment idle. The time which others spend a table, or in diversions, they employed in honoring God; even their meal took up very little time, and after a short sleep, (according to the custom of hot countries,) they resumed their exercises, conversing not with men but with God, with the prophets and apostles in their writings and pious meditation; and spiritual things were the only subject of their entertainment. For corporal exercise they employed themselves in some mean manual labor, such as entertained them in humility, and could not inspire vanity or pride: they made baskets, tilled and watered the earth, hewed wood, attended the kitchen, washed the feet of all strangers, and waited on them without distinction, whether they were rich or poor. The saint adds, that anger, jealousy, envy, grief, and anxiety for worldly goods and concerns, were unknown in these poor cells; and he assures us, that the constant peace, joy, and pleasure which reigned in them, were as different from the bitterness and tumultuous scenes of the most brilliant worldly felicity, as the security and calmness of the most agreeable harbor are, from the dangers and agitation of the most tempestuous ocean. Such was the rule of these cenobites, or monks who lived in community. There were also hermits on the same mountains who lay on ashes, wore sackcloth, and shut themselves up in frightful caverns, practising more extraordinary austerities. Our saint was at first apprehensive that he should find it an insupportable difficulty to live without fresh bread, use the same stinking oil for his food and for his lamp, and inure his body to hard labor under so great austerities.[8] But by courageously despising this apprehension, in consequence of a resolution to spare nothing by which he might learn perfectly to die to himself, he found the difficulty entirely to vanish in the execution. Experience shows that in such undertakings, the imagination is alarmed not so much by realities as phantoms, which vanish before a courageous heart which can look them in the face with contempt. Abbot Rancé, the reformer of la Trappe, found more difficulty in the thought of rising without a fire in winter, in the beginning of his conversion, than he did in the greatest severities which he afterwards practised. St. Chrysostom passed four years under the conduct of a veteran Syrian monk, and afterwards two years in a cave as a hermit. The dampness of this abode brought on him a dangerous distemper, and for the recovery of his health he was obliged to return into the city. By this means he was restored to the service of the church in 381, for the benefit of innumerable souls. He was ordained deacon by St. Meletius that very year, and priest by Flavian in 386, who at the same time constituted him his vicar and preacher, our saint being then in the forty-third year of his age.* He discharged all the duties of that arduous station during twelve years, being the hand and the eye of his bishop, and his mouth to his flock. The instruction and care of the poor he regarded as his first obligation this he always made his favorite employment and his delight. He never ceased in his sermons to recommend their cause and the precept of alms-deeds to the people. Antioch, he supposed, contained at that time one hundred thousand Christian souls: all these he fed with the word of God, preaching several days in the week, and frequently several times on the same day. He confounded the Jews and Pagans, also the Anomæans, and other heretics. He abolished the most inveterate abuses, repressed vice, and changed the whole face of that great city. It seemed as if nothing could withstand the united power of his eloquence, zeal, and piety.

Theodosius[1]., finding himself obliged to levy a new tax on his subjects, on occasion of his war with Maximus, who had usurped the Western empire in 387, the populace of Antioch, provoked at the demand, mutinied, and discharged their rage on the emperor’s statue, those of his father, his two sons, and his late consort, Flavilla, dragged them with ropes through the streets, and then broke them to pieces. The magistrates durst not oppose the rabble in their excesses. But as soon as their fury was over, and that they began to reflect on what they had been guilty of, and the natural consequences of their extravagances, they were all seized with such terror and consternation, that many abandoned the city, others absconded, and scarce any durst appear publicly in the streets. The magistrates in the mean time were filling the prisons with citizens, in order to their trials, on account of their respective share in the combustion. Their fears were heightened on the arrival of two officers dispatched from Constantinople to execute the emperor’s orders with regard to the punishment of the rioters. The reports which were spread abroad on this occasion imported, that the emperor would cause the guilty to be burned alive, would confiscate their estates, and level the city with the ground. The consternation alone was a greater torment than the execution itself could have been. Flavian, notwithstanding his very advanced age, and though his sister was dying when he left her, set out without delay in a very severe season of the year, to implore the emperor’s clemency in favor of his flock. Being come to the palace, and admitted into the emperor’s presence, he no sooner perceived that prince but he stopped at a distance, holding down his head, covering his face, and speaking only by his tears, as though himself had been guilty. Thus he remained for some time. The emperor seeing him in this condition, carrying, as it were, the weight of the public guilt in his breast, instead of employing harsh reproaches, as Flavian might naturally have expected, summed up the many favors he had conferred on that city, and said at the conclusion of each article: “Is this the acknowledgment I had reason to expect? Is this their return for my love? What cause of complaint had they against me? Had I ever injured them? But granting that I had, what can they allege for extending their insolence even to the dead? Had they received any wrong from them? Why were they to be insulted too? What tenderness have I not shown on all occasions for their city? Is it not notorious that I have given it the preference in my love and esteem to all others, even to that which gave me birth? Did not I always express a longing desire to see it, and that it gave me the highest satisfaction to think I should soon be in a condition of taking a journey for this purpose?”

Then the holy bishop, being unable to bear such stinging reproaches or vindicate their conduct, made answer: “We acknowledge, Sir, that you have on all occasions favored us with the greatest demonstrations of your singular affection; and this it is that enhances both our crime and our grief, that we should have carried our ingratitude to such a pitch as to have offended our best friend and greatest benefactor: hence, whatever punishment you may inflict upon us, it will still fall short of what we deserve. But alas! the evil we have done ourselves is worse than innumerable deaths: for what can be more afflicting than to live, in the judgment of all mankind, guilty of the blackest ingratitude, and to see ourselves deprived of your sweet and gracious protection, which was our bulwark. We dare not look any man in the face; no, not the sun itself. But as great as our misery is, it is not irremediable; for it is in your power to remove it. Great affronts among private men have often been the occasion of great charity. When the devil’s envy had destroyed man, God’s mercy restored him. That wicked spirit, jealous of our city’s happiness, has plunged her into this abyss of evils, out of which you alone can rescue her. It is your affection, I dare say it, which has brought them upon us, by exciting the jealousy of the wicked spirits against us. But, like God himself, you may draw infinite good out of the evil which they intended us. If you spare us, you are revenged on them.

“Your clemency on this occasion will be more honorable to you than your most celebrated victories. It will adorn your head with a far brighter diadem than that which you wear, as it will be the fruit only of your own virtue. Your statues have been thrown down: if you pardon this insult, you will raise yourself others, not of marble or brass, which time destroys, but such as will exist eternally in the hearts of all those who will hear of this action. Your predecessor, Constantine the Great, when importuned by his courtiers to exert his vengeance on some seditious people that had disfigured his statues by throwing stones at them, did nothing more than stroke his face with his hand, and told them, smiling, that he did not feel himself hurt. This his saying is yet in the mouths of all men, and a more illustrious trophy to his memory than all the cities which he built, than all the barbarous nations which he subdued. Remember your own memorable saying, when you ordered the prisons to be opened, and the criminals to be pardoned at the feast of Easter: ‘Would to God I were able in the same manner to open the graves, and restore the dead to life!’ That time is now come Here is a city whose inhabitants are already dead; and is. as it wore, at the gates of its sepulchre Raise it then, as it is in your power to do, without cost or labor. A word will suffice. Suffer it by your elemency to be still named among the living cities. It will then owe more to you than to its very founder, He built it small, you will raise it great and populous. To have preserved it from being destroyed by barbarians would not have been so great an exploit, as to spare it on such an occasion as now offers.

“Neither is the preservation of an illustrious city the only thing to be considered; your own glory, and, above all, the honour, of the Christian religion, are highly interested in this affair. The Jews and Pagans, all barbarous nations, nay, the whole world, have their eyes fixed on you at this critical juncture; all are waiting for the judgment you will pronounce. If it be favorable, they will be filled with admiration, and will agree to praise and worship that God, who checks the anger of those who acknowledge no master upon earth, and who can transform men into angels; they will embrace that religion which teaches such sublime morality. Listen not to those who will object that your clemency on this occasion may be attended with, and give encouragement to the like disorders in other cities. That could only happen, if you spared for want of a power to chastise: but whereas you do not divest yourself, by such an act of clemency, of this power, and as by it you endear and rivet yourself the more in the affections of your subjects, this, instead of encouraging such insults and disorders, will rather the more effectually prevent them. Neither immense sums of money, nor innumerable armies, could ever have gained you so much the hearts of your subjects and their prayers for your person and empire, as will this single action. And if you stand fair for being such a gainer from men, what rewards may you not reasonably expect from God? It is easy for a master to punish, but rare and difficult to pardon.

“It will be extremely glorious to you to have granted this pardon at the request of a minister of the Lord, and it will convince the world of your piety, in that you overlooked the unworthiness of his person, and respected only the power and authority of that Master who sent him. For though deputed immediately by the inhabitants of Antioch to deprecate your just displeasure on this occasion, it is not only in their name that I appear in this place, for I am come from the sovereign Lord of men and angels to declare to you in his name, that, if you pardon men their faults, he will forgive you your sins. Call to mind then that dreadful day on which we shall all be summoned to give in an account of all our actions. Reflect on your having it now in your power, without pain or labor, to efface your sins, and to find mercy at that terrible tribunal. You are about to pronounce your own sentence. Other ambassadors bring gold, silver, and other like presents, but as for me, I offer nothing but the law of God, and entreat you to imitate his example on the cross.” He concluded his harangue by assuring the emperor that if he refused to pardon the city, he would never more return to it, nor look upon that city as his country, which a prince of his humane disposition could not prevail upon himself to pardon.

This discourse had its desired effect on the emperor, who with much difficulty suppressed his tears while the bishop spoke, whom he answered in these few words: “If Jesus Christ, the Lord of all things, vouchsafed to pardon and pray for those very men that crueified him, ought I to hesitate to pardon them who have offended me? I, who am but a mortal man like them, and a servant of the same Master.” The patriarch, overjoyed at his success, prostrated himself at the emperor’s feet, wishing him a reward for such an action suitable to its merit. And whereas the prelate made an offer of passing the feast of Easter with the emperor at Constantinople, he, to testify how sincerely he was reconciled to the city of Antioch, urged his immediate return, saying: “Go, Father, delay not a moment the consolation your people will receive at your return, by communicating to them the assurances of the pardon I grant them; I know they must be in great affliction.” The bishop set out accordingly; but, to delay as little as possible the joy of the citizens, he dispatched a courier before him with the emperor’s letter of pardon, which produced a comfortable change in the face of affairs. The bishop himself arrived time enough before Easter to keep that solemnity with his people. The joy and triumph of that city could not be greater; it is elegantly described by St. Chrysostom, extolling above all things the humility and modesty of Flavian, who attributed the whole change of Theodosius’s mind, and all the glory of the action, to God alone. The discourse which Flavian addressed to the emperor, except the introduction, had been composed by St. Chrysostom, who recited it to the people to comfort them, and ceased not strongly to exhort them to penance, and the fervent exercise of good works, during the whole time of their bishop’s absence.[9] After this storm our saint continued his labors with unwearied zeal, and was the honor, the delight, and the darling not of Antioch only but of all the East, and his reputation spread itself over the whole empire.[10] But God was pleased to call him to glorify his name on a new theatre, where he prepared for his virtue other trials, and other crowns.

St. Chrysostom had been five years deacon, and twelve years priest, when Nectarius, bishop of Constantinople, dying in 397, the emperor Arcadius, at the suggestion of Eutropius the eunuch, his chamberlain, resolved to procure the election of our saint to the patriarchate of that city. He therefore dispatched a secret order to the count of the East, enjoining him to send John to Constantinople, but by some stratagem; lest his intended removal, if known at Antioch, should cause a sedition, and be rendered impracticable. The count repaired to Antioch, and desiring the saint to accompany him out of the city to the tombs of the martyrs, on the pretence of devotion, he there delivered him into the hands of an officer sent on purpose, who, taking him into his chariot, conveyed him with all possible speed to the imperial city. Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, a man of a proud and turbulent spirit, was come thither to recommend a creature of his own to that dignity. He endeavored by illegal practices secretly to traverse the canonical promotion of our saint; but was detected, and threatened to be accused in a synod. Whereupon he was glad to desist from his intrigues, and thus John was consecrated by him on the 26th of February, in 398.11 In regulating his own conduct and his domestic concerns, he retrenched all the great expenses which his predecessors had entailed on their dignity, which he looked upon as superfluous, and an excessive prodigality and these sums he applied to the relief of the poor, especially of the sick. For this purpose he erected and maintained several numerous hospitals, under the government of holy and charitable priests, and was very careful that all the servants and attendants were persons of great virtue, tenderness, compassion, and prudence. His own family being settled in good order, the next thing he took in hand after his promotion was the reformation of his clergy. This he forwarded by zealous exhortations and proper rules for their conduct, tending both to their sanctification and exemplarity. And to give these his endeavors their due force, he lived an exact model of what he inculcated to others: but his zeal exasperated the tepid part of that order, and raised a storm against himself. The immodosty of women in their dress in that gay capital excited in him sentiments of the most just abhorrence and indignation. Some young ladies seemed to have forgot that clothing is the covering of the ignominy of sin, and ought to be an instrument of penance, and a motive of confusion and tears, not of vanity. But the exhortations of St. Chrysostom moved many to despise and lay aside the use of purple, silks, and jewels. It was a far more mtolerable scandal that some neglected to cover their necks, or used such thin veils as served only to invite the eyes of others more boldly. Our saint represented to such persons that they were in some respects worse than public prostitutes: for these hide their baits at home only for the wicked: “but you,” said he, “carry your snare everywhere, and spread your nets publicly in all places. You allege, that you never invited others to sin. You did not by your tongue, but you have done it by your dress and deportment more effectually than you could by your voice: when yon have made another to sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? You sharpened and drew the sword: you gave the thrust by which the soul is wounded.[12] Tell me, whom does the world condemn? whom do judges punish? Those who drink the poison, or those who prepare and give the fatal draught? You have mingled the execrable cup; you have administered the potion of death: you are so much more criminal than poisoners, as the death which you cause is the more terrible; for you murder not the body, but the soul Nor do you do this to enemies; nor compelled by necessity, nor provoked by any injury; but out of a foolish vanity and pride. You sport yourselves in the ruin of the souls of others, and make their spiritual death your pastime.” Hence he infers, how false and absurd their excuse is in saying, they mean no harm. These and many other scandals he abolished. He suppressed the wicked custom of swearing, first at Antioch, then at Constantinople. By the invincible power of his eloquence and zeal he tamed the fiercest sinners, and changed them into meek lambs: he converted an incredible number of idolaters and heretics.[13] His mildness towards sinners was censured by the Novatians; he invited them to repentance with the compassion of the most tender father, and was accustomed to cry out: “If you are fallen a second time, or even a thousand times into sin, come to me and you shall be healed.”14 But he was firm and severe in maintaining discipline, though without harshness; to impenitent sinners he was inflexible. To mention one instance of the success of his holy zeal out of the many which his sermons furnish; in the year 399, the second of his episcopacy, on Wednesday in Holy Week, so violent a rain fell as to endanger the corn, and threaten the whole produce of the country. Hereupon public processions were made to the church of the apostles by the bishop and people, to avert the scourge by imploring the intercession chiefly of St. Peter, St. Andrew, (who is regarded as the founder of the church of Byzantium,) St. Paul, and St. Timothy.* The rain ceased, but not their fears. Therefore they all crossed the Bosphorus to the church of SS. Peter and Paul, on the opposite side of the water. This danger was scarce over, when on the Friday following many ran to see certain horse-races, and on Holy Saturday to games exhibited at the theatre. The good bishop was pierced to the quick with grief, and on the next day, Easter-Sunday, preached a most zealous and eloquent sermon, Against the Games and Shows of the Theatre and Circus. Indignation made him not so much as mention the paschal solemnity; but by an abrupt exordium he burst into the most vehement pathos, as follows. “Are these things to be borne? Can they be tolerated? I appeal to yourselves, be you your own judges. Thus did God expostulate with the Jews.”15 This exclamation he often repeated to assuage his grief. He put the people in mind of the sanctity of our faith; of the rigorous account we must give to God of all our moments, and the obligation of serving him incumbent on us from his benefits, who has made for us the heaven and earth, the sun, light, rivers, &c. The saint grieved the more, because, after all, they said they had done no harm, though they had murdered not only their own souls, but also those of their children. “And how will you,’ said he, “after this approach the holy place? How will you touch the heavenly food? Even now do I see you overwhelmed with grief, and covered with confusion. I see some striking their foreheads, perhaps those who have not sinned, but are moved with compassion for their brethren. On this account do I grieve and suffer, that the devil should make such a havoc in such a flock. But if you join with me, we will shut him out. By what means? If we seek out the wounded, and snatch them out of his jaws. Do not tell me their number is but small: though they are but ten, this is a great loss: though but five; but two or only one. The shepherd leaving ninety-nine, did not return till he had completed his number by recovering that sheep which was lost. Do not say, it is only one; but remember that it is a soul for which all things visible were made; for which laws were given, miracles wrought, and mysteries effected: for which God spared not his only Son. Think how great a price hath been paid for this one sheep, and bring him back to the fold. If he neither hears your persuasions nor my exhortations, I will employ the authority with which God hath invested me.” He proceeds to declare such excommunicated. The consternation and penance of the city made the holy pastor forbear any further censure, and to commend their conversion. Palladius writes that he had the satisfaction to see those who had been the most passionately fond of the entertainments of the stage and circus, moved by his sermons on that subject, entirely renounce those schools of the devil. God is more glorified by one perfect soul than by many who serve him with tepidity. Therefore, though every individual of his large flock was an object of his most tender affection and pastoral concern, those were particularly so, who had secluded themselves from the world by embracing a religious state of life, the holy virgins and nuns. Describing their method of life, he says:[16] Their clothing was sackcloth, and their beds only mats spread on the floor; that they watched part of the night in prayer, walked barefoot, never ate before evening, and never touched so much as bread using no other food than pulse and herbs, and that they were always occupied in prayer, manual labor, or serving the sick of their own sex. The spiritual mother, and the sun of this holy company, St. Nicareta, is honored December the 27th. Among the holy widows who dedicated themselves to God under the direction of this great master of saints, the most illustrious were the truly noble ladies St. Olympias, Salvina, Procula, and Pantadia. This last (who was the widow of Timasus, formerly the first minister to the emperor) was constituted by him deaconess of the church of Constantinople. Widows he considered as by their state called to a life of penance, retirement, and devotion; and he spared no exhortations or endeavors to engage them faithfully to correspond to the divine grace, according to the advice which St. Paul gives them.[17] St. Olympias claimed the privilege of furnishing the expenses of the saint’s frugal table. He usually ate alone; few would have been willing to dine so late, or so coarsely and sparingly as he did; and he chose this to save both time and expenses: but he kept another table in a house near his palace, for the entertainment of strangers, which he took care should be decently supplied. He inveighed exceedingly against sumptuous banquets. All his revenues he laid out on the poor; for whose relief he sold the rich furniture which Nectarius had left; and once, in a great dearth, he caused some of the sacred vessels to be melted down for that purpose. This action was condemned by Theophilus, but is justly regarded by St. Austin as a high commendation of our holy prelate. Besides the public hospital near his cathedral, and several others which he founded and maintained, he erected two for strangers. His own patrimony he had given to the poor long before, at Antioch. His extraordinary charities obtained him the name of John of almsdeeds.[18] The spiritual necessities of his neighbor were objects of far greater compassion to his tender charity. His diocese, nay, the whole world, he considered as a great hospital of souls, spiritually blind, deaf, sick, and in danger of perishing eternally; many standing on the brink, many daily falling from the frightful precipice into the unquenchable lake. Not content with tears and supplications to the Father of mercies for their salvation, he was indefatigable in labors and in every endeavor to open their eyes; feared no dangers, no not death itself in its most frightful shapes, to succor them in their spiritual necessities, and prevent their fall. Neither was this pastoral care confined to his own flock or nation: he extended it to the remotest countries. He sent a bishop to instruct the Nomades on wandering Scythians: another, an admirable man, to the Goths. Palestine, Persia, and many other distant provinces felt the most beneficent influence of his zeal. He was himself endued with an eminent spirit of prayer: this he knew to be the great channel of heavenly graces, the cleanser of the affections of the soul from earthly dross, and the means which renders them spiritual and heavenly, and makes men angels, even in their mortal body. He was therefore particularly earnest in inculcating this duty, and in instructing others in the manner of performing it. He warmly exhorted the laity to rise to the midnight office of matins together with the clergy: “Many artisans,” said he, “watch to labor, and soldiers watch as sentries; and cannot you do as much to praise God?”19 He observes, that the silence of the night is peculiarly adapted to devout prayer, and the sighs of compunction: which exercise we ought never to interrupt too long; and by watching, prayer becomes more earnest and powerful. Women he will not have to go easily abroad to church in the night-time; but advises that even children rise in the night to say a short prayer, and as they cannot watch long be put to bed again: for thus they will contract from their infancy a habit of watching, and a Christian’s whole house will be converted into a church. The advantages and necessity of assiduous prayer he often recommends with singular energy; but he expresses himself on no subject with greater tenderness and force than on the excess of the divine love, which is displayed in the holy Eucharist, and in exhorting the faithful to the frequent use of that heavenly sacrament. St. Proclus says,[20] that he abridged the liturgy of his church. St. Nilus[21] assures us that he was often favored with visions of angels in the church during the canonical hours, surrounding the altars in troops during the celebration of the divine mysteries and at the communion of the people. The saint himself confidently avers that this happens at those times,[22] which he confirms by the visions of several hermits.

The public concerns of the state often called on the saint to afford the spiritual succors of his zeal and charity. Eutropius was then at the head of affairs. He was a eunuch, and originally a slave, but had worked himself into favor with the emperor Arcadius. In 395 he was instrumental in cutting off Rufinus, the chief minister, who had broke out into an open rebellion, and he succeeded the traitor in all his honors: golden statues were erected to him in several parts of the city, and what Claudian, Marcellmus in his chronicle, Suidas, and others, represent as the most monstrous event that occurs in the Roman Fasti, was declared consul, though a eunuch. Being placed on so high a pinnacle, a situation but too apt to turn the strongest head forgetful of himself and the indispensable rules of decency and prudence, it was not long before he surpassed his predecessor in insolence, ambition, and covetousness. Wholesome advice, even from a Chrysostom, served only to exasperate a heart devoted to the world, and open to flatterers, who added continually new flames to its passions. In the mean time, the murmurs and indignation of the whole empire at the pride and avarice of Eutropius were a secret to him, till the pit was prepared for his fall. Gainas, general of the auxiliary Goths in the imperial army, was stirred up to revenge an affront which his cousin Trigibildus, a tribune, had received from the haughty minister. At the same time the empress Eudoxia, having been insulted by him, ran to the emperor, carrying her two little babes in her arms, and cried out for justice against the insolent servant. Arcadius, who was as weak in abandoning, as he was imprudent in choosing favorites, gave orders that the minister should be driven out of the court, and his estates confiscated. Eutropius found himself in a moment forsaken by all the herds of his admirers and flatterers, without one single friend, and fled for protection to the church, and to those very altars whose immunities he had infringed and violated. The whole city was in an uproar against him; the army called aloud for his death, and a troop of soldiers surrounded the church with naked swords in their hands, and fire in their eyes. St. Chrysostom went to the emperor, and easily obtained of him that the unhappy criminal might be allowed to enjoy the benefit of sanctuary; and the soldiers were prevailed upon, by the tears of the emperor and the remonstrances of the bishop, to withdraw. The next day the people flocked to behold a man whose frown two days before made the whole world to tremble, now laying hold of the altar, gnashing his teeth, trembling and shuddering, having nothing before his eyes but drawn swords, dungeons, and executioners. St. Chrysostom on this occasion made a pathetic discourse on the vanity and treachery of human things, the emptiness and falsehood of which he could not find a word emphatical enough to express. The poor Eutropius could not relish such truths a few days ago, but now found his very riches destructive. The saint entreated the people to forgive him whom the emperor, the chief person injured, was desirous to forgive: he asked them how they could beg of God the pardon of their own sins if they did not pardon a man who then, by repentance, was perhaps a saint in the eyes of God. At this discourse not a single person in the church was able to refrain from tears, and all things seemed in a state of tranquillity.[23] Some days after, Eutropius left the church, hoping to escape privately out of the city, but was seized, and banished into Cyprus.* He was recalled a few months after, and being impeached of high-treason was condemned and beheaded, chiefly at the instigation at Gainas; in compliance with whose unjust demands the weak emperor consented to the death of Aurelianus and Saturninus, two principal lords of his court. But St. Chrysostom, by several journeys, prevailed with the barbarian to content himself with their banishment, which they underwent, but were soon after recalled. As unjust concessions usually make rebels the more insolent, Gainas hereupon obliged the emperor to declare him commander-in-chief of all his troops. Yet even when his pride and power were at the highest, St. Chrysostom refused him the use of any Catholic church in Constantinople for the Arian worship. And when, some time after, he laid siege to that capital, the saint went out to him, and by kind expostulations prevailed on him to withhold his design and draw off his army. He was afterwards defeated in passing the Hellespont; and fleeing through the country of the Huns, was overthrown, and slain by them in 400.

This same year, 400, St. Chrysostom held a council of bishops in Constantinople; one of whom had preferred a complaint against his metropolitan Antoninus, the archbishop of Ephesus, which consisted of several heads, but that chiefly insisted on was simony.[24] All our saint’s endeavors to discuss this affair being frustrated by the distance of places, he found it necessary, at the solicitation of the clergy and people of Ephesus, to go in per son to that city, though the severity of the winter season, and the ill state of health he was then in, might be sufficient motives for retarding this journey. In this and the neighboring cities several councils were held, in which the archbishop of Ephesus and several other bishops in Asia, Lycia, and Phrygia, were deposed for simony. Upon his return after Easter, in 401, having been absent a hundred days, he preached the next morning,[25] calling his people, in the transports of tender joy, his crown, his glory, his paradise planted with flourishing trees; but if any bad shrubs should be found in it, he promised that no pains should be spared to change them into good. He bid them consider if they rejoiced so much as they testified, to see him again who was only one, how great his joy must be which was multiplied in every one of them: he calls himself their bond-slave, chained to their service, but says, that slavery was his delight, and that during his absence he ever had them present to his mind, offering up his prayers for their temporal and spiritual welfare.

It remained that our saint should glorify God by his sufferings, as he had already done by his labors: and if we contemplate the mystery of the cross with the eyes of faith, we shall find him greater in the persecutions he sustained than in all the other occurrences of his life. At the same time we cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of envy and pride in his enemies, as in the Pharisees against Christ himself. We ought to tremble for ourselves: if that passion does not make us persecute a Chrysostom, it may often betray us into rash judgments, aversions, and other sins, even under a cloak of virtue. The first open adversary of our saint was Severianus, bishop of Gabala, in Syria, to whom the saint had left the care of his church during his absence. This man had acquired the reputation of a preacher, was a favorite of the empress Eudoxia, and had employed all his talents and doxterity to establish himself in the good opinion of the court and people, to the prejudice of the saint, against whom he had peached in his own city. Severianus being obliged to leave Constantinople at the saint’s return, he made an excellent discourse to his flock on the peace Christ came to establish on earth, and begged they would receive again Sevenamrs whom they had expelled the city. Another enemy of the saint was Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, whom Sozomen, Socrates, Palladius, St. Isidore of Pelusium, and Synesius, accuse of avarice and oppressions to gratify his vanity in building stately churches; of pride, envy, revenge, dissimulation, and an uncontrollable love of power and rule, by which he treated other bishops as his slaves, and made his will the rule of justice. His three paschal letters, which have reached us, show that he wrote without method, and that his reflections and reasonings were neither just nor apposite: whence the loss of his other writings is not much to be regretted. These spiritual vices sullied his zeal against the Anthropomorphites, and his other virtues. He died in 412, wishing that he had lived always in a desert, honoring the name of the holy Chrysostom, whose picture he caused to be brought to his bedside, and by reverencing it, showed his desire to make atonement for his past ill conduct towards our saint.[26] This turbulent man had driven from their retreat four abbots of Nitria, called the tall brothers, on a groundless suspicion of Origenism, as appears from Palladius, though it was believed by St. Jerom, which is maintained by Baronius. St. Chrysostom admitted them to communion, but not till they had juridically cleared themselves of it in an ample manner.[27] This however was grievously resented by Theophilus: but the empress Eudoxia, who, after the disgrace of Eutropius, governed her husband and the empire, was the main spring which moved the whole conspiracy against the saint. Zozimus, a heathen historian, says, that her flagrant avarice, her extortions and injustices, knew no bounds, and that the court was filled with informers, calumniators, and harpies, who, being always on the watch for prey, found means to seize the estates of such as died rich, and to disinherit their children or other heirs. No wonder that a saint should displease such a court while he discharged his duty to God. He had preached a sermon against the extravagance and vanity of women in dress and pomp. This was pretended by some to have been levelled at the empress; and Severianus was not wanting to blow the coals. Knowing Theophilus was no friend to the saint, the empress, to be revenged of the supposed affront, sent to desire his presence at Constantinople, in order to depose him. He obeyed the summons with pleasure, and landed at Constantinople in June, 403, with several Egyptian bishops his creatures, refused to see or lodge with John, and got together a packed cabal of thirty-six bishops, the saint’s enemies, in a church at Chalcedon, calling themselves the synod at the Oak, from a great tree which gave name to that quarter of the town. The heads of the impeachment drawn up against the holy bishop were: that he had deposed a deacon for beating a servant; that he had called several of his clergy base men; had deposed bishops out of his province; had ordained priests in his domestic chapel, instead of the cathedral; had sold things belonging to the church; that nobody knew what became of his revenues; that he ate alone; and that he gave the holy communion to persons who were not fasting: all which were false or frivolous. The saint held a legal council of forty bishops in the city at the same time; and refused to appear before that at the Oak, alleging most notorious infractions of the canons in their pretended council. The cabal proceeded to a sentence of deposition, which they sent to the city and to the emperor, to whom they also accused him of treason, for having called the empress Jezabel, a false assertion, as Palladius testifies. The emperor hereupon issued out an order for his banishment, but the execution of it was opposed by the people, who assembled about the great church to guard their pastor. He made them a farewell sermon,[28] in which he spoke as follows: “Violent storms encompass me on all sides; yet I am without fear, because I stand upon a rock. Though the sea roar, and the waves rise high, they cannot sink the vessel of Jesus. I fear not death, which is my gain: nor banishment, for the whole earth is the Lord’s: nor the loss of goods; for I came naked into the world, and must leave it in the same condition. I despise all the terrors of the world and trample upon its smiles and favor. Nor do I desire to live unless for your service. Christ is with me: whom shall I fear? Though waves rise against me: though the sea, though the fury of princes threaten me, all these are to me more contemptible than a spider’s web. I always say: O Lord, may thy will be done: not what this or that creature wills, but what it shall please thee to appoint, that shall I do and suffer with joy. This is my strong tower: this is my unshaken rock: this is my staff that can never fail. If God be pleased that it be done, let it be so. Wheresoever his will is that I be, I return him thanks.” He declared that he was ready to lay down a thousand lives for them, if at his disposal, and that he suffered only because he had neglected nothing to save their souls. On the third day after the unjust sentence given against him, having received repeated orders from the emperor to go into banishment, and taking all possible care to prevent a sedition, he surrendered himself, unknown to the people, to the count, who conducted him to Prænetum in Bithynia. After his departure his enemies entered the city with guards, and Severianus mounted the pulpit, and began to preach, pretending to show the deposition of the saint to have been legal and just. But the people would not suffer him to proceed, and ran about as if distracted, loudly demanding in a body the restoration of their holy pastor. The next night the city was shook with an earthquake. This brought the empress to reflect with remorse on what she had done against the holy bishop. She applied immediately to the emperor, under the greatest consternation, for his being recalled; crying out: “Unless John be recalled, our empire is undone:” and with his consent she dispatched letters the same night, inviting him home with tender expressions of affection and esteem, and protesting her ignorance of his banishment. Almost all the city went out to meet him, and great numbers of lighted torches were carried before him. He stopped in the suburbs, refusing to enter the city till he had been declared innocent by a more numerous assembly of bishops. But the people would suffer no delay: the enemies of the saint fled, and he resumed his functions, and preached to his flock. He pressed the emperor to call Theophilus to a legal synod: but that obstinate persecutor alleged that he could not return without danger of his life. However, Sozomen relates that threescore bishops ratified his return: but the fair weather did not last long. A silver statue of the empress having been erected on a pillar before the great church of St. Sophia, the dedication of it was celebrated with public games, which besides disturbing the divine service, engaged the spectators in extravagances and superstition. St. Chrysostom had often preached against licentious shows; and the very place rendered these the more criminal. On this occasion, fearing lest his silence should be construed as an approbation of the thing, he, with his usual freedom and courage, spoke loudly against it. Though this could only affect the Manichæan overseer of those games, the vanity of the empress made her take the affront to herself, and her desires of revenge were implacable.* His enemies were invited back: Theophilus durst not come, but sent three deputies. Though St. John had forty-two bishops with him, this second cabal urged to the emperor certain canons of an Arian council of Antioch, made only to exclude St. Athanasius, by which it was ordained that no bishop who had been deposed by a synod, should return to his see till he was restored by another synod. This false plea overruled the justice of the saint’s cause, and Arcadius sent him an order to withdraw. He refused to forsake a church committed to him by God, unless forcibly compelled to leave it. The emperor sent troops to drive the people out of the churches on Holy-Saturday, and the holy places were polluted with blood and all manner of outrages. The saint wrote to pope Innocent, begging him to declare void all that had been done; for no injustice could be more notorious.[29] He also wrote to beg the concurrence of certain other holy bishops of the West. The pope having received from Theophilus the acts of the false council at the Oak, even by them saw the glaring injustice of its proceedings, and wrote to him, exhorting him to appear in another council, where sentence should be given according to the canons of Nice, meaning by those words to condemn the Arian canons of Antioch. He also wrote to St. Chrysostom, to his flock, and several of his friends: and endeavored to redress these evils by a new council: as did also the emperor Honorius. But Arcadius and Eudoxia found means to prevent its assembling, the very dread of which made Theophilus, Severianus, and other ringleaders of the faction to tremble.

St. Chrysostom was suffered to remain at Constantinople two months after Easter. On Thursday, in Whitsun-week, the emperor sent him an order for his banishment. The holy man, who received it in the church, said to those about him, “Come, let us pray, and take leave of the angel of the church.” He took leave of the bishops, and, stepping into the baptistery, also of St. Olympias and the other deaconesses, who were overwhelmed with grief and bathed in tears. He then retired privately out of the church, to prevent a sedition, and was conducted by Lucius, a brutish captain, into Bithynia, and arrived at Nice on the 20th of June, 404. After his departure, a fire breaking out, burnt down the great church and the senate-house, two buildings which were the glory of the city: but the baptistery was spared by the flames, as it were to justify the saint against his calumniators; for not one of the rich vessels was found wanting. In this senate-house perished the incomparable statues of the muses from Helicon, and other like ornaments, the most valuable then known: so that Zozimus looks upon this conflagration as the greatest misfortune that had ever befallen that city. Palladius ascribes the fire to the anger of heaven. Many of the saint’s friends were put to the most exquisite tortures on this account, but no discovery could be made. The Isaurians plundered Asia, and the Huns several other provinces. Eudoxia ended her life and crimes in childbed on the 6th of October following, five days after a furious hail-storm had made a dreadful havoc in the city. The emperor wrote to St. Nilus, to recommend himself and his empire to his prayers. The hermit answered him with a liberty of speech which became one who neither hoped nor feared any thing from the world. “How do you hope,” said he, “to see Constantinople delivered from the destroying angel of God, after such enormities authorized by laws? after having banished the most blessed John, the pillar of the church, the lamp of truth, the trumpet of Jesus Christ!”30 And again “You have banished John, the greatest light of the earth:—At least, do not persevere in your crime.”31 His brother, the emperor Honorius wrote still in stronger terms,[32] and several others. But in vain; for certain implacable court ladies and sycophants, hardened against all admonitions and remorse, had much too powerful an ascendant over the unhappy emperor, for these efforts of the saint’s friends to meet with success. Arsacius, his enemy and persecutor, though naturally a soft and weak man, was by the emperor’s authority intruded into his see. The saint enjoyed himself comfortably at Nice: but Cucusus was pitched upon by Eudoxia for the place of his banishment. He set out from Nice in July, 404, and suffered incredible hardships from heats, fatigues, severity of guards, almost perpetual watchings, and a fever which soon seized him with pains in his breast. He was forced to travel almost all night, deprived of every necessary of life, and was wonderfully refreshed if he got a little clear water to drink, fresh bread to eat, or a bed to take a little rest upon. All he lamented was the impenitence of his enemies, for their own sake: calling impunity in sin, and honor conferred by men on that account, the most dreadful of all judgments.[33] About the end of August, after a seventy days’ journey, he arrived at Cucusus, a poor town in Armenia, in the deserts of Mount Taurus. The good bishop of the place vied with his people in showing the man of God the greatest marks of veneration and civility, and many friends met him there, both from Constantinople and Antioch. In this place, by sending missionaries and succors, he promoted the conversion of many heathen countries, especially among the Goths, in Persia and Phœnicia. He appointed Constantius, his friend, a priest of Antioch, superior of the apostolic missions in Phoenicia and Arabia. The letters of Constantius are added to those of St. Chrysostom. The seventeen letters of our saint to St. Olympias might be styled treatises. He tells her,[34] “I daily exult and am transported with joy in my heart under my sufferings, in which I find a hidden treasure: and I beg that you rejoice on the same account, and that you bless and praise God, by whose mercy we obtain to such a degree the grace of suffering.” He often enlarges on the great evils and most pernicious consequences of sadness and dejection of spirit, which he calls[35] “the worst of human evils, a perpetual domestic rack, a darkness and tempest of the mind, an interior war, a distemper which consumes the vigor of the soul, and impairs all her faculties.” He shows[36] that sickness is the greatest of trials, a time not of inaction, but of the greatest merit, the school of all virtues, and a true martyrdom. He advises her to use physic, and says it would be a criminal impatience to wish for death to be freed from sufferings. He laments the fall of Pelagius, whose heresies he abhorred. He wrote to this lady his excellent treatise, That no one can hurt him who does not hurt himself. Arsacius dying in 405, many ambitiously aspired to that dignity, whose very seeking it was sufficient to prove them unworthy. Atticus, one of this number, a violent enemy to St. Chrysostom, was preferred by the court, and placed in his chair. The pope refused to hold communion with Theophilus or any of the abettors of the persecution of our saint.[37] He and the emperor Honorius sent five bishops to Constantinople to insist on a council, and that, in the mean time, St. Chrysostom should be restored to his see, his deposition having been notoriously unjust.[38] But the deputies were cast into prison in Thrace, because they refused to communicate with Atticus. The persecutors saw that, if the council was held, they would be inevitably condemned and deposed by it, therefore they stuck at nothing to prevent its meeting. The incursions of the lsaurian plunderers obliged St. Chrysostom to take shelter in the castle of Arabissus, on Mount Taurus. He enjoyed a tolerable state of health during the year 406 and the winter following, though it was extremely cold in those mountains so that the Armenians were surprised to see how his thin, weak body was able to support it. When the Isaurians had quitted the neighborhood, he returned to Cucusus. But his impious enemies, seeing the whole Christian world both honor and defend him, resolved to rid the world of him. With this view they procured an order from the emperor that he should be removed to Arabissus, and thence to Pytius, a town situated on the Euxine sea, near Colchis, at the extremity of the empire, on the frontiers of the Sarmatians, the most barbarous of the Scythians. Two officers were ordered to convey him thither in a limited number of days, through very rough roads, with a promise of promotion, if, by hard usage, he should die in their hands. One of these was not altogether destitute of humanity, but the other could not bear to hear a mild word spoken to him. They often travelled amidst scorching heats, from which his head, that was bald, suffered exceedingly. In the most violent rains they forced him out of doors, obliging him to travel till the water ran in streams down his back and bosom. When they arrived at Comana Pontica, in Cappadocia, he was very sick; yet was hurried five or six miles to the martyrium or chapel in which lay the relics of the martyr St. Basiliscus.* The saint was lodged in the oratory of the priest. In the night, that holy martyr appearing to him, said, “Be of good courage, brother John; to-morrow we shall be together.” The confessor was filled with joy at this news, and begged that he might stay there till eleven o’clock. This made the guards drag him out the more violently; but when they had travelled four miles, perceiving him in a dying condition, they brought him back to the oratory. He there changed all his clothes to his very shoes, putting on his best attire, which was all white, as if he meant it for his heavenly nuptials. He was yet fasting, and having received the hoIy sacrament, poured forth his last prayer, which he closed with his usual doxology: Glory be to God for all things. Having said Amen, and signed himself with the sign of the cross, he sweetly gave up his soul to God on the feast of the exaltation of the holy cross, the 14th of September, as appears from the Menæa, in 407, having been bishop nine years and almost seven months.†

His remains were interred by the body of St. Basiliscus, a great concourse of holy virgins, monks, and persons of all ranks from a great distance flocking to his funeral. The pope refused all communion with those who would not allow his name a place in the Dyptics or registers of Catholic bishops deceased. It was inserted at Constantinople by Atticus, in 417, and at Alexandria, by St. Cyril, in 419: for Nestorius tells him that he t
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

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  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2019, 08:38:45 AM »
Jan 28 ST. CYRIL PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA.

From Socrates, Marius Mercator, the councils, and his works. See Tillemont, t. 14, p. 272. Ceillier, t. 13, p. 241.

A. D. 444.

ST. CYRIL was raised by God to defend the faith of the Incarnation of his Son, “of which mystery he is styled the doctor, as St. Austin is of that of grace,” says Thomassin. He studied under his uncle Theophilus, and testifies[1] that he made it his rule never to advance any doctrine which he had not learned from the ancient Fathers. His books against Julian the Apostate show that he had read the profane writers. He often says himself that he neglected human eloquence: and it is to be wished that he had written in a clearer style, and with greater purity of the Greek tongue. Upon the death of Theophilus, in 412, he was raised by the people to the patriarchal dignity. He began to exert his authority by causing the churches of the Novatians in the city to be shut up, and their sacred vessels and ornaments to be seized; an action censured by Socrates, a favorer of those heretics; but we do not know the reasons and authority upon which he proceeded. He next drove the Jews out of the city, who were very numerous, and enjoyed great privileges there from the time of Alexander the Great. Seditions, and several acts of violence committed by them, excited him to this, which grievously offended Orestes the governor, but was approved by the emperor Theodosius: and the Jews never returned. St. Cyril sent to conjure the governor by the holy gospels that he would consent to a reconciliation, and that he would join in sincere friendship with him: but his offers were rejected. This unhappy disagreement produced pernicious effects. Hypatia, a pagan lady, kept a public school of philosophy in the city. Her reputation for learning was so great, that disciples flocked to her from all parts. Among these was the great Synesius, who afterwards submitted his works to her censure. She was consulted by philosophers of the first rank on the most intricate points of learning, and of the Platonic philosophy in particular, in which she was remarkably well versed.[2] She was much respected and consulted by the governor, and often visited him. The mob, which was nowhere more unruly, or more fond of riots and tumults than in that populous city, the second in the world for extent, pon a suspicion that she incensed the governor against their bishop, sedit ously rose, pulled her out of her chariot, cut and mangled her flesh, and tore her body in pieces in the streets, in 415, to the great grief and scandal of all good men, especially of the pious bishop. 3* He had imbibed certain prejudices from his uncle against the great St. Chrysostom: but was prevailed on by St. Isidore of Pelusium, and others, to insert his name in the Dyptics of his church, in 419: after which, pope Zozimus sent him letters of communion.†

Nestorius, a monk and priest of Antioch, was made bishop of Constantinople in 428. The retiredness and severity of his life, joined with a hypocritical exterior of virtue, a superficial learning, and a fluency of words, gained him some reputation in the world. But being full of self-conceit, he neglected the study of the Fathers, was a man of weak judgment, extremely vain, violent, and obstinate. This is the character he bears in the history of those times, and which is given him by Socrates, and also by Theodoret, whom he had formerly imposed upon by his hypocrisy. Marius Mercator informs us, that he was no sooner placed in the episcopal chair, but he began to persecute, with great fury, the Arians, Macedonians, Manichees, and Quartodecimans, whom he banished out of his diocese. But though he taught original sin, he is said to have denied the necessity of grace; on which account he received to his communion Celestius and Julian, who had been condemned by the popes Innocent and Zozimus, and banished out of the West by the emperor Honorius, for Pelagianism. Theodosius obliged them to leave Constantinople, notwithstanding the protection of the bishop. Nestorius and his mercenary priests broached also new errors from the pulpit, teaching two distinct persons in Christ, that of God, and that of man, only jointed by a moral union, by which he said the Godhead dwelt in the humanity merely as in its temple. Hence he denied the Incarnation, or that God was made man: and said the Blessed Virgin ought not to be styled the mother of God, but of the man who was Christ, whose humanity was only the temple of the divinity, not a nature hypostatically assumed by the divine Person; though at length convicted by the voice of antiquity, he allowed her the empty title of mother of God, but continued to deny the mystery. The people were shocked at these novelties, and the priests, St. Proclus, Eusebius, afterwards bishop of Dorylæum, and others, separated themselves from his communion, after having attempted in vain to reclaim him by remonstrances. His homilies, wherever they appeared, gave great offence, and excited everywhere clamors against the errors and blasphemies they contained. St. Cyril having read them, sent him a mild expostulation of the subject, but was answered with haughtiness and contempt. Pope Celestine, being applied to by both parties, examined his doctrine in a council at Rome; condemned it, and pronounced a sentence of excommunication and deposition against the author, unless within ten days after notification of the sentence, he publicly condemned and retracted it, appointing St. Cyril as his vicegerent in this affair, to see that the sentence was put in execution.[4] Our saint, together with his third and last summons, sent Nestorius twelve propositions with anathemas, hence called anathematisms, to be signed by him as a proof of his orthodoxy, but the heresiarch appeared more obstinate than ever. This occasioned the calling of the third general council opened at Ephesus, in 431, by two hundred bishops, with St. Cyril at their head, as pope Celestine’s legate and representative.[5] Nestorius, though in the town, and thrice cited, refused to appear. His heretical sermons were read, and depositions received against him, after which his doctrine was condemned, and the sentence of excommunication and deposition was pronounced against him and notified to the emperor.

Six days after, John, patriarch of Antioch, arrived at Ephesus with forty-one oriental bishops; who secretly favoring the person but not the errors of Nestorius, of which they deemed him innocent, had advanced but slowly on their journey to the place. Instead of associating with the council, they assembled by themselves, and presumed to excommunicate St. Cyril and his adherents. Both sides had recourse to the emperor for redress, by whose order, soon after, St. Cyril and Nestorius were both arrested and confined, but our saint the worst treated of the two. Nay, through his antagonist’s greater interest at court, he was upon the point of being banished, when three legates from pope Celestine—Arcadius and Projectus, bishops, and Philip, a priest—arrived at Ephesus, which gave a new turn to affairs in our saint’s favor. The three new legates having considered what had been done under St. Cyril, the condemnation of Nestorius was confirmed, the saint’s conduct approved, and the sentence pronounced against him declared null and invalid. Thus, matters being cleared up, he was enlarged with honor. The Orientals, indeed, continued their schism till 433, when they made their peace with St. Cyril, condemned Nestorius, and gave a clear and orthodox exposition of their faith. That heresiarch, being banished from his see, retired to his monastery in Antioch. John, though formerly his friend, yet finding him very perverse and obstinate in his heresy, and attempting to pervert others, entreated the emperor Theodosius to remove him. He was therefore banished to Oasis, in the deserts of Upper Egypt, on the borders of Libya, in 431, and died miserably and impenitent in his exile. His sect remains to this day very numerous in then East.* St. Cyril triumphed over this heresiarch by his meekness, intrepidity, and courage; thanking God for his sufferings, and professing himself ready to spill his blood with joy for the gospel.[6] He arrived at Alexandria on the 30th of October, 431, and spent the remainder of his days in maintaining the faith of the church in its purity, in promoting peace and union among the faithful, and the zealous labors of his pastoral charge, till his glorious death in 444, on the 28th of June, that is, the 3d of the Egyptian month Epiphi, as the Alexandrians, the Copts, and the Ethiopians unanimously affirm, who, by abridging his name, call him Kerlos, and give him the title of Doctor of the world. The Greeks keep the 18th of January in his honor; and have a second commemoration of him again on the 9th of June.[7] The Roman Martyrology mentions him on this day. Pope Celestine styles him, “The generous defender of the church and faith, the Catholic doctor, and an apostolical man.”8

The extraordinary devotion of this holy doctor towards the holy sacrament appears from the zeal with which he frequently inculcates the glorious effects which it produces in the soul of him who worthily receives it, especially in healing all his spiritual disorders, strengthening him against temptations, subduing the passions, giving life, and making us one with Christ by the most sacred union, not only in spirit, but also with his humanity. Hence this father says that by the holy communion we are made concorporeal with Christ.[9] The eminent dignity and privileges of the ever glorious Virgin Mary were likewise a favorite subject on which he often dwells. In his tenth homily,[10] after having often repeated her title of Mother of God, he thus salutes her: “Hail, O Mary, mother of God, rich treasure of the world,* inextinguishable lamp, crown of virginity, sceptre of the true doctrine, temple which cannot fall, the residence of him whom no place can contain, Mother and Virgin, by whom He is who cometh Blessed in the name of the Lord. Hail, Mary, who in your virgin womb contained Him who is immense and incomprehensible: You through whom the whole blessed Trinity is glorified and adored, through whom the precious cross is honored and venerated over the whole world, through whom heaven exults, the angels and archangels rejoice, the devils are banished, the tempter is disarmed, the creature that was fallen is restored to heaven, and comes to the knowledge of the truth, through whom holy baptism is instituted, through whom is given the oil of exultation, through whom churches are founded over the whole earth, through whom nations are brought to penance. And what need of more words? Through whom the only begotten Son of God has shone the light to those who sat in darkness and in the shade of death, &c.—What man can celebrate the most praiseworthy Mary according to her dignity?”
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2019, 09:02:39 AM »
Jan 29 SAINT FRANCIS OF SALES, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

From his writings, and authentic lives, chiefly that written by his nephew, Charles Augustus de Sales: also that by F. Goulu, general of the Feuillans: that by Henry de Maupas du Tour, bishop of Pay, afterwards of Evreux: and that by Madame de Bussi-Rabutin. nun of the Visitation. See his life collected by M. Marsoillier, and done into English by the late Mr. Crathorne. See also the bull of his canonization, and an excellent collection of his maxims and private actions, compiled by his intimate friend and great admirer, M. Peter Camus, bishop of Bellay, in his book, entitled, L’Esprit de St. François de Sales, and in his scarce and incomparable book under the title. Quel est le meilleur Gouvernement, le rigoureux ou le doux, printed at Paris without the name of the author, 1636. Though I find not this book in any catalogue of bishop Camus’s works, the conformity of style, and in several places the repetition of the same expressions which occur in the last-mentioned work, seem to prove this to be also the production of his pen. See also the excellent new edition of the letters of St. Francis of Sales, in six volumes, 12mo. 1758.

A. D. 1622.

THE parents of this saint were Francis, count of Sales, and Frances of Sionas. The countess being with child, offered her fruit to God with the most fervent prayers, begging he would preserve it from the corruption of the world, and rather deprive her of the comfort of seeing herself a mother, than suffer her to give birth to a child who should ever become his enemy by sin. The saint was born at Sales, three leagues from Annecy, the seat of that noble family; and his mother was delivered of him when she was but seven months advanced in her pregnancy.* Hence he was reared with difficulty, and was so weak, that his life, during his infancy, was often despaired of by physicians. However, he escaped the danger, and grew robust: he was very beautiful, and the sweetness of his countenance won the affections of all who saw him: but the meekness of his temper, the pregnancy of his wit, his modesty, tractableness, and obedience, were far more valuable qualifications. The countess could scarce suffer the child out of her sight, lest any tincture of vice might infect his soul. Her first care was to inspire him with the most profound respect for the church, and all holy things; and she had the comfort to observe in him a recollection and devotion at his prayers far above his age. She read to him the lives of the saints, adding recollections suited to his capacity; and she took care to have him with her when she visited the poor, making him the distributer of her alms, and to do such little offices for them as he was able. He would set by his own meat for their relief, and when he had nothing left to bestow on them, would beg for them of all his relations. His horror of a lie, even in his infancy, made him prefer any disgrace or chastisement to the telling of the least wilful untruth.

His mother’s inclination for a domestic preceptor, to prevent his being corrupted by wicked youth in colleges, was overruled by her husband’s persuasion of the usefulness of emulation for advancing children in their studies; hoping his son’s virtue and modesty would, under God, be a sufficient guard of his innocency. He was accordingly sent to Rocheville, at six years of age, and some time after to Annecy. An excellent memory, a solid judgment, and a good application, could not fail of great progress. The young count spent as much of his time as possible in private studies and lectures of piety, especially that of the lives of saints; and by his diligence always doubled or trebled his school tasks. He showed an early inclination for the ecclesiastical state, and obtained his father’s consent, though not without some reluctance, for his receiving tonsure in the year 1578, and the eleventh of his age. He was sent afterwards, under the care of a virtuous priest, his preceptor, to pursue his studies in Paris; his mother having first instilled into him steady principles of virtue, a love of prayer, and a dread of sin and its occasions. She often repeated to him those words of queen Blanche to her son St. Louis, king of France: “I had rather see you dead, than hear you had committed one mortal sin.” On his arrival at Paris, he entered the Jesuits’ schools, and went through his rhetoric and philosophy with great applause. In pure obedience to his father’s orders, he learned in the academy to ride, dance, and fence, whence he acquired that easy behavior which he retained ever after. But these exercises, as matters of amusement, did not hinder his close application to the study of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and of positive divinity, for six years, under the famous Genebrard and Maldonatus. But his principal concern all this time was a regular course of piety, by which he labored to sanctify himself and all his actions. Pious meditation, and the study of the holy scripture, were his beloved entertainments: and he never failed to carry about him that excellent book, called the Spiritual Combat. He sought the conversation of the virtuous, particularly of F. Angelus Joyeuse, who, from a duke and marshal of France, was become a Capuchin friar. The frequent discourses of this good man on the necessity of mortification, induced the count to add, to his usual austerities, the wearing of a hair shirt three days in the week. His chief resort during his stay at Paris, was to some churches, that especially of Saint Stephen des Grez, as being one of the most retired. Here he made a vow of perpetual chastity, putting himself under the special patronage of the Blessed Virgin. God, to purify his heart, permitted a thick darkness insensibly to overspread his mind, and a spiritual dryness and melancholy to overwhelm him. He seemed, from a perfect tranquillity and peace of mind, to be almost brought to the brink of despair. Seized with the greatest terrors, he passed nights and days in tears and lamentations, and suffered more than can be conceived by those who have not felt the severity of such interior conflicts. The bitterness of his grief threw him into a deep jaundice; he could neither eat, drink, nor sleep. His preceptor labored, but all in vain, to discover the cause of this disorder, and find out a remedy. At last, Francis, being at prayer in the same church of St. Stephen, cast his eyes on a picture of our Lady: this awaking his confidence in her intercession, he prostrated himself on the ground, and, as unworthy to address the Father of all consolation, begged that she would be his advocate, and procure him the grace to love God with his whole heart. That very moment he found himself eased of his grief as of a heavy weight taken off his heart, and his former peace and tranquillity restored, which he ever after enjoyed. He was now eighteen years old, when his father recalled him from Paris, and sent him to Padua, to study the law, where his master was the celebrated Guy Pancirola; this was in the year 1554. He chose the learned and pious Jesuit, Antony Possevin, for his spiritual director; who at the same time explained to him St. Thomas’s Sum, and they read together Bellarmin’s controversies. His nephew, Augustus, gives us his written rule of life, which he made at Padua: it chiefly shows his perpetual attention to the presence of God, his care to offer up every action to him, and implore his aid at the beginning of each. Falling sick, he was despaired of by the physicians, and he himself expected with joy his last moment. His preceptor, Deage, who had ever attended him, asked him with tears, what he had to order about his funeral and other matters. “Nothing,” answered he, cheerfully, “unless it be, that my body be given to the anatomy theatre to be dissected; for it will be a comfort to me if I can be of any advantage when dead, having been of none while alive. Thus I may also prevent some of the disorders and quarrels which happen between the young physicians and the friends of the dead, whose bodies they often dig up.” However, he recovered; and by his father’s orders, being twenty years of age, commenced doctor in laws, with great applause and pomp, in presence of forty-eight doctors. After which he travelled through Italy to see the antiquities, and visit the holy places there. He went to Rome by Ferrara, and returned by Loretto and Venice. To any insult offered him on the road he returned only meekness; for which he met with remarkable blessings from heaven. The sight of the pompous remains of ancient Rome gave him a feeling contempt of worldly grandeur: but the tombs of the martyrs drew everywhere tears of devotion from his eyes. Upon his return his father received him with great joy, at his castle of Tuille, where he had prepared for him a good library of books.

All persons were charmed with the young count, but none so much as the great Antony Favre, afterwards first president of the parliament of Chamberry, and Claudius Cranier, the learned and truly apostolic bishop of Geneva, who already consulted him as an oracle. His father had a very good match in view for him, and obtained in his behalf, from the duke of Savoy, patents creating him counsellor of the parliament of Chamberry. Francis modestly, but very firmly, refused both; yet durst not propose to his parents his design of receiving holy orders; for the tonsure was not an absolute renouncing of the world. At last, he discovered it to his pious preceptor, Deage, and begged of him to mention it to his father: but this he declined, and used his utmost endeavors to dissuade the young count from much a resolution, as he was the eldest son, and destined by the order of nature for another state. Francis answered all his reasonings, but could not prevail on him to charge himself with the commission. He had then recourse to a cousin, Lewis of Sales, a priest and canon of Geneva, who obtained the consent of his parents, but not without the greatest difficulty His cousin also obtained for him from the pope, without his knowledge, the provostship of the church of Geneva, then vacant: but the young clergyman held out a long time before he would accept of it. At last he yielded, and took possession of that dignity, and was in a short time after promoted to holy orders by his diocesan, who, as soon as he was deacon, employed him in preaching. His first sermons gained him an extraordinary reputation, and were accompanied with incredible success. He delivered the word of God with a mixture of majesty and modesty; had a strong, sweet voice, and an animated manner of gesture, far from any affectation or vanity: but what chiefly affected the hearts of his hearers was the humility and unction with which he spoke from the abundance of his own heart. Before he preached, he always renewed the fervor of his heart before God, by secret sighs and prayer. He studied as much at the foot of the crucifix as in books, being persuaded that the essential quality of a preacher is to be a man of prayer. He received the holy order of priesthood with extraordinary preparation and devotion, and seemed filled by it with an apostolic spirit. He every day began his functions by celebrating the holy mysteries early in the morning, in which, by his eyes and countenance of fire, the inward flames of his soul appeared. He then heard the confessions of all sorts of people, and preached. He was observed to decline with the utmost care whatever might gain him the applause of men, seeking only to please God, and to advance his glory. He chiefly resorted to cottages, and country villages instructing an infinity of poor people. His piety, his charity to the poor, his disinterestedness, his care of the sick and those in prison, endeared him to all: but nothing was so moving as his meekness, which no provocation was ever capable of disturbing. He conversed among all as their father, with a fellow-feeling of all their wants, being all to all. He was indeed naturally of a hasty and passionate temper, as he himself confesses; and we find in his writings a certain fire and impetuosity which renders it unquestionable. On this account from his youth he made meekness his favorite virtue, and by studying in the school of a God who was meek and humble of heart, he learned that important lesson to such perfection, as to convert his predominant passion into his characteristical virtue. The Calvinists ascribed principally to his meekness the wonderful conversions he made among them. They were certainly the most obstinate of people at that time, near Geneva; yet St. Francis converted no less than seventy-two thousand of them.

Before the end of this first year of his ministry, in 1591, he erected at Annecy a confraternity of the Holy Cross, the associates of which were obliged to instruct the ignorant, to comfort and exhort the sick and prisoners, and to beware of all lawsuits, which seldom fail to shipwreck Christian charity. A Calvinistical minister took occasion from this institution to write against the honor paid by Catholics to the cross. Francis answered him by his book entitled, The Standard of the Cross. At this time, fresh matter presented itself for the exercise of the saint’s zeal. The bishop of Geneva was formerly lord of that city, paying an acknowledgment to the duke of Savoy. While these two were disputing about the sovereignty the Genevans expelled them both, and formed themselves into a republic in alliance with the Switzers; and their city became the centre of Calvinism. Soon after, the Protestant canton of Bern seized the country of Vaux, and the republic of Geneva, the dutchy of Chablais, with the bailiwicks of Gex. Terni, and Gaillard; and there by violence established their heresy, which from that time had kept quiet possession for sixty years. The duke Charles Emmanuel had recovered these territories, and resolving to restore the Catholic religion, wrote in 1594 to the bishop of Geneva, to recommend that work to him. The wise ones, according to this world, regarded the under taking as impracticable; and the most resolute, whether ecclesiastics or religious, were terrified at its difficulties and dangers. Francis was the only one that offered himself for the work, and was joined by none but his cousin-german Lewis de Sales. The tears and remonstrances of his parents and friends to dissuade him from the undertaking, made no impression on his courageous soul. He set out with his cousin on the 9th of September, in 1594. Being arrived on the frontiers of Chablais, they sent back their horses, the more perfectly to imitate the apostles. On his arrival at Thonon, the capital of Chablais, situate on the lake of Geneva, he found in it only seven Catholics. After having commended the souls to God, and earnestly implored his mercy through the intercession of the guardian angels, and tutelar saints of the country, he was obliged to take up his quarters in the castle of Allinges, where the governor and garrison were Catholics, two leagues from Thonon, whither he went every day, visiting also the neighboring country. The Calvinists for a long time shunned him, and some even attempted his life. Two assassins, hired by others, having missed him at Thonon, lay in wait to murder him on his return; but a guard of soldiers had been sent to escort him safe, the conspiracy having taken wind. The saint obtained their pardon, and, overcome by his lenity and formed by his holy instructions, they both became very virtuous converts. All our saint’s relations, and many friends, whom he particularly respected for their great virtue and prudence, solicited him by the most pressing letters to abandon such a dangerous and fruitless enterprise. His father, to the most tender entreaties, added his positive commands to him to return home, telling him that all prudent persons called his resolution to continue his mission a foolish obstinacy and madness; that he had already done more than was needful, and that his mother was dying of grief for his long absence, the fear of losing him entirely, and the hardships, atrocious slanders, and continual alarms and dangers in which he lived. To compel him to abandon this undertaking, the father forbade his friends to write any more to him, or to send him necessary supplies. Nevertheless, St. Francis persevered, and at length his patience, zeal, and eminent virtue, wrought upon the most obdurate, and insensibly wore away their prejudices. His first converts were among the soldiers, whom he brought over, not only to the faith, but also to an entire change of manners and strict virtue, from habits of swearing, duelling, and drunkenness. He was near four years, however, without any great fruit among the inhabitants, till the year 1597, when God was pleased to touch several of them with his grace. The harvest daily increased both in the town and country so plentifully, that a supply of new laborers from Annecy was necessary, and the bishop sent some Jesuits and Capuchins to carry on the good work with Francis and under his direction. In 1598 the public exercise of the Catholic religion was restored, and Calvinism banished by the duke’s orders over all Chablais, and the two bailiwicks of Terni and Gaillard. Though the plague raged violently at Thonon, this did not hinder Francis either by day or night from assisting the sick in their last moments; and God preserved him from the contagion, which seized and swept off several of his fellow-laborers. It is incredible what fatigues and hardships he underwent in the course of his mission; with what devotion and tears he daily recommended the work of God: with what invincible courage he braved the greatest dangers: with what meekness and patience he bore all manner of affronts and calumnies. Baron D’Avuli, a man of quality, and of great worth and learning, highly esteemed among the Calvinists, and at Geneva, being converted by him, induced him to go thither, to have a conference with the famous minister La Faye. The minister, during the whole conference, was ever shifting the matter in debate, as he found himself embarrassed and pressed by his antagonist. His disadvantage being so evident that he himself could read it in the countenance of every one present, he broke off the conference by throwing out a whole torrent of injurious language on Francis, who bore it with so much meekness as not to return the least sharp answer. During the whole course of his ministry in these parts, the violent measures, base cowardice in declining all dispute, and the shameful conduct of the ministers in other respects, set the saint’s behavior and his holy cause still in a more shining light. In 1597 he was commissioned by pope Clement VIII. to confer with Theodore Beza at Geneva, the most famous minister of the Calvinist party, in order to win him back to the Catholic church. He accordingly paid him four visits in that city, gained a high place in that heresiarch’s esteem, and made him often hesitate in deep silence and with distracted looks, whether he should return to the Roman Catholic church or not, wherein he owned from the beginning that salvation was attainable. St. Francis had great hopes of bringing him over in a fifth visit, but his private conferences had alarmed the Genevans so much that they guarded Beza too close for him to find admittance to him again, and Beza died soon after. ’Tis said, that a little before death he lamented very much he could not see Francis.[1] It is certain, from his first conference with him, he had ever felt a violent conflict within himself, between truth and duty on one hand, and on the other, the pride of being head of a party, the shame of recanting, inveterate habits, and certain secret engagements in vice, to which he continued enslaved to the last. The invincible firmness and constancy of the saint appeared in the recovery of the revenues of the curacies and other benefices which had been given to the Orders of St. Lazarus and St. Maurice; the restoration of which, after many difficulties, he effected by the joint authority of the pope and the duke of Savoy. In 1596 he celebrated mass on Christmas-day in the church of St. Hippolytus at Thonon, and had then made seven or eight hundred converts. From this time he charged himself with the parish of the town, and established two other Catholic parishes in the country. In the beginning of the year 1599 he had settled zealous clergymen in all the parishes of the whole territory.

The honors the saint received from the pope, the duke of Savoy, the cardinal of Medicis, and all the church, and the high reputation which his virtues bad acquired him, never made the least impression on his humble mind, dead to all motions of pride and vanity. His delight was with the poor: the most honorable functions he left to others, and chose for himself the meanest and most laborious. Every one desired to have him for their director, wherever he went: and his extraordinary sweetness, in conjunction with his eminent piety, reclaimed as many vicious Catholics as it converted heretics. In 1599, he went to Annecy to visit his diocesan, Granier, who had procured him to be made his coadjutor. The fear of resisting God, in refusing this charge, when pressed upon him by the pope, in conjunction with his bishop and the duke of Savoy, at last extorted his consert; but the apprehension of the obligations annexed to the episcopacy was so strong, that it threw him into an illness which had like to have cost him his life On his recovery he set out for Rome to receive his bulls, and to confer with his Holiness on matters relating to the missions of Savoy. He was highly honored by all the great men at Rome, and received of the pope the bulls for being consecrated bishop of Nicopolis, and coadjutor of Geneva. On this occasion he made a visit of devotion to Loretto, and returned to Annecy before the end of the year 1599. Here he preached the Lent the year following, and assisted his father during his last sickness, heard his general confession, and administered to him the rites of the church. An illness he was seized with at Annecy made him defer his consecration.

On his recovery he was obliged to go to Paris, on affairs of his diocese, and was received there by all sorts of persons with all the regard due to his extraordinary merit. The king was then at Fontainebleau; but the saint was desired to preach the Lent to the court in the chapel of the Louvre. This he did in a manner that charmed every one, and wrought innumerable wonderful conversions. The duchesses of Moreœur and Longueville sent him thereupon a purse of gold: he admired the embroidery, but gave it back, with thanks to them for honoring his discourses with their presence and good example. He preached a sermon against the pretended reformation, to prove it destitute of a lawful mission; it being begun at Meaux, by Peter Clark, a wool-carder; at Paris, by Masson Riviere, a young man called to the ministry by a company of laymen; and elsewhere after the like manner. This sermon converted many Calvinists; among others the countess of Perdrieuville, who was one of the most obstinate learned ladies of the sect: she consulted her ministers, and repaired often to Francis’s conferences, till she had openly renounced Calvinism with all her numerous family. The whole illustrious house of Raconis followed her example, and so many others, even of the most inveterate of the sect, that it made cardinal Perron, a man famous for controversy, say: “I can confute the Calvinists; but, to persuade and convert them, you must carry them to the coadjutor of Geneva.” Henry IV. was charmed with his preaching, and consulted him several times in matters relating to the direction of his conscience. There was no project of piety going forward about which he was not advised with. He promoted the establishment of the Carmelite nuns in France, and the introduction of F. Berulle’s congregation of the oratory. The king himself earnestly endeavored to detain him in France, by promises of 20,000 livres pension, and the first vacant bishopric: but Francis said, God had called him against his will to the bishopric of Geneva, and he thought it his obligation to keep it till his death; that the small revenue he had sufficed for his maintenance, and more would only be an incumbrance. The king was astonished at his disinterestedness, when he understood that the bishopric of Geneva, since the revolt of that city, did not yield the incumbent above four or five thousand livres, that is, not two hundred and fifty-nine pounds, a-year.

Some envious courtiers endeavored to give the king a suspicion of his being a spy. The saint heard this accusation just as he was going into the pulpit; yet he preached as usual without the least concern; and that prince was too well convinced of the calumny, by his sanctity and candor. After a nine months’ stay in Paris, he set out with the king’s letters,* and heard on the road, that Granier, bishop of Geneva, was dead. He hastened to Sales-Castle, and as soon as clear of the first visits, made a twenty days’ retreat to prepare himself for his consecration. He made a general confession, and laid down a plan of life, which he ever punctually observed. This was, never to wear any silk or camlets, or any clothes but woollen, as before; to have no paintings in his house but of devotions: no magnificence in furniture: never to use coach or litter, but to make his visits on foot: his family to consist of two priests, one for his chaplain, the other to take care of his temporalities and servants: nothing but common meats to be served to his table: to be always present at all feasts of devotion, kept in any church in town: his regulation with respect to alms was incredible for his revenues: to go to the poor and sick in person: to rise every day at four, make an hour’s meditation, say lauds and prime, then morning prayers with his family: to read the scripture till seven, then say mass, which he did every day, afterwards to apply to affairs till dinner, which being over, he allowed an hour for conversation; the rest of the afternoon he allotted to business and prayer. After supper he read a pious book to his family for an hour, then night prayers; after which he said matins. He fasted all Fridays and Saturdays, and our Lady’s eves: he privately wore a hair shirt, and used the discipline, but avoided all ostentatious austerities. But his exact regularity and uniformity of life, with a continued practice of internal self-denials, was the best mortification. He redoubled his fasts, austerities, and prayers, as the time of his consecration drew nearer. This was performed on the 3d of December, 1602. He immediately applied himself to preaching and the other functions of his charge. He was exceedingly cautious in conferring holy orders. He ordained but few, neither was it without the strictest scrutiny passed upon all their qualifications for the priesthood. He was very zealous, both by word and example, in promoting the instruction of the ignorant by explanations of the catechism, on Sundays and holidays; and his example had a great influence over the parish-priests in this particular, as also over the laity, both young and old. He inculcated to all the making, every hour when the clock struck, the sign of the cross, with a fervent aspiration on the passion of Christ. He severely forbade the custom of Valentines or giving boys, in writing, the names of girls to be admired and attended on by them; and, to abolish it, he changed it into giving billets with the names of certain saints for them to honor and imitate in a particular manner. He performed the visitation of his diocese as soon as possible, published a new ritual, set on foot ecclesiastical conferences, and regulated all things; choosing St. Charles Borromeo for his model.

Above all things he hated lawsuits, and strictly commanded all ecclesiastics to avoid them, and refer all disputes to arbitration. He said they were such occasions of sins against charity, that, if any one during the course of a lawsuit had escaped them, that alone would suffice for his canonization. Towards the close of the visitation of his diocese, he reformed several monasteries. That of Six appealed to the parliament of Chamberry: but our saint was supported there, and carried his point. While Francis was at Six, he heard that a valley, three leagues off, was in the utmost desolation, by the tops of two mountains that had fallen, and buried several villages, with the inhabitants and cattle. He crawled over unpassable ways to comfort and relieve these poor people, who had neither clothes to cover, nor cottages to shelter them, nor bread to stay their hunger; he mingled his tears with theirs, relieved them, and obtained from the duke a remission of their taxes. The city of Dijon having procured leave from the duke of Savoy, the saint preached the Lent there in 1604, with wonderful fruit; but refused the present offered him by the city on that occasion. Being solicited by Henry IV. to accept of a considerable abbey, the saint refused it; alleging, that he dreaded riches as much as others could desire them; and that, the less he had of them, the less he would have to answer for. That king offered to name him to the dignity of cardinal at the next promotion; but the saint made answer, that though he did not despise the offered dignity he was persuaded that great titles would not sit well upon him, and might raise fresh obstacles to his salvation. He was also thought of at Rome as a very fit person to be promoted to that dignity, but was himself the only one who everywhere opposed and crossed the design. Being desired on another occasion by the same king to accept of a pension; the saint begged his majesty to suffer it to remain in the hands of his comptroller till he should call for it; which handsome refusal much astonished that great prince, who could not forbear saying: “That the bishop of Geneva, by the happy independence in which his virtue had placed him, was as far above him, as he by his royal dignity was above his subjects.” The saint preached the next Lent at Chamberry, at the request of the parliament, which notwithstanding at that very time seized his temporalities for refusing to publish a monitory at its request; the saint alleging, that it was too trifling an affair, and that the censures of the church were to be used more reservedly. To the notification of the seizure he only answered obligingly, that he thanked God for teaching him by it, that a bishop is to be altogether spiritual. He neither desisted from preaching, nor complained to the duke, but heaped most favors on such as most insulted him, till the parliament, being ashamed, granted him of their own accord a replevy. But the great prelate found more delight in preaching in small villages than amidst such applause, though he everywhere met with the like fruit; and he looked on the poor as the object of his particular care. He took a poor dumb and deaf man into his family, taught him by signs, and by them received his confession. His steward often found it difficult to provide for his family by reason of his great alms, and used to threaten to leave him. The saint would answer: “You say right; I am an incorrigible creature, and what is worse, I look as if I should long continue so.” Or at other times, pointing to the crucifix; “How can we deny any thing to a God who reduced himself to this condition for the love of us!”

Pope Paul V. ordered our saint to be consulted about the school dispute between the Dominicans and Jesuits on the grace of God, or de auxiliis His opinion appears from his book On the Love of God: but he answered his Holiness in favor of neutrality, which he ever observed in school opinions; complaining often in how many they occasioned the breach of charity, and spent too much of their precious time, which, by being otherwise employed, might be rendered more conducive to God’s honor. In 1609 he went to Bellay, and consecrated bishop John Peter Camus, one of the most illustrious prelates of the church of France, and linked to our saint by the strictest bands of holy friendship. He wrote the book entitled, The Spirit of St. Francis of Sales, consisting of many of his ordinary sayings and actions, in which his spirit shines with great advantage, discovering a perpetual recollection always absorbed in God, and a constant overflowing of sweetness and divine love. His writings to this day breathe the same; every word distils that love and meekness with which his heart was filled. It is this which makes his epistles, which we have to the number of five hundred and twenty-nine, in seven books, to be an inestimable treasure of moving instructions, suitable to all sorts of persons and circumstances.

His incomparable book, the Introduction to a Devout Life, was originally letters to a lady in the world, which, at the pressing instances of many friends, he formed into a book and finished, to show that devotion suited Christians in a secular life, no less than in cloisters. Villars, the archbishop of Vienna, wrote to him upon it: “Your book charms, inflames, and puts me in raptures, as often as I open any part of it.” The author received the like applause and commendations from all parts, and it was immediately translated into all the languages of Europe. Henry IV. of France was extremely pleased with it; his queen, Mary of Medicis, sent it richly bound and adorned with jewels to James I. of England, who was wonderfully taken with it, and asked his bishops why none of them could write with such feeling and unction.[2] There was, however, one religious Order in which this book was much censured, as if it had allowed of gallantry and scurrilous jests, and approved of balls and comedies, which was very far from the saint’s doctrine. A preacher of that Order had the rashness and presumption to declaim bitterly against the book in a public sermon, to cut it in pieces, and burn it in the very pulpit. The saint bore this outrage without the least resentment; so perfectly was he dead to self-love. This appears more wonderful to those who know how jealous authors are of their works, as the offspring of their reason and judgment, of which men are of all things the fondest. His book of the Love of God cost him much more reading, study, and meditation. In it he paints his own soul. He describes the feeling sentiments of divine love, its state of fervor, of dryness, of trials, sufferings, and darkness: in explaining which he calls in philosophy to his assistance. He writes on this sublime subject what he had learned by his own experience. Some parts of this book are only to be understood by those souls who have gone through these states: yet the author has been ever justly admired for the performance. The general of the Carthusians had written to him upon his Introduction, advising him to write no more, because nothing else could equal that book. But seeing this, he bade him never cease writing, because his latter works always surpassed the former: and James I. was so delighted with the book, that he expressed a great desire to see the author. This being told the saint, he cried out: “Ah! who will give me the wings of a dove, and I will fly to the king, into that great island, formerly the country of saints; but now overwhelmed with the darkness of error. If the duke will permit me, I will arise, and go to that great Ninive: I will speak to the king, and will announce to him, with the hazard of my life, the word of the Lord.” In effect, he solicited the duke of Savoy’s consent, but could never obtain it.[3] That jealous sovereign feared lest he should be drawn in to serve another state, or sell to some other his right to Geneva; on which account he often refused him leave to go to preach in France, when invited by many cities. His other works are sermons which are not finished as they were preached, except, perhaps, that on the Invention of the Cross. We have also his Preparation for Mass: his Instructions for Confessors: a collection of his Maxims, pious Breathings and Sayings, written by the bishop of Bellay; some Fragments, and his Entertainments to his nuns of the Visitation, in which he recommends to them the most perfect interior self-denial, a disengagement of affections from all things temporal, and obedience. The institution of that Order may be read in the life of B. Frances Chantal. Saint Francis designing his new Order to be such, that all, even the sickly and weak, might be admitted into it, he chose for it the rule of St. Austin, as commanding few extraordinary bodily austerities, and would have it possess funds and settlements in common, to prevent being carried off from the interior life by anxious cares about necessaries. But then he requires from each person so strict a practice of poverty, as to allow no one the property or even the long use of any thing; and orders them every year to change chambers, beds, crosses, beads, and books. He will have no manner of account to be made of birth, wit, or talents; but only of humility he obliges them only to the little office of our Lady, which all might easily learn to understand; meditations, spiritual reading, recollection, and retreats, abundantly compensating the defect. All his regulations tend to instill a spirit of piety, charity, meekness, and simplicity. He subjects his Order to the bishop of each place, without any general. Pope Paul V. approved it, and erected the congregation of the Visitation into a religious Order.

St. Francis, finding his health decline, and his affairs to multiply, after having consulted cardinal Frederic Borromeo, archbishop of Milan, chose for his coadjutor in the bishopric of Geneva, his brother John Francis of Sales, who was consecrated bishop of Chalcedon at Turin, in 1618. But the saint still applied himself to his functions as much as ever. He preached the Lent at Grenoble, in 1617, and again in 1618, with his usual conquests of souls; converting many Calvinists, and among these the duke of Lesdiguieres. In 1619, he accompanied to Paris the cardinal of Savoy, to demand the sister of king Louis XIII., Christina of France, in marriage for the prince of Piedmont. He preached the Lent in St. Andre-des-Arcs, and had always such a numerous audience, that cardinals, bishops, and princes could scarce find room. His sermons and conferences, and still more the example of his holy life, and the engaging sweetness of his conversation, most powerfully moved not only the devout, but also heretics, libertines, and atheists; while his eloquence and learning convinced their understandings. The bishop of Bellay tells us, that he entreated the saint at Paris not to preach twice every day, morning and evening, for the sake of his health. St. Francis answered him with a smile: “That it cost him much less to preach a sermon than to find an excuse for himself when invited to perform that function.” He added: “God has appointed me a pastor and a preacher: and is not every one to follow his profession? But I am surprised that the people in this great city flock so eagerly to my sermons: for my tongue is slow and heavy, my conceptions low, and my discourses flat, as you yourself are witness.” “Do you imagine,” said the other, “that eloquence is what they seek in your discourses? It is enough for them to see you in the pulpit. Your heart speaks to them by your countenance, and by your eyes, were you only to say the Our Father with them. The most common words in your mouth, burning with the fire of charity, pierce and melt all hearts. There is I know not what so extraordinary in what you say, that every word is of weight, every word strikes deep into the heart. You have said every thing even when you seem to have said nothing. You are possessed of a kind of eloquence which is of heaven: the power of this is astonishing.” St. Francis, smiling, turned off the discourse.[4] The match being concluded, the princess Christina chose Francis for her chief almoner, desiring to live always un ler his direction: but all her entreaties could neither prevail on him to leave his diocese, though he had a coadjutor, nor to accept of a pension: and it was only on these two conditions he undertook the charge, always urging that nothing could dispense with him from residence. The princess made him a present of a rich diamond, by way of an investiture, desiring him to keep it for her sake. “I will,” said he, “unless the poor stand in need of it.” She answered, she would then redeem it. He said, “This will happen so often, that I shall abuse your bounty.” Finding it given to the poor afterwards at Turin, she gave him another, richer, charging him to keep that at least. He said: “Madam, I cannot promise you: I am very unfit to keep things of value.” Inquiring after it one day, she was told it was always in pawn for the poor, and that the diamond belonged not to the bishop, but to all the beggars of Geneva. He had indeed a heart which was not able to refuse any thing to those in want. He often gave to beggars the waistcoat off his own back, and sometimes the cruets of his chapel. The pious cardinal, Henry de Gondi, bishop of Paris, used all manner of arguments to obtain his consent to be his coadjutor in the see of Paris; but he was resolved never to quit the church which God had first committed to his charge.

Upon his return to Annecy he would not touch a farthing of his revenue for the eighteen months he was absent; but gave it to his cathedral, saying, it could not be his, for he had not earned it. He applied himself to preaching, instructing, and hearing confessions with greater zeal than ever. In a plague which raged there, he daily exposed his own life to assist his flock. The saint often met with injurious treatment, and very reviling words, which he ever repaid with such meekness and beneficence as never failed to gain his very enemies. A lewd wretch, exasperated against him for his zeal against a wicked harlot, forged a letter of intrigue in the holy prelate’s name, which made him pass for a profligate and a hypocrite with the duke of Nemours and many others: the calumny reflected also on the nuns of the Visitation. Two years after, the author of it, lying on his death-bed, called in witnesses, publicly justified the saint, and made an open confession of the slander and forgery. The saint had ever an entire confidence in the divine providence, was ever full of joy, and resigned to all the appointments of heaven, to which he committed all events. He had a sovereign contempt of all earthly things, whether riches, honors, dangers, or sufferings. He considered only God and his honor in all things: his soul perpetually breathed nothing but his love and praises; nor could he contain this fire within his breast, for it discovered itself in his countenance; which, especially while he said mass, or distributed the blessed eucharist, appeared shining, as it were, with rays of glory, and breathing holy fervor. Often he could not contain himself in his conversation, and would thus express himself to his intimate friends: “Did you but know how God treats my heart, you would thank his goodness, and beg for me the strength to execute the inspirations which he communicates to me. My heart is filled with an inexpressible desire to be forever sacrificed to the pure and holy love of my Saviour. Oh! it is good to live, to labor, to rejoice only in God. By his grace I will forevermore be nothing to any creature; nor shall any creature be any thing to me but in him and for him.” At another time, he cried out to a devout friend: “Oh! if I knew but one string of my heart which was not all God’s, I would instantly tear it out. Yes; if I knew that there was one thread in my heart which was not marked with the crucifix, I would not keep it one moment.”

In the year 1622, he received an order from the duke of Savoy to go to Avignon to wait on Louis XIII., who had just finished the civil wars in Languedoc. Finding himself indisposed, he took his last leave of his friends, saying, he should see them no more; which drew from them floods of tears. At Avignon he was at his prayers during the king’s triumphant entry, and never went to the window to see any part of that great pomp. He was obliged to attend the king and the cardinal of Savoy to Lyons, where he refused all the grand apartments offered him by the intendant of he province and others, to lodge in the poor chamber of the gardener to the monastery of the Visitation: as he was never better pleased than when he could most imitate the poverty of his Saviour. He received from the king and queen-mother, and from all the princes, the greatest marks of honor and esteem: and though indisposed, continued to preach and perform all his functions, especially on Christmas-day, and St. John’s in the morning. After sinner he began to fall gradually into an apoplexy, was put to bed by his servant, and received extreme unction; but as he had said mass that day and his vomiting continued, it was thought proper not to give him the viattcum. He repeated with great fervor: “My heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God; I will sing the mercies of the Lord to all eternity. When shall I appear before his face? Show me, my beloved, where thou feedest where thou restest at noonday. O my God, my desire is before thee, and my sighs are not hidden from thee. My God and my all! my desire is that of the hills eternal.” While the physicians applied blistering plasters, and hot irons behind his neck, and a caustic to the crown of his head, which burned him to the bone, he shed abundance of tears under excess of pain, repeating: “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquities, and cleanse me from my sin. Still cleanse me more and more. What do I here, my God, distant from thee, separated from thee?” And to those about him: “Weep not, my children; must not the will of God be done?” One suggesting to him the prayer of St. Martin, “If I am still necessary for thy people, I refuse not to labor:” he seemed troubled at being compared to so great a saint, and said, he was an unprofitable servant, whom neither God nor his people needed. His apoplexy increasing, though slowly, he seemed at last to lose his senses, and happily expired on the feast of Holy Innocents, the 28th of December, at eight o’clock at night, in the year 1622, the fifty-sixth of his age, and the twentieth of his episcopacy. His corpse was embalmed, and carried with the greatest pomp to Annecy, where he had directed by will it should be interred. It was laid in a magnificent tomb near the high altar in the church of the first monastery of the Visitation. After his beatification by Alexander VII., in 1661, it was placed upon the altar in a rich silver shrine. He was canonized in 1665 by the same pope, and his feast fixed to the 29th of January, on which day his body was conveyed to Annecy. His heart was kept in a leaden case, in the church of the Visitation at Lyons: it was afterwards exposed in a silver one, and lastly in one of gold, given by king Louis XIII. Many miracles, as the raising to life two persons who were drowned, the curing of the blind, paralytic, and others, were authentically attested to have been wrought by his relics and intercession; not to mention those he had performed in his lifetime, especially during his missions. Pope Alexander VII., then cardinal Chigi, and plenipotentiary in Germany, Louis XIII., XIV., and others, attributed their cures in sickness to this saint’s patronage.

Among his ordinary remarkable sayings, we read that he often repeated to bishop Camus, “That truth must be always charitable; for bitter zeal does harm instead of good. Reprehensions are a food of hard digestion, and ought to be dressed on a fire of burning charity so well, that all harshness be taken off; otherwise, like unripe fruit, they will only produce gripings. Charity seeks not itself nor its own interests, but purely the honor and interest of God: pride, vanity, and passion cause bitterness and harshness: a remedy injudiciously applied may be a poison. A judicious silence is always better than a truth spoken without charity.” St. Francis, seeing a scandalous priest thrown into prison, fell at his feet, and with tears conjured him to have compassion on him, his pastor, on his religion, which he scandalized, and on his own soul; which sweetness converted the other, so that he became an example of virtue. By his patience and meekness under all injuries, he overcame the most obstinate, and ever after treated then with singular affection, calling them dearer friends, because regained. A great prelate observes, from his example, that the meek are kings of other hearts, which they powerfully attract, and can turn as they please; and in an express and excellent treatise, proposes him as an accomplished model of all the qualifications requisite in a superior to govern well.

Meekness was the favorite virtue of St. Francis de Sales. He once was neard to say, that he had employed three years in studying it in the school of Jesus Christ, and that his heart was still far from being satisfied with the progress he had made. If he, who was meekness itself, imagined, nevertheless, that he had possessed so little of it; what shall we say of those, who, upon every trifling occasion, betray the bitterness of their hearts in angry words and actions of impatience and outrage? Our saint was often tried in the practice of this virtue, especially when the hurry of business and the crowds that thronged on him for relief in their various necessities, scarce allowed him a moment to breathe. He has left us his thoughts upon this situation, which his extreme affability rendered very frequent to him. “God,” says he, “makes use of this occasion to try whether our hearts are sufficiently strengthened to bear every attack. I have myself been sometimes in this situation: but I have made a covenant with my heart and with my tongue, in order to confine them within the bounds of duty. I considered those persons who crowd in one upon the other, as children who run into the embraces of their father: as the hen refuseth not protection to her little ones when they gather around her, but, on the contrary, extendeth her wings so as to cover them all; my heart, I thought, was in like manner expanded, in proportion as the numbers of these poor people increased. The most powerful remedy against sudden starts of impatience is a sweet and amiable silence; however little one speaks, self-love will have a share in it, and some word will escape that may sour the heart, and disturb its peace for a considerable time. When nothing is said, and cheerfulness preserved, the storm subsides, anger and indiscretion are put to flight, and nothing remains but a joy, pure and lasting. The person who possesses Christian meekness, is affectionate and tender towards every one; he is disposed to forgive and excuse the frailties of others; the goodness of his heart appears in a sweet affability that influences his words and actions, and presents every object to his view in the most charitable and pleasing light; he never admits in his discourse any harsh expression, much less any term that is haughty or rude. An amiable serenity is always painted on his countenance, which remarkably distinguishes him from those violent characters, who, with looks full of fury, know only how to refuse; or who, when they grant, do it with so bad a grace, that they lose all the merit of the favor they bestow.”

Some persons thinking him too indulgent towards sinners, expressed their thoughts one day with freedom to him on this head. He immediately replied: “If there was any thing more excellent than meekness, God would have certainly taught it us; and yet there is nothing to which he so earnestly exhorts us, as to be meek and humble of heart. Why would you hinder me to obey the command of my Lord, and follow him in the exercise of that virtue which he so eminently practised and so highly esteems? Are we then better informed in these matters than God himself?” But his tenderness was particularly displayed in the reception of apostates and other abandoned sinners; when these prodigals returned to him, he said, with all the sensibility of a father: “Come, my dear children, come, let me embrace you; ah, let me hide you in the bottom of my heart! God and I will assist you: all I require of you is not to despair: I shall take on myself the labor of the rest.” Looks full of compassion and love expressed the sincerity of his feelings: his affectionate and charitable care of them extended even to their bodily wants and his purse was open to them as well as his heart he justified this proceeding to some, who, disedified at his extreme indulgence, told him it served only to encourage the sinner, and harden him still more in his crimes, by observing, “Are they not a part of my flock? Has not our blessed Lord given them his blood, and shall I refuse them my tears? These wolves will he changed into lambs: a day will come when, cleansed from their sins, they will be more precious in the sight of God than we are: if Saul had been east off, we would never have had a St. Paul.”
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2019, 09:03:06 AM »
ST. BATHILDES, QUEEN OF FRANCE

From her life written by a contemporary author, and a second life, which is the same with the former, except certain additions of a later date, in Bollandus and Mabillon, sec. 4, Ben. p. 447, and Act. Sanct. Ben. t. 2. See also Dubois, Hist. Eccl. Paris, p. 198, and Chatelain. Notes on the Martyr. 30 Jan p. 462. See Historia St. Bathildis et Fundationem ejus, among the MS. lives of saints in the abbey of Jumieges, t. 2. Also her MS. life at Bec, &c.

A. D. 680.

ST. BATHILDES, OR BALDECHILDE, in French Bauteur, was an Englishwoman, who was carried over very young into France, and there sold for a slave, at a very low price, to Erkenwald, otherwise called Erchinoald, and Archimbali, mayor of the palace under King Clovis II. When she grew up he was so much taken with her prudence and virtue, that he committed to her the care of his household. She was no ways puffed up, but seemed the more modest, more submissive to her fellow-slaves, and always ready to serve the meanest of them in the lowest offices. King Clovis II. in 649 took her for his royal consort, with the applause of his princes and whole kingdom: such was the renown of her extraordinary endowments. This unexpected elevation, which would have turned the strongest head of a person addicted to pride, produced no alteration in a heart perfectly grounded in humility and other virtues. She seemed even to become more humble than before, and more tender of the poor. Her present station furnished her with the moans of being truly their mother, which she was before in the inclination and disposition of her heart. All other virtues appeared more conspicuous in her, but above the rest an ardent zeal for religion. The king gave her the sanction of his royal authority for the protection of the church, the care of the poor, and the furtherance of all religious un lertakings. She bore him three sons, who all successively wore the crown, Clotaire III., Childeric II., and Thierry I. He dying in 655, when the eldest was only five years old, left her regent of the kingdom. She seconded the zeal of St. Owen, St. Eligius, and other holy bishops, and with great pains banished simony out of France, forbade Christians to be made slaves.* did all in her power to promote piety, and filled France with hospitals and pious foundations. She restored the monasteries of St. Martin, St. Denys, St. Medard, &c., founded the great abbey of Corbie for a seminary of virtue and sacred learning, and the truly royal nunnery of Chelles.† on the Marne, which had been begun by St. Clotildis. As soon as her son Clotaire was of an age to govern, she with great joy shut herself up in this monastery of Chelles, in 645, a happiness which she had long earnestly desired, though it was with great difficulty that she obtained the consent of the princes. She had no sooner taken the veil but she seemed to have forgotten entirely her former dignity, and was only to be distinguished from the rest by her extreme humility, serving them in the lowest offices, and obeying the holy abbess St. Bertilla as the last among the sisters. She prolonged her devotions every day with many tears, and made it her greatest delight to visit and attend the sick, whom she comforted and served with wonderful charity. St. Owen, in his life of St. Eligius, mentions many instances of the great veneration which St. Bathildes bore that holy prelate, and relates that St. Eligius, after his death, in a vision by night, ordered a certain courtier to reprove the queen for wearing jewels and costly apparel in her widowhood, which she did not out of pride, but because she thought it due to her state while she was regent of the kingdom. Upon this admonition, she laid them aside, distributed a great part to the poor, and with the richest of her jewels made a most beautiful and sumptuous cross, which she placed at the head of the tomb of St. Eligius. She was afflicted with long and severe colics and other pains, which she suffered with an admirable resignation and joy. In her agony she recommended to her sisters charity, care of the poor, fervor, and perseverance, and gave up her soul in devout prayer, on the 30th of January, in 680, on which day she is honored in France, but is named on the 26th in the Roman Martyrology.

A Christian, who seriously considers that he is to live here but a moment, and will live eternally in the world to come, must confess that it is a part of wisdom to refer all his actions and views to prepare himself for that everlasting dwelling, which is his true country. Our only and necessary affair is to live for God, to do his will, and to sanctify and save our souls. If we are employed in a multiplicity of exterior business, we must imitate St. Bathildes, when she bore the whole weight of the state. In all we do God and his holy will must be always before our eyes, and to please him must be our only aim and desire. Shunning the anxiety of Martha, and reducing all our desires to this one of doing what God requires of us, we must with her call in Mary to our assistance. In the midst of action, while our hands are at work, our mind and heart ought to be interiorly employed on God, at least virtually, that all our employments may be animated with the spirit of piety: and hours of repose must always be contrived to pass at the feet of Jesus, where in the silence of all creatures we may listen to his sweet voice, refresh in him our wearied souls, and renew our fervor. While we converse with the world, we must tremble at the sight of its snares, and be upon our guard that we never be seduced so far as to be in love with it, or to learn its spirit. To love the world, is to follow its passions; to be proud, covetous, and sensual, as the world is. The height of its miseries and dangers, is that blindness by which none who are infected with its spirit, see their misfortune, or are sensible of their disease. Happy are they who can imitate this holy queen in entirely separating themselves from it!
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2019, 06:37:21 AM »
Jan 31 SAINT PETER NOLASCO, C. FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF OUR LADY FOR THE REDEMPTION OF CAPTIVES

From Chronica Sacri et Militaris Ordinis B. M. de Mercede, per Bern. de Vargas, ej. Ord. 2 vol. in fol Panormi, 1622, and by John de Latomis in 12mo. in 1621, and especially the Spanish history of the same by Alonso Roman, 2 vol. fol. at Madrid, in 1618, and the life of the saint compiled in Italian by F Francis Olihano, in 4to. 1668. See also Baillet, and Hist. des Ordres Relig. par Helyot, and Hist de l’Ordre de Notre Dame de la Merci, par les RR. Pères de la Merci, de la Congregation de Paris, fol. printed at Amiens, in 1685.

A. D. 1258.

PETER, of the noble family of Nolasco, in Languedoc, was born in the diocese of St. Papoul, about the year 1189. His parents were very rich, but far more illustrious for their virtue. Peter, while an infant, cried at the sight of a poor man, till something was given him to bestow on the object of his compassion. In his childhood he gave to the poor whatever he received for his own use. He was exceeding comely and beautiful; but innocence and virtue were his greatest ornaments. It was his pious custom to give a very large alms to the first poor man he met every morning, without being asked. He rose at midnight, and assisted at matins in the church, as then the more devout part of the laity used to do, together with all the clergy. At the age of fifteen he lost his father, who left him heir to a great estate: and he remained at home under the government of his pious mother, who brought him up in extraordinary sentiments and practices of virtue. Being solicited to marry, he betook himself to the serious consideration of the vanity of all earthly things; and rising one night full of those thoughts, prostrated himself in fervent prayer, which he continued till morning, most ardently devoting himself to God in the state of celibacy, and dedicating his whole patrimony to the promoting of his divine honor. He followed Simon of Montfort, general of the holy war against the Albigenses, an heretical sect, which had filled I anguedoc with great cruelties, and overspread it with universal desolation. That count vanquished them, and in the battle of Muret defeated and killed Peter, king of Aragon, and took his son James prisoner, a child of six years old. The conqueror having the most tender regard and compassion for the prince his prisoner, appointed Peter Nolasco, then twenty-five years old, his tutor, and sent them both together into Spain. Peter, in the midst of the court of the king at Barcelona,* where the kings of Aragon resided, led the life of a recluse, practising the austerities of a cloister. He gave no part of his time to amusements, but spent all the moments which the instruction of his pupil left free, in holy prayer, meditation, and pious reading. The Moors at that time were possessed of a considerable part of Spain, and great numbers of Christians groaned under their tyranny in a miserable slavery both there and in Africa, Compassion for the poor had always been the distinguishing virtue of Peter The sight of so many moving objects in captivity, and the consideration of the spiritual dangers to which their faith and virtue stood exposed under heir Mahometan masters, touched his heart to the quick, and he soon spent his whole estate in redeeming as many as he could. Whenever he saw any poor Christian slaves, he used to say: “Behold eternal treasures which never fail.” By his discourses he moved others to contribute large alms towards this charity, and at last formed a project for instituting a religious Order for a constant supply of men and means whereby to carry on so charitable an undertaking. This design met with great obstacles in the execution. but the Blessed Virgin, the true mother of mercy, appearing to St. Peter, the king, and St. Raymund of Pennafort, in distinct visions the same night, encouraged them to prosecute the holy scheme under the assurance of her patronage and protection. St. Raymund was the spiritual director both of St. Peter and of the king, and a zealous promoter of this charitable work. The king declared himself the protector of the Order, and assigned them a large quarter of his own palace for their abode. All things being settled for laying the foundation of it, on the feast of St. Laurence, in the year 1223, the king and St. Raymund conducted St. Peter to the church and presented him to Berengarius, the bishop of Barcelona, who received his three solemn religious vows, to which the saint added a fourth, to devote his whole substance and his very liberty, if necessary, to the ransoming of slaves; the like vow he required of all his followers. St. Raymund made an edifying discourse on the occasion, and declared from the pulpit, in the presence of this august assembly, that it had pleased Almighty God to reveal to the king, to Peter Nolasco, and to himself, his will for the institution of an Order for the redemption of the faithful, detained in bondage among the infidels. This was received by the people with the greatest acclamations of joy, happy presages of the future success of the holy institute.* After this discourse, St. Peter received the new habit (as Mariana and pope Clement VIII. in his bull say) from St. Raymund, who established him first general of this new Order, and drew up for it certain rules and constitutions. Two other gentlemen were professed at the same time with St. Peter. When St. Raymund went to Rome, he obtained from pope Gregory IX., in the year 1225, the confirmation of this Order, and on the rule and constitutions he had drawn up. He wrote an account of this from Rome to St. Peter, informing him how well pleased his Holiness was with the wisdom and piety of the institute. The religious chose a white habit, to put them continually in mind of innocence: they wear a scapular, which is likewise white: but the king would oblige them, for his sake, to bear the royal arms of Aragon, which are interwoven on their habit upon the breast. Their numbers increasing very fast, the saint petitioned the king for another house; who, on this occasion, built for them, in 1232, a magnificent convent at Barcelona.†

King James having conquered the kingdom of Valencia, founded in it several rich convents; one was in the city of Valencia, which was taken by the aid of the prayers of St. Peter, when the soldiers had despaired of success, tired out by the obstinacy of the besieged and strength of the place. In thanksgiving for this victory, the king built the rich monastery in the royal palace of Uneza, near the same city, on a spot where an image of our Lady was dug up, which is still preserved in the church of this convent and is famous for pilgrimages. It is called the monastery of our Lady of mercy del Puche.[1] That prince attributed to the prayers of Saint Peter thirty great victories which he obtained over the infidels, and the entire conquest of the two kingdoms of Valencia and Murcia. St. Peter, after his religious profession, renounced all his business at court, and no entreaties of the king could ever after prevail with him to appear there but once, and this was upon a motive of charity to reconcile two powerful noblemen, who by their dissension had divided the whole kingdom, and kindled a civil war. The saint ordained that two members of the Order should be sent together among the infidels, to treat about the ransom of Christian slaves, and they are hence called Ransomers. One of the two first employed in this pious work was our saint; and the kingdom of Valencia was the first place that was blessed with his labors; the second was that of Granada. He not only comforted and ransomed a great number of captives, but by his charity and other rare virtues, was the happy instrument of inducing many of the Mahometans to embrace the faith of Christ. He made several other journeys to the coasts of Spain, besides a voyage to Algiers, where, among other sufferings, he underwent imprisonment for the faith. But the most terrifying dangers could never make him desist from his pious endeavors for the conversion of the infidels, burning with a holy desire of martyrdom. He begged earnestly of his Order to be released from the burden of his generalship: but by his tears could only obtain the grant of a vicar to assist him in the discharge of it. He employed himself in the meanest offices of his convent, and coveted above all things to have the distribution of the daily alms at the gate of the monastery: he at the same time instructed the poor in the knowledge of God and in virtue. St. Louis IX. of France wrote frequently to him, and desired much to see him. The saint waited on him in Languedoc, in the year 1243, and the king, who tenderly embraced him, requested him to accompany him in his expedition to recover the Holy Land. St. Peter earnestly desired it, but was hindered by sickness, with which he was continually afflicted during the last years of his life, the effect of his fatigues and austerities, and he bore it with incomparable patience. In 1249, he resigned the offices of Ransomer and General, which was six or seven years before his death. This happened on Christmas-day, in 1256. In his agony, he tenderly exhorted his religious to perseverance, and concluded with those words of the psalmist: Our Lord hath sent redemption to his people; he hath commanded his covenant forever.[2] He then recommended his soul to God by that charity with which Christ came from heaven to redeem us from the captivity of the devil, and melting into tears of compunction and divine love, he expired, being in the sixty-seventh year of his age. His relics are honored by many miracles. He was canonized by pope Urban VIII. His festival was appointed by Clement VIII. to be kept on the 31st of January.

Charity towards all mankind was a distinguishing feature in the character of the saints. This benevolent virtue so entirely possessed their hearts, that they were constantly disposed to sacrifice even their lives to the relief and assistance of others. Zealously employed in removing their temporal necessities, they labored with redoubled vigor to succor their spiritual wants by rooting out from their souls the dominion of sin, and substituting in its room the kingdom of God’s grace. Ingratitude and ill-treatment, which was the return they frequently met with for their charitable endeavors, were not able to allay their ardent zeal: they considered men on these occasions as patients under the pressure of diseases, more properly the object of compassion than of resentment. They recommended them to God in their private devotions, and earnestly besought his mercy in their favor. This conduct of the saints, extraordinary as it is, ceases to appear surprising when we recollect the powerful arguments our Blessed Saviour made use of to excite us to the love of our neighbor. But how shall we justify our unfeeling hard-heartedness, that seeks every trifling pretence to exempt us from the duty of succoring the unfortunate? Have we forgot that Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who alone hath bestowed on us whatever we possess, hath made charity towards our fellow-creature, but especially towards the needy, an indispensable precept? Do we not know that he bids us consider the suffering poor as members of the same head, heirs of the same promises, as our brethren and his children who represent him on earth? He declares, that whatever we bestow upon them he will esteem it as given to himself; and pledges his sacred word that he will reward our alms with an eternity of bliss. Such motives, says St. Chrysostom, would be sufficient to touch a heart of stone: but there is something still more cogent, continues the same holy father, which is, that the same Jesus Christ, whom we refuse to nourish in the persons of the poor, feeds our souls with his precious body and blood. If such considerations move not our hearts to commiserate and assist the indigent, what share of mercy and relief can we hope for in the hour of need? Oh, incomprehensible blindness! we perhaps prepare for ourselves an eternal abyss, by those very means which, properly applied, would secure us the conquest of a kingdom which will never have an end.[3]
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

Offline Xavier

  • Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, Save us and the Whole World. Sweet Immaculate Heart of Mary, make of Papa Mario-Francis a Great Saint. Deign to preserve the Hierarchy, Clergy and Religious in the Truth of the Catholic Faith.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2019, 06:38:29 AM »
Feb 1 ST. IGNATIUS, BISHOP OF ANTIOCH, M.

From his genuine epistles; also from the acts of his martyrdom, St. Chrys. Hom. In St. Ignat M. t. 2, p. 592, Ed. Nov. Eusebius. See Tillemont, t. 2, p. 191. Cave, t. 1, p. 100. Dom Ceillier. Dom Marechal Concordance des Pères Grecs et Latins, t. 1, p. 58.

A. D. 107.

ST. IGNATIUS, surnamed Theophorus,* a word implying a divine or heavenly person, was a zealous convert and an intimate disciple of St. John the Evangelist, as his acts assure us; also the apostles SS. Peter and Paul, who united their labors in planting the faith at Antioch.† It was by their direction that he succeeded Evodius in the government of that imporant see, as we are told by St. Chrysostom,[1] who represents him as a perfect model of virtue in that station, in which he continued upwards of forty years. During the persecution of Domitian, St. Ignatius defended his flock by prayer, fasting, and daily preaching the word of God. He rejoiced to see peace restored to the church on the death of that emperor, so far as this calm might be beneficial to those committed to his charge: but was apprehensive that he had not attained to the perfect love of Christ, nor the dignity of a true disciple, because he had not as yet been called to seal the truth of his religion with his blood, an honor he somewhat impatiently longed for. The peaceable reign of Nerva lasted only fifteen months. The governors of several provinces renewed the persecution under Trajan his successor: and it appears from Trajan’s letter to Pliny the younger, governor of Bithynia, that the Christians were ordered to be put to death, if accused; but it was forbid to make any inquiry after them. That emperor sullied his clemency and bounty, and his other pagan virtues, by incest with his sister, by an excessive vanity, which procured him the surname of Parietmus, (or dauber of every wall with the inscriptions of his name and actions,) and by blind superstition, which rendered him a persecutor of the true followers of virtue, out of a notion of gratitude to his imaginary deities, especially after his victories over the Daci and Scythians in 101 and 105. In the year 106, which was the ninth of his reign, he set out for the East on an expedition against the Parthians, and made his entry into Antioch on the 7th of January, 107, with the pomp of a triumph. His first concern was about the affair of religion and worship of the gods, and for this reason he resolved to compel the Christians either to acknowledge their divinity and sacrifice to them, or suffer death in case of refusal.

Ignatius, as a courageous soldier, being concerned only for his flock, willingly suffered himself to be taken, and carried before Trajan, who thus accosted him: “Who art thou, wicked demon, that durst transgress my commands, and persuade others to perish?” The saint answered: “No one calls Theophorus a wicked demon.” Trajan said: “Who is Theophorus?” Ignatius answered: “He who carrieth Christ in his breast.” Trajan replied: “And do not we seem to thee to bear the gods in our breasts, whom we have assisting us against our enemies?” Ignatius said: “You err in calling those gods who are no better than devils: for there is only one God, who made heaven and earth, and all things that are in them: and one Jesus Christ his only Son, into whose kingdom I earnestly desire to be admitted.” Trajan said: “Do not you mean him that was crucified under Pontius Pilate?” Ignatius answered: “The very same, who by his death has crucified with sin its author, who overcame the malice of the devils, and has enabled those, who bear him in their heart, to trample on them.” Trajan said: “Dost thou carry about Christ within thee?” Ignatius replied, “Yes; for it is written: I will dwell and walk in them.”2 Then Trajan dictated the following sentence: “It is our will that Ignatius, who saith that he carrieth the crucified man within himself, be bound and conducted to Rome, to be devoured there by wild beasts, for the entertainment of the people.” The holy martyr, hearing this sentence, cried out with joy: “I thank thee, O Lord, for vouchsafing to honor me with this token of perfect love for thee, and to be bound with chains of iron, in imitation of thy apostle Paul, for thy sake.” Having said this, and prayed for the church, and recommended it with tears to God, he joyfully put on the chains, and was hurried away by a savage troop of soldiers to be conveyed to Rome. His inflamed desire of laying down his life for Christ, made him embrace his sufferings with great joy.

On his arrival at Seleucia, a sea-port, about sixteen miles from Antioch, he was put on board a ship which was to coast the southern and western parts of Asia Minor. Why this route was pitched upon, consisting of so many windings, preferably to a more direct passage from Seleucia to Rome, is not known; probably to render the terror of his punishment the more extensive, and of the greater force, to deter men from embracing and persevering in the faith: but providence seems to have ordained it for the comfort and edification of many churches. Several Christians of Antioch, taking a shorter way, got to Rome before him, where they waited his arrival. He was accompanied thither from Syria by Reus, Philo, a deacon, and Agathopodus, who seem to have written these acts of his martyrdom. He was guarded night and day, both by sea and land, by ten soldiers, whom he calls ten leopards, on account of their inhumanity and merciless usage: who, the kinder he was to them, were the more fierce and cruel to him. This voyage, however, gave him the opportunity of confirming in faith and piety the several churches he saw on his route; giving them the strictest caution against heresies and schism, and recommending to them an inviolable attachment to the tradition of the apostles. St. Chrysostom adds, that he taught them admirably to despise the present life, to love only the good things to come, and never to fear any temporal evils whatever. The faithful flocked from the several churches he came near, to see him, and to render him all the service in their power, hoping to receive benefit from the plenitude of his benediction. The cities of Asia, besides deputing to him their bishops and priests, to express their veneration for him, sent also deputies in their name to bear him company the remainder of his journey; so that he says he had many churches with him. So great was his fervor and desire of suffering, that by the fatigues and length of the voyage, which was a very bad one, he appeared the stronger and more courageous. On their reaching Smyrna, he was suffered to go ashore, which he did with great joy, to salute St. Polycarp, who had been his fellow-disciple under St. John the Evangelist. Their conversation was upon topics suitable to their character, and St. Polycarp felicitated him on his chains and sufferings in so good a cause. At Smyrna he was met by deputies of several churches, who were sent to salute him. Those from Ephesus were Onesimus, the bishop; Burrhus, the deacon; Crocus, Euplus, and Fronto. From Magnesia in Lydia, Damas the bishop, Bassus and Apollo, priests, and Sotio, deacon. From Tralles, also in Lydia, Polybius the bishop. From Smyrna, St. Ignatius wrote four letters: in that to the church of Ephesus, he commends the bishop Onesimus, and the piety and concord of the people, and their zeal against all heresies, and exhorts them to glorify God all manner of ways: to be subject, in unanimity, to their bishop and priests; to assemble, as often as possible, with them in public prayer, by which the power of Satan is weakened: to oppose only meekness to anger, humility to boasting, prayers to curses and reproaches, and to suffer all injuries without murmuring. He says, that because they are spiritual, and perform all they do in a spiritual manner, that all, even their ordinary actions, are spiritualized, because they do all in Jesus Christ. That he ought to have been admonished by them, but his charity would not suffer him to be silent: wherefore he prevents them, by admonishing first, that both might meet in the will of God. He bids them not be solicitous to speak, but to live well, and to edify others by their actions; and recommends himself and his widow-church of Antioch to their prayers. Himself he calls their outcast, yet declares that he is ready to be immolated for their sake, and says they were persons who had found mercy, but he a condemned man: they were strengthening in grace, but he struggling in the midst of dangers. He calls them fellow-travellers in the road to God, which is charity, and says they bore God and Christ in their breasts, and were his temples, embellished with all virtues, and that he exulted exceedingly for the honor of being made worthy to write to them, and rejoice in God with them: for setting a true value on the life to come, they loved nothing but God alone. Speaking of heretics, he says, that he who corrupts the faith for which Christ died, will go into unquenchable fire, and also he who heareth him. It is observed by him, that God concealed from the devil three mysteries: the virginity of Mary, her bringing forth, and the death of the Lord: and he calls the Eucharist the medicine of immortality, the antidote against death, by which we always live in Christ. “Remember me, as I pray that Jesus Christ be mindful of you. Pray for the church of Syria, from whence I am carried in chains to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there. Farewell in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, our common hope.” The like instructions he repeats with a new and most moving turn of thought, in his letters to the churches of Maguesia, and of the Trallians; inculcates the greatest abhorrence of schisn and heresy, and begs their prayers for himself and his church in Syria, of which he is not worthy to be called a member, being the last of them.* His fourth letter was written to the Christians of Rome. The saint knew the all-powerful efficacy of the prayers of the saints, and feared lest they should obtain of God his deliverance from death. He therefore besought St. Polycarp and others at Smyrna, to join their prayers with his, that the cruelty of the wild beasts might quickly rid the world of him, that he might be presented before Jesus Christ. With this view he wrote to the faithful at Rome, to beg that they would not endeavor to obtain of God that the beasts might spare him, as they had several other martyrs; which might induce the people to release him, and so disappoint him of his crown.

The ardor of divine love which the saint breathes throughout this letter, is as inflamed as the subject is extraordinary. In it he writes: “I fear your charity, lest it prejudice me: for it is easy for you to do what you please; but it will be difficult for me to attain unto God if you spare me. I shall never have such an opportunity of enjoying God: nor can you, if ye shall now be silent, ever be entitled to the honor of a better work. For if ye be silent, in my behalf, I shall be made partaker of God; but if ye love my body, I shall have my course to run again. Therefore, a greater kindness you cannot do me, than to suffer me to be sacrificed unto God, while the altar is now ready; that so becoming a choir in love, in your hymns ye may give thanks to the Father by Jesus Christ, that God has vouchsafed to bring me, the bishop of Syria, from the East unto the West, to pass out of the world unto God, that I may rise again unto him. Ye have never envied any one. Ye have taught others. I desire, therefore, that you will firmly observe that which in your instructions you have prescribed to others. Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only say, but do: that I may not only be called a Christian, but be found one: for if I shall be found a Christian, I may then deservedly be called one; and be thought faithful, when I shall no longer appear to the world. Nothing is good that is seen. A Christian is not a work of opinion, but of greatness, when he is hated by the world. I write to the churches, and signify to them all, that I am willing to die for God, unless you hinder me. I beseech you that you show not an unseasonable good-will towards me. Suffer me to be the food of wild beasts, whereby I may attain unto God: I am the wheat of God, and I am to be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the beasts to my sepulchre, that they may leave nothing of my body, that, being dead, I may not be troublesome to any. Then shall I be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not see so much as my body. Pray to Christ for me, that in this I may become a sacrifice to God. I do not, as Peter and Paul, command you; they were apostles, I am an inconsiderable person: they were free, I am even yet a slave. But if I suffer, I shall then become the freeman of Jesus Christ, and shall arise a freeman in him. Now I am in bonds for him, I learn to have no worldly or vain desires. From Syria even unto Rome, I fight with wild beasts, both by sea and land, both night and day, bound to ten leopards, that is, to a band of soldiers; who are the worse for kind treatment. But I am the more instructed by their injuries; yet am I not thereby justified.[3] I earnestly wish for the wild beasts that are prepared for me, which I heartily desire may soon dispatch me; whom I will entice to devour me entirely and suddenly, and not serve me as they have done some whom they have been afraid to touch; but if they are unwilling to meddle with me, I will even compel them to it.* Pardon me this matter, I know what is good for me. Now I begin to be a disciple. So that I have no desire after any thing visible or invisible, that I may attain to Jesus Christ. Let fire, or the cross, or the concourse of wild beasts, let cutting or tearing of the flesh, let breaking of bones and cutting off limbs, let the shattering in pieces of my whole body, and all the wicked torments of the devil come upon me, so I may but attain to Jesus Christ. All the compass of the earth, and the kingdoms of this world, will profit me nothing. It is better for me to die for the sake of Jesus Christ, than to rule unto the ends of the earth. Him I seek who died for us: Him I desire who rose again for us He is my gain at hand. Pardon me, brethren: be not my hinderance in attaining to life, for Jesus Christ is the life of the faithful. while I desire to belong to God, do not ye yield me back to the world. Suffer me to partake of the pure light. When I shall be there, I shall be a man of God. Permit me to imitate the passion of Christ my God. If any one has him within himself, let him consider what I desire, and let him have compassion on me, as knowing how I am straitened. The prince of this world endeavors to snatch me away, and to change the desire with which I burn of being united to God. Let none of you who are present attempt to succor me. Be rather on my side, that is, on God’s. Entertain no desires of the world, having Jesus Christ in your mouths. Let no envy find place in your breasts. Even were I myself to entreat you when present, do not obey me; but rather believe what I now signify to you by letter. Though I am alive at the writing of this, yet my desire is to die. My love is crucified. The fire that is within me does not crave any water: but being alive and springing within, says: Come to the Father. I take no pleasure in the food of corruption, nor in the pleasure of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, and for drink, his blood, which is incorruptible charity. I desire to live no longer according to men; and this will be, if you are willing. Be, then, willing, that you may be accepted by God. Pray for me that may possess God. If I shall suffer, ye have loved me: if I shall be rejected, ye have hated me. Remember in your prayers the church of Syria, which now enjoys God for its shepherd instead of me. I am ashamed to be called of their number, for I am not worthy, being the last of them, and an abortive: but through mercy I have obtained that I shall be something, if I enjoy God” The martyr gloried in his sufferings as in the highest honor, and regarded his chains as most precious jewels. His soul was raised above either the love or fear of any thing on earth; and, as St. Chrysostom says, he could lay down his life with as much ease and willingness as another man could put off his clothes. He even wished, every step of his journey, to meet with the wild beasts; and though that death was most shocking and barbarous, and presented the most frightful ideas, sufficient to startle the firmest resolution; yet it was incapable of making the least impression upon his courageous soul. The perfect mortification of his affections appears from his heavenly meekness; and he expressed how perfectly he was dead to himself and the world, living only God in his heart, by that admirable sentence: “My love is crucified.”4 To signify, as he explains himself afterwards, that his appetites and desires were crucified to the world, and to all the lusts and pleasures of it.

The guards pressed the saint to leave Smyrna, that they might arrive at Rome before the shows were over. He rejoiced exceedingly at their hurry, desiring impatiently to enjoy God by martyrdom. They sailed to Troas, where he was informed that God had restored peace to his church at Antioch: which freed him from the anxiety he had been under, fearing lest there should be some weak ones in his flock. At Troas he wrote three other letters, one to the church of Philadelphia, and a second to the Smyrnæans, in which he calls the heretics who denied Christ to have assumed true flesh, and the Eucharist to be his flesh, wild beasts in human shape; and forbids all communication with them, only allowing them to be prayed for, that they may be brought to repentance, which is very difficult. His last letter is addressed to St. Polycarp, whom he exhorts to labor for Christ without sparing himself; for the measure of his labor will be that of his reward* The style of the martyr everywhere follows the impulses of a burning charity, rather than the rules of grammar, and his pen is never able to express the sublimity of his thoughts. In every word there is a fire and a beauty not to be paralleled: every thing is full of a deep sense. He everywhere breathes the most profound humility and contempt of himself as an abortive, and the last of men; a great zeal for the church, and abhorrence of schisms; the most ardent love of God and his neighbor, and tenderness for his own flock: begging the prayers of all the churches in its behalf to whom he wrote, and entreating of several that they would send an embassy to his church at Antioch, to comfort and exhort them. The seven epistles of this apostolic father, the same which were quoted by St. Irenæus, Origen, Eusebius, St. Athanasius, St. Chrysostom, Theodoret Gildas, &c., are published genuine by Usher, Vossius, Cotelier, &c, and in English by archbishop Wake, in 1710.

St. Ignatius, not being allowed time to write to the other churches of Asia, commissioned St. Polycarp to do it for him. From Troas they sailed to Neapolis in Macedonia, and went thence to Philippi, from which place they crossed Macedonia and Epirus on foot; but took shipping again at Epidamnum in Dalmatia, and sailing by Rhegium and Puteoli, were carried by a strong gale into the Roman port, the great station of the navy near Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, sixteen miles from Rome. He would gladly have landed at Puteoli, to have traced St. Paul’s steps, by going on foot from that place to Rome, but the wind rendered it impracticable. On landing, the authors of these acts, who were his companions, say they were seized with great grief, seeing they were soon to be separated from their dear master; but he rejoiced to find himself so near the end of his race. The soldiers hastened him on, because the public shows were drawing to an end. The faithful of Rome came out to meet him, rejoicing at the sight of him, but grieving that they were so soon to lose him by a barbarous death. They earnestly wished that he might be released at the request of the people. The martyr knew in spirit their thoughts, and said much more to them than he had done in his letter on the subject of true charity, conjuring them not to obstruct his going to the Lord. Then kneeling with all the brethren, he prayed to the Son of God for the Church, for the ceasing of the persecution, and for perpetual charity and unanimity among the faithful. He arrived at Rome the 20th of December, the last day of the public entertainments, and was presented to the prefect of the city, to whom the emperor’s letter was delivered at the same time. He was then hurried by the soldiers into the amphitheatre. The saint hearing the lions roar, cried out: “I am the wheat of the Lord; I must be ground by the teeth of these beasts to be made the pure bread of Christ.” Two fierce lions being let out upon him, they instantly devoured him, leaving nothing of his body but the larger bones: thus his prayer was heard “After having been present at this sorrowful spectacle,” say our authors, “which made us shed many tears, we spent the following night in our house in watching and prayer, begging of God to afford us some comfort by certifying us of his glory.” They relate, that their prayer was heard, and that several of them in their slumber saw him in great bliss. They are exact in setting down the day of his death, that they might assemble yearly thereon to honor his martyrdom.* They add, that his bones were taken up and carried to Antioch, and there laid in a chest as an inestimable treasure. St Chrysostom says his relics were carried in triumph on the shoulders of all the cities from Rome to Antioch. They were first laid in the cemetery without the Daphnitic gate, but in the reign of Theodosius the younger were translated thence with great pomp to a church in the city, which had been a temple of Fortune, but from this time bore his name, as Evagrius relates.[5] St. Chrysostom exhorts all people to visit them, assuring them they would receive thereby many advantages, spiritual and corporal, which he proves at length.[6] They are now at Rome, in the church of St. Clement pope, whither they were brought about the time when Antioch fell into the hands of the Saracens in the reign of Heraclius, in 637.7 The regular canons at Arouaise near Bapaume in Artois, the Benedictin monks at Liesse in Haynault, and some other churches, have obtained each some bone of this glorious martyr.[8] The Greeks keep his feast a holyday on the day of his death, the 20th of December His martyrdom happened in 107.

The perfect spirit of humility, meekness, patience, charity, and all other Christian virtues, which the seven epistles of St. Ignatius breathe in every part, cannot fail deeply to affect all who attentively read them. Critics confess that they find in them a sublimity, an energy and beauty of thought and expression, which they cannot sufficiently admire. But the Christian is far more astonished at the saint’s perfect disengagement of heart from the world, the ardor of his love for God, and the earnestness of his desire of martyrdom. Every period in them is full of profound sense, which must be attentively meditated on before we can discover the divine sentiments of all virtues which are here expressed. Nor can we consider them without being inspired by some degree of the same, and being covered with confusion to find ourselves fall so far short of the humility and fervor of the primitive saints. Let us listen to the instructions which this true disciple of Christ gives in his letter to the Philadelphians, an abstract of his other six epistles being given above. He begins it by a strenuous recommendation of union with their bishop, priests, and deacons; and gives to their bishop (whom he does not name) great praises, especially for his humility and meekness, insomuch that he says his silence was more powerful than the vain discourses of others, and that conversing with an unchangeable serenity of mind, and in the sweetness of the living God, he was utterly a stranger to anger. He charges them to refrain from the pernicious weeds of heresy and schism, which are not planted by the Father, nor kept by Christ. “Whoever belong to God and Jesus Christ, these are with the bishop. If any one follows him who maketh a schism, he obtains not the inheritance of the kingdom of God. He who walks in the simplicity of obedience is not enslaved to his passion. Use one eucharist: for the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ is one, and the cup is one in the unity of his blood. There is one altar, as there is one bishop, with the college of the priesthood and the deacons, my fellow-servants, that you may do all things according to God. My brethren, my heart is exceedingly dilated in the tender love which I bear you, and exulting beyond bounds, I render you secure and cautious; not I indeed, but Jesus Christ, in whom being bound I fear the more for myself, being yet imperfect. But your prayer with God will make me perfect, that I may obtain the portion which his mercy assigns me.” Having cautioned them against adopting Jewish ceremonies, and against divisions and schisms, he mentions one that had lately happened among them, and speaks of a revelation which he had received of it as follows: “When I was among you, I cried out with a loud voice, with the voice of God, saying: Hearken to your bishop, and the priesthood, and the deacons. Some suspected that I said this from a foresight of the division which some afterwards made. But He for whom I am in chains is my witness, that I knew it not from man, but the Spirit declared it, saying: Do ye nothing without your bishop. Keep your body holy as the temple of God. Be lovers of unity; shun all divisions. Be ye imitators of Jesus Christ, as he is of the Father. I therefore did what lay in me, as one framed to maintain union. Where disagreement or anger is found, there God never dwells. But God forgives all penitents.” He charges them to send some person of honor from their church to congratulate with his church in Syria upon peace being restored to it, and calls him blessed who should be honored with this commission.
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2019, 06:39:32 AM »
Feb 2 THE PURIFICATION COMMONLY CALLED CANDLEMAS-DAY.

THE law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, to insinuate both to us and to them, that by the sin of Adam man is conceived and born in sin, and obnoxious to his wrath, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should continue for a certain time in a state which that law calls unclean; during which she was not to appear in public, nor presume to touch any thing consecrated to God.[1] This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and the time was double for a daughter: on the expiration of which, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle or temple, a lamb of a year old. and a young pigeon or turtle-dove. The lamb was for a holocaust, or burnt-offering, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, and in thanksgiving for her own happy delivery; the pigeon or turtle-dove was for a sin-offering. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity, and reinstated in her former privileges.

A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, by way of a sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor: but whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on persons of narrow circumstances, in that case, nothing more was requires than two pigeons, or two turtle-doves, one for a burnt, the other for a sin-offering.[2]

Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and his blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is most evident from the terms of the law,[3] that she was, in reality, under no obligation to it, nor within the intent of it. She was, however, within the letter of the law, in the eye of the world, who were as yet strangers to her miraculous conception. And her humility making her perfectly resigned, and even desirous to conceal her privilege and dignity, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Pride indeed proclaims its own advantages, and seeks honors not its due; but the humble find their delight in obscurity and abasement, they shun all distinction and esteem, which they clearly see their own nothingness and baseness to be most unworthy of: they give all glory to God alone, to whom it is due. Devotion also and zeal to honor God by every observance prescribed by his law, prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself, she made the offering appointed for the poor: accordingly is this part of the law mentioned by St. Luke,[4] as best agreeing with the meanness of her worldly condition. But her offering, however mean in itself, was made with a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to him. The King of Glory would appear everywhere in the robes of poverty, to point out to us the advantages of a suffering and lowly state, and to repress our pride, by which, though really poor and mean in the eyes of God, we covet to appear rich, and, though sinners, would be deemed innocents and saints.

A second great mystery is honored this day, regarding more immediately the person of our Redeemer, viz. his presentation in the temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God:[5] and in these two laws were included several others, as, that the child, after its presentation, should be ransomed[6] with a certain sum of money,* and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.

Mary complies exactly with all these ordinances. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, as in presenting herself to be purified, and in her offering her first-born, but has strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home, she denies herself all this time the liberty of entering the temple, she partakes not of things sacred, though the living temple of the God of Israel; and on the day of her purification, she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world’s Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the temple, makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her divine Son by the hands of the priest to his eternal Father, with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives him back again as a depositum in her special care, till the Father shall again demand him for the full accomplishment of man’s redemption. It is clear that Christ was not comprehended in the law; “The king’s son, to whom the inheritance of the crown belongs, is exempt from servitude:—much more Christ, who was the Redeemer both of our souls and bodies, was not subject to any law by which he was to be himself redeemed,” as St. Hilary observes.[7] But he would set an example of humility, obedience, and devotion: and would renew, in a solemn and public manner, and in the temple, the oblation of himself to his Father for the accomplishment of his will, and the redemption of man, which he had made privately in the first moment of his Incarnation. With what sentiments did the divine Infant offer himself to his Father at the same time! the greatest homage of his honor and glory the Father could receive, and a sacrifice of satisfaction adequate to the injuries done to the Godhead by our sins, and sufficient to ransom our souls from everlasting death! With what cheerfulness and charity did he offer himself to all his torments! to be whipped, crowned with thorns, and ignominiously put to death for us!

Let every Christian learn hence to offer himself to God with this divine victim, through which he may be accepted by the Father; let him devote himself with all his senses and faculties to his service. If sloth, or any other vice, has made us neglectful of this essential duty, we must bewail past omissions, and make a solemn and serious consecration of ourselves this day to the divine majesty with the greater fervor, crying out with St. Austin, in compunction of heart: “Too late have I known thee, too late have I begun to love thee, O beauty more ancient than the world!” But our sacrifice, if we desire it may be accepted, must not be lame and imperfect. It would be an insult to offer to God, in union with his Christ, a divided heart, or a heart infected with wilful sin. It must therefore first be cleansed by tears of sincere compunction: its affections must be crucified to the world by perfect mortification. Our offering must be sincere and fervent, without reserve, allowing no quarter to any of our vicious passions and inclinations, and no division in any of our affections. It must also be universal; to suffer and to do all for the divine honor. If we give our hearts to Christ in this manner, we shall receive him with his graces and benedictions. He would be presented in the temple by the hands of his mother: let us accordingly make the offering of our souls through Mary and beg his graces through the same channel.

The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery, the meeting in the temple of the holy persons, Simeon and Anne, with Jesus and his parents, from which this festival was anciently called by the Greeks Hypante, the meeting.[8] Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God in raptures of devotion for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so much louged-for Messias. He foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow; and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians also whose lives were a contradiction to his holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God’s holy will. Anne also, the prophetess, who, in her widowhood, served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the world’s Redeemer. Amidst the crowd of priests and people, the Saviour of the world is known only by Simeon and Anne. Even when he disputed with the doctors, and when he wrought the most stupendous miracles, the learned, the wise, and the princes did not know him. Yet here, while a weak, speechless child, carried in the arms of his poor mother, he is acknowledged and adored by Simeon and Anne. He could not hide himself from those who sought him with fervor, humility, and ardent love. Unless we seek him in these dispositions, he will not manifest himself, nor communicate his graces to us. Simeon, having beheld his Saviour in the flesh, desired no longer to see the light of this world, nor any creatures on earth. If we truly love God, our distance from him must be a continual pain: and we must sigh after that desired moment which will free us from the danger of ever losing him by sin, and will put us in possession of Him who is the joy of the blessed, and the infinite treasure of heaven. Let us never cease to pray that he purify our hearts from all earthly dross, and draw them to himself: that he heal, satiate, and inflame our souls, as he only came upon earth to kindle in all hearts the fire of his love.

On blessing the candles and the procession

The procession with lighted tapers on this day is mentioned by pope Gelasius I., also by St. Ildefonsus, St. Eligius,[1] St. Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Cyril of Alexandria, &c., in their sermons on this festival St. Bernard says:[2] “This holy procession was first made by the virgin mother, St. Joseph, holy Simeon, and Anne, to be afterwards performed in all places and by every nation, with the exultation of the whole earth, to honor this mystery.” In his second sermon on this feast he describes it thus:[3] “They walk two and two, holding in their hands candles lighted, not from common fire, but from that which had been first blessed in the church by the priests,* and singing in the ways of the Lord, because great is his glory.” He shows that the concurrence of many in the procession and prayer is a symbol of our union and charity, and renders our praises the more honorable and acceptable to God. We walk while we sing to God, to denote that to stand still in the paths of virtue is to go back. The lights we bear in our hands represent the divine fire of love with which our hearts ought to be inflamed, and which we are to offer to God without any mixture of strange fire, the fire of concupiscence, envy, ambition, or the love of creatures. We also hold these lights in our hands to honor Christ, and to acknowledge him as the true light,[4] whom they represent under this character, and who is called by holy Simeon in this mystery, a light for the enlightening of the Gentiles;[5] for he came to dispel our spiritual darkness. The candles likewise express that by faith his light shines in our souls: as also that we are to prepare his way by good works, by which we are to be a light to men.[6]

Lights are used by the church during the celebration of the divine mysteries, while the gospel is read, and the sacraments administered, on a motive of honor and respect. On the same account lamps burned before the Lord in the tabernacle[7] and temple. Great personages were anciently received and welcomed with lights, as was king Antiochus by Jason and others on his entering Jerusalem.[8] Lights are likewise expressive of joy, and were anciently used on this account in receiving Roman emperors, and on other public occasions, as at present. “Throughout all the churches of the East,” says St. Jerom, “when the gospel is to be read, though the sun shines, torches are used, not to chase away darkness, but for a sign of joy.”9 The apostolic canons mention incense, and oil for the lamps, then used in the churches.[10] Many out of devotion burned lamps before the bodies of saints, as we read in Prndentius,[11] St. Paulinus,[12] &c. The corporeal creatures, which we use, are the gifts of God: it is therefore just that we should honor and glorify him by them. Besides, in our embodied state, they contribute to excite our souls to devotion; they are to our eyes, what words are to our ears, and by our organs move the affections of our hearts.[13] Though piety consists in the fervor of the soul, and is interior and spiritual, yet many sensible things concur to its aid and improvement; and we may as well condemn the use of words, which are corporeal, and affect the soul by the sense of hearing, as the use of suitable approved ceremonies. Christ made use of sensible signs in the institution of his most divine sacraments, and in several miraculous cures, &c. The church always used external rites and ceremonies in the divine worship. These contribute to the majesty and dignity of religion, which in our present condition would appear naked, if destitute of all exterior. The candles are blessed previously to the use of them, because the church blesses and sanctifies, by prayer, whatever is employed in the divine service. We are to hold the candles in our hands on this day, while the gospel is read or sung; also from the elevation to the communion, in the most fervent spirit of sacrifice, offering ourselves to God with our divine Redeemer, and desiring to meet in spirit this blessed company in this mystery; likewise to honor the mother of God in her purification, and still more so, with the most profound adoration and gratitude, our divine Saviour in his presentation in our flesh for us. The same lively sentiments of devotion ought to inflame our breasts on this occasion, as if we had been present with holy Simeon and the rest in the temple, while we carry in our hands these emblems of our spiritual joy and homage, and of the consecration of ourselves in union with our heavenly victim, through the intercession of his virgin mother.

On the Christian rite of churching women after childbirth

God, in the old law, declared several actions unclean, which, though innocent and faultless in themselves, had a constant but remote regard to sin. One of these was childbirth, to denote the impurity of man’s origin by his being conceived and born in sin. For the removal of legal uncleanness in general, God established certain expiatory rites, consisting of ablutions and sacrifices, to which all were strictly obliged who desired to be purified; that is, restored to the privileges of their brethren, and declared duly qualified members of the synagogue or Jewish church. It would be superstitious since the death of Christ, and the publication of the new law, to stand in awe of legal uncleannesses, or to have recourse to Jewish purifications on account of any of them, whether after childbirth or in any other cases. It is not, therefore, with that intention, that Christian mothers come to the church, as Jewish women did to the tabernacle, in order to be purified from any uncleanness they contract by childbirth. It is not on any consideration peculiar to the Jews that this ceremony was established in the Christian church, but on a motive common to all mankind, the performing the duty of thanksgiving and prayer. Hence in the canon law, pope Innocent III. speaks of it as follows: “If women after childbearing desire immediately to enter the church, they commit no sin by so doing, nor are they to be hindered. Nevertheless, if they choose to refrain out of respect for some time, we do not think their devotion ought to be reprehended.”14

In some dioceses this term is limited to a certain number of days. Where this is not regulated by custom, or by any particular statute, the party may perform this duty as soon as she is able to go abroad. Her first visit is to be to the church: first, to give God thanks for her safe delivery: secondly, to implore his blessing on herself and her child. It ought to be her first visit, to show her readiness to acquit herself of this duty to God, and to give him the first-fruits of her recovery and blessing received; as the first-fruits in every thing are most particularly due to God, and most agreeable to him, and which, in the old law, he was most jealous in exacting of his people. The acknowledgment of a benefit received, is the least return we can make for it: the law of nature dictates the obligation of this tribute; God strictly requires it, and this is the means to draw down new blessings on us, the flowing of which is by nothing more effectually obstructed than by insensibility and ingratitude: wherefore, next to the praise and love of God, thanksgiving is the principal homage we owe him in the sacrifice of our hearts, and is a primary act of prayer. The book of psalms abounds with acts of thanksgiving; the apostle everywhere recommends and inculcates it in the strongest terms. The primitive Christians had these words, Thanks be to God, always in their mouths, and used them as their ordinary form of salutation on all occasions, as St. Austin mentions,[15] who adds, “What better thing can we bear in our hearts, or pronounce with our tongues, or express with our pens, than, Thanks be to God?” It is the remark of St. Gregory of Nyssa,[16] that besides past benefits, and promises of other inestimable benefits to come, we every instant of our lives receive from God fresh favors; and therefore we ought, if it were possible, every moment to make him a return of thanks with our whole hearts, and never cease from this duty. We owe a particular thanksgiving for his more remarkable, blessings. A mother regards her safe delivery, and her happiness is being blessed with a child, as signal benefits, and therefore she owes a particular holocaust of thanks for them. This she comes to offer at the foot of the altar. She comes also to ask the succors of divine grace. She stands in need of an extraordinary aid from above, both for herself and her child. For herself, that, by her example, instructions, and watchfulness, she may fulfil her great obligations as a mother. For her child, that it may reap the advantage of a virtuous education, may live to God, and become one day a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem: otherwise, what will it avail her to have been a mother, or the child to have been born? Now prayer is the channel which God has appointed for the conveyance of his graces to us. The mother, therefore, must be assiduous in begging daily of the Father of mercies all necessary succors for these purposes: but this she should make the subject of her most zealous petitions on the occasion of her first solemn appearance after childbed before his altar. She should, at the same time, make the most perfect offering and consecration of her child to the divine Majesty. Every mother, in imitation of the Blessed Virgin, ought to perform this triple duty of thanksgiving, petition, and oblation, and through her hands, who, on the day of her purification, set so perfect a pattern of this devotion.
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
 

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2019, 11:51:44 PM »
Feb 3 ST. BLASE, BISHOP AND MARTYR

The four modern different Greek acts of this Saint are of small authority Bollandus has supplied this deficiency by learned remarks

A. D. 316.

HE was bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, and was crowned with martyrdom in the persecution of Licinius, in 316, by the command of Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia and the lesser Armenia. It is mentioned in the acts of St. Eustratius, who received the crown of martyrdom in the reign of Dioclesian, and is honored on the 13th of December, that St. Blase, the bishop of Sebaste, honorably received his relics, deposited them with those of St. Orestes, and punctually executed every article of the last will and testament of St. Eustratius. His festival is kept a holiday in the Greek church on the 11th of February. He is mentioned in the ancient Western Martyrologies which bear the name of St. Jerom. Ado and Usuard, with several more ancient manuscript Martyrologies, quoted by Chatelain, place his name on the 15th. In the holy wars his relics were dispersed over the West, and his veneration was propagated by many miraculous cures, especially of sore throats. He is the principal patron of the commonwealth of Ragusa.[1] No other reason than the great devotion of the people to this celebrated martyr of the church, seems to have given occasion to the wool-combers to choose him the titular patron of their profession: on which account his festival is still kept by them with a solemn guild at Norwich. Perhaps also his country might in part determine them to this choice: for it seems that the first branch, or at least hint of this manufacture, was borrowed from the remotest known countries of the East, as was that of silk: or the iron combs, with which he is said to have been tormented, gave occasion to this choice.

The iron combs, hooks, racks, swords, and scaffolds, which were purpled with the blood of the martyrs, are eternal proofs of their invincible courage and constancy in the divine service. But are they not at the same time subjects of our condemnation and confusion? How weak are our resolutions! How base our pusillanimity and cowardice in the pursuit of virtue! We have daily renewed our most sacred baptismal engagements, and our purposes of faithfully serving God: these we have often repeated at the feet of God’s ministers, and in presence of his holy altars; and we have often begun our conversation with great fervor. Yet these fair blossoms were always nipped in the bud: for want of constancy we soon fell back into our former sloth and disorders, adding to our other prevarications that of base infidelity. Instead of encountering gibbets and wild beasts, we were scared at the sight of the least difficulty; or we had not courage to make the least sacrifice of our passions, or to repulse the weakest and most contemptible assaults of the world. Its example, or that dangerous company from which we had not resolution to separate ourselves, carried us away; and we had not courage to withstand those very maxims which we ourselves condemn in the moments of our serious reflections, as contrary to the spirit of the gospel. Perhaps we often flew back for fear of shadows, and out of apprehensions frequently imaginary, lest we should forfeit some temporal advantage, some useful or agreeable friend. Perhaps we were overcome by the difficulties which arose barely from ourselves, and wanted resolution to deny our senses, to subdue our passions, to renounce dangerous occasions, or to enter upon a penitential life. Blinded by self-love, have we not sheltered our dastardly pusillanimity under the cloak of pretended necessity, or even virtue?
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary (i.e. 15 decades; 5 decades is a part of the Rosary) every day to obtain Peace for the World." ~ Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.