Author Topic: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.  (Read 230 times)

Offline Xavier

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Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« on: January 06, 2019, 08:21:33 AM »
Reading the lives of the great Saints of the Church frequently and keeping the principal liturgical feasts of the year can be a great aid for each of us to arrive at sanctity. I tried once before but it was not completed for a full year.

So let's start again in this year of the Lord 2019. May God bless us all.

"JAN 6 - THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD

EPIPHANY, which in the original Greek signifies appearance or manifestation, as St. Austin observes,[1] is a festival principally solemnized in honor of the discovery Jesus Christ made of himself to the Magi, or wise men; who, soon after his birth, by a particular inspiration of Almighty God, came to adore him and bring him presents.* Two other manifestations of our Lord are jointly commemorated on this day in the office of the church; that at his baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended on him in the visible form of a dove, and a voice from heaven was heard at the same time: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.[2] The third manifestation was that of his divine power at the performance of his first miracle, the changing of water into wine, at the marriage at Cana,[3] by which he manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.† Upon so many accounts ought this festival to challenge a more than ordinary regard and veneration; but from none more than us Gentiles, who, in the persons of the wise men, our first-fruits and forerunners, were on this day called to the faith and worship of the true God. Nothing so much illustrates this mercy as the wretched degeneracy into which the subjects of it were fallen. So great this, that there was no object so despicable as not to be thought worthy of divine honors, no vice so detestable as not to be enforced by the religion of those times of ignorance,[4] as the scripture emphatically calls them. God had, in punishment of their apostacy from him by idolatry, given them over to the most shameful passions, as described at large by the apostle: Filled with all iniquity, fornication, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, contention, deceit, whisperers, detracters, proud, haughty, disobedient, without fidelity, without affection, without mercy, &c.[5] Such were the generality of our pagan ancestors, and such should we ourselves have been, but for God’s gracious and effectual call to the true faith.

The call of the Gentiles had been foretold for many ages before in the clearest terms. David and Isaias abound with predictions of this import; the like is found in the other prophets; but their completion was a mercy reserved for the times of the Messiah. It was to him, who was also the consubstantial Son of God, that the eternal Father had made the promise of all nations for his inheritance:[6] who being born the spiritual king of the whole world, for the salvation of all men,[7] would therefore manifest his coming both to those that were near, and those that were afar off;[8] that is, both to Jew and Gentile. Upon his birth, angels[9] were dispatched ambassadors to the Jews, in the persons of the poor shepherds, and a star* was the divine messenger on this important errand to the Gentiles of the East;† conformably to Balaam’s prophecy,[10] who foretold the coming of the Messias by that sign.

The summons of the Gentiles to Bethlehem to pay homage to the world’s Redeemer was obeyed by several whom the scripture mentions under the name and title of Magi,‡ or wise men; but is silent as to their number. The general opinion, supported by the authority of St. Leo, Cæsarius, Bede, and others, declares for three.§ However, the number was small, comparatively to those many others that saw that star, no less than the wise men, but paid no regard to this voice of heaven: admiring, no doubt, its uncommon brightness, but culpably ignorant of the divine call in it, or hardening their hearts against its salutary impressions, overcome by their passions, and the dictates of self-love. In like manner do Christians, from the same causes, turn a deaf ear to the voice of divine grace in their souls, and harden their hearts against it in such numbers, that, notwithstanding their call, their graces, and the mysteries wrought in their favor, it is to be feared, that even among them many are called, but few are chosen. It was the case with the Jews, with the most of whom, St. Paul says, God was not well pleased.[11]

How opposite was the conduct of the wise men! Instead of being swayed by the dictates of self-love, by the example of the crowd, and of many reputed moral men among them, they no sooner discovered the heavenly messenger, but, without the least demur, set out on their journey to find the Redeemer of their souls. Convinced that they had a call from heaven by the star, which spoke to their eyes, and by an inward grace, that spoke to their hearts, they cut off all worldly consultations, human reasonings, and delays, and postponed every thing of this kind to the will of God. Neither any affairs to be left unfinished, nor the care of their provinces or families, nor the difficulties and dangers of a long and tedious journey through deserts and mountains almost unpassable, and this in the worst season of the year, and through a country which in all ages had been notoriously infested with robbers: nothing of all this, or the many other false lights of worldly prudence and policy, made use of, no doubt, by their counsellors and dependents, and magnified by the enemy of souls, could prevail with them to set aside or defer their journey, or be thought deserving the least attention, when God called. They well knew that so great a grace, if slighted, might perhaps have been lost forever. With what confusion must not this their active and undaunted zeal cover our sloth and cowardice!

The wise men being come, by the guidance of the star, into Jerusalem, or near it, it there disappears: whereupon they reasonably suppose they are come to their journey’s end, and upon the point of being blessed with the sight of the new-born king: that, on their entering the royal city, they shall in every street and corner hear the acclamations of a happy people, and learn with case the way to the royal palace, made famous to all posterity by the birth of their king and Saviour. But to their great surprise there appears not the least sign of any such solemnity. The court and city go quietly on in seeking their pleasure and profit! and in this unexpected juncture what shall these weary travellers do? Were they governed by human prudence, this disappointment is enough to make them abandon their design, and retreat as privately as they can to screen their reputation, and avoid the raillery of the populace, as well as to prevent the resentment of the most jealous of tyrants, already infamous for blood. But true virtue makes trials the matter and occasion of its most glorious triumphs. Seeming to be forsaken by God, on their being deprived of extraordinary, they have recourse to the ordinary means of information. Steady in the resolution of following the divine call, and fearless of danger, they inquire in the city with equal confidence and humility, and pursue their inquiry in the very court of Herod himself: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? And does not their conduct teach us, under all difficulties of the spiritual kind, to have recourse to those God has appointed to be our spiritual guides, for their advice and direction? To obey and be subject to them,[12] that so God may lead us to himself, as he guided the wise men to Bethlehem by the directions of the priests of the Jewish church.

The whole nation of the Jews, on account of Jacob’s and Daniel’s prophecies, were then in the highest expectation of the Messiah’s appearance among them; the place of whose birth having been also foretold, the wise men, by the interposition of Herod’s authority, quickly learned, from the unanimous voice of the Sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews,* that Bethlehem was the place which was to be honored with his birth; as having been pointed out by the prophet Micheas,[13] several ages before. How sweet and adorable is the conduct of divine providence! He teaches saints his will by the mouths of impious ministers, and furnishes Gentiles with the means of admonishing and confounding the blindness of the Jews. But graces are lost on carnal and hardened souls. Herod had then reigned upwards of thirty years; a monster of cruelty, ambition, craft, and dissimulation; old age and sickness had at that time exasperated his jealous mind in an unusual manner. He dreaded nothing so much as the appearance of the Messiah, whom the generality then expected under the notion of a temporal prince, an whom he could consider in no other light than that of a rival and pretender to his crown; so no wonder that he was startled at the news of his birth. All Jerusalem, likewise, instead of rejoicing at such happy tidings, were alarmed and disturbed together with him. We abhor their baseness; but do not we, at a distance from courts, betray several symptoms of the baneful influence of human respects running counter to our duty? Likewise in Herod we see how extravagantly blind and foolish ambition is. The divine infant came not to deprive Herod of his earthly kingdom, but to offer him one that is eternal; and to teach him a holy contempt of all worldly pomp and grandeur. Again, how senseless and extravagant a folly was it to form designs against those of God himself! who confounds the wisdom of the world, baffles the vain projects of men, and laughs their policy to scorn. Are there no Herods now-a-days; persons who are enemies to the spiritual kingdom of Christ in their hearts?

The tyrant, to ward off the blow he seemed threatened with, has recourse to his usual arts of craft and dissimulation. He pretends a no less ardent desire of paying homage to the new-born king, and covers his impious design of taking away his life, under the specious pretext of going himself in person to adore him. Wherefore, after particular examination about the time when the wise men first saw this star, and a strict charge to come back and inform him where the child was to be found, he dismisses them to the place determined by the chief priests and scribes. Herod was then near his death; but as a man lives, such does he usually die. The near prospect of eternity seldom operates in so salutary a manner on habitual sinners, as to produce in them a true and sincere change of heart.

The wise men readily comply with the voice of the Sanhedrim, notwithstanding the little encouragement these Jewish leaders afford them from their own example to persist in their search; for not one single priest or scribe is disposed to bear them company, in seeking after, and paying due homage to their own king. The truths and maxims of religion depend not on the morals of those that preach them; they spring from a higher source, the wisdom and veracity of God himself. When therefore a message comes undoubtedly from God, the misdemeanors of him that immediately conveys it to us can be no just plea or excuse for our failing to comply with it. As, on the other side, an exact and ready compliance will then be a better proof of our faith and confidence in God, and so much the more recommend us to his special conduct and protection, as it did the wise men. For no sooner had they left Jerusalem, but, to encourage their faith and zeal, and to direct their travels, God was pleased to show them the star again, which they had seen in the East, and which continued to go before them till it conducted them to the very place where they were to see and adore their God and Saviour. Here its ceasing to advance, and probably sinking lower in the air tells them in its mute language: “Here shall you find the new-born king.” The holy men, with an unshaken and steady faith, and in transports of spiritual joy, entered the poor cottage, rendered more glorious by this birth than the most sumptuous stately palace in the universe, and finding the child with his mother, they prostrate themselves, they adore him, they pour forth their souls in his presence in the deepest sentiments of praise, thanksgiving, and a total sacrifice of themselves. So far from being shocked at the poverty of the place, and at his unkingly appearance, their faith rises and gathers strength on the sight of obstacles which, humanly speaking, should extinguish it. It captivates their understanding; it penetrates these curtains of poverty, infancy, weakness, and abjection; it casts them on their faces, as unworthy to look up to this star, this God of Jacob: they confess him under this disguise to be the only and eternal God: they own the excess of his goodness in becoming man, and the excess of human misery, which requires for its relief so great a humiliation of the Lord of glory. St. Lee thus extols their faith and devotion: “When a star bad conducted them to adore Jesus, they did not find him commanding devils, or raising the dead. or restoring sight to the blind, or speech to the dumb, or employed in any divine actions, but a silent babe, under the care of a solicitous mother giving no sign of power, but exhibiting a miracle of humility.”14 When shall we find such a faith in Israel? I mean among the Christians of our days. The wise men knew by the light of faith that he came not to bestow on us earthly riches, but to banish our love and fondness for them, and to subdue our pride. They had already learned the maxims of Christ, and had imbibed his spirit: whereas Christians are for the greatest part such strangers to it, and so devoted to the world, and its corrupt maxims, that they blush at poverty and humiliation, and will give no admittance in their hearts to the humility and the cross of Jesus Christ. Such by their actions cry out with those men in the gospel: We will not have this man to reign over us.[15] This their opposite conduct shows what they would have thought of Christ and his humble appearance at Bethlehem.

The Magi, pursuant to the custom of the eastern nations, where the persons of great princes are not to be approached without presents, present to Jesus, as a token of homage, the richest produce their countries afforded, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold, as an acknowledgment of his regal power: incense, as a confession of his Godhead: and myrrh, as a testimony that he was become man for the redemption of the world. But their far more acceptable presents were the holy sentiments and affections of their souls; their fervent charity, signified by gold; their devotion, figured by frankincense; and the unreserved sacrifice of themselves by mortification, represented by myrrh.* The divine king, no doubt, richly repaid their generosity by favors of a much greater excellency, the spiritual gifts of his grace. It is with the like sentiments and affections of love, praise, gratitude, compunction, and humility, that we ought frequently, and particularly on this solemnity, to draw near, in spirit, to the infant Jesus; making him an affectionate tender of our hearts, but first cleansed by tears of sincere repentance.

The holy kings being about to return home, God, who saw the hypocrisy and malicious designs of Herod, by a particular intimation diverted them from their purpose of carrying back word to Jerusalem, where the child was to be found. So, to complete their fidelity and grace, they returned not to Herod’s court; but, leaving their hearts with their infant Saviour, took another road back into their own country. In like manner, if we would persevere in the possession of the graces bestowed on us, we must resolve from this day to hold no correspondence with a sinful world, the irreconcilable enemy to Jesus Christ; but to take a way that lies at a distance from it, I mean that which is marked out to us by the saving maxims of the gospel. And pursuing this with an unshaken confidence in his grace and merits, we shall safely arrive at our heavenly country.

It has never been questioned but that the holy Magi spent the rest of their lives in the fervent service of God. The ancient author of the imperfect comment on St. Matthew, among the works of St. Chrysostom, says, they were afterwards baptized in Persia, by St. Thomas the apostle, and became themselves preachers of the gospel. Their bodies were said to have been translated to Constantinople under the first Christian emperors. From thence they were conveyed to Milan, where the place in which they were deposited is still shown in the Dominicans’ church of that city. The emperor Frederick Barbarossa having taken Milan, caused them to be translated to Cologne in Germany, in the twelfth century."
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 
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Offline martin88nyc

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 02:36:03 PM »
you can do the same with the Liturgical Year by Gueranger
"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 05:01:21 AM »
The Liturgical Year by Dom Gueranger is a priceless treasure. I've only ever read parts of it. If you or anyone else have it, please feel free to post excerpts on this thread for the feasts of the year. Or on another thread if you want. Fr. Butler's lives focuses more on the Saints per se than the strict liturgical season, but major feasts that fall on fixed days are mentioned, like Christmas, even the Epiphany etc.

JAN7 ST. LUCIAN, PRIEST AND MARTYR

[From. his panegyric by St. Chrysostom, at Antioch, in 387, and pronounced on his festival, T. 2, p. 524. A. also from St. Jerom de script, c. 77. Eusebius,1. 8, c. 12,1. 9, c. 6, and Rufinus. See Tillemont, T. 5. p. 474. Pagi, an. 311.

A. D. 312.]

ST. LUCIAN, surnamed of Antioch, was born at Samosata, in Syria. He lost his parents while very young; and being come to the possession of his estate, which was very considerable, he distributed all among the poor. He became a great proficient in rhetoric and philosophy, and applied himself to the study of the holy scriptures under one Macarius at Edessa. Convinced of the obligation annexed to the character of priesthood, which was that of devoting himself entirely to the service of God and the good of his neighbor, he did not content himself with inculcating the practice of virtue both by word and example; he also undertook to purge the scriptures, that is, both the Old and New Testament, from the several faults that had crept into them, either by reason of the inaccuracy of transcribers, or the malice of heretics. Some are of opinion, that as to the Old Testament, he only revised it, by comparing different editions of the Septuagint: others contend, that he corrected it upon the Hebrew text, being well versed in that language. Certain, however, it is that St. Lucian’s edition of the scriptures was much esteemed, and was of great use to St. Jerom. 1*

S. Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, says that Lucian remained some years separated from the catholic communion,* at Antioch, under three successive bishops, namely, Domnus, Timæus, and Cyril. If it was for too much favoring Paul of Samosata, condemned at Antioch in the year 269, he must have been deceived, for want of a sufficient penetration into the impiety of that dissembling heretic. It is certain, at least, that he died in the catholic communion; which also appears from a fragment of a letter written by him to the church of Antioch, and still extant in the Alexandrian Chronicle. Though a priest of Antioch, we find him at Nicomedia, in the year 303, when Dioclesian first published his edicts against the Christians. He there suffered a long imprisonment for the faith; for the Paschal Chronicle quotes these words from a letter which he wrote out of his dungeon to Antioch, “All the martyrs salute you. I inform you that the pope Anthimus (bishop of Nicomedia) has finished his course by martyrdom.” This happened in 303. Yet Eusebius informs us, that St. Lucian did not arrive himself at the crown of martyrdom till after the death of St. Peter of Alexandria, in 311, so that he seems to have continued nine years in prison. At length he was brought before the governor, or, as the acts intimate, the emperor himself, for the word† which Eusebius uses may imply either. On his trial, he presented to the judge an excellent apology for the Christian faith. Being remanded to prison, an order was given that no food should be allowed him; but, when almost dead with hunger, dainty meats that had been offered to idols were set before him, which he would not touch. It was not in itself unlawful to eat of such meats, as St. Paul teaches, except where it would give scandal to the weak, or when it was exacted as an action of idolatrous superstition, as was the case here. Being brought a second time before the tribunal, he would give no other answer to all the questions put to him, but this: “I am a Christian.” He repeated the same while on the rack, and he finished his glorious course in prison, either by famine, or, according to St. Chrysostom, by the sword. His acts relate many of his miracles, with other particulars, as that, when bound and chained down on his back in prison, he consecrated the divine mysteries upon his own breast, and communicated the faithful that were present: this we also read in Philostorgius,[2] the Arian historian. St. Lucian suffered at Nicomedia, where Maximinus II. resided.

His body was interred at Drepanum, in Bithynia, which, in honor of him, Constantine the Great soon after made a large city, which he exempted from all taxes, and honored with the name of Helenopolis, from his mother. St. Lucian was crowned in 312, on the 7th of January, on which day his festival was kept at Antioch immediately after his death, as appears from St. Chrysostom.‡ It is the tradition of the church of Arles, that the body of St. Lucian was sent out of the East to Charlemagne, who built a church undo his invocation at Arles, in which his relics are preserved.[3]

The first thing that is necessary in the service of God, is earnestly to search his holy will, by devoutly reading, listening to, and meditating on his eternal truths. This will set the divine law in a clear and full light, and conduct us, by unerring rules, to discover and accomplish every duty. It will awake and continually increase a necessary tenderness of conscience, which will add light and life to its convictions, oblige us to a more careful trial and examination of all our actions, keep us not only from evil, but from every appearance of it, render us steadfast and immoveable in every virtuous practice, and always preserve a quick and nice sense of good and evil. For this reason, the word of God is called in holy scripture, Light, because it distinguisheth between good and evil, and, like a lamp, manifesteth the path which we are to choose, and disperseth that mist with which the subtilty of our enemy and the lusts of our heart have covered it. At the same time, a daily repetition of contrition and compunction washes off the stains which we discover in our souls, and strongly incites us, by the fervor and fruitfulness of our following life, to repair the sloth and barrenness of the past Prayer must be made our main assistant in every step of this spiritual progress. We must pray that God would enable us to search out and discover our own hearts, and reform whatever is amiss in them. If we do this sincerely, God will undoubtedly grant our requests; will lay open to us all our defects and infirmities, and, showing us how far short we come of the perfection of true holiness of life, will no suffer any latent corruptions in our affections to continue undiscovered, nor permit us to forget the stains and ruins which the sins of our life past have left behind them.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 10:38:25 AM »
Jan 8 ST. APOLLINARIS, THE APOLOGIST, BISHOP

[From Eusebius, Theodoret, St. Jerom. &c. See Tillemont, Mem. t. 2, p. 492, and Hist. des Emp. t. 2, p. 306.

A. D. 175.]

CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age. Notwithstanding the great encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St. Jerom, Theodoret, and others, we know but very little of his actions; and his writings, which then were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. Photius,[1] who had read them, and who was a very good judge, commends them both for their style and matter. He wrote against the Encratites, and other heretics, and pointed out, as St. Jerom testifies,[2] from what philosophical sect each heresy derived its errors. The last of these works was against the Montanists and their pretended prophets, who began to appear in Phrygia about the year 171. But nothing rendered his name so illustrious, as his noble apology for the Christian religion, which he addressed to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, about the year 175, soon after the miraculous victory that prince had obtained over the Quadi by the prayers of the Christians, of which the saint made mention.

Marcus Aurelius having long attempted, without success, to subdue the Germans by his generals, resolved in the thirteenth year of his reign, and of Christ 171, to lead a powerful army against them. He was beyond the Danube, (for Germany was extended much further eastward than it is at present,) when the Quadi, a people inhabiting that tract now called Moravia, surrounded him in a very disadvantageous situation, so that there was no possibility that either he or his army could escape out of their hands, or subsist long where they were, for want of water. The twelfth legion, called the Melitine, from a town of that name in Armenia, where it had been quartered a long time, was chiefly composed of Christians. These, when the army was drawn up, but languid and perishing with thirst, fell upon their knees, “as we are accustomed to do at prayer,” says Eusebius, and poured forth earnest supplications to God in this public extremity of their state and emperor, though hitherto he had been a persecutor of their religion. The strangeness of the sight surprised the enemies, who had more reason to be astonished at the event; for all on a sudden the sky was darkened with clouds, and a thick rain showered down with impetuosity just as the Barbarians had assailed the Roman camp. The Romans fought and drank at the same time, catching the rain, as it fell, in their helmets, and often swallowing mingled with blood. Though by this means exceedingly refreshed, the Germans were much too strong for them; but the storm being driven by a violent wind upon their faces, and accompanied with dreadful flashes of lightning, and loud thunder, the Germans were deprived of their sight beaten down to the ground, and terrified to such a degree, that they were entirely routed and put to flight. Both heathen and Christian writers give this account of the victory. The heathens ascribe it, some to the power of magic, others to their gods, as Dio Cassius;[3] but the Christians unanimously recount it as a miracle obtained by the prayers of this legion, as St. Apollinaris in his apology to this very emperor, who adds, that as an acknowledgment, the emperor immediately gave it the name of the Thundering Legion, and from him it is so called by Eusebius,[4] Tertullian,[5] St. Jerom,[6] and St. Gregory of Nyssa.[7]

The Quadi and Sarmatians brought back thirteen thousand prisoners, whom they had taken, and begged for peace on whatever conditions it should please the emperor to grant it them. Marcus Aurelius hereupon took the title of the seventh time emperor, contrary to custom, and without the consent of the senate, regarding it as given him by heaven. Out of gratitude to his Christian soldiers, he published an edict, in which he confessed himself indebted for his delivery to the shower obtained, PERHAPS, by the prayers of the Christians;* and more he could not say without danger of exasperating the pagans. In it he forbade, under pain of death, any one to accuse a Christian on account of his religion; yet, by a strange inconsistency, especially in so wise a prince, being overawed by the opposition of the senate, he had not the courage to abolish the laws already made and in force against Christians. Hence, even after this, in the same reign, many suffered martyrdom, though their accusers were also put to death; as in the case of St. Apollonius and of the martyrs of Lyons. Trajan had in like manner forbid Christians to be accused, yet commanded them to be punished with death if accused, as may be seen declared by him in his famous letter to Pliny the Younger. The glaring injustice of which law Tertullian demonstrates by an unanswerable dilemma.

St. Apollinaris, who could not see his flock torn in pieces and be silent, penned his apology to the emperor, about the year 172, to remind him of the benefit he had received from God by the prayers of the Christians, and to implore his protection. We have no account of the time of this holy man’s death, which probably happened before that of Marcus Aurelius. The Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January.

We believe the same great truths, and divine mysteries,—we profess the same faith which produced such wonderful fruits in the souls of the saints. Whence comes it that it has not the like effects in us?—that though we acknowledge virtue to be the richest treasure of the soul of man, we take little pains about it, passionately seek the things of this world, are cast down and broken under every adversity, and curb and restrain our passions only by halves?—that the most glorious objects, God and heaven, and the amazing and dreadful truths, a judgment to come, hell, and eternity, strike us so feebly, and operate so little in us? The reason is plain: because we meditate not sufficiently on these great truths. Our notions of them are dim and imperfect; our thoughts pass so slightly over them, that they scarce retain any print or traces of them. Otherwise it is impossible that things so great and terrible should excite in us no fear, or that things in their own nature infinitely amiable, should enkindle in us no desire. Slight and faint images of things move our minds very weakly, and affect them very coldly, especially in such matters as are not subject to our senses. We therefore grossly deceive ourselves in not allotting more time to the study of divine truths. It is not enough barely to believe them, and let our thoughts now and then glance upon them: that knowledge which shows us heaven, will not bring us to the possession of it, and will deserve punishments, not rewards, if it remain slight, weak, and superficial. By serious and frequent meditation it must be concocted, digested, and turned into the nourishment of our affections, before it can be powerful and operative enough to change them, and produce the necessary fruit in our lives. For this all the saints affected solitude and retreats from the noise and hurry of the world, as much as their circumstances allowed them.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 12:52:12 PM »
Jan9 ST. PETER OF SEBASTE, B. C.

From the life of his sister St. Macrina, composed by their brother St. Gregory of Nyssa; and from St. Gregory Naz. Or. 20. See also Theodoret, Hist. Ecc[1].1. 4, c. 30. Rufin,1. 2, c. 9, and the judicious compilation of Tillemont, in his life of St. Gregory of Nyssa, art. 6, t. 9, p. 572.

About the year 387.

THE family of which St. Peter descended, was very ancient and illustrious; St. Gregory Nazianzen tells us, that his pedigree was made up of a list of celebrated heroes: but their names are long since buried in oblivion, while those of the saints which it gave to the church, and who despised the world and its honors, are immortal in the records of the church, and are written in the book of life; for the light of faith, and the grace of the Almighty, extinguishing in their breasts the sparks of worldly ambition, inspired them with a most vehement ardor to attain the perfection of Christian virtue, and changed their family into a house of saints; three brothers were at the same time eminently holy bishops, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebaste; and their eldest sister, St. Macrina, was the spiritual mother of many saints and excellent doctors; their father and mother, St. Basil the Elder, and St. Emclia, were banished for their faith in the reign of the emperor Galerius Maximian, and fled into the deserts of Pontus; they are recorded together in the Roman Martyrology, on the 30th of May: the grandmother of our pious and fruitful family of saints, was the celebrated St. Macrina the Elder, who was instructed in the science of salvation, by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. St. Peter of Sebaste was the youngest of ten children, and lost his father in his cradle, some think before he was born; and his eldest sister, Macrina, took care of his education, in which it was her only aim to instruct him in the maxims of religion, and form him to perfect piety; profane studies she thought of little use, to one who designed to make salvation the sole end of all his inquiries and pursuits, nor did he ever make them any part of his employment, confining his views to a monastic state. His mother had founded two monasteries, one for men, the, other for women; the former she put under the direction of her son Basil, the latter under that of her daughter Macrina. Peter, whose thoughts, were wholly bent on cultivating the seeds of piety that had been sown in him, retired into the house governed by his brother, situated on the bank of the river Iris; when St. Basil was obliged to quit that post, in 362, he left the abbacy in the hands of St. Peter, who discharged this office for several years with great prudence and virtue. When the provinces of Pontus and Cappadocia were visited by a severe famine, he gave a remarkable proof of his charity; human prudence would have advised him to be frugal in the relief of others, till his own family should be secured against that calamity; but Peter had studied the principles of Christian charity in an other school, and liberally disposed of all that belonged to his monastery, and whatever be could raise, to supply with necessaries the numerous crowds that daily resorted to him, in that time of distress. Soon after St. Basil was made bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, in 370, he promoted his brother Peter to the priesthood; the holy abbot looked on the holy orders he had received as a fresh engagement to perfection. His brother St. Basil died on the 1st of January, in 379, and his sister Macrina in November, the same year. Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, a violent Arian and a furious persecutor of St. Basil, seems to have died soon after them, for St. Peter was consecrated bishop of Sebaste in 380, to root out the Arian heresy in that diocess, where it had taken deep root; the zeal of a saint was necessary, nor can we doubt but God placed our saint in that dignity for this purpose. A letter which St. Peter wrote, and which is prefixed to St. Gregory of Nyssa’s books against Eunomius, has entitled him to a rank among the ecclesiastical writers, and is a standing proof, that though he had confined himself to sacred studies, yet by good conversation and reading, and by the dint of genius, and an excellent understanding, he was inferior to none but his incomparable brother Basil, and his colleague Nazianzen, in solid eloquence. In 381, he attended the general council held at Constantinople, and joined the other bishops in condemning the Macedonian heretics. Not only his brother St. Gregory, but also Theodoret, and all antiquity, bear testimony to his extraordinary sanctity, prudence, and zeal. His death happened in summer, about the year 387, and his brother of Nyssa mentions, that his memory was honored at Sebaste (probably the very year after his death) by an anniversary solemnity, with several martyrs of that city.[1] His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology, on the 9th of January.

We admire to see a whole family of saints! This prodigy of grace, under God, was owing to the example, prayers, and exhortations of the elder St. Macrina, which had this wonderful influence and effect; from her they learned most heartily and deeply to imbibe the true spirit of self-denial and humility, which all Christians confess to be the fundamental maxim of the gospel; but this they generally acknowledge in speculation only, whereas it is in the heart that this foundation is to be laid: we must entertain no attachment, says St. Gregory of Nyssa,[2] to any thing, especially where there is most danger of passion, by some sensual pleasure annexed, and we must begin by being upon our guard against sensuality in eating, which is the most ancient enemy, and the father of vice: we must observe in our whole life the most exact rule of temperance, never making the pleasure of sense our end, but only the necessity of the use we make of things, even those in which a pleasure is taken. In another treatise he says,[3] he who despises the world, must also renounce himself, so as never to follow his own will, but purely to seek in all things the will of God; we are his in justice, his will must be the law and rule of our whole life. This precept of dying to ourselves, that Christ may live in us, and all our affections and actions governed by his spirit, is excellently inculcated by St. Basil the Great.[4]
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 05:48:33 AM »
Jan 10 SAINT WILLIAM, CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF BOURGES

[From his if written by a faithful acquaintance at Bourges, (abridged by Surius,) and again by Peter, a monk of Chaalis, both soon after his death: collected by Dom le Nain, in his history of the Cistercians, t. 7. See also the notes of Bollandus, with a fragment of a third life, and Gallia Christ. Nov. t. 2. p. 63.

A. D. 1209.]

WILLIAM BERRUYER, of the illustrious family of the ancient counts of Nevers, was educated by Peter the Hermit, archdeacon of Soissons, his uncle by the mother’s side. He learned from his infancy to despise the folly and emptiness of the riches and grandeur of the world, to abhor its pleasures, and to tremble at its dangers. His only delight was in exercises of piety and in his studies, in which he employed his whole time with indefatigable application. He was made canon, first of Soissons, and afterwards of Paris; but he soon took the resolution of abandoning all commerce with the world, and retired into the solitude of Grandmont, where he lived with great regularity in that austere order, till seeing its peace disturbed by a contest which arose between the fathers and lay-brothers, he passed into the Cistercian, then in wonderful odor of sanctity. He took the habit in the abbey of Pontigny, and shining as a perfect model of monastic perfection, was after some time chosen prior of that house, and afterwards abbot, firs of Fountaine-Jean, in the diocess of Sens, (a filiation of Pontigny, founded in 1124, by Peter de Courtenay, son of king Louis the Fat,) and some time after, of Chaalis, near Senlis, a much more numerous monastery, also a filiation of Pontigny, built by Louis the Fat in 1136, a little before his death. St. William always reputed himself the last among his brethren. The universal mortification of his senses and passions, laid in him the foundation of an admirable purity of heart, and an extraordinary gift of prayer; in which he received great heavenly lights, and tasted of the sweets which God has reserved for those to whom he is pleased to communicate himself. The sweetness and cheerfulness of his countenance testified the uninterrupted joy and peace that overflowed his soul, and made virtue appear with the most engaging charms in the midst of austerities.

On the death of Henry de Sully, archbishop of Bourges, the clergy of that church requested his brother Eudo, bishop of Paris, to come and assist them in the election of a pastor. Desirous to choose some abbot of the Cistercian Order, then renowned for holy men, they put on the altar the names of three, written on as many billets. This manner of election by lots would have been superstitious, and a tempting of God, had it been done relying on a miracle without the warrant of divine inspiration. But it deserved not this censure when all the persons proposed seemed equally worthy and fit, as the choice was only recommended to God, and left to this issue by following the rules of his ordinary providence, and imploring his light, without rashness, or a neglect of the usual means of scrutiny: prudence might sometimes even recommend such a method, in order to terminate a debate when the candidates seemed equally qualified. God, in such cases is said sometimes to have miraculously interposed.

Eudo, accordingly, having written three billets, laid them on the altar, and having made his prayer drew first the name of the abbot William, on whom, at the same time, the majority of the votes of the clergy had made the election fall, the 23d of November, 1200. This news overwhelmed William with grief. He never would have acquiesced, had he not received a double command in virtue of obedience, from the pope, and from his general the abbot of Citeaux. He left his dear solitude with many tears, and was received at Bourges as one sent by heaven, and soon after was consecrated. In this new dignity his first care was to conform both his exterior and interior to the most perfect rules of sanctity; being very sensible that a man’s first task is to honor God perfectly in his own soul. He redoubled all his austerities, saving, it was now incumbent on him to do penance for others, as well as for himself. He always wore a hair-shirt under his religious habit, and never added, nor diminished, any thing in his clothes, either winter or summer. He never ate any flesh-meat, though he had it at his table for strangers. His attention to feed his flock was no less remarkable, especially in assisting the poor both spiritually and corporally, saying, that he was chiefly sent for them. He was most mild to penitent sinners; but inflexible towards the impenitent, though he refused to have recourse to the civil power against them, the usual remedy of that age. Many such he at last reclaimed by his sweetness and charity. Certain great men, abusing his lenity, usurped the rights of his church; but the saint strenuously defended them even against the king himself, notwithstanding his threats to confiscate his lands. By humility and resolution he overcame several contradictions of his chapter and other clergy. By his zeal he converted many of the Albigenses, contemporary heretics, and was preparing himself for a mission among them, at the time he was seized with his last illness. He would, notwithstanding, preach a farewell sermon to his people, which increased his fever to such a degree that he was obliged to set aside his journey, and take to his bed. Drawing near his end, he received first extreme unction, according to the discipline of that age;[1] then, in order to receive the viaticum, he rose out of bed, fell on his knees melting in tears, and prayed long prostrate with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross. The night following, perceiving his last hour approach, he desired to anticipate the nocturns, which are said at midnight; but having made the sign of the cross on his lips and breast, was able to pronounce no more than the two first words. Then, according to a sign made by him, he was laid on ashes in the hair-cloth which he always privately wore. In this posture he soon after expired, a little past midnight, on the morning of the 10th of January, in 1209. His body was interred in his cathedral; and being honored by many miracles, was taken up in 1217; and in the year following he was canonized by pope Honorius III. His relics were kept with great veneration till 1562, when they were burnt, and scattered in the winds by the Huguenots, on occasion of their plundering the cathedral of Bourges, as Baillet and Bollandus mention. A bone of his arm is shown with veneration at Chaalis, whither it had been sent soon after the saint’s body was taken up; and a rib is preserved in the church of the college of Navarre, at Paris, on which the canons of St. Bourges bestowed it in 1399.2 His festival is kept in that church with great solemnity, and a great concourse of devout persons; St. William being regarded in several parts of France as one of the patrons of the nation, though his name is not mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. The celebrated countess Maud, his niece, out of veneration for his memory, bestowed certain lands in the Nivemois, on the church of Bourges.[3] B. Philip Berruyer, a nephew of St. William, was archbishop of Bourges from the year 1236 to 1260, in which he died in the odor of sanctity. Nangi ascribes to him many miracles, and other historians bear testimony to his eminent virtue.[4] Dom Martenne has published his edifying original life.[5]

If we look into the lives of all the saints, we shall find that it was by a spirit and gift of prayer that the Holy Ghost formed in their hearts the most perfect sentiments of all virtues. It is this which enlightens the understanding, and infuses a spiritual knowledge, and a heavenly wisdom, which is incomparably more excellent than that in which philosophers pride themselves. The same purifies the affections, sanctifies the soul, adorns it with virtues, and enriches it with every gift of heaven. Christ, who is the eternal wisdom, came down among us on earth to teach us more perfectly this heavenly language, and he alone is our master in it. He vouchsafed also to be our model. In the first moment in which his holy soul began to exist, it exerted all its powers in contemplating and adorning the divine Trinity, and employed his affections in the most ardent acts of praise, love, thanksgiving, oblation, and the like. His whole moral life was an uninterrupted prayer; more freely to apply himself to this exercise, and to set us an example, he often retired into mountains and deserts, and spent whole nights in prayer; and to this employment he consecrated his last breath upon the cross. By him the saints were inspired to conceive an infinite esteem for holy prayer, and such a wonderful assiduity and ardor in this exercise, that many renounced altogether the commerce of men to only that of God, and his angels; and the rest learned the art of conversing secretly with heaven even amidst their exterior employments, which they only undertook for God. Holy pastors have always made retirement and a life of prayer their apprenticeship or preparation for the ministry, and afterward, amidst its functions were still men of prayer in them, having God always present to their mind, and setting apart intervals in the day, and a considerable part of the nights, to apply themselves with their whole attention to this exercise, in the silence of all creatures.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2019, 02:43:32 AM »
Jan 11 ST. THEODOSIUS, THE CENOBIARCH

[From his life by Theodorus, bishop of Petra, some time his disciple, in Surius and Bollandus, and commended by Fleury, Baillet, &c.

A. D. 529.]

ST. THEODOSIUS was born at Mogariassus, called in latter ages Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He imbibed the first tincture of virtue from the fervent example and pious instructions of his virtuous parents. He was ordained reader, but some time after being moved by Abraham’s example to quit his country and friends, he resolved to put this motion in execution. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, but went purposely out of his road, to visit the famous St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold him several circumstances of his life, and gave him proper instructions for his behavior in each. Having satisfied his devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should dedicate himself to God in a religious state. The dangers of living without a guide, made him prefer a monastery to a hermitage; and he therefore put himself under the direction of a holy man named Longinus, to whom his virtue soon endeared him in a very particular manner. A pious lady having built a church under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus could not well refuse her request, that his pupil should undertake the charge of it; but Theodosius, who loved only to obey, could not be induced by any entreaties to consent to this proposal: absolute commands were necessary to force him to a compliance. Nor did he govern long; for dreading the poison of vanity from the esteem of men, he retired into a cave at the top of a neighboring desert mountain, and employed his time in fasting, watching, prayers, and tears, which almost continually flowed from his eyes. His food was coarse pulse and wild herbs: for thirty years he never tasted so much as a morsel of bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution, which charity extorted from him, never to reject any that presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks was, that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection; to imprint this more deeply in their minds, he caused a great grave or pit to be dug, which might serve for the common burial-place of the whole community, that by the presence of this memorial of death, and by continually meditating on that object, they might more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day, when he had led his monks to it, said, “The grave is made, who will first perform the dedication?” Basil, a priest, who was one of the number, falling on his knees, said to St. Theodosius, “I am the person, be pleased to give me your blessing.” The abbot ordered the prayers of the church for the dead to be offered up for him, and on the fortieth day, Basil wonderfully departed to our Lord in peace, without any apparent sickness. When the holy company of disciples were twelve in number, it happened that at the great feast of Easter they had nothing to eat; they had not even bread for the sacrifice: some murmured; the saint bid them trust in God and he would provide: which was soon remarkably verified, by the arrival of certain mules loaded with provisions. The lustre of the sanctity and miracles of St. Theodosius, drawing great numbers to him who desired to serve God under his direction, his cave was too little for their reception; therefore, having consulted heaven by prayer, he, by its particular direction, built a spacious monastery at a place called Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, at a small distance from his cave, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed three infirmaries; one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighborhood; the two others St. Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil, for rashly engaging in a religious state through pride, and without a due dependence on the grace of God to carry them through it. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions: these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly composed, each speaking a different language; the fourth was for the use of such as were in a state of penance, which those that recovered from their lunatic or possessed condition before mentioned, were put into, and detained till they had expiated their fault. The nations into which his community was divided, were the Greeks, which were far the most numerous, and consisted of all those that came from any provinces of the empire; the Armenians, with whom were joined the Arabians and Persians; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Runic or Sclavonian tongue. Each nation sung the first part of the mass to the end of the gospel, in their own church, but after the gospel, all met in the church of the Greeks, where they celebrated the essential part of the sacrifice in Greek and communicated all together.[1]

The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church, and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest, every one was obliged to apply himself to some trade, on manual labor, not incompatible with recollection, that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, bishop of Jerusalem, appointed St. Sabas superior general of the hermits, and our saint of the Cenobites, or religious men living in community throughout all Palestine, whence he was styled the Cenobiarch. These two great servants of God lived in strict friendship, and had frequent spiritual conferences together; they were also united in their zeal and sufferings for the church.

The emperor Anastasius patronized the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible means to engage our saint in his party. In 513 he deposed Elias, patriarch of Jerusalem, as he had banished Flavian II., patriarch of Antioch, and intruded Severus, an impious heretic, into that see, commanding the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. SS. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the right of Elias, and of John his successor; whereupon the imperial officers thought it most advisable to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired by their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. The saint accepted of it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius now persuading himself that he was as good as gained over to his cause, sent him an heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an answer full of apostolic spirit; in which, besides solidly confuting the Eutychian error, he added, that he was ready to lay down his life for the faith of the church. The emperor admired his courage and the strength of his reasoning, and returning him a respectful answer, highly commended his generous zeal, made some apology for his own inconsiderateness, and protested that he only desired the peace of the church. But it was not long ere he relapsed into his former impiety and renewed his bloody edicts against the orthodox, dispatching troops everywhere to have them put in execution. On the first intelligence of this, Theodosius went over all the deserts and country of Palestine, exhorting every one to be firm in the faith of the four general councils. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried out with a loud voice: “If any one receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema.” So bold an action in a man of his years, inspired with courage those whom the edicts had terrified. His discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his zeal by miracles: one of these was, that on his going out of the church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer on the spot, by only touching his garments. The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his Catholic successor, Justin; who, from a common soldier, had gradually ascended the imperial throne.

Our saint survived his return eleven years, never admitting the least relaxation in his former austerities. Such was his humility, that seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and would not rise till they were perfectly reconciled; and once having excommunicated one of his subjects for a crime, who contumaciously pretended to excommunicate him in his turn, the saint behaved as if he had been really excommunicated, to gain the sinner’s soul by this unprecedented example of submission, which had the desired effect. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful distemper, in which he gave proof of an heroic patience, and an entire submission to the will of God; for being advised by one that was an eye-witness of his great sufferings, to pray that God would be pleased to grant him some ease, he would give no ear to it, alleging that such thoughts were impatience, and would rob him of his crown. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution at hand, he gave his last exhortation to his disciples, and foretold many things, which accordingly came to pass after his death: this happened in the one hundred and fifth year of his age, and of our Lord 529. Peter, patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted with the deepest sentiments of respect at the solemnity of his interment, which was honored by miracles. He was buried in his first cell, called the cave of the magi, because the wise men, who came to adore Christ soon after his birth, were said to have lodged in it. A certain count being on his march against the Persians, begged the hair shirt which the saint used to wear next his skin, and believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them, to the saint’s protection through the pledge of that relic. Both the Roman and Greek calendars mention his festival on the 11th of January.

The examples of the Nazarites and Essenes among the Jews, and of many excellent and holy persons among the Christians through every age, demonstrate that many are called by God to serve him in a retired contemplative life; may, it is the opinion of St. Gregory the Great, that the world is to some persons so full of ambushes and snares, or dangerous occasions of sin, that they cannot be saved but by choosing a safe retreat. Those who from experience are conscious of their own weakness, and find themselves to be no match for the world, unable to countermine its policies, and oppose its power, ought to retire as from the face of too potent an enemy; and prefer a contemplative state to a busy and active life: not to indulge sloth, or to decline the service of God and his neighbor, but to consult his own security, and to fly from dangers of sin and vanity. Yet there are some who find the greatest dangers in solitude itself; so that it is necessary for every one to sound his own heart, take a survey of his own forces and abilities, and consult God, that he may best be able to learn the designs of his providence with regard to his soul; in doing which, a great purity of intention is the first requisite. Ease and enjoyment must not be the end of Christian retirement, but penance, labor, and assiduous contemplation; without great fervor and constancy in which, close solitude is the road to perdition. If greater safety, or an unfitness for a public station, or a life of much business (in which several are only public nuisances) may be just motives to some for embracing a life of retirement, the means of more easily attaining to perfect virtue may be such to many. Nor do true contemplatives bury their talents, or cease either to be members of the republic of mankind, or to throw in their mite towards its welfare. From the prayers and thanksgivings which they daily offer to God for the peace of the world, the preservation of the church, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of all men, doubtless more valuable benefits often accrue to mankind, than from the alms of the rich, or the labors of the learned. Nor is it to be imagined, how far and how powerfully their spirit, and the example of their innocence and perfect virtue, often spread their influence; and how serviceable persons who lead a holy and sequestered life may be to the good of the world; nor how great glory redounds to God, by the perfect purity of heart and charity to which many souls are thus raised.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2019, 10:39:31 PM »
Jan 12 ST. ARCADIUS, MARTYR

[From his ancient acts, much esteemed by Baronius and inserted by Ruinart in his authentic collection St. Zeno of Verona made use of them in his forty-ninth sermon on this martyr. See Tillemont, t. 5, p. 557.]

THE time of this saint’s martyrdom is not mentioned in his acts; some place it under Valerian, others under Dioclesian: he seems to have suffered in some city of Mauritania, probably the capital, Cæsarea. The fury of the tyrants raged violently, and the devil had instigated his soldiers to wage, like so many wolves, a bloody war against the servants of Jesus. Upon the least suspicion they broke into houses, made rigorous searches, and if they found a Christian, they treated him upon the spot with the greatest cruelty, their impatience not suffering them to wait the bringing him before a judge. Every day new sacrileges were committed; the faithful were compelled to assist at superstitious sacrifices, to lead victims crowned with flowers through the streets, to burn incense before idols, and to celebrate the enthusiastic feasts of Bacchus. Arcadius, seeing his city in great confusion, left his estate and withdrew to a solitary place in the neighboring country, serving Jesus Christ in watching, prayer, and other exercises of a penitential life. His flight could not be long a secret; for his not appearing at the public sacrifices made the governor send soldiers to his house, who surrounded it, forced open the doors, and finding one of his relations in it, who said all he could to justify his kinsman’s absence, they seized him, and the governor ordered him to be kept in close custody till Arcadius should be taken. The martyr, informed of his friend’s danger, and burning with a desire to suffer for Christ, went into the city, and presenting himself to the judge, said: “If on my account you detain my innocent relation in chains, release him; I, Arcadius, am come in person to give an account of myself, and to declare to you, that he knew not where I was.” “I am willing,” answered the judge, “to pardon not only him, but you also, on condition that you will sacrifice to the gods.” Arcadius replied, “How can you propose to me such a thing? Do you not know the Christians, or do you believe that the fear of death will ever make me swerve from my duty? Jesus Christ is my life, and death is my gain. Invent what torments you please; but know that nothing shall make me a traitor to my God.” The governor, in a rage, paused to devise some unheard-of torment for him. Iron hooks seemed too easy; neither plummets of lead, nor cudgels could satisfy his fury; the very rack he thought by much too gentle. At last, imagining he had found a manner of death suitable to his purpose, he said to the ministers of his cruelty, “Take him, and let him see and desire death, without being able to obtain it. Cut off his limbs joint by joint, and execute this so slowly, that the wretch may know what it is to abandon the gods of his ancestors for an unknown deity.” The executioners dragged Arcading to the place, where many other victims of Christ had already suffered; a place dear and sweet to all who sigh after eternal life. Here the martyr lifts up his eyes to heaven, and implores strength from above; then stretches out his neck, expecting to have his head cut off; but the executioner bid him hold out his hand, and joint after joint chopped off his fingers, arms, and shoulders. Laying the saint afterward on his back, he in the same barbarous manner cut off his toes, feet, legs, and thighs. The holy martyr held out his limbs and joints, one after another, with invincible patience and courage, repeating these words, “Lord, teach me thy wisdom:” for the tyrants had forgot to cut out his tongue. After so many martyrdoms, his body lay a mere trunk weltering in its own blood. The executioners themselves, as well as the multitude, were moved to tears and admiration at this spectacle, and at such an heroic patience. But Arcadius, with a joyful countenance, surveying his scattered limbs all around him, and offering them to God, said, “Happy members, now dear to me, as you at last truly belong to God, being all made a sacrifice to him!” Then turning to the people, he said, “You who have been present at this bloody tragedy, learn that all torments seem as nothing to one who has an everlasting crown before his eyes. Your gods are not gods; renounce their worship. He alone for whom I suffer and die, is the true God. He comforts and upholds me in the condition you see me. To die for him is to live; to suffer for him is to enjoy the greatest delights.” Discoursing in this manner to those about him, he expired on the 12th of January, the pagans being struck with astonishment at such a miracle of patience. The Christians gathered together his scattered limbs, and laid them in one tomb. The Roman and other Martyrologies make honorable mention of him on this day.

We belong to God by numberless essential titles of interest, gratitude, and justice, and are bound to be altogether his, and every moment to live to him alone, with all our powers and all our strength: whatever it may cost us to make this sacrifice perfect and complete, if we truly love him, we shall embrace it with joy and inexpressible ardor. In these sentiments we ought, by frequent express acts, and by the uninterrupted habitual disposition of our souls, to give all we are and have to God, all the powers of our souls, all the senses and organs of our bodies, all our actions, thoughts, and affections. This oblation we may excellently comprise in any of the first petitions of our Lord’s prayer: the following is a form of an oblation to our divine Redeemer, which St. Ignatius of Loyola drew up and used to repeat: “O sovereign king, and absolute Lord of all things, though I am most unworthy to serve you, nevertheless, relying on your grace and boundless mercy, I offer myself up entire to you, and subject whatever belongs to me to your most holy will; and I protest, in presence of your infinite goodness, and in presence of the glorious Virgin your mother, and your whole heavenly court, that it is my most earnest desire, and unshaken resolution, to follow and imitate you the nearest I am able, in bearing all injuries and crosses with meekness and patience, and in laboring to die to the world and myself in a perfect spirit of humility and poverty, that I may be wholly yours and you may reign in me in time and eternity.”
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2019, 10:45:06 PM »
Jan 13 ST. VERONICA, OF MILAN

[From her life, in Bollandus, t. 1, p. 890.

A. D. 1497.]

ALL states furnish abundant means for attaining to sanctity and Christian perfection, and it is only owing to our sloth and tepidity that we neglect to make use of them. This saint could boast of no worldly advantages either by birth or fortune.* Her parents maintained their family by hard labor in a village near Milan, and were both very pious: her father never sold a horse, or any thing else he dealt in, without being more careful to acquaint the purchaser with all that was secretly faulty in it, than to recommend its good qualities. His narrow circumstances prevented his giving his daughter any schooling, so that she never learned to read; but his own, and his devout wife’s example, and fervent though simple instructions, filled her tender heart from the cradle with lively sentiments of virtue. The pious maid from her infancy applied herself to continual prayer, was very attentive to the instructions given in the catechism; and the uninterrupted consideration of the holy mysteries, and the important truths of religion, engrossed her whole soul to themselves. She was, notwithstanding, of all others, the most diligent and indefatigable in labor; and so obedient to her parents and masters, even in the smallest trifles, so humble and submissive to her equals, that she seemed to have no will of her own. Her food was coarse and very sparing, and her drink the same which the poorer sort of people used in that country, water, except sometimes whey, or a little milk. At her work she continually conversed in her heart with God; insomuch that in company she seemed deaf to their discourses, mirth, and music. When she was weeding, reaping, or at any other labor in the fields, she strove to work at a distance from her companions, to entertain herself the more freely with her heavenly spouse. The rest admired her love of solitude, and on coming to her, always found her countenance cheerful, yet often bathed in tears, which they sometimes perceived to flow in great abundance; though they did not know the source to be devotion: so carefully did Veronica conceal what passed in her soul between her and God.

Through a divine call to a religions and conventual state of life, she conceived a great desire to become a nun, in the poor, austere, and edifying convent of St. Martha, of the order of St. Austin in Milan. To qualify herself for this state, being busied the whole day at work, she sat up at night to learn to read and write, which the want of an instructor made a great fatigue to her. One day being in great anxiety about her learning, the Mother of God, to whom she had always recommended herself, in a comfortable vision bade her banish that anxiety; for it was enough if she knew three letters: The first, purity of the affections, by placing her whole heart on God alone, loving no creature but in him and for him; the second, never to murmur, or be impatient at the sins, or any behavior of others, but to bear them with interior peace and patience, and humbly to pray for them; the third, to set apart some time every day to meditate on the passion of Christ. After three years’ preparation, she was admitted to the religious habit in St. Martha’s. Her life was entirely uniform, perfect, and fervent in every action, no other than a living copy of her rule, which consisted in the practice of evangelical perfection reduced to certain holy exercises. Every moment of her life she studied to accomplish it to the least tittle, and was no less exact in obeying the order or direction of any superior’s will. When she could not obtain leave to watch in the church so long as she desired, by readily complying, she deserved to hear from Christ, that obedience was a sacrifice the most dear to him, who, to obey his Father’s will, came down from heaven, becoming obedient even unto death.[1]

She lay three years under a lingering illness, all which time she would never be exempted from any duty of the house, or part of her work, or make use of the least indulgence, though she had leave; her answer always was, “I must work while I can, while I have time.” It was her delight to help and serve every one. She always sought with admirable humility the last place, and the greatest drudgery. It was her desire to live always on bread and water. Her silence was a sign of her recollection and continual prayer, in which her gift of abundant and almost continual tears was most wonderful. She nourished them by constant meditation on her own miseries, on the love of God, the joys of heaven, and the sacred passion of Christ. She always spoke of her own sinful life, as she called it, though it was most innocent, with the most feeling sentiments of compunction She was favored by God with many extraordinary visits and comforts. By moving exhortations to virtue, she softened and converted several obdurate sinners. She died at the hour which she had foretold, in the year 1497, and the fifty-second of her age. Her sanctity was confirmed by miracles. Pope Leo X., by a bull in 1517, permitted her to be honored in her monastery in the same manner as if she had been beatified according to the usual form. The bull may be seen in Bollandus.[2] Her name is inserted on this day in the Roman Martyrology, published by Benedict XIV., in the year 1719; but on the 28th of this month, in that of the Austin friars, approved by the same pope.

Christian perfection consists very much in the performance of our ordinary actions, and the particular duties of our respective stations. God, as the good father and great master of the family of the world, allots to every one his proper place and office in it; and it is in this variety of states by which it subsists; and in their mutual dependence upon each other, that its good order and beauty consist. It is the most holy and wise appointment of providence and the order of nature, that the different stations in the world be filled. Kings and subjects, rich and poor, reciprocally depend upon each other; and it is the command of God that every one perform well the part which is assigned him. It is, then, by the constant attendance on all the duties of his state, that a person is to be sanctified. By this all his ordinary actions will be agreeable sacrifices to God, and his whole life a continued chain of good works. It is not only in great actions, or by fits and starts, but in all that we do, and in every moment, that we are bound to live to God. The regulation of this point is of essential importance in a virtuous life, that every action may be performed with regularity, exactitude in all its circumstances, and the utmost fervor, and by the most pure motive, referred solely to divine honor, in union with the most holy actions and infinite merits of Christ. Hence St. Hilary says,[3] “When the just man performs all his actions, with a pure and simple view to the divine honor and glory, as the apostle admonishes us,[4] his whole life becomes an uninterrupted prayer; and as he passes his days and nights in the accomplishment of the divine will, it is true to say, that the whole course of a holy life is a constant meditation on the law of God.” Nevertheless this axiom, that the best devotion is the constant practice of a person’s ordinary duties, is abused by some, to excuse a life of dissipation. Every one is bound to live to himself in the first place, and to reserve leisure for frequent exercises of devotion; and it is only by a spirit of perfect self-denial, humility, compunction, and prayer, and by an assiduous attention of the soul to God, that our exterior ordinary actions will be animated by the motives of divine faith and charity, and the spirit of true piety nourished in our breasts; in this consists the secret of a Christian life in all states.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

  • Glory to God in the Highest Heaven, and Peace to His people on Earth of good will.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2019, 10:11:13 AM »
Jan 14 ST. HILARY, BISHOP

[From his own writings, and the histories of that age, which furnish the most authentic memoirs of his life. See what Dom Coutant, the Benedictin monk, has recorded of him in his excellent edition of his works; as also Tillemont, t. 7, Cellier, t. 5, and Rivet, Hist. Lit. t. 1, part 2, p. 139. The two books, the one of his life, the other of his miracles, by Fortunatus of Poictiers, 600, are inaccurate. Both the Fortunatuses were from Italy; and probably one was the author of the first, and the other of the second book.]

A. D. 368.

ST. AUSTIN, who often urges the authority of St. Hilary against the Pelagians, styles him the illustrious doctor of the churches.[1] St. Jerom says[2] that he was a most eloquent man, and the trumpet of the Latins against the Arians; and in another place, that in St. Cyprian and St. Hilary, God had transplanted two fair cedars out of the world into his church.[3]

St. Hilary was born at Poictiers, and his family one of the most illustrious in Gaul.[4] He spent his youth in the study of eloquence. He himself testifies that he was brought up in idolatry, and gives us a particular account of the steps by which God conducted him to the knowledge of his saving faith.[5] He considered by the glimmering or faint light of reason, that man, who is created a moral and free agent, is placed in this world for the exercise of patience, temperance, and other virtues, which he saw must receive from God a recompense after this life. He ardently set about learning what God is; and after some researches into the nature of the Supreme Being, quickly discovered the absurdity of polytheism, or a prutality of gods; and was convinced that there can be only one God, and that he same is eternal, unchangeable, all-powerful, the first cause and author of all things. Full of these reflections, he met with the holy scriptures, and was wonderfully affected with that just and sublime description Moses gives of God in those words, so expressive of his self-existence,[6] I AM WHO AM: and was no less struck with the idea of his immensity and supreme dominion, illustrated by the most lively images in the inspired language of the prophets. The reading of the New Testament put an end to, and completed his inquiries; and he learned from the first chapter of St. John, that the Divine Word, God the Son, is coeternal and consubstantial with the Father. Here he checked his natural curiosity, avoided subtilties, and submitted his understanding to divine revelation, resolving what seemed incomprehensible into the veracity and power of God; and not presuming to measure divine mysteries by his shallow capacity. Being thus brought to the knowledge of faith, he received the heavenly regeneration by baptism From that time forth he so squared his whole life by the rules of piety, and so zealous were his endeavors to confirm others in the faith of the holy Trinity, and to encourage all to virtue, that he seemed, though a layman, already to possess the grace of the priesthood.

He was married before his conversion to the faith; and his wife, by whom he had a daughter named Apra, or Abram, was yet living, when he was chosen bishop of Poictiers, about the year 353; but from the time of his ordination he lived in perpetual continency.* He omitted no endeavors to escape this promotion: but his humility only made the people the more earnest to see him vested with that dignity; and indeed their expectations were not frustrated in him, for his eminent virtue and capacity shone forth with such a lustre, as soon drew upon him the attention, not only of all Gaul, but of the whole church. Soon after he was raised to the episcopal dignity he composed, before his exile, elegant comments on the gospel of Saint Matthew, which are still extant. Those on the Psalms he compiled after his banishment.[7] Of these comments on the Psalms, and on St. Matthew, we are chiefly to understand St. Jerom, when he recommends, in a particular manner, the reading of the works of St. Hilary to virgins and devout persons.[8] From that time the Arian controversy chiefly employed his pen. He was an excellent orator and poet. His style is lofty and noble, beautified with rhetorical ornaments and figures, but somewhat studied; and the length of his periods renders him sometimes obscure to the unlearned,† as St. Jerom takes notice.[9] It is observed by Dr. Cave, that all his writings breathe an extraordinary vein of piety. Saint Hilary solemnly appeals to God,[10] that he held it as the great work of his life, to employ all his faculties to announce God to the world, and to excite all men to the love of him. He earnestly recommends the practice of beginning every action and discourse by prayer,‡ and some act of divine praise;[11] as also to meditate on the law of God day and night, to pray without ceasing, by performing all our actions with a view to God their ultimate end, and to his glory.[12] He breathes a sincere and ardent desire of martyrdom, and discovers a soul fearless of death and torments. He had the greatest veneration for truth, sparing no pains in its pursuit, and dreading no dangers in its defence.

The emperor Constantius, having labored for several years to compel the eastern churches to embrace Arianism, came into the West: and after the overthrow of the tyrant Magnentius, made some stay at Arles, while his Arian bishops held a council there, in which they engaged Saturninus, the impious bishop of that city, in their party, in 353. A bolder Arian council at Milan, in 355, held during the residence of the emperor in that city, required all to sign the condemnation of St. Athanasius. Such as refused to comply were banished; among whom were St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Lucifer of Cagliari, and St. Dionysius of Milan, into whose see Auxentius, the Arian, was intruded. St. Hilary wrote on that occasion his first book to Constantius, in which he mildly entreated him to restore peace to the church. He separated himself from the three Arian bishops in the West, Ursacius, Valens, and Saturninus, and exhibited an accusation against the last in a synod at Beziers. But the emperor, who had information of the matter from Saturninus, sent un order to Julian, then Cæsar, and surnamed afterwards the Apostate, who at that time commanded in Gaul, for St. Hilary’s immediate banishment into Phrygia, together with St. Rhodanius, bishop of Toulouse. The bishops in Gaul being almost all orthodox, remained in communion with St. Hilary, and would not suffer the intrusion of any one into his see, which in his absence he continued to govern by his priests. The saint went into banishment about the middle of the year 356, with as great alacrity as another would take a journey of pleasure, and never entertained the least disquieting thought of hardships, dangers, or enemies, having a soul above both the smiles and frowns of the world, and fixed only on God. He remained in exile somewhat upwards of three years, which time he employed in composing several learned works. The principal and most esteemed of these is that On the Trinity, against the Arians, in twelve books. In them he proves the consubstantiality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He teaches that the church is one, out of which all heresies spring; out that by this she is distinguished, as standing always one, always alone against them all, and confounding them all: whereas they by perpetual divisions tear each other in pieces, and so become the subject of her triumph.[13] He proves that Arianism cannot be the faith of Christ, because not revealed to St. Peter, upon whom the church was built and secured forever; for whose faith Christ prayed, that it might never fail; who received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whose judiciary sentence on earth is that of heaven:[14] all which arguments he frequently urges.[15] He proves the divinity of Christ by the miracles wrought at the sepulchres of the apostles and martyrs, and by their relics: for the devils themselves confess Christ’s godhead, and roar and flee at the presence of the venerable bones of his servants,[16] which he also mentions and urges in his invective against Constantius.[17] In 358, he wrote his book On Synods, or On the Faith of the Orientals. to explain the terms and variation of the eastern Arians in their synods.

In his exile he was informed that his daughter Apra, whom he had left on Gaul, had thoughts of embracing the married state; upon which he implored Christ, with many tears, to bestow on her the precious jewel of virginity. He sent her a letter that is still extant, in which he acquaints her, that if she contemned all earthly things, spouse, sumptuous garments, and riches, Christ had prepared for her, and had shown unto him, at his prayers and tears, an inestimable never-fading diamond, infinitely more precious than she was able to frame to herself an idea of. He conjures her by the God of heaven, and entreats her not to make void his anxiety for her, nor to deprive herself of so incomparable a good. Fortunatus assures us that the original letter was kept with veneration in the church of Poictiers, in the sixth century, when he wrote, and that Apra followed his advice, and died happily at his feet after his return.* St. Hilary sent to her with this letter two hymns, composed by himself; one for the evening, which does not seem to have reached our times; the other for the morning, which is the hymn Lucis largiton splendide.

The emperor, by an unjust usurpation in the affairs of the Church, assembled a council of Arians at Seleucia, in Isauria, to undermine the great council of Nice. St. Hilary, who had then passed four years in banishment, in Phrygia, was invited thither by the Semi-Arians, who hoped from his lenity that he would be useful to their party in crushing the stanch Arians, that is, those who adhered strictly to the doctrine of Arius. But no human considerations could daunt his courage. He boldly defended the decrees of Nice, till at last, tired out with hearing the blasphemies of the heretics, he withdrew to Constantinople. The weak emperor was the dupe sometimes of the Arians, and at other times of the Semi-Arians. These last prevailed at Seleucia, in September, 359, as the former did in a council held at Constantinople in the following year, 360, where having the advantage, they procured the banishment of the Semi-Arians, less wicked than themselves. St. Hilary, who had withdrawn from Seleucia to Constantinople, presented to the emperor a request, called his second book to Constantius, begging the liberty of holding a public disputation about religion with Saturninus, the author of his banishment. He presses him to receive the unchangeable apostolic faith, injured by the late innovations, and smartly rallies the fickle humor of the heretics, who were perpetually making new creeds, and condemning their old ones, having made four within the compass of the foregoing year; so that faith was become that of the times, not that of the gospels, and that there were as many faiths as men, as great a variety of doctrine as of manners, as many blasphemies as vices.[18] He complains that they had their yearly and monthly faiths; that they made creeds to condemn and repent of them; and that they formed new ones to anathematize those that adhered to their old ones. He adds, that every one had scripture texts, and the words Apostolic Faith, in their mouths, for no other end than to impose on weak minds: for by attempting to change faith, which is unchangeable, faith is lost; they correct and amend, till weary of all, they condemn all. He therefore exhorts them to return to the haven from which the gusts of their party spirit and prejudice had driver them, as the only means to be delivered out of their tempestuous and perilous confusion. The issue of this challenge was, that the Arians, dreading such a trial, persuaded the emperor to rid the East of a man that never ceased to disturb its peace, by sending him back into Gaul; which he did, but without reversing the sentence of his banishment, in 360.

St. Hilary returned through Illyricum and Italy to confirm the weak. He was received at Poictiers with the greatest demonstrations of joy and triumph, where his old disciple, St. Martin, rejoined him, to pursue the exercises of piety under his direction. A synod in Gaul, convoked at the instance of St. Hilary, condemned that of Rimini, which, in 359, had omitted the word Consubstantial. Saturninus, proving obstinate, was excommunicated and deposed for his heresy and other crimes. Scandals were removed, discipline, peace, and purity of faith were restored, and piety flourished. The death of Constantius put an end to the Arian persecution. St. Hilary was the mildest of men, full of condescension and affability to all: yet seeing this behavior ineffectual, he composed an invective against Constantius, in which he employed severity, and the harshest terms; and for which undoubtedly he had reasons that are unknown to us. This piece did not appear abroad till after the death of that emperor. Our saint undertook a journey to Milan, in 364, against Auxentius, the Arian usurper of that see, and in a public disputation obliged him to confess Christ to be true God, of the same substance and divinity with the Father. St. Hilary indeed saw through his hypocrisy; but this dissembling heretic imposed so far on the emperor Valentinian, as to pass for orthodox. Our saint died at Poictiers, in the year 368, on the thirteenth of January, or on the first of November, for his name occurs in very ancient Martyrologies on both these days. In the Roman breviary his office is celebrated on the fourteenth of January. The one is probably that of some translation of his relics. The first was made at Poictiers in the reign of Clovis[1]., on which see Cointe.[19] From St. Gregory of Tours, it appears that before his time some part of St. Hilary’s relics was honored in a church in Limousin.[20] Alcuin mentions the veneration of the same at Poictiers;[21] and it is related that his relics were burned by the Huguenots at Poictiers.[22] But this we must understand of some small portion, or of the dust remaining in his tomb. For his remains were translated from Poictiers to the abbey of St. Denys, near Paris, as is proved by the tradition of that abbey, a writer of the abbey of Richenow, in the ninth century,[23] and other monuments.[24] Many miracles performed by St. Hilary are related by Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poictiers, and are the subject of a whole book added to his life, which seems to have been written by another Fortunatus. St. Gregory of Tours, Flodoard and others, have mentioned several wrought at his tomb. Dom Coutant, the most judicious and learned Maurist monk, has given an accurate edition of his works, in one volume in folio, at Paris, in 1693, which was reprinted at Verona by the Marquis Scipio Maffei, in 1730, together with additional comments on several Psalms.

St. Hilary observes, that singleness of heart is the most necessary condition of faith and true virtue, “For Christ teaches that only those who become again as it were little children, and by the simplicity of that age cut off the inordinate affections of vice, can enter the kingdom of heaven. These follow and obey their father, love their mother; are strangers to covetousness, ill-will, hatred, arrogance, and lying, and are inclined easily to believe what they hear. This disposition of affections opens the way to heaven. We must therefore return to the simplicity of little children, in which we shall bear some resemblance to our Lord’s humility.”25 This, in the language of the Holy Ghost, is called the foolishness of the cross of Christ,[26] in which consists true wisdom. That prudence of the flesh and worldly wisdom, which is the mother of self-sufficiency, pride, avarice, and vicious curiosity, the source of infidelity, and the declared enemy of the spirit of Christ, is banished by this holy simplicity; and in its stead are obtained true wisdom, which can only be found in a heart freed from the clouds of the passions, perfect prudence, which, as St. Thomas shows, is the fruit of the assemblage of all virtues, and a divine light which grace fails not to infuse This simplicity, which is the mother of Christian discretion, is a stranger to all artifice, design, and dissimulation, to all views or desires of self-interest, and to all undue respect or consideration of creatures. All its desires and views are reduced to this alone, of attaining to the perfect union with God. Unfeignedly to desire this one thing, to belong to God alone, to arrive at his pure love, and to do his will in all things, is that simplicity or singleness of heart of which we speak, and which banishes all inordinate affections of the heart, from which arise the most dangerous errors of the understanding. This is the essential disposition of every one who sincerely desires to live by the spirit of Christ. That divine spouse of souls, loves to communicate himself to such.[27] His conversation (or as another version has it, his secret) is with the simple.[28] His delight is in those who walk with simplicity.[29] This is the characteristic of all the saints:[30] whence the Holy Ghost cries out, Approach him not with a double heart.[31] That worldly wisdom is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be.[32] Its intoxication blinds men, and shuts their eyes to the light of divine revelation. They arrogate to themselves the exclusive privilege of learning and clear understanding but the skepticism, the pitiful inconsistencies, and monstrous extravagances, which characterize their writings and discourses, make us blush to see so strong an alliance of ignorance and presumption; and lament that the human mind should be capable of falling into a state of so deplorable degeneracy. Among the fathers of the church we admire men the most learned of their age, the most penetrating and most judicious, and at the same time the most holy and sincere; who, being endowed with true simplicity of heart, discovered in the mysteries of the cross the secrets of infinite wisdom which they made their study, and the rule of their actions.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2019, 10:16:52 AM »
Jan 15 ST. PAUL, THE FIRST HERMIT

[From his life, compiled by St. Jerom, in 365. Pope Gelasius[1]., in his learned Roman council. In 494, commends this authentic history. St. Paul is also mentioned by Cassian, St. Fulgentius, Sulpinus Severes Sidonius, Paulinus, In the life of St. Ambrose, &c. St. Jerom received this account from two disciple of St. Antony, Amathas and Macarius. St. Athanasius says, that he only wrote what he had heard from St. Antony’s own mouth, or from his disciples; and desires others to add what they know concerning his actions. On the various readings and MS. copies of this life, see the disquisition of F. Jer de Prato, an oratorlan of Verona, In his new edition of the works of Sulpitius Severus, t. 1. app. 2. p. 403. The Greek history of St. Paul the hermit, which Hollandus imagines St. Jerom to have followed, is evidently posterior; and horrows from him, as Jos. Assemanl shows. Comm. in Calend. Univ. t. 6. p. 82. See Gudij Epistolæ, p. 278.]

A. D. 342.

ELIAS and St. John the Baptist sanctified the deserts, and Jesus Christ himself was a model of the eremitical state during his forty days’ fast in the wilderness; neither is it to be questioned but the Holy Ghost conducted the saint of this day, though young, into the desert, and was to him an instructor there; but it is no less certain, that an entire solitude and total sequestration of one’s self from human society, is one of those extraordinary ways by which God leads souls to himself, and is more worthy of our admiration, than calculated for imitation and practice: it is a state which ought only to be embraced by such as are already well experienced in the practices of virtue and contemplation, and who can resist sloth and other temptations, lest, instead of being a help, it prove a snare and stumbling-block in their way to heaven.

This saint was a native of the Lower Thebais, in Egypt, and had lost both his parents when he was but fifteen years of age: nevertheless, he was a great proficient in the Greek and Egyptian learning, was mild and modest, and feared God from his earliest youth. The bloody persecution of Decius disturbed the peace of the church in 250; and what was most dreadful, Satan, by his ministers, sought not so much to kill the bodies, as by subtle artifices and tedious tortures to destroy the souls of men. Two instances are sufficient to show his malice in this respect: A soldier of Christ, who had already triumphed over the racks and tortures, had his whole body rubbed over with honey, and was then laid on his back in the sun, with his hands tied behind him, that the flies and wasps, which are quite intolerable in hot countries, might torment and gall him with their stings. Another was bound with silk cords on a bed of down, in a delightful garden, where a lascivious woman was employed to entice him to sin; the martyr, sensible of his danger, bit off part of his tongue and spit it in her face, that the horror of such an action might put her to flight, and the smart occasioned by it be a means to prevent, in his own heart, any manner of consent to carnal pleasure. During these times of danger, Paul kept himself concealed in the house of another; but finding that a brother-in-law was inclined to betray him, that he might enjoy his estate, he fled into the deserts. There he found many spacious caverns in a rock, which were said to have been the retreat of money-coiners in the days of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. He chose for his dwelling a case in this place, near which were a palm-tree* and a clear spring the former by its leaves furnished him with raiment, and by its fruit with food; and the latter supplied him with water for his drink.

Paul was twenty-two years old when he entered the desert. His first intention was to enjoy the liberty of serving God till the persecution should cease; but relishing the sweets of heavenly contemplation and penance, and learning the spiritual advantages of holy solitude, he resolved to return no more among men, or concern himself in the least with human affairs, and what passed in the world: it was enough for him to know that there was a world, and to pray that it might be improved in goodness. The saint lived on the fruit of his tree till he was forty-three years of age, and from that time till his death, like Elias, he was miraculously fed with bread brought him every day by a raven. His method of life, and what he did in this place during ninety years, is unknown to us: but God was pleased to make his servant known a little before his death.

The great St. Antony, who was then ninety years of age, was tempted to vanity, as if no one had served God so long in the wilderness as he had done, imagining himself also to be the first example of a life so recluse from human conversation: but the contrary was discovered to him in a dream the night following, and the saint was at the same time commanded, by Almighty God, to set out forthwith in quest of a perfect servant of his, concealed in the more remote parts of those deserts. The holy old man set out the next morning in search of the unknown hermit. St. Jerom relates from his authors, that he met a centaur, or creature not with the nature and properties, but with something of the mixed shape of man and horse,[1] and that this monster, or phantom of the devil, (St. Jerom pretends not to determine which it was,) upon his making the sign of the cross, fled away, after having pointed out the way to the saint. Our author adds, that St. Antony soon after met a satyr,* who gave him to understand that he was an inhabitant of those deserts, and one of that sort whom the deluded Gentiles adored for gods. St. Antony, after two days and a night spent in the search, discovered the saint’s abode by a light that was in it, which he made up to. Having long begged admittance at the door of his cell, St. Paul at last opened it with a smile: they embraced, called each other by their names, which they knew by divine revelation. St. Paul then inquired whether idolatry still reigned in the world. While they were discoursing together, a raven flew towards them, and dropped a loaf of bread before them. Upon which St. Paul said, “Our good God has sent us a dinner. In this manner have I received half a loaf every day these sixty years past; now you are come to see me, Christ has doubled his provision for his servants.” Having given thanks to God they both sat down by the fountain; but a little contest arose between them who should break the bread; St. Antony alleged St. Paul’s greater age, and St. Paul pleaded that Antony was the stranger: both agreed at last to take up their parts together. Having refreshed themselves at the spring, they spent the night in prayer. The next morning St. Paul told his guest that the time of his death approached, and that he was sent to bury him, adding “Go and fetch the cloak given you by St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, in which I desire you to wrap my body.” This he might say with the intent of being left alone in prayer, while he expected to be called out of this world; as also that he might testify his veneration for St. Athanasius, and his high regard for the faith and communion of the Catholic church, on account of which that holy bishop was then a great sufferer. St. Antony was surprised to hear him mention the cloak, which he could not have known but by divine revelation. Whatever was his motive for desiring to be buried in it. St. Antony acquiesced to what was asked of him: so, after mutual embraces, he hastened to his monastery to comply with St. Paul’s request He told his monks that he, a sinner, falsely bore the name of a servant of God, but that he had seen Elias and John the Baptist in the wilderness, even Paul in Paradise. Having taken the cloak, he returned with it in all haste, fearing lost the holy hermit might be dead, as it happened. While on his road, he saw his happy soul carried up to heaven, attended by choirs of angels, prophets, and apostles. St. Antony, though he rejoiced on St. Paul’s account, could not help lamenting on his own, for having lost a treasure so lately discovered. As soon as his sorrow would permit, he arose, pursued his journey, and came to the cave. Going in, he found the body kneeling, and the hands stretched out. Full of joy, and supposing him yet alive, he knelt down to pray with him, but by his silence soon perceived he was dead. Having paid his last respects to the holy corpse, he carried it out of the cave. While he stood perplexed how to dig a grave, two lions came up quietly, and, as it were, mourning; and tearing up the ground, made a hole large enough for the reception of a human body. St. Antony then buried the corpse, singing hymns and psalms, according to what was usual and appointed by the church on that occasion. After this he returned home praising God, and related to his monks what he had seen and done. He always kept as a great treasure, and wore himself on great festivals, the garment of St. Paul, of palm-tree leaves patched together. St. Paul died in the year of our Lord 342, the hundred and thirteenth year of his age, and the ninetieth of his solitude, and is usually called the first hermit, to distinguish him from others of that name. The body of this saint is said to have been conveyed to Constantinople, by the emperor Michael Comnenus, in the twelfth century. and from thence to Venice in 1240.2 Lewis I., king of Hungary, procured it from that republic, and deposited it at Buda, where a congregation of hermits under his name, which still subsists in Hungary, Poland, and Austria, was instituted by blessed Eusebius of Strigonium, a nobleman, who, having distributed his whole estate among the poor, retired into the forests; and being followed by others, built the monastery of Pisilia, under the rule of the regular canons of St. Austin. He died in that house, January the 20th, 1270.

St. Paul, the hermit, is commemorated in several ancient western Martyrologies on the 10th of January, but in the Roman on the 15th, on which he is honored in the anthologium of the Greeks.

An eminent contemplative draws the following portraiture of this great model of an eremitical life:[3] St. Paul, the hermit, not being called by God to the external duties of an active life, remained alone, conversing only with God, in a vast wilderness, for the space of near a hundred years, ignorant of all that passed in the world, both the progress of sciences, the establishment of religion, and the revolutions of states and empires; indifferent even as to those things without which he could not live, as the air which he breathed, the water he drank, and the miraculous bread with which he supported life. What did he do? say the inhabitants of this busy world, who think they could not live without being in a perpetual hurry of restless projects; what was his employment all this while? Alas! ought we not rather to put this question to them; what are you doing while you are not taken up in doing the will of God, which occupies the heavens and the earth in all their motions? Do you call that doing nothing which is the great end God proposed to himself in giving us a being, that is, to be employed in contemplating, adoring, and praising him? Is it to be idle and useless in the world to be entirely taken up in that which is the eternal occupation of God him self, and of the blessed inhabitants of heaven? What employment is better, more just, more sublime, or more advantageous than this, when done in suit able circumstances? To be employed in any thing else, how great or noble soever it may appear in the eyes of men, unless it be referred to God, and be the accomplishment of his holy will, who in all our actions demands out heart more than our hand, what is it, but to turn ourselves away from our end, to lose our time, and voluntarily to return again to that state of nothing out of which we were formed, or rather into a far worse state?
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

  • Glory to God in the Highest Heaven, and Peace to His people on Earth of good will.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2019, 01:15:43 AM »
Jan 16 ST. MARCELLUS, POPE, M.

[See the epitaph of eight verses, composed for this Pope, by St. Damasus, carm. 26, and Tillemont, t. 5]

A. D. 310.

ST. MARCELLUS was priest under pope Marcellinus. whom he succeeded in 308, after that see had been vacant for three years and a half. An epitaph written on him by pope Damasus, who also mentions himself in it, says, that by enforcing the canons of holy penance, he drew upon himself the contradictions and persecutions of many tepid and refractory Christians, and that for his severity against a certain apostate, he was banished by the tyrant Maxentius.[1] He died in 310, having sat one year, seven months, and twenty days. Anastatius writes, that Lucina, a devout widow of one Pinianus, who lodged St. Marcellus when he lived in Rome, after his death converted her house into a church, which she called by his name. His false acts relate, that among his other sufferings, he was condemned by the yrant to keep cattle in this place. He is styled a martyr in the sacramentaries of Gelasius I. and St. Gregory, and in the Martyrologies ascribed to St. Jerom and Bede, which, with the rest of the Western calendars, mention his feast on the sixteenth of January. His body lies under the high altar in the ancient church, which bears his name, and gives title to a cardinal in Rome; but certain portions of his relics are honored at Clum, Namur, Mons, &c.

God is most wonderful in the whole economy of his holy providence over his elect: his power and wisdom are exalted infinitely above the understanding of creatures, and we are obliged to cry out, “Who can search his ways:”2 We have not penetration to discover all the causes and ends of exterior things which we see or feel. How much less can we understand this in secret and interior things, which fall not under our senses? “Remember that thou knowest not his work. Behold he is a great God, surpassing our understanding.”3 How does he make every thing serve his purposes for the sanctification of his servants! By how many ways does he conduct them to eternal glory! Some he sanctifies on thrones; others in cottages; others in retired cells and deserts; others in the various functions of an apostolic life, and in the government of his church. And how wonderfully does he ordain and direct all human events to their spiritual advancement, both in prosperity and in adversity! In their persecutions and trials, especially, we shall discover at the last day, when the secrets of his providence will be manifested to us, the tenderness of his infinite love, the depth of his unsearchable wisdom, and the extent of his omnipotent power. In all his appointments let us adore these his attributes, earnestly imploring his grace, that according to the designs of his mercy, we may make every thing, especially all afflictions, serve for the exercise and improvement of our 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: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

  • Glory to God in the Highest Heaven, and Peace to His people on Earth of good will.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2019, 08:05:19 AM »
Jan 17 ST. ANTONY, ABBOT PATRIARCH OF MONKS

[From his life, compiled by the great St. Athanasius, vol. 2. p. 743, a work much commended by St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Jerom. St. Austin, Rufinus, Palladins. &c. St. Chrysostom recommends to all persons the reading of this pious history, as full of instruction and edification. Hom. 8. in Matt t. 7. p. 128 I contributed to the conversion of St. Austin. Confess. 1. 8, c. 6 and 28. See Tillemont, t. 7, Helyot. t. 1 Stevens. Addit. Mon. Anglic. t. 1, Ceillier, &c.]

A. D. 356.

ST. ANTONY was born at Coma, a village near Heraclea, or Great Heracleopolis, in Upper Egypt, on the borders of Arcadia, or Middle Egypt, in 251. His parents, who were Christians, and rich, to prevent his being tainted by bad example and vicious conversation, kept him always at home; so that he grew up unacquainted with any branch of human literature, and could read no language but his own.* He was remarkable from his childhood for his temperance, a close attendance on church duties, and a punctual obedience to his parents. By their death he found himself possessed of a very considerable estate, and charged with the care of a younger sister, before he was twenty years of age. Near six months after, he heard read in the church those words of Christ to the rich young man: Go sell what thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven[1] He considered these words as addressed to himself; going home, he made over to his neighbors three hundred aruras,† that is, above one hundred and twenty acres of good land, that he and his sister might be free forever from all public taxes and burdens. The rest of his estate he sold, and gave the price to the poor, except what he thought necessary for himself and his sister. Soon after, hearing in the church those other words of Christ; Be not solicitous for to-morrow;[2] he also distributed in alms the moveables which he had reserved; and placed his sister in a house of virgins,‡ which most moderns take to be the first instance mentioned in history of a nunnery. She was afterwards intrusted with the care and direction of others in that holy way of life. Antony himself retired into a solitude, near his village, in imitation of a certain old man, who led the life of a hermit in the neighborhood of Coma. Manual labor, prayer, and pious reading, were his whole occupation: and such was his fervor, that if he heard of any virtuous recluse, he sought him out, and endeavored to make the best advantage of his example and instructions. He saw nothing practised by any other in the service of God, which he did not imitate; thus he soon became a perfect model of humility, Christian condescension, charity, prayer, and all virtues.

The devil assailed him by various temptations; first, he represented to him divers good works he might have been able to do with his estate in the world, and the difficulties of his present condition: a common artifice of the enemy, whereby he strives to make a soul slothful or dissatisfied in her vocation, in which God expects to be glorified by her. Being discovered and repulsed by the young novice, he varied his method of attack, and an noyed him night and day with filthy thoughts and obscene imaginations. Antony opposed to his assaults the strictest watchfulness over his senses, austere fasts, humility, and prayer, till Satan, appearing in a visible form, first of a woman coming to seduce him, then of a black boy to terrify him, at length confessed himself vanquished. The saint’s food was only bread, with a little salt, and he drank nothing but water; he never ate before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, or four days: he lay on a rush mat, or on the bare floor. In quest of a more remote solitude he withdrew further from Coma, and hid himself in an old sepulchre; whither a friend brought him from time to time a little bread. Satan was here again permitted to assault him in a visible manner, to terrify him with dismal noises; and once he so grievously beat him, that he lay almost dead, covered with bruises and wounds; and in this condition he was one day found by his friend, who visited him from time to time to supply him with bread, during all the time he lived in the ruinous sepulchre. When he began to come to himself, though not yet able to stand, he cried out to the devils, while he yet lay on the floor, “Behold! here I am; do all you are able against me: nothing shall ever separate me from Christ my Lord.” Hereupon the fiends appearing again, renewed the attack, and alarmed him with terrible clamors, and a variety of spectres, in hideous shapes of the most frightful wild beasts, which they assumed to dismay and terrify him; till a ray of heavenly light breaking in upon him, chased them away, and caused him to cry out: “Where was thou, my Lord and my Master? Why wast thou not here, from the beginning of my conflict, to assuage my pains!” A voice answered: “Antony, I was here the whole time; I stood by thee, and beheld thy combat: and because thou hast manfully withstood thine enemies, I will always protect thee, and will render thy name famous throughout the earth.” At these words the saint arose, much cheered, and strengthened, to pray and return thanks to his deliverer. Hitherto the saint, ever since his retreat, in 272, had lived in solitary places not very far from his village; and St. Athanasius observes, that before him many fervent persons led retired lives in penance and contemplation, near the towns; others remaining in the towns imitated the same manner of life. Both were called ascetics, from their being entirely devoted to the most perfect exercises of mortification and prayer, according to the import of the Greek word. Before St. Athanasius, we find frequent mention made of such ascetics: and Origen, about the year 2493, says they always abstained from flesh, no less than the disciples of Pythagoras. Eusebius tells us that St. Peter of Alexandria practised austerities equal to those of the ascetics; he says the same of Pamphilus; and St. Jerom uses the same expression of Pierius. St. Antony had led this manner of life near Coma, till resolving to withdraw into the deserts about the year 285, the thirty-fifth of his age, he crossed the eastern branch of the Nile, and took up his abode in the ruins of an old castle on the top of the mountains; in which close solitude he lived almost twenty years, very rarely seeing any man, except one who brought him bread every six months.

To satisfy the importunities of others, about the year 305, the fifty-fifth of his age, he came down from his mountain, and founded his first monastery at Phaium.* The dissipation occasioned by this undertaking led him into: temptation of despair, which he overcame by prayer and hard manual labor in this new manner of life his daily refection was six ounces of bread soaked in water, with a little salt; to which he sometimes added a few dates. He look it generally after sunset, but on some days at three o’clock; and in his old age he added a little oil. Sometimes he ate only once in three or four days. yet appeared vigorous, and always cheerful: strangers knew him from among his disciples by the joy which was always painted on his countenance, resulting from the inward peace and composure of his soul. Retirement in his cell was his delight, and divine contemplation and prayer his perpetual occupation. Coming to take his refection, he often burst into tears, and was obliged to leave his brethren and the table without touching any nourishment, reflecting on the employment of the blessed spirits in heaven, who praise God without ceasing.[4] He exhorted his brethren to allot the least time they possibly could to the care of the body. Notwithstanding which, he was very careful never to place perfection in mortification, as Cassian observes, but in charity, in which it was his whole study continually to improve his soul. His under garment was sackcloth, over which he wore a white coat of sheepskin, with a girdle. He instructed his monks to have eternity always present to their minds, and to reflect every morning that perhaps they might not live till night, and every evening that perhaps they might never see the morning; and to perform every action, as if it were the last of their lives, with all the fervor of their souls to please God. He often exhorted them to watch against temptations, and to resist the devil with vigor: and spoke admirably of his weakness, saying: “He dreads fasting, prayer, humility, and good works: he is not able even to stop my mouth who speak against him. The illusions of the devil soon vanish, especially if a man arms himself with the sign of the cross.[5] The devils tremble at the sign of the cross of our Lord, by which he triumphed over and disarmed them.”6 He told them in what manner the fiend in his rage had assaulted him by visible phantoms, but that these disappeared while he persevered in prayer. He told them, that once when the devil appeared to him in glory, and said, “Ask what you please; I am the power of God:” he invoked the holy name of Jesus, and he vanished. Maximinus renewed the persecution in 311; St. Antony, hoping to receive the crown of martyrdom, went to Alexandria, served and encouraged the martyrs in the mines and dungeons, before the tribunals, and at the places of execution. He publicly wore his white monastic habit, and appeared in the sight of the governor; yet took care never presumptuously to provoke the judges, of impeach himself, as some rashly did. In 312 the persecution being abated, he returned to his monastery, and immured himself in his cell. Some time after he built another monastery, called Pispir, near the Nile; but he chose, for the most part, to shut himself up in a remote cell upon a mountain of difficult access, with Macarius, a disciple, who entertained strangers. If he found them to be Hierosolymites, or spiritual men, St. Antony himself sat with them in discourse; if Egyptians, (by which name they mean worldly persons,) then Macarius entertained them, and St. Antony only appeared to give them a short exhortation. Once the saint saw in a vision the whole earth covered so thick with snares, that it seemed scarce possible to set down a foot without falling into them. At this sight he cried out, trembling: “Who, O Lord, can escape them all?” A voice answered him: “Humility, O Antony!”7 St. Antony always looked upon himself as the least and the very outcast of mankind; he listened to the advice of every one, and professed that he received benefit from that of the meanest person. He cultivated and pruned a little garden on his desert mountain, that he might have herbs always at hand to present a refreshment to those who, on coming to see him, were always weary by travelling over a vast wilderness and inhospitable mountain, as St. Athanasius mentions. This tillage was not the only manual labor in which St. Antony employed himself. The same venerable author speaks of his making mats as an ordinary occupation. We are told that he once fell into dejection, finding uninterrupted contemplation above his strength; but was taught to apply himself at intervals to manual labor, by a vision of an angel who appeared platting mats of palm-tree leaves, when rising to pray, and after some time sitting down again to work; and who at length said to him, “Do thus, and thou shalt be saved.”8 But St. Athanasius informs us, that our saint continued in some degree to pray while he was at work. He watched great part of the nights in heavenly contemplation; and sometimes, when the rising sun called him to his daily tasks, he complained that its visible light robbed him of the greater interior light which he enjoyed, and interrupted his close application and solitude.[9] He always rose after a short sleep at midnight, and continued in prayer on his knees with his hands lifted up to heaven till sunrise, and sometimes till three in the afternoon, as Palladius relates in his Lausiac history.

St. Antony, in the year 339, saw in a vision, under the figure of mules kicking down the altar, the havoc which the Arian persecution made two years after in Alexandria, and clearly foretold it, as St. Athanasius, St. Jerom, and St. Chrysostom assure us.[10] He would not speak to a heretic, unless to exhort him to the true faith; and he drove all such from his mountain, calling them venomous serpents.[11] At the request of the bishops, about the year 355, he took a journey to Alexandria, to confound the Arians preaching aloud in that city, that God the Son is not a creature, but of the same substance with the Father; and that the impious Arians, who called him a creature, did not differ from the heathens themselves, who worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. All the people ran to see him, and rejoiced to hear him; even the pagans, struck with the dignity of his character, flocked to him; saying, “We desire to see the man of God.” He converted many, and wrought several miracles: St. Athanasius conducted him back as far as the gates of the city, where he cured a girl possessed by the devil. Being desired by the duke or general of Egypt, to make a longer stay in the city than he had proposed, he answered: “As fish die if they leave the water, so does a monk if he forsakes his solitude.”12

St. Jerom and Rufin relate, that at Alexandria he met with the famous Didymus. and told him that he ought not to regret much the loss of eyes, which were common to ants and flies, out to rejoice in the treasure of that interior light which the apostles enjoyed, and by which we see God, and kindle the fire of his love in our souls. Heathen philosophers, and others, often went to dispute with him, and always returned much astonished at his humility, meekness, sanctity, and extraordinary wisdom. He admirably proved to them the truth and security of the Christian religion, and confirmed it by miracles. “We,” said he, “only by naming Jesus Christ crucified, put to flight those devils which you adore as gods; and where the sign of the cross is formed, magic and charms lose their power.” At the end of this discourse he invoked Christ, and signed with the cross twice or thrice several persons possessed with devils; in the same moment they stood up sound, and in their senses, giving thanks to God for his mercy in their regard.[13] When certain philosophers asked him how he could spend his time in solitude, without the pleasure of reading books, he replied, that nature was his great book, and amply supplied the want of others. When others, despising him as an illiterate man, came with the design to ridicule his ignorance, he asked them with great simplicity, which was first, reason or learning, and which had produced the other? The philosophers answered, “Reason, or good sense.” “This, then,” said Antony, “suffices.” The philosophers went away astonished at the wisdom and dignity with which he prevented their objections. Some others demanding a reason of his faith in Christ, on purpose to insult it, he put them to silence by showing that they degraded the notion of the divinity, by ascribing to it infamous human passions, but that the humiliation of the cross is the greatest demonstration of infinite goodness, and its ignominy appears the highest glory, by the triumphant resurrection, the miraculous raising of the dead, and curing of the blind and the sick. He then admirably proved, that faith in God and his works is more clear and satisfactory than the sophistry of the Greeks. St. Athanasius mentions that he disputed with these Greeks by an interpreter.[14] Our holy author assures us, that no one visited St. Antony under any affliction and sadness, who did not return home full of comfort and joy; and he relates many miraculous cures wrought by him, also several heavenly visions and revelations with which he was favored. Belacius, the duke or general of Egypt, persecuting the Catholics with extreme fury, St. Antony, by a letter, exhorted him to leave the servants of Christ in peace. Belacius tore the letter, then spit and trampled upon it, and threatened to make the abbot the next victim of his fury; but five days after, as he was riding with Nestorius, governor of Egypt, their horses began to play and prance, and the governor’s horse, though otherwise remarkably tame, by justling, threw Belacius from his horse, and by biting his thigh, tore it in such a manner that the general died miserably on the third day.[15] About the year 337, Constantine the Great, and his two sons, Constantius and Constans, wrote a joint letter to the saint; recommending themselves to his prayers, and desiring an answer St. Antony seeing his monks surprised, said, without being moved: “Do not wonder that the emperor writes to us, one man to another; rather admire that God should have wrote to us, and that he has spoken to us by his Son.” He said he knew not how to answer it: at last, through the importunity of his disciples, he penned a letter to the emperor and his sons, which St. Athanasius has preserved; and in which he exhorts them to the contempt of the world, and the constant remembrance of the judgment to come. St. Jerom mentions seven other letters of St. Antony, to divers monasteries, written in the style of the apostles, and filled with their maxims: several monasteries of Egypt possess them in the original Egyptian language. We have them in an obscure, imperfect, Latin translation from the Greek.* He inculcates perpetual watchfulness against temptations, prayer, mortification, and humility.[16] He observes, that as the devil fell by pride, so he assaults virtue in us principally by that temptation.[17] A maxim which he frequently repeats is, that the knowledge of ourselves is the necessary and only step by which we can ascend to the knowledge and love of God. The Bollandists[18] give us a short letter of St. Antony to St. Theodorus, abbot of Tabenna, in which he says that God had assured him in a revelation, that he showed mercy to all true adorers of Jesus Christ, though they should have fallen, if they sincerely repented of their sin. No ancients mention any monastic rule written by St. Antony.† His example and instructions have been the most perfect rule for the monastic life to all succeeding ages. It is related[19] that St. Antony, hearing his disciples express their surprise at the great multitudes who embraced a monastic life, and applied themselves with incredible ardor to the most austere practices of virtue, told them with tears, that the time would come when monks would be fond of living in cities and stately buildings, and of eating at dainty tables, and be only distinguished front persons of the world by their habit; but that still, some among them would arise to the spirit of true perfection, whose crown would be so much the greater, as their virtue would be more difficult, amid the contagion of bad example. In the discourses which this saint made to his monks, a rigorous self-examination upon all their actions, every evening, was a practice which he strongly inculcated.[20] In an excellent sermon which he made to his disciples, recorded by St. Athanasius,[21] he pathetically exhorts them to contemn the whole world for heaven, to spend every day as if they knew it to be the last of their lives, having death always before their eyes, continually to advance in fervor, and to be always armed against the assaults of Satan, whose weakness he shows at length. He extols the efficacy of the sign of the cross in chasing him, and dissipating his illusions, and lays down rules for the discernment of spirits, the first of which is, that the devn leaves on the soul impressions of fear, sadness, confusion, and disturbance.

St. Antony performed the visitation of his monks a little before his death, which he foretold them with his last instructions; but no tears could move him to die among them. It appears from St. Athanasius, that the Christians had learned from the pagans their custom of embalming the bodies of the dead, which abuse, as proceeding from vanity and sometimes superstition, St. Antony had often condemned: this he would prevent, and ordered that his body should be buried in the earth, as the patriarchs were, and privately, on his mountain, by his two disciples Macarius and Amathas, who had remained with him the last fifteen years, to serve him in his remote cell in his old age. He hastened back to that solitude, and some time after fell sick: he repeated to these two disciples his orders for their burying his body secretly in that place, adding; “In the day of the resurrection, I shall receive it incorruptible from the hand of Christ.” He ordered them to give one of his sheep-skins, with a cloak* in which he lay, to the bishop Athanasius, as a public testimony of his being united in faith and communion with that holy prelate; to give his other sheep-skin to the bishop Serapion; and to keep for themselves his sackcloth. He added; “Farewell, my children, Antony is departing, and will be no longer with you.” At these words they embraced him, and he, stretching out his feet, without any other sign calmly ceased to breathe. His death happened in the year 356, probably on the 17th of January, on which the most ancient Martyrologies name him, and which the Greek empire kept as a holyday soon after his death. He was one hundred and five years old. From his youth to that extreme old age, he always maintained the same fervor in his holy exercises: age to the last never made him change his diet (except in the use of a little oil) nor his manner of clothing; yet he lived without sickness, his sight was not impaired, his teeth were only worn, and not one was lost or loosened. The two disciples interred him according to his directions. About the year 561, his body† was discovered, in the reign of Justinian, and with great solemnity translated to Alexandria, thence it was removed to Constantinople, and is now at Vienne in France. Bollandus gives us an account of many miracles wrought by his intercession; particularly in what manner the distemper called the Sacred Fire, since that time St. Antony’s Fire, miraculously ceased through his patronage, when it raged violently in many parts of Europe, in the eleventh century.

A most sublime gift of heavenly contemplation and prayer was the fruit of this great saint’s holy retirement. Whole nights seemed to him short in those exercises, and when the rising sun in the morning seemed to him too soon to call him from his knees to his manual labor, or other employments, he would lament that the incomparable sweetness which he enjoyed, in the more perfect freedom with which his heart was taken up in heavenly contemplation in the silent watching of the night, should be interrupted or abated. But the foundation of his most ardent charity, and that sublime contemplation by which his soul soared in noble and lofty flights above all earthly things, was laid in the purity and disengagement of his affections, the contempt of the world, a most profound humility, and the universal mortification of his senses and of the powers of his soul. Hence flowed that constant tranquillity and serenity of his mind, which was the best proof of a perfect mastery of his passions. St. Athanasius observes of him, that after thirty years spent in the closest solitude, “he appeared not to others with a sullen or savage, but with a most obliging sociable air.”22 A heart that is filled with inward peace, simplicity, goodness, and charity, is a stranger to a lowering or contracted look. The main point in Christian mortification is the humiliation of the heart, one of its principal ends being the subduing of the passions. Hence, true virtue always increases the sweetness and gentleness of the mind, though this is attended with an invincible constancy, and an inflexible firmness in every point of duty. That devotion or self-denial is false or defective which betrays us into pride or uncharitableness; and whatever makes us sour, morose, or peevish, makes us certainly worse, and instead of begetting in us a nearer resemblance of the divine nature, gives us a strong tincture of the temper of devils.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

  • Glory to God in the Highest Heaven, and Peace to His people on Earth of good will.
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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2019, 08:15:09 AM »
Jan 18 ST. PETER’S CHAIR AT ROME

[See Phæbens, de Cathedra in qua S. Petrus Romæ sedit, et de antiquitate et prætantià solemntails Cathedra Romanæ. Romæ, 1668, 8vo.; also Chatelan, Notes on the Martyrology, p. 326.]

ST. PETER, having triumphed over the devil in the East, was pursued by him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid, now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy. for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his Episcopal chair, whose successors the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his preaching, is expressly asserted by Caius.[1] a priest of Rome under pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican-hill, and that of his fellow-laborer, St. Paul, on the Ostian road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dioaysius,[2] bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenæus,[3] who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome “The greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glarious apostles, Peter and Paul.” Eusebius, in several places,[4] mentions St. Peter’s being at Rome, and the several important transactions of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen,[5] Hegesippus,[6] Arnobius,[7] St. Ambrose,[8] St. Austin,[9] St. Jerom,[10] St. Optatus,[11] Orosius,[12] and others on the same subject.* St. Cyprian[13] calls Rome the chair of St. Peter, (as Theodoret[14] calls it his throne,) which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age, and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero, are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries, who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth, in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges, which that church enjoyed from those early ages, in consequence of this title.

It was an ancient custom, as cardinal Baronius[15] and Themassin[16] show by many examples, observed by churches, to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerom, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of Catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.

Christ as taught us the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honor and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbor, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his creatures, and that he be glorified in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we must earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints (1903): Daily devotional.
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 10:03:48 AM »
Jan 19 SS. MARIS, MARTHA, AUDIFAX, AND ABACHUM MM.

[Abridged from their acts, concerning which see Bollandus, who allows them, Tillem. t. 4, p. 673; and Chatelain, notes, p. 339.]

A. D. 270.

MARIS, a nobleman of Persia, with his wife Martha, and two sons, Audifax and Abachum, being converted to the faith, distributed his fortune among the poor, as the primitive Christians did at Jerusalem, and came to Rome to visit the tombs of the apostles. The emperor Aurelian then persecuted the church, and by his order a great number of Christians were shut up in the amphitheatre, and shot to death with arrows, and their bodies burnt. Our saints gathered and buried their ashes with respect; for which they were apprehended, and after many torments under the governor Marcianus, Maris and his two sons were beheaded; and Martha drowned, thirteen miles from Rome, at a place now called Santa Ninfa.* Their relics were found at Rome in 1590. They are mentioned with distinction in all the western Martyrologies from the sacramentary of St. Gregory. Their relics are kept principally at Rome; part in the church of St. Adrian, part in that of St. Charles, and in that of St. John of Calybite. Eginhart, son-in-law and secretary of Charlemagne, deposited a portion of these relics, which had been sent him from Rome, in the abbey of Selghenstadt, of which he was the founder, in the diocese of Mentz.

The martyrs and confessors triumphed over the devil by prayer; by this, poor and weak as they were, they were rendered invincible, by engaging Omnipotence itself to be their comfort, strength, and protection. If the art of praying well be the art of living well, according to the received maxim of the fathers and masters of a spiritual life,† nothing is certainly of greater importance, than for us to learn this heavenly art of conversing with God in the manner we ought. We admire the wonderful effects which this exercise produced in the saints, who by it were disengaged from earthly ties and made spiritual and heavenly, perfect angels on earth; but we experience nothing of this in ourselves. Prayer was in them the channel of all graces, the means of attaining all virtues, and all the treasures of heaven. In us it is fruitless: the reason is plain; for the promises of Christ cannot fail: “we ask, and receive not, because we ask amiss.”
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Inflamed in Large Letters of Love, you will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).