"Holy Communion is the shortest and
safest way to Heaven." --Saint Pope Pius
ON THIS PAGE:
SAINT OF THE DAY
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FOR TODAY
POPE FRANCIS PRAYER INTENTIONS
SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND
IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
The Litany of Mary
Our Lady of Good Remedy Prayer
Prayers for the Day
Saint Peter of Alcantara
Prayer to Our Lady Untier of Knots
Litany of Saint Joseph
America's Sin of Abortion
Blessings of the Rosary
Blessings of Daily Mass
Chaplet of Saint Michael
Purpose of this Web Site
Overcoming difficulties at Work/Home
Intercession of Two Great Popes
Prayer to the Precious Blood
SACRED HEART OF
DAILY PRAYER TO
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Sacred Heart of Jesus
today I wish to live in You,
in Your grace,
in which I desire at all costs to persevere.
Keep me from sin
and strengthen my will by helping me to keep watch over my senses,
my imagination, and my heart.
Help me to correct my faults which are the source of sin.
I beg You to do this,
O Jesus, through Mary,
Your Immaculate Mother.
MASS READINGS FOR TODAY
Friday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary
2nd book of Kings
Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to
kill off the whole royal family.
But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took
Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the
bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. She concealed him from
Athaliah, and so he did not die.
For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the LORD, while
Athaliah ruled the land.
But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians
and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the LORD,
exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king's
The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with
his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath and those going off
duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest.
He gave the captains King David's spears and shields, which were in the
temple of the LORD.
And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the
northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on
the king's behalf.
Then Jehoiada led out the king's son and put the crown and the insignia
upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their
hands and shouting, "Long live the king!"
Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in
the temple of the LORD.
When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the
captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land
rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out,
Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the
force: "Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her," he
added, "let him die by the sword." He had given orders that she should
not be slain in the temple of the LORD.
She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where
she was put to death.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king
and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD'S people;
and another covenant, between the king and the people.
Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and
demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew
Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. After appointing a
detachment for the temple of the LORD, Jehoiada
All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that
Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace.
LORD swore to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
"Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne."
"If your sons keep my covenant
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne."
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He prefers her for his dwelling.
"Zion is my resting place forever;
In her will I dwell, for I prefer her."
"In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David;
I will place a lamp for my anointed.
his enemies I will clothe with shame,
but upon him my crown shall shine."
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew
said to his disciples: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on
earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys,
nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body
will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the
light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be."
SAINT FOR TODAY|
SAINT PAULINUS OF NOLA.
PAULINUS was of a family which boasted of a long
line of senators, prefects, and consuls. He was educated with great care, and
his genius and eloquence, in prose and verse, were the admiration of St. Jerome
and St. Augustine. He had more than doubled his wealth by marriage, and was one
of the foremost men of his time. Though he was the chosen friend of Saints, and
had a great devotion to St. Felix of Nola, he was still only a catechumen,
trying to serve two masters. But God drew him to Himself along the way of
sorrows and trials. He received baptism, withdrew into Spain to be alone, and
then, in consort with his holy wife, sold all their vast estates in various
parts of the empire, distributing their proceeds so prudently that St. Jerome
says East and West were filled with his alms. He was then ordained priest, and
retired to Nola in Campania. There he rebuilt the Church
of St. Felix with great magnificence, and
served it night and day, living a life of extreme abstinence and toil. In 409 he
was chosen bishop, and for more than thirty years so ruled as to be conspicuous
in an age blessed with many great and wise bishops. St. Gregory the Great tells
us that when the Vandals of
Africa had made
a descent on Campania,
Paulinus spent all he had in relieving
the distress of his people and redeeming them from slavery. At last there came a
poor widow; her only son had been carried off by the son-in-law of the Vandal
king. " Such as I have I give thee," said the Saint to her; "we will go to
Africa, and I will give myself for your son." Having overborne her
resistance, they went, and Paulinus was accepted in place of the widow's
and employed as gardener.
After a time the king found out, by divine interposition, that his son-in-law's
slave was the great Bishop of Nola. He at once set him free, granting him also
the freedom of all the townsmen of Nola who
in slavery. One who knew him
well says he was meek as Moses, priestlike as Aaron, innocent as Samuel, tender
as David, wise as Solomon, apostolic as
Peter, loving as John
cautious as Thomas, keen-sighted as Stephen, fervent as Apollos. He died
REFLECTION."Go to Campania,"
Augustine ; "there study Paulinus, that choice
servant of God. With what generosity, with what still greater humility, he has
flung from him the burden of this world's grandeurs to take on him the yoke of
Christ, and in His service how serene and unobtrusive his life !"
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: SAINT PAULINUS, PLEASE PRAY FOR US TODAY [SAY YOUR
SAINT JOHN FISHER, CARDINAL OF ENGLAND, MARTYR
FEAST DAY: JUNE 22ND
John Fisher was born at Beverly, in
Yorkshire, England. At the age of twenty-two, he was ordained a
priest at Cambridge. In 1501 he became the vice-chancelllor and in 1504
the chancelor in England. He was appointed the bishop of Rochester.
He opposed the spreading of the Protestant faith through his writings which
included a work on the Real Presence of the Eucharist, Assertio Septem
Sacramentorum which is wrote in 1521. In 1529. he became the counselor
to Queen Catherine of Aragon, who he assisted in opposing King Henry's divorce
from Catherine. For his opposition to King Henry, he was imprisoned in the
tower of London, at which time Pope Paul III named him a cardinal in the
Catholic Church of England. After ten months in prison in the tower of
England, John was put on trial for opposing the King and was sentenced to death
by beheading. He was joined by Saint Thomas More in their opposition to
King Henry's break from the Catholic Church and its teaching. He was
canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: SAINT JOHN
FISHER, PRAY FOR US TODAY [SAY YOUR PRAYER
FEAST DAY: JUNE 22ND
Thomas was born in London on
February 6, 1478 to his father John More, who was a lawyer and a judge. he
attended Oxford University. He studied law at Lincoln's Inn. He
became a lawyer in 1501 and three years later entered into Parliament. He
entered into a number of important government positions which eventually led him
to become the Chancellor of England in 1529. He was known as a great
intellectual and wrote the book, Utopia, along with many other notable
works. He opposed King Henry VIII attempt to divorce his wife as Henry
went around the Catholic Church in order to obtain his divorce. Thomas
More resigned his position as Chancellor and went in exile to his estate in
Chelsea isolated from the King's officials. For his opposition, King
Henry's men had him sent to the Tower of London on April 17, 1534. He was
there until July 1535, when he was tried and condemned for treason. He was
beheaded on July 6, 1535. Sir Thomas More's last words were "the King's
good servant, but God's first." Thomas was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo
XIII and was canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Ask
Saint Thomas More to assist you with your needs today. Saint Thomas More,
pray for (prayer request).
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM BUTLER'S LIVES OF
SIR THOMAS MORE, MARTYR1
FEAST DAY: JUNE 22ND
It has been said that it was not until the beginning of the last century that
English historians began to write sympathetically about the Maid of Orleans. But
with respect to this, the best loved of all the English Martyrs, there does not
seem to have ever been among our separated brethren a disposition to do
anything else than to refer with admiration, and even affection, to the life of
the great Lord Chancellor and victim of Henry VIII. Even the mordant Swift
classed him as one of A sextumvirate to which all the ages of the world cannot
add a seventh ! 2 The cosmopolitan and somewhat cynical circle of Holland
House, re-echoed his praise as it came from the pen and occasionally the lips of
his great biographer, Sir James Mackintosh. Macaulay and Cobbett regarded the
Sage and Martyr of the Tudor reign of Terror as himself a powerful argument for
Catholicism, as indeed he is, and his memory, like that of all which is great
and unique, does but enhance with time.
Sir Thomas More was born at Milk Street, Cheapside, London, on 7th February,
1478, the only surviving son of Sir John More, afterwards one of the Judges of
the Kings Bench. It is related that the mother of the future Chancellor saw
before his birth a sort of vision of her illustrious son, bright with splendour!
After a preliminary education at St Anthonys School, Threadneedle Street, young
More went as page of honour to Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Mazarin-like minister of Henry VII, and one of the builders of that Tudor
despotism which was under the next reign to transform the largely free realm of
England into a western Sultanate! Before More entered Canterbury College, Oxford
(since merged into Christ Church), the Red Fox of Lambeth Palace had
foretold the future distinction of his young servitor. At Oxford, More learned
Greek from Thomas Linacre who in 1517 was to found the College of Physicians.
He also perfected himself in Latin, and soon wrote it in the best style of the
fast rising Ciceronianism, which was not the least of the literary
achievements of the Renaissance. In 1494, More, according to a custom in vogue,
entered New Inn as preliminary to becoming a student at Lincolns Inn two years
later.ฎ The young legal tyro studied hard, and followed all the moots which
then formed part of the forensic curriculum and was called to the Bar before the
usual time. He then lectured at Furnivals Irin and so !
satisfactorily, that he was requested to do so for three years in succession.
1 Declared Blessed by Leo XIII, December 29, 1886.
2 A Voyage to Laputa, chap. vii., end.
3 New Inn was one of the ten lesser Inns of Chancery, which served as
preparatory schools for the Inns of Court up to the end of the sixteenth
century. Sir Thomas More, therefore, must have been among the last of the great
alumni of these institutions. New Inn was also known as the Inn of Our Lady, from her picture over the entrance. It was
a very flourishing place, and was governed by a Treasurer and twelve Ancients,
under the general superintendence of the Middle Temple. Like the adjoining Wych
Street, it was pulled down about 1900, by the County Council, for the widening
of the Strandan improvement very dearly bought by the sacrifice of these
two picturesque and historical bits of bygone London!
The young barrister seems about this time to have passed through a trying
experience spiritually, for he seriously thought of relinquishing his profession
and becoming a Carthusian. He spent much of his vacation time at the
Charterhouse, then under the government of the Saintly Prior Tynbergh. The
phase, however, passed, and, in 1505, he married Joan Colte, of Newhall, Essex,
by which happy union he had three daughters and one son. Mrs More died in 1509,
and very shortly after her death he married again, this time a widow lady, Alice
Middleton, seven years older than himself, who, however, proved an excellent
wife to him, and a kind stepmother to his young children.
Meantime More was rapidly rising at the Bar, his practice soon brought him in
about ฃ5000 a year in present currency. He found time for visits to the
Universities of Paris and Louvain, and for correspondence with European scholars
like Erasmus, whose friendship he possessed for life. The great Dutchman
dedicated to him his Moriee Encomium (Praise of Folly), a satire on the
ecclesiastical abuses of the day, and a sort of learned play on Mores own name
and noted love of jesting. The serious side of Mores character, as far as
public life was concerned, was shown in 1504, when as Member of Parliament, he
strenuously opposed a grant of jฃ 113,000 demanded by the King (Henry VII) for
the marriage of his daughter Margaret with the King of Scots, James IV. As His
Majestys treasury was literally bursting with millions, wrung or cajoled from
his subjects in various ways, Mores opposition to this preposterous request was
a fine piece of patriotism and it was happily successful. In 1515, More, now
Sheriff of London, went to Flanders as representative of the City Merchants in a
mercantile dispute with their Hanse towns brethren of the Steel-Yard. It was
during this episode that he wrote his Utopia, published in 1516. Though many of
the notions represented in the ideal Republic are truly prophetic, much that its
author described about religion and other matters must not be taken seriously.
The work was originally in Latin and intended only for the learned and mature.
It was translated into English by Raphe Robynson, 1551.
The year that saw the publication of Utopia, may be said to have ended Mores
private, and to have commenced his official, life. He becameMaster of Requests, i.e., examiner of petitions to the King, and so had to
attend the Royal Household everywhere. He accompanied the King to the gorgeous
meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and next year became Under-Treasurer
of England. In 1523, he was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, and again
showed his courageous spirit by inducing the House, which still retained some
sparks of independence, to reject a demand for more money for a war with France,
though the requisition was made by the imperious Wolsey in person. It was about
this time, that Mr Speaker More moved from Crosby Hall in the City, to the
pleasant rural suburb of Chelsea, where fields and orchards touched on the
Thames, still at this point a sparkling river, and abounding in fat and sweet
salmons and trout!1 Mores home-life at Chelsea with his large family, by this
time augmented by sons and daughters-in-law, has been often described, and we
seem to view the happy scene, hear the discussions on Plato, Livy, and Cicero,
smile at the repartee of the" Fool this latter a great favourite of Moresnot
to mention the dry witticisms and Latin epigrams of the great man himself. The
King often walked in without ceremony, and though His Majesty would stroll about
the garden arm-in-arm with the wisest man in his kingdom, More knew, and once
openly said, that if his head could win his sovereign one castle in France, it
should not fail to serve his turn!
But learned and delightful as the circle at
Chelsea was, it never sank to the mere dilettante level of Strawberry Hill.
More, notwithstanding the immense labours of his offices at Court and as Speaker
of the Commons, saw the dangers of the day, and. prepared to grapple with them.
The religious and civil confusion caused in Germany by the revolt of Luther a
confusion soon to be intensified by the further contradictions of Tyndale,
Zwingli and a score of other Reformers, brought him forth as a defender of
the traditional Faith of Christendom. His Dialogue, which appeared in 1528, was
an able apology against the innovators, while his Confutationa reply to
Tyndaledealt still more at large with the multifarious heresies which were so
soon to undermine the faith of Europe and lay the foundation of much of the
present unbelief. The charges of persecution brought against More have been
effectively dealt; with by his non-catholic biographers, Mackintosh, Dr Gairdner
and 5 Canon Dixon. He did indeed once cause a smutty urchin to be whipped 1
exactly in the same way and for the same offence that such an offender, would be
flogged to-day in almost any of our public schools, and on another occasion he
had a semi-crazy, but malignly-cunning man, beaten for a very grave offence in
1 Harrisons Description of England, 1586, p. 46. The last salmon caught in the
metropolitan \ part of the Thames (at London Bridge) was in 1730, though a
salmon was found, apparently stranded, in the Mill Pond, Bermondsey, in 1804 !
See History of Bermondsey, by the Rev. J. Canon Bell, late Vicar of All Saints,
The severe laws against heresy in; full force at that time were not of Mores making. Later on, as Chancellor, he
had occasionally to administer them, but as Mr Hutton observes, " he took
especial painsand for some time successfullyto avoid the infliction of the
The clergy were not unmindful of Mores splendid services to orthodoxy, and in
the name of their Convocation they pressed upon him a handsome pecuniary gift,
but Sir Thomas, though far from rich, declinedwith the admirable
disinterestedness ever characteristic of him the proffered reward.
The hateful question of the royal divorce was first sprung upon More by no less
a personage than the King himself, with whom in fact the matter originated. In
September, 1527, Sir Thomas was at Hampton Court with his Sovereign, when the
latter showed him the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy against marriage
with a, brothers widow. Though Henry urged the Counsellor whose word carried
most weight in his dominions, to give an opinion in histhe Kingsfavour, More,
with the prudence that never failed him, declined to be rushed into a hasty
judgment, but promised to go further into a matter which was already perplexing
half the divines and scholars of the Kingdom.2
The dismissal of Wolsey took place on 19th October, 1529, and three days later
the Seals were pressed, or rather thrust, upon Sir Thomas. He cherished no
illusions about his splendid preferment, coming as it did as a sort of awful
contrast to the sudden and ominous fall of the great Lord Cardinal. As Lord High
Chancellor, More opened the Parliament of the Spoliation on 3rd November
following, and had also to announce later to the members the opinions of the
foreign Universities on the divorce. How many, it is to be wondered, knew at
that time of the wholesale corruption and even open violence that had been
employed to obtain whatever judgments were favourable to that measure ? Both in
Parliament and the Council, More strenuously opposed the bill to abolish the
Annates or first-fruits of great benefices to Rome, as also the proposed
relaxation of the heresy laws by which measure the King hopednot to favour
Protestants whom he always burnt without mercybut to embarrass still further
and so weaken the authority of the Church. By May, 1532, the situation had
become intolerable, and More resigned an exalted dignity which had been none of
his seeking, and one which was now evidently intended to be used as an
instrument to further the anti-catholic policy of the Crown. As Chancellor, Sir
Thomas had dispensed speedy and even-handed justice to rich and poor alike, and during his tenure of office had
cleared off all the arrears of his Court.
1 Rev. W. H. Hutton: Sir Thomas More (1895).
2 The biblical prohibitions referred to, relate to marriages that have been
consummated, which that of Catharine of Aragon and Prince Arthur had not. It
-was apparently on this ground that Julius II granted the dispensation. See
Blessed John Fisher, June 22.
The sudden resignation of such a leading light as Sir Thomas, was felt by the
King and his sycophants to be a severe and public censure on their whole
conduct, and every expedient was now sought after to discredit the man who
represented integrity, ability, and wisdom in the highest degree. Vile charges
of corruption in his high office were, with amazing effrontery, brought against
the upright judge, whose whole judicial conduct had been a shining example to
his own and every future age, and one whose resignation of the Seals had
actually left himowing to loss of income and other emolumentsface to face
almost with poverty itself ! But the depths of depravity were reached when Sir
Thomas was actually accused of having provoked the King to write the book on
the Seven Sacraments! This' was of course the famous work that had been Henrys
joy and pride till, like Solomon, his heart toas corrupted by loose womenthe
epoch-making book which had won for him his jealously-guarded title of
Defender of the Faith ! Mores reply to the titled tools of tyranny, Cranmer,
Audley, Norfolk, and Cromwell, who had the temerity to upbraid him with his
offence, must have crushed even those servile abetters of insolent oppression.
After reminding them that he had but revised the work in question and that, too,
at the Kings special desire, he went on to observe that he had in fact reminded
the Royal Author that the time might come when he (Henry) and the Pope might
fall out over political considerations, and that even the Law of Praemunire
might be in case. Whereupon the King exclaimed: We are so much bounden to the
See of Rome, that we cannot do too much honour to it! Foiled thus far in every
direction, the foes of the Ex-Chancellor now sought to involve him in the Bill
of Attainder that was being passed against the Holy Maid of Kent and her
sympathizers. More had, it is true, interviewed the Maid, but had expressed
no opinion at the time as to her alleged prophecies, contenting himself with
advising her not to meddle with politics. Sir Thomas now took the right and
courageous course of demanding to address the House on his own behalf, but as
nothing would have been worse for Henry than such a defence and from such a
source, the tyrant reluctantly consented to remove the name of the man he now
undoubtedly feared, from the murder-measure in course of being obsequiously
passed by his puppets. Like Fisher, More had all along seen no insuperable
objection to swearing to the succession of Anne Boleyns offspring to the
Throne. But when after the divorce of Catharine, and the adulterous marriage of
the King, he was called upon not only to swear to the Succession, but to
repudiate any foreign potentate, Sir Thomas knew that the spiritual authority
of the Apostolic See was now
being aimed at, and he refused the Oath. Efforts were tried to make it appear
that he had assented, but Sir Thomas rejected all compromise, and after four
days detention with Benson, the schismatical Abbot of Westminster, he was lodged
in the Tower. No stone was left unturned to break down the resolution of the
illustrious captive. Even the pleading of his favourite daughter, Margaret, who
had taken the Oath as far as lawful and that of his wife, could not force
Sir Thomas into a violation of his conscience. In consequence of this, his
family was despoiled of its property by the heartless tyrant, so that Lady More
had actually to sell her personal belongings to maintain herself as well as her
husband, whose prison fees were, as usual then, scandalously high.
As many even of the servile Council were of opinion that the wording of the
Succession Act did not remove the spiritual authority of the pope, a bill was
passed through Parliament in 1534 abolishing the papal supremacy in England, and
making it high treason to maintain the same. Then followed the Conferences of
Cromwell, Audley, etc., with Sir Thomas, all designed to entangle him in his
words, so as to make out a case for his trial and execution. On 12th June, 1535,
Richard Rich, the Solicitor-General, and one of the most odious names in the
history of the agel had the notorious conversation with More which he, Rich,
afterwards perverted and so caused it to be used as the pretext of bringing the
Ex-Chancellor to trial on 1st July.1 More appeared in Westminster Hall
prematurely old, worn, and grey, thanks to illness and the rigours of a long
imprisonment, but despite all these and other disadvantages, made as might be
expected, a most able defence. He denounced in withering words the miserable
Rich as a perjurer, and when the prearranged verdict of guilty was pronounced,
delivered that magnificent address to the Court, the burden of which was that he
had not read in any approved doctor of the Church that a temporal lord could
or ought to be the head of the spirituality. The affecting interview between
Sir Thomas and his daughter Margaret took place as he was being conducted back
to the Tower after receiving sentence of deaththat death which he had from the
first foreseen, and prepared so well for by prayer and meditation in the
solitude of his captivity. His execution on Tower Hill in the morning of 6th
July was a tragedy such as this or any other country has seldom witnessed, and
it alone would be sufficient to cover Henry and his reign with infamy for all
time. The news of the judicial murder sent a thrill of horror throughout Europe,
and Courts and Academies vied with one another in denouncing
Henry as the Nero who had destroyed the Seneca of Christendom! Charles V, who
was seldom moved even by tragic occurrences, publicly told the English
Ambassador, Sir Thomas Elyot, that rather than have lost such a Counsellor, he
would have gladly parted with the fairest city of his dominions! The destruction
of Sir Thomas joined to that of Cardinal Fisher, the Monks of the Charterhouse,
and other innocent victims, sealed the Tudor Despot as a monster capable of any
atrocityas indeed he was!
1 What Sir Thomas really said was: Suppose the Parliament would make a law
that God should not be God, would you then say that God were not God ! Rich:
No, sir, that would I not, sith no Parliament may make any such law ! No
more, said Sir Thomas (as Rich reported it), could the Parliament make the
King Supreme Head of the Church !
In addition to his works already mentioned,
Sir Thomas wrote in his captivity, the Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation,
and a Treatise on the Passion, unfinished at his death. Apart from his glorious
martyrdom, his whole life was as mortified as that of a holy religious, and
marked by the tenderest devotion to Our Lord, His Blessed Mother and Holy
Church. His invincible humour was that of St Philip Neri, with whom, indeed, he
seems to have had much in common, and had the unhappy King not fallen a prey to
his own passions, there can be little doubt but that Sir Thomas, Cardinals
Fisher and Wolsey, Bishop Tunstall and others of the circle, would have
inaugurated that true reform of the English Church from within, which was the
guiding principle of the Council of Trent, and one which, as far as this country
is concerned, would have prepared the ecclesiastical polity of this nation for
the vast changes and complex conditions brought about by the New Learning, and
the larger freedom rendered inevitable by that event.
[Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More, by the Rev T. E.
Bridgett, C.S.S.R. (London 1891). Memoir by Sidney Lee in the Dictionary of
National Biography. Lingard: History, vols. iv. and v. Sir James Mackintoshs
Life of Sir Thomas More, written for Lardners Cabinet Encyclopedia,. a series of
separate volumes on various subjectsis a good biography but written from the
Whig and Holland House standpoint.]1
information on Saint Thomas More
SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA.
SAINT ALOYSIUS, the eldest
son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, was born on
the 9th of March, 1568. The first words he pronounced were the holy names of
Jesus and Mary. When he was nine years of age he made a vow of perpetual
virginity, and by a special grace was ever exempted from temptations against
purity. He received his first communion at the hands of St. Charles Borromeo. At
an early age he resolved to leave the world, and in a vision was directed by our
Blessed Lady to join the Society of Jesus. The Saint's mother rejoiced on
learning his determination to become a religious, but his father for three years
refused his consent. At length St. Aloysius obtained permission to enter the
novitiate on the 25th
of November, 1585. He took his vows after two years, and went through the
ordinary course of philosophy and theology. He was wont to say he doubted
whether without penance grace would continue to make head against nature, which,
when not afflicted and chastised, tends gradually to relapse into its old state,
losing the habit of suffering acquired by the labor of years. " I am a crooked
piece of iron," he said, " and am come into religion to be made
straight by the hammer of mortification and penance." During his last
year of theology a malignant fever broke out in Rome; the Saint offered himself
for the service of the sick, and he was accepted for
dangerous duty. Several of the brothers caught the fever, and Aloysius was of
the number. He was brought to the point of death, but recovered, only to fall,
however, into slow fever, which carried him off after three months. He died,
repeating the Holy Name, a little after midnight between the 20th and 21st of
June on the octave-day of Corpus Christi, being rather more than twenty-three
years of age.
Bellarmine, the Saint's confessor, testified
that he had never mortally offended God. Yet he chastised
his body rigorously, rose at night to pray,
and shed many tears for his sins. Pray that, not having followed his
innocence, you may yet imitate his penance.
PRAYER: SAINT ALOYSIUS, PLEASE PRAY FOR US [STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST.]
ST. ALOYSIUS, OR LEWIS, GONZAGA, C.
[From his life, written in the most authentic manner by F. Ceparius,
his master of novices. See also other memoirs collected by Janning, the
Bollandist, Junij, t. iv. p. 847, ad p. 1169, and his life in French by F.
BUTLERS LIVES OF THE SAINTS
ALOYSIUS GONZAGA was son of Ferdinand Gonzaga,
prince of the holy empire, and Marquis of Castiglione, removed in the third
degree of kindred from the Duke of Mantua. His mother was Martha Tana Santena,
daughter of Tanus Santena, lord of Cherry, in Piemont. She was lady of honour to
Isabel, the wife of Philip II. of Spain, in whose court the Marquis Gonzaga also
lived in great favour. When she understood this nobleman had asked her in
marriage both of the king and queen, and of her friends in Italy, being a lady
of remarkable piety, she spent her time in fasting and prayer, in order to learn
the will of heaven, and to draw down upon herself the divine blessing. The
marriage was solemnized in the most devout manner, the parties at the same time
performing their devotions for the jubilee. When they left the court and
returned into Italy, the marquis was declared chamberlain to his majesty, and
general of part of the army in Lombardy, with a grant of several estates. The
marchioness made it her earnest petition to God that he would bless her with a
son, who should devote himself entirely to his love and service. Our saint was
born in the castle of Castiglione, in the diocess of Brescia, on the 9th of
March, 1568. William, Duke of Mantua, stood godfather, and gave him the
name of Aloysius. The holy names of Jesus and Mary, with the sign of the cross,
and part of the catechism, were the first words which his devout mother taught
him as soon as he was able to speak ; and from her example and repeated
instructions the deepest sentiments of religion, and the fear of God were
impressed upon his tender soul. Even in his infancy he showed an extraordinary
tenderness for the poor ; and such was his devotion, that he frequently hid
himself in corners, where, after long search, he was always found at his
prayers, in which, so amiable was his piety, and so heavenly did his
recollection appear, that he seemed to resemble an angel clothed with a human
body. His father designing to train him up to the army, in order to give him an
inclination to that state, furnished him with little guns, and other weapons,
took him to Casal to show him a muster of three thousand Italian foot, and was
much delighted to see him carry a little pike, and walk before the ranks. The
child stayed there some months, during which time he learned from the officers
certain unbecoming words, the meaning of which he did not understand, not being
then seven years old. But his tutor hearing him use bad words, chid him for it,
and from that time he could never bear the company of any persons who in his
hearing ever profaned the holy name of God. This offence, though excusable by
his want of age and knowledge, was to him during his whole life a subject of
perpetual humiliation, and he never ceased to bewail and accuse himself of it
with extreme confusion and compunction. Entering the seventh year of his age, he
began to conceive greater sentiments of piety, and from that time he used to
date his conversion to God. At that age, being come back to Castiglione, he
began to recite every day the office of Our Lady, the seven penitential psalms,
and other prayers, which he always said on his knees, and without a cushiona
custom which he observed all his life. Cardinal Bellarmin, three other
confessors, and all who were best acquainted with his interior, declared after
his death, their firm persuasion, that he had never offended God mortally in his
whole life. He was sick of an ague at Castiglione eighteen months, yet never
omitted his task of daily prayers, though he sometimes desired some of his
servants to recite them with him.
When he was
recovered, being now eight years old, his father placed him and his younger
brother, Ralph, in the polite court of his good friend, Francis of Medicis,
Grand Duke of Tuscany, that they might learn the Latin and Tuscan languages; and
other exercises suitable to their rank. At Florence the saint made such progress
in the science of the saints, that he afterwards used to call that city the
mother of his piety. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin was much inflamed by
reading a little book of Gaspar Loartes on the mysteries of the Rosary. He at
the same time conceived a great esteem for the virtue of holy chastity ; and he
received from God so perfect a gift of the same, that in his whole life he never
felt the least temptation, either in mind or body, against purity, as Jerom
Platus and Cardinal Bellarmin assure us from his own mouth. He cultivated this
extraordinary grace by assiduous prayer, universal mortification, and the most
watchful flight of all occasions; being well apprized that this virtue is so
infinitely tender, that it fades and dies if blown upon by the least vapour; and
that it is a bright and clear mirror, which is tarnished with the least breath,
and even by the sight. He never looked at any woman, kept his eyes strictly
guarded, and generally cast down, would never stay with his mother alone in her
chamber; and if she sent any message to him by some lady in her company, he
received it, and gave his answer in a few words, with his eyes shut, and his
chamber door only half open ; and when bantered on that score, he ascribed such
behaviour to his bashfulness. It was owing to his virginal modesty, that he did
not know by their faces many ladies among his own relations, with whom be had
frequently conversed, and that he was afraid and ashamed to let a footman see so
much as his foot uncovered. But humility, which is the mother of all virtues,
was in our saint the guardian of his purity. He never spoke to his servants by
way of command, but with such modesty that they were ashamed not to obey. He
would only say to them, "Pray despatch this or that ; You may do this ;" or, "If
it be no trouble, you may do this or that." No novice could practise a more
exact and ready obedience than Aloysius set an example of towards all his
superiors, especially Francis Tuccius, whom his father had appointed tutor to
his sons, and governor of their family at Florence.
The two young princes had
stayed there a little more, than two years, when their father removed them to
Mantua, and placed them in the court of the Duke William Gonzaga, who had made
him governor of Montserrat. Aloysius left Florence in November, 1579, when he
was eleven years and eight months old. He at that time took a resolution to
resign to his brother, Ralph, his title to the marquisate at Castiglione, though
he had already received the investiture from the emperor. And the ambitious or
covetous man is not more greedy of honours or riches than this young prince,
from a better principle, appeared desirous to see himself totally disengaged
from the ties of the world, by entirely renouncing its false pleasures, which
begin with uneasiness, and terminate in remorse, and are no better than real
pains covered over with a bewitching varnish. He knew the true delights which
virtue brings, which are solid without alloy, and capable of filling the
capacity of mans heart ; and these he thirsted after. In the mean time he fell
sick of an obstinate retention of urine of which distemper he cured
himself only by the rigorous rules of abstinence which he observed. He took the
opportunity of this indisposition to rid himself more than ever of company and
business, seldom going abroad, and spending most of his time in reading Surius's
Lives of Saints, and other books of piety and devotion. It being the custom in
Italy, and other hot climates, to pass the summer months in the country, the
marquis sent for his sons from Mantua to Castiglione in that season. Aloysius
pursued the same exercises, and the same manner of life in the town, at court,
and in the country. The servants who watched him in his chamber saw him employed
in prayer many hours together, sometimes prostrate on the ground before a
crucifix, or standing up, absorbed in God so as to appear in an ecstasy. When he
went down stairs they took notice that at every standing-place he said a Hail
Mary. It was in this retirement that his mind was exceedingly enlightened by
God, and without the help of any instructor he received an extraordinary gift of
mental prayer, to which his great purity of heart and sincere humility disposed
his soul. He sometimes passed whole days in contemplating, with inexpressible
sweetness and devotion, the admirable dispensations of divine providence in the
great mysteries of our redemption, especially the infinite goodness and love of
God, his mercy, and other attributes. In this exercise he was not able to
contain the spiritual joy of his soul in considering the greatness and goodness
of his God, nor to moderate his tears. Falling at last on a little book of
Father Canisius, which treated of Meditation; and on certain letters of the
Jesuit missionaries in the Indies, he felt a strong inclination to enter the
Society of Jesus, and was inflamed with an ardent zeal for the salvation of
souls. He began even then to frequent the schools of Christian Doctrine, and to
encourage other boys, especially among the poor, in learning their
catechism, and often instructed them himself. So excellently did he then
discourse of God as astonished grown persons of learning and abilities. It
happened that, in 1580, St. Charles Borromeo came to Brescia in quality of
apostolic visitor, and preached there on the feast of Mary Magdalen. No
importunities of the marquis or other princes could prevail upon that great
saint to visit them at their country seats, or to take up his lodgings any where
but with the clergy of the churches where he came. Wherefore Aloysius, being
only twelve years old, went to Brescia to receive his blessing. It is incredible
how much the good cardinal was taken with the piety and generous sentiments of
the young prince. But finding that he had never yet received the holy communion,
he exhorted him to prepare himself for that divine sacrament, and to receive it
very frequently ; prescribing him rules for his devout preparation, and with
regard to many other practices of piety; all which the holy youth constantly
observed, remembering ever after with wonderful joy the happiness of having seen
so great a saint. He from that time conceived so tender a devotion to the
blessed eucharist, that in hearing mass, after the consecration, he often melted
into tears, in profound sentiments of love and adoration ; and he frequently
received wonderful favours in communicating ; and this holy sacrament became his
greatest comfort and joy. The marquis after this carried his whole family to
Casal, the residence of his government of Montserrat. There the saint made the
convents of the Capuchins and Barnabites the usual places of his resort. He
fasted three days a week, Fridays at least, on bread and water, boiled together
for his whole dinner; his collation was a little piece of dry bread. On other
days his meals were so slender that his life seemed almost a miracle. He
secretly thrust a board into his bed to rest on in the night, and rose at
midnight to pray, even in the coldest season of winter, which is very sharp
under the Alps. He spent an hour after rising, and two hours before going to bed
in private prayer.
In 1581 his father attended
the Empress Mary of Austria, wife to Maximilian II., and sister to Philip II. of
Spain, in her journey from Bohemia to Spain, and took with him his three
children ; a daughter, named Isabel, who died in Spain, and his two sons, who
were both made by King Philip pages to his son James, elder brother to Philip
III. Aloysius was then thirteen years and a half old. He continued his studies,
but never neglected his long meditations and devotions, which he often performed
by stealth in secret corners. Though he every day waited on the Infant of Spain,
James, to pay his duty to the empress, he never once looked on the face of that
princess, or took notice of her person ; and so great was his guard over all his
senses, and so universal his spirit of mortification, that it was a proverb at
court, that the young Marquis of Castiglione seemed not to be made of flesh and
blood. Whilst he remained in Spain he found great pleasure and benefit in
reading Lewis of Granada's excellent book on Mental Prayer. He prescribed
himself a daily task of an hour's meditation, which he often prolonged to three,
four or five hours. He at length determined to enter into the Society of Jesus,
in order to devote himself to the instructing and conducting souls to God; and
he was confirmed in this resolution by his confessor, who was one of that Order.
When he disclosed it to his parents, his mother rejoiced exceedingly; but his
father, in excessive grief and rage, said he would have him scourged naked. "0
that, it would please God," replied, modestly, the holy youth, " to grant me so
great a favour as to suffer that for his love." What heightened the father's
indignation was a suspicion that this was a contrivance on account of his custom
of gaming, by which he had lately lost six hundred crowns in one eveninga vice
which his son bitterly deplored, not so much, as he used to say, for the loss of
the money, as for the injury done to God. However, the consent of the marquis
was at length extorted through the mediation of friends. The Infant, or Prince
of Spain, dying of a fever, Aloysius was at liberty, and after two years stay in
Spain, returned to Italy, in July, 1584, on board the galleys of the famous John
Andrew Doria, whom his Catholic Majesty had lately appointed admiral. His
brother travelled in rich apparel, but the saint in a suit of black Flanders
serge. In his journey he either conversed on holy things, or entertained himself
secretly in his heart with God. As soon as he came to an inn he sought some
private little chamber, and fell to prayer on his knees. In visiting religious
houses he went first to the church, and prayed some time before the blessed
sacrament. When he had arrived at Castiglione, he had new assaults to bear, from
the eloquence and authority of a cardinal, many bishops, and eminent men,
employed by the Duke of Mantua and his own uncles; yet he remained firm, and
brought over some of these ambassadors to his side, so that they pleaded in his
favour. But his father flew back from his consent, loaded his son with
opprobrious language, and employed him in many distracting secular commissions.
The saint had recourse to God by prostrating himself before a crucifix, and
re-doubling his severities; till the marquis, no longer able to oppose his
design, cordially embraced him, and recommended him to Claudius Aquaviva,
general of the Society, who appointed Rome for the place of his novitiate. The
father repented again of his consent, and detained his son nine months at Milan,
during which time he used the most tender entreaties, and every other method to
bring him from his purpose. He again removed him to Mantua, and thence to
Castiglione ; but finding his resolution invincible, left him at liberty, saying
to him, "Dear son, your choice is a deep wound in my heart. I ever loved you, as
you always deserved. In you I had founded the hopes of my family; but you tell
me God calls you another way. Go, therefore, in his name, whither you please,
and may his blessing every where attend you." Aloysius, having thanked him,
withdrew, that he might not increase his grief by his presence, and betook
himself to his prayers. His cession of the marquisate to his brother, Ralph,
with the reserve of two thousand crowns in ready money, and four hundred crowns
a year for life, was ratified by the emperor, and the writings were delivered at
Mantua, in November, 1585. The excessive grief and tears of his subjects and
vassals at his departure only drew from him these words : "That he sought
nothing but the salvation of his soul, and exhorted them all to the same."
Arriving at Rome, he visited the churches and chief places of devotion, then
kissed the feet of Pope Sixtus V., and entered his novitiate at St. Andrew's, on
the 25th of November, 1585, not being completely eighteen years old. Being
conducted to his cell, he entered it as a celestial paradise, in which he was to
have no other employment than that of praising God without interruption ; and
exulting in his heart, he repeated with the prophet, "This is my rest for ever :
here will I dwell, for I have chosen it."
The saint, in his noviceship,
condemned himself as guilty of sloth if he did not in every religious duty
surpass in fervour all his companions ; lie respected them all, and he behaved
himself towards them as if he had been the last person in the family, and indeed
such he always reputed himself. He loved and rejoiced most in the meanest and
most contemptible employments. His mortifications, though great, were not so
severe as he had practised in the world, because limited by obedience, which gave a merit to all his
actions. He used to say that a religious state in this resembles a ship, in
which they sail as fast who sit idle as they who sweat at the oar in rowing.
Yet such was the general mortification of his senses, that he seemed totally
inattentive to exterior things, only inasmuch as they regarded God. He never
took notice of the difference of villas where he had been, the order of the
refectory in which he every day ate, or the rich ornaments of the chapels and
altars where he prayed. He seemed entirely inattentive to the taste of what he
ate, only he endeavoured to avoid whatever seemed savoury. He never listened
to reports or to discourse about worldly matter ; spoke very little, and never
about himself, thinking himself justly deserving to be forgotten by the whole
world, and to be made no account of in every thing. He was a capital enemy to
any artifice or dissimulation, which he called the bane and canker of Christian
simplicity. Nothing gave him so much mortification as the least marks of honour
or distinction. It was his delight to carry a wallet through the streets of
Rome, begging from door to door, to serve the poor and the hospitals, or to
sweep the kitchen, and carry away the filth ; in which actions he usually had
before his eyes Christ humbled for us. On holidays he used to catechise the
children of poor labourers. He changed his new gilt breviary for an old one,
and often did so in his habit and other things. His whole life seemed a
continued prayer, and he called holy meditation the short way to Christian
perfection. He found in that exercise the greatest spiritual delights, and
remained in it on his knees, as if he were motionless, in a posture of wonderful
recollection and respect. It is not possible to describe the sweet raptures and
abundant tears which often accompanied his devotion, especially in presence of
the blessed eucharist, and after communicating. He spent the three first days after communion in
thanksgiving for that inestimable favour ; and the three following in
languishing aspirations and desires to receive on the Sunday his Saviour, his
God, his Physician, his King, and his Spouse ; on the eve of his communion his
mind was wholly taken up with the dignity and infinite importance and
advantages of that great action, nor could he speak of anything else. Such was
the fire of his words whenever he spoke on that mystery of love, that it
inflamed all who heard him. He made every day at least four regular visits to
pray before the blessed sacrament. The passion of Christ was also a most tender
object of his devotion. From his infancy he had chosen the Blessed Virgin for
his special patroness and advocate. He had a singular devotion to the holy
angels, especially his. angel guardian. In the beginning of his noviceship he
was tried by an extreme spiritual dryness and interior desolation of soul; which
served perfectly to purify his heart, and was succeeded by the greatest heavenly
consolations. He bore the pious death of his father with unshaken constancy,
because he considered it and all other events purely in the view of the divine
will and providence. It happened six weeks after Alovsius had taken the habit.
From the day on which his son had left him to enter the Society, the marquis had
entirely devoted himself to the practice of perfect virtue and penance.
and obedience were the young novice's favourite virtues, and by them he gained a
perfect mastery over himself. To appear poor, little, and contemptible was his
delight, and he rejoiced to see the last and worst portion in anything fall to
his share. He was never known guilty of the least transgression of the rule of
silence or any other; and feared to arrive one moment too late at any duty. He
would not, without the leave of his master, speak one word even to his kinsman,
Cardinal Roborei ; nor would he ever stay with him so long as to fail one minute
in any rule. It happened that the pious and learned Jerom Platus, whilst
he was his master of novices, thinking his perpetual application to prayer and
study prejudicial to his health, ordered him to spend in conversing with others
after dinner, not only the hour allotted for all, but also the half hour longer
which is allowed to those who dined at the second table. Father minister, not
knowing this order, punished him for it, and obliged him publicly to confess his
fault ; which he underwent without offering any excuse. The minister learning
afterwards how the matter was, admired very much his silence, but for his
greater merit enjoined him another penalty for not telling him the order of a
master. The saint bore in silence and the imputation and chastisement of the
faults of any others, because this afforded him an opportunity of exercising
patience, meekness, and humility. By a habit of continual application of his
mind to God, attention at prayer seemed so easy and natural to him, that he told
his superior, who put to him that question, that if all the involuntary
distractions at his devotions during six months were joined together, they
would not amount to the space of one Hail Mary. His health decaying, he was
forbid to meditate or pray, except at regular times. This he found the hardest
task of his whole life; so great a struggle did it cost him to resist the
impulse with which his heart was carried towards God. For the recovery of his
health he was sent to Naples, where he stayed half a year, and then returned to
Rome. In that city, after completing his novitiate of two years, he made his
religious vows on the 20th of November, 1587, and soon after received minor
Aloysius had finished his
logic whilst page in the Spanish court, and his use of natural philosophy during
his nine months stay at Milan. After this he commenced student in divinity undr
Gabriel Vasquez, and other celebrated professors; but a family contest obliged
him to interrupt his studies. His uncle, Horatius Gonzaga, died without
issue, and bequeathed by will his estate of Suphurino to the Duke of Mantua.
Ralph, the saint's brother, pleaded that the donation was invalid, the estate
being a fief of the empire, which inalienably devolves on the next heir in
blood, and he obtained a rescript of the Emperor Maximilian in his favour.
But the duke refused to acquiesce in this sentence; and the Arch-duke Ferdinand,
and several other princes, had in vain attempted to reconcile the two cousins.
At length St. Aloysius was sent for to be the mediator of peace. He had
then just finished his second year of divinity, and was at the Jesuits's villa
at Frescati during the vacation, when Father Robert Bellarmin brought him an
order from the general to repair to Mantua about this affair. A discreet
lay-brother was appointed to be his companion, to whom a charge was given to
take care of his health, with an order to Aloysius to obey him as to that
particular. Most edifying were the examples of his profouund humility,
mortification, love of poverty, and devotion, and incredible the fruits of his
zeal, both on the road and at Mantua, Castiglione, and other places where he
went. Though both parties were exceedingly exasperated, no sooner did this
angel of peace appear, than they were perfectly reconciled. The duke,
though before much incensed, was entirely disarmed by the sight and moving
discourse of the saint; he readily pardoned and yielded up the estate to the
marquis, who as easily consented to bury in oblivion all that had passed, and
the two cousins made a sincere and strict alliance and friendship together.
Many others who were at variance, or at law, were in the same manner made
friends by the means of the saint's friendly interposing. No enmity seemed
able to withstand the spirit of meekness and charity which his words and whole
deportment breathed. Great numbers were by him converted from sinful
habits, and many brought to a profession of perfect virtue. His brother Ralph
had fallen in love with a young gentlewoman, much inferior to him in birth, and
had secretly married her before private witnesses, but durst not publish his
marriage for fear of offending his uncle, Alphonsus Gonzaga, lord of
Castle-Godfrey, whose heir he was to be. The saint represented to him that by
such a conduct, notwithstanding his precaution, he offended God by the scandal
he gave to his subjects and others, who looked upon his behaviour as criminal.
He, moreover, undertook to satisfy his uncle, rnother, and other friends, and
thus engaged him publicly to declare his marriage, and the uncle, and others,
through the saint's mediation, took no offence at the alliance. Aloysius having
happily restored peace among all his relations, and settled them in the practice
of true virtue, by the direction of his superiors went to Milan on the 22nd of
March, 1590, there to pursue his theological studies. These he accompanied with
his usual exercises of devotion, and all virtues, especially humility, to
nourish and improve which in his heart, he embraced every kind of humiliation.
He often begged to serve in the kitchen and refectory, and it was his delight to
draw water for the cook, wash the dishes, cover the table, or sweep the
scullery. Whilst he was at Milan one day in his morning prayer, he was favoured
with a revelation, that he had only a short time to live. And by this heavenly
visitation he found his mind wonderfully changed, and more than ever weaned from
all transitory things. This favour he afterwards disclosed at Rome, in great
simplicity, to F. Vincent Bruno and others. The general would not suffer him to
finish his studies at Milan, but recalled him to Rome in November the same year,
to perform there the fourth or last year of his theological course. The saint
chose a dark and very small chamber over the staircase in the garret, with one
window in the roof ; nor had he in it any other
furniture than a poor bed, a wooden chair, and a little stool to lay his books
upon. He appeared even in the schools and cloisters quite absorbed in God, and
often at table, or with his companions at re-creation time after dinner, he fell
into ecstasies, and appeared unable to contain the excessive heavenly joy with
which his soul overflowed. He frequently spoke in raptures on the happiness of
dying, the more speedily to enjoy God.
In 1591, an epidemical
distemper swept off great multitudes in Rome. In this public distress the
fathers of the Society erected a new hospital, in which the general himself,
with other assistants, served the sick. Aloysius obtained by earnest entreaties
to be one of this number. He catechised and exhorted the poor patients, washed
their feet, made their beds, changed their clothes, and performed with wonderful
assiduity and tenderness, the most painful and loathsome offices of the
hospital. The distemper being pestilential and contagious, several of these
fathers died martyrs of charity, and Aloysius fell sick. It was on the 3rd of
March, 1591, that he took to his bed ; at which time he was overwhelmed with
excessive joy at the thought that he was called to go to his God. This joy gave
him afterwards a scruple whether it was not immoderate ; but his confessor, who
was the famous Cardinal Bellarmin, comforted him, saying, that it is not an
unusual grace to desire death, not out of impatience, but to be united to God.
The pestilential fever in seven days became so violent, that the saint received
the viaticum and extreme unction. However, he recovered ; but from the relics of
this distemper succeeded an hectic fever, which in three months reduced him to
an excessive weakness. He studied to add continual mortifications to the pains
of his disease, and rose in the night to pray before a crucifix, till being
caught by the infirmarian, he was forbid doing so for the future ; which
direction he punctually obeyed. The physicians having
ordered him and another sick brother to take a very bitter draught, the other
drank it at once with the ordinary helps to qualify the bitterness of the taste;
but Aloysius sipped it slowly, and as it were, drop by drop, that he might have
the longer and fuller taste of what was mortifying; nor did he give the least
sign of perceiving any disagreeable taste. After speaking with Father
Bellarmin on the happiness of speedily enjoying God, he fell into a rapture
through excess of inward delights, and it continued almost the whole night,
which seemed, to him in the morning, to have been but one moment, as he told
Father Bellarmin. It seems to have been in this ecstasy that he learned he
should die on the Octave day of Corpus Christi, which he often clearly foretold.
In thanksgiving for his death being so near, he desired one to recite with him
the Te Deum; with which request the other complied. To another he
cried out, his heart exulting with joy, "My father, we go rejoicing! we go
rejoicing!" He said every evening the seven penitential psalms with
another person in great compunction. On the Octave day he seemed better,
and the rector had thoughts of sending him to Frescati. But he repeated
still that he should die before next morning, and he received the viaticum and
extreme unction. At night he was thought to be in no immediate danger, and
was left with two brothers to watch by him. These, about midnight,
perceived on a sudden, by a wanness and violent sweat with which he was seized,
that he was falling into his agony. His most usual aspirations during his
illness, were the ardent languishings of a soul aspiring to God, extracted from
the psalms. After saying, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit," he
frequently repeated the holy name of Jesus; with which sacred word he expired a
little after midnight, between the 20th and 21st day of June, the Octave of
Corpus-Christi that year, 1591, being twenty-three years, three months, and
eleven days old, of which he had lived five years and almost seven months in the
Society. He was buried in the Church of the Annunciation, belonging to the
Jesuits of the Roman college. A rich chapel being afterwards built in that
church under his name, by the Marquis Scipio Lancelotti, his relics were
translated into it. St. Aloysius was beatified by Gregory XV. in 1621, and
canonized by Benedict XIII. in 1726. Ceparius gives a history of many
miracles wrought through the intercession and by the relics of this saint,
several being cures of noblemen and eminent prelates. A much more ample
history of his miracles may be read in Janning, the Bollandist, in an Appendix
to the life of St. Aloysius.
When we see a young prince, the darling of his family and
country, sacrifice nobility, sovereignty, riches, and pleasures, the more easily
to secure the treasure of divine love, and of eternal happiness, how ought we to
condemn our own sloth, who live as if heaven were to cost us nothing !
SAINT ROMUALD, ABBOT.
FEAST DAY: JUNE 19TH
In 976, Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna,
quarrelled with a relation about an estate, and slew him in a duel. His son
Romuald, horrified at his father's crime, entered the Benedictine
monastery at Classe, to do a forty days' penance for him. This penance ended in
his own vocation to religion. After three years at Classe, Romuald went to live
as a hermit near Venice, where he was joined by Peter Urseolus, Duke of Venice,
and together they led a most austere life in the midst of assaults from the evil
spirits. St. Romuald founded many monasteries, the chief of which was that at
Camaldoli, a wild desert place, where he built a church, which he surrounded
with a number of separate cells for the solitaries who lived under his rule. His
disciples were hence called Camaldolese. He is said to have seen here a vision
of a mystic ladder, and his white-clothed monks ascending by it to heaven. Among
his first disciples were Sts. Adalbert and Boniface, apostles of Russia, and
Sts. John and Benedict of Poland, martyrs for the Faith. He was an intimate
friend of the Emperor St. Henry, and was reverenced and consulted by many great
men of his time. He once passed seven years in solitude and complete silence. In
his youth St. Romuald was much troubled by temptations of the flesh. To escape
them he had recourse to hunting, and in the woods first conceived his love for
solitude. His father's sin; as we have seen, first prompted him to undertake a
forty days' penance in the monastery, which he forthwith made his home. Some bad
example of his fellow-monks induced him to leave them, and adopt the solitary
mode of life. The penance of Urseolus, who had obtained his power wrongfully,
brought him his first disciple; the temptations of the devil compelled him to
his severe life and finally; the persecutions of others were the occasion of his
settlement at Camaldoli, and the foundation of his Order. He died,
as he had foretold twenty years before, alone, in his monastery of Val Castro,
on the 19th of June, 1027.
REFLECTION.St. Romuald's life teaches us
that, if we only follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit, we shall easily find
good everywhere, even on the most unlikely occasions. Our own sins, the sins of
others, their ill-will against us, or our own mistakes and misfortunes, are
equally capable of leading us, with softened hearts, to the feet of God's mercy
SAINT ROMUALD, ABBOT, C.
FROM: THE LIVES OF THE
FATHERS, MARTYRS AND OTHER PRINCIPAL SAINTS, By The Rev. Alban Butler:
FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF CAMALDI.
[From his life, written by St. Peter Damian,
fifteen years after his death. See also Mugnotii, Eremi Camaldul. descriptio,
Romer, an. 1570. Historiarum Camaldulensium, libri iii. auth. Aug. Florentino, in
4to. Florentiae, 1575. Earumdem pars posterior, in 4to. Venetiis, 1579.
Dissertationes Camaldulenses, in quibus agitur de institutione Ordinis, state
St. Romnaldi, &c. auth. Guidons Grando, ej. Ord. Lucae, 1707. The Lives of the
Saints of this Order, in Italian, by Razzi, 1600, and in Latin, by F. Thomas de
Minis, in two vols. in 4to. an. 1605, 1606. Annales Camaldulenses Ordinis St.
Benedicti, auctoribas Jo. Ben. Mittarelli, abbate, et Ans. Costadoni,
presbyteris et monachis a Cong. Camald. Veuetiis, in four vols. fol. of which
the fourth is dedicated to Pope Clement XIII. in 1760.]
ST. ROMUALD, of the family of the dukes of Ravenna, called Honesti, was
born in that capital about the year 956. Being brought up in the maxims of the
world, in softness and the love of pleasures, he grew every day more and more
enslaved to his passions ; yet he often made a resolution of undertaking
something remarkable for the honour of God ; and when he went a hunting, if he
found an agreeable solitary place in the woods, he would stop in it to pray, and
would cry out, " How happy were the ancient hermits, who had such habitations !
With what tranquillity could they serve God, free from the tumult of the world !
" His father, whose name was Sergius, a worldly man; agreed to decide a dispute
he had with a relation about an estate by a duel. Romuald was shocked at the
criminal design ; but by threats of being disinherited if he refused, was
engaged by his father to be present as a spectator : Sergius slew his adversary.
Romuald, then twenty years of age, struck with horror at the crime that had been
perpetrated, though he had concurred in it no further than by his presence,
thought himself, however, obliged to expiate it by a severe course of penance
for forty days in the neighbouring Benedictine monastery of Classis, within four
miles of Ravenna. He performed great austerities, and prayed and wept almost
without intermission. His compunction and fervour made all these exercises seem
easy and sweet to him ; and the young nobleman became every day more and more
penetrated with the fear and love of God. The good example which he saw, and the
discourses of a pious lay-brother, who waited on him, concerning eternity and
the contempt of the world, wrought so powerfully upon him, that he petitioned in
full chapter to be admitted as a penitent to the religious habit. After some
demurs, through their apprehensions of his father's resentment, whose next heir
the saint was, his request was granted. He passed seven years in this house in
so great fervour and austerity that his example became odious to certain tepid
monks, who could not bear such a continual reproach of their sloth. They were
more exasperated when his fervour prompted him to reprove their conduct,
insomuch that some of the most abandoned formed a design upon his life, the
execution of which he prevented by leaving that monastery with the abbot's
consent, and retiring into the neighbourhood of Venice, where he put himself
under the direction of Marinus, a holy hermit, who there led an austere ascetic
life. Under this master, Romuald made great progress in every virtue belonging
to a religious state of life.
Peter Urseoli was then doge
of Venice. He had been unjustly raised to that dignity two years before by a
faction which had assassinated his predecessor Peter Candiano ; in which
conspiracy he is said by some to have been an accomplice : though this is denied
by the best Venetian historians.น This
murder, however, paved the way for his advancement to the sovereignty, which the
stings of his conscience would not suffer him quietly to enjoy.
(1) Sanuti tells us that St. Peter
Urseoli, from his cradle, devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine
service, and proposed to himself in all his actions the holy will and the
greater glory of God. He built in the church of St. Mark a chapel, in which the
body of that evangelist was secretly laid, the place being known by very few.
Being chosen doge, he refused that dignity for a long time with great obstinacy,
but at length suffered himself to be overcome by the importunity of the people.
He had held it only two years and eight months, when he retired. Sanuti, Vite de
Duchi di Venezia, c. 976. Muratori, Reram Italicar. Scriptores,t. xxii. p. 564.
This put him
upon consulting St. Guarinus, a holy abbot of Catalonia, then at Venice, about
what he was to do to be saved. The advice of St. Marinus and St. Romuald was
also desired. These three unanimously agreed in proposing a monastic state, as
affording the best opportunities for expiating his crimes. Urseoli acquiesced,
and, under pretence of joining with his family at their villa, where he had
ordered a great entertainment, set out privately with St. Guarinus, St. Romuald,
and John Gradenigo, a Venetian noble-man of singular piety, and his son-in-law
John Moresini, for St. Guarinus's monastery of St. Michael of Cusan, in that
part of Catalonia which was then subject to France. Here Urseoli and Gradenigo
made their monastic profession: Marinus and Romuald, leaving them under the
conduct of Guarinus, retired into a desert near Cusan, and there led an
eremitical life. Many flocked to them, and Romuald being made superior, first
practised himself what he taught others, joining rigorous fasts, solitude, and
continual prayer, with hard manual labour. He had an extraordinary ardour for
prayer, which he exceedingly recommended to his disciples, in whom he could not
bear to see the least sloth or tepidity with regard to the discharge of this
duty ; saying, they had better recite one psalm with fervour, than a hundred
with less devotion. His own fasts and mortifications were extremely rigorous,
but he was more indulgent to others, and in particular to Urseoli, who had
exchanged his monastery for St. Romuald's desert, where he lived under his
conduct ; who, persevering in his penitential state, made a most holy end, and
is honoured in Venice as a saint, with an office, on the 14th of January : and
in the Roman Martyrology, published by Benedict XIV., on the 10th of that month.
Romuald, in the beginning of his con-version and retreat from the world, was
molested with various temptations. The devil sometimes directly solicited him to
vice ; at other times he represented to him what he had forsaken, and that he
had left it to ungrateful relations. He would sometimes suggest that what he did
could not be agreeable to God ; at other times, that his labours: and
difficulties were too heavy for man to bear. These and the like attempts, of the
devil he defeated by watching and prayer, in which he passed the whole night ;
and the devil strove in vain to divert him from this holy exercise by shaking
his whole cell, and threatening to bury him in the ruins. Five years of grievous
interior conflicts and buffetings of the enemy wrought in him a great purity of
heart, and prepared him for most extraordinary heavenly communications. The
conversion of Count Oliver, or Oliban, lord of that territory, added to his
spiritual joy. That count, from a voluptuous worldling, and profligate liver,
became a sincere penitent, and embraced the order of St. Benedict. He carried
great treasures with him to Mount Cassino, but left his estate to his son. The
example of Romuald had also such an influence on Sergius, his father, that to
make atonement for his past sins and enormities, he had entered the monastery of
St. Severus, near Ravenna ; but after some time spent there, he yielded so far
to the devil's temptations, as to meditate a return into the world. This was a
sore affliction to our saint, and determined him to return to Italy, to dissuade
his father from leaving his monastery. But the inhabitants of the country where
he lived had such an opinion of his sanctity, that they were resolved not to let
him go. They therefore formed a brutish extravagant design to kill him, that
they might keep at least his body among them, imagining it would be their
protection and safeguard on perilous occasions. The saint being informed of
their design, had recourse to David's stratagem, and feigned
himself mad. Upon which the people, losing their high opinion of him, guarded
him no longer. Being thus at liberty to execute his design, he set out on his
journey to Ravenna, through the south of France. He arrived there in 994, and
made use of all the authority his superiority in religion gave him over his
father ; and by his exhortations, tears, and prayers, brought him to such an
extraordinary degree of compunction and sorrow, as to prevail with him to lay
aside all thoughts of leaving his monastery, where he spent the remainder of his
days in great fervour, and died with the reputation of sanctity.
acquitted himself of his duty towards his father, retired into the marsh of
Classis, and lived in a cell, remote from all mankind. The devil pursued him
here with his former malice, he sometimes overwhelmed his imagination with
melancholy, and once scourged him cruelly in his cell. Romuald at length cried
out, " Sweetest Jesus, dearest Jesus, why hast thou forsaken me ? hast thou
entirely delivered me over to my enemies ?" At that sweet name the wicked
spirits betook themselves to flight, and such an excess of divine sweetness and
compunction filled the breast of Romuald, that he melted into tears, and his
heart seemed quite dissolved. He sometimes insulted his spiritual enemies, and
cried out, " Are all your forces spent? have you no more engines against a poor
despicable servant of God ? " Not long after, the monks of Classis chose Romuald
for their abbot. The emperor Otho III., who was then at Ravenna, made use of his
authority to engage the saint to accept the charge, and went in person to visit
him in his cell, where he passed the night lying on the saint's poor bed. But
nothing could make Romuald consent, till a synod of bishops then assembled at
Ravenna, compelled him to it by threats of excommunication. The saint's
inflexible zeal for the punctual observance of monastic
discipline, soon made these monks repent of their choice, which they manifested
by their irregular and mutinous behaviour. The saint being of a mild
disposition, bore with it for some time, in hopes of bringing them to a right
sense of their duty. At. length, finding all his endeavours to reform them
ineffectual, he came to a resolution of leaving them, and went to the emperor,
then besieging Tivoli, to acquaint him of it ; whom, when he could not prevail
upon to accept of his resignation, the saint, in the presence of the Archbishop
of Ravenna, threw down his crosier at his feet. This interview proved very happy
for Tivoli ; for the emperor, though he had condemned that city to plunder, the
inhabitants having rebelled and killed Duke Matholin, their governor, spared it
at the intercession of St. Romuald. Otho having also, contrary to his solemn
promise upon oath, put one Crescentius, a Roman senator to death, who had been
the leader in the rebellion of Tivoli, and made his widow his concubine, he not
only performed a severe public penance enjoined him by the saint, as his
confessor, but promised, by St. Rornuald's advice, to abdicate his crown and
retire into a convent during life ; but this he did not live to perform. The
saint's remonstrances had a like salutary effect on Thamn, the emperor's
favourite, prime-minister, and accomplice in the treachery before mentioned,
who, with several other courtiers, received the religious habit at the hands of
St. Romuald, and spent the remainder of his days in retirement and penance. It
was a very edifying sight to behold several young princes and noblemen, who a
little before had been remarkable for their splendid appearance and sumptuous
living, now leading an obscure, solitary, penitential life in humility, penance,
fasting, cold, and labour. They prayed, sung psalms, and worked. They all had
their several employments : some spun, others knit, others tilled the ground,
gaining their poor livelihood by the sweat of their brow. St.
Boniface surpassed all the rest in fervour and mortification. He was the
emperor's near relation, and so dear to him that he never called him by any
other name than, My soul ! He excelled in music, and in all the liberal arts and
sciences, and after having spent many years under the discipline of St. Romuald,
was ordained bishop, and commissioned by the pope to preach to the infidels of
Russia, whose king he converted by his miracles, but was beheaded by the king's
brothers, who were themselves afterwards converted on seeing the miracles
wrought on occasion of the martyr's death. Several other monks of St. Romuald's
monastery met with the same cruel treatment in Sclavonia, whither they were sent
by the pope to preach the gospel.
St. Romuald built many other monasteries, and
continued three years at one he founded near Parenzo, one year in the community
to settle it, and two in a neighbouring cell. Here he laboured some time under a
spiritual dryness, not being able to shed one tear ; but he ceased not to
continue his devotions with greater fervour. At last being in his cell, at those
words of the psalmist, "I will give thee understanding, and will instruct thee,"
he was suddenly visited by God with an extraordinary light and spirit of
compunction, which from that time never left him. By a supernatural light, the
fruit of prayer, he understood the holy scriptures, and wrote an exposition of
the psalms full of admirable unction. He often foretold things to come, and gave
directions full of heavenly wisdom to all who came to consult him, especially to
his religious who frequently came to ask his advice how to advance in virtue,
and how to resist temptations he always sent them back to their cells full of an
extraordinary cheerfulness. Through his continual weeping he thought others had
a like gift, and often said to his monks, " Do not weep too much ; for it
prejudices the sight and the head." It was his desire,
whenever he could conveniently avoid it, not to say mass before a number of
people, because he could not refrain from tears in offering that august
sacrifice. The contemplation of the Divinity often transported him out of
himself ; melting in tears, and burning with love, he would cry out : "Dear
Jesus! my dear Jesus! my unspeakable desire ! my joy ! joy of the angels !
sweetness of the saints !" and the like, which he was heard to speak with a
jubilation which cannot be expressed. To propagate the honour of God, he
resolved, by the advice of the Bishop of Pola and others, to exchange his remote
desert, for one where he could better advance his holy institute. The Bishop of
Parenzo forbade any boat to carry him off, desiring earnestly to detain him ;
but the Bishop of Poly sent one to fetch him. He miraculously calmed a storm
at sea, and landed safe at Capreola. Coming to Bifurcum, he found the monks'
cells too magnificent, and would lodge in none but that of one Peter, a man of
extraordinary austerity, who never would live in a cell larger than four cubits.
This Peter admired the saint's spirit of compunction, and said, that when he
recited the psalms alternately with him, the holy man used to go out thirty
times in a night as if for some necessity, but he saw it was to abandon himself
a few moments to spiritual consolation, with which he overflowed at prayer, or
to sighs and tears which he was not able to contain. Romuald sent to the counts
of the province of Marino, to beg a little ground whereon to build a monastery.
They hearing Romuald's name, offered him with joy whatever mountains, woods, or
fields he would choose among them. He found the valley of Castro most proper.
Exceeding great was the fruit of the blessed man's endeavours, and many put
themselves with great fervour under his direction. Sinners, who did not forsake
the world entirely, were by him in great multitudes moved to penance, and to
distribute great part of their posessions liberally among the
poor. The holy man seemed in the midst of them as a seraph incarnate, burning
with heavenly ardours of divine love, and inflaming those who heard him speak. If
he travelled, he rode or walked at a distance behind his brethren, reciting
psalms, and watering his cheeks almost without ceasing with tears that flowed in
The saint had always burnt with an ardent desire of martyrdom,
which was much increased by the glorious crowns of some of his disciples,
especially of St. Boniface. At last, not able to contain the ardour of his
charity and desire to give his life for his Redeemer, he obtained the pope's
license, and set out to preach the gospel in Hungary, in which mission some of
his disciples accompanied him. He had procured two of them to be consecrated
archbishops by the pope, declining himself the episcopal dignity ; but a violent
illness which seized him on his entering Hungary, and returned as often as he
attempted to proceed on his intended design, was a plain indication of the will
of God in this matter ; so he returned home with seven of his associates. The
rest, with the two archbishops, went forward, and preached the faith under the
holy king, St. Stephen, suffering much for Christ, but none obtained the crown
of martyrdom. Romuaid in his return built some monasteries in Germany, and
laboured to reform others ; but this drew on him many persecutions. Yet all,
even the great ones of the world, trembled in his presence. He refused to accept
either water or wood, without paying for it, from Raynerius, marquis of Tuscia,
because that prince had married the wife of. a relation whom he had killed.
Raynerius, though a sovereign, used to say, that neither the emperor nor any
mortal on earth could strike him with so much awe as Romuald's presence did : so
powerful was the impression which the Holy Ghost, dwelling in his breast, made
on the most haughty sinners. Hearing that a certain Venetian had by simony
obtained the abbey of Classis, he hastened thither. The unworthy abbot strove
to kill him, to preserve his unjust dignity. He often met with the like plots
and assaults from several of his own disciples, which procured him the repeated
merit, though not the crown, of martyrdom. The pope, having called him to Rome,
he wrought there several miracles, built some monasteries in its neighbourhood,
and converted innumerable souls to God. Returning from Rome, he made a long stay
at Mount Sitria. A young nobleman addicted to impurity, being exasperated at the
saint's severe remonstrances, had the impudence to accuse him of a scandalous
crime. The monks, by a surprising levity, believed the calumny, enjoined him a
most severe penance, forbid him to say mass, and excommunicated him. He bore all
with patience and in silence, as if really he had been guilty, and refrained
from going to the altar for six months. In the seventh month he was admonished
by God to obey no longer so unjust and irregular a sentence, pronounced without
any authority and without grounds. He accordingly said mass again, and with such
raptures of devotion, as obliged him to continue long absorbed in ecstasy. He
passed seven-years in Sitria, in his cell in strict silence, but his example did
the office of his tongue and moved many to penance. In his old age, instead of
relaxing, he increased his austerities and fasts. He had three hair-shirts which
he now and then changed. He never would admit of the least thing to give a savour
to the herbs or meal-gruel on which he supported himself. If any thing was
brought him better dressed, he, for the greater self-denial applied it to his
nostrils, and said, "Oh, gluttony, gluttony, thou shalt never taste this :
perpetual war is declared against thee." His disciples, also were remarkable for
their austere lives, went always barefoot, and looked excessive pale with
continual fasting. No other drink was known among them but water, except in sickness. St.
Romuald wrought in this place many
miraculous cures of the sick. At last, having settled his disciples here in a
monastery which he had built for them, he departed for Bifurcum.
Emperor St. Henry II. who had succeeded Otho III. coming into Italy, and being
desirous to see the saint, sent an honourable embassy to him to induce him to
come to court. At the earnest request of his disciples he complied, but not
without great reluctance on his side. The emperor received him with the greatest
marks of honour and esteem, and rising out of his chair, said to him, " I wish
my soul was like yours." The saint observed a strict silence the whole time the
interview lasted, to the great astonishment of the court. The emperor being
convinced that this did not proceed from pride or disdain, but from humility and
a desire of being despised, was so far from being offended at it, that it
occasioned his conceiving a higher esteem and veneration for him. The next day
he received from him whole-some advice in his closet. The German noblemen showed
him the greatest respect as he passed through the court, and plucked the very
hairs out of his garments for relics, at which he was so much grieved, that he
would have immediately gone back if he had not been stopped. The emperor gave
him a monastery on Mount Amiatus.
The most famous of all his monasteries is that
of Camaldoli, near Arezzo, in Tuscany, on the frontiers of the ecclesiastical
state, thirty miles east from Florence, founded by him about the year 1009. It
lies beyond a mountain, very difficult to pass over, the descent from which on
the opposite side is almost a direct precipice looking down upon a pleasant
large valley, which then belonged to a lord called Maldnli, who gave it the
saint, and from him it retained the name Camaldoli.น In this place St. Romuald
built a monastery, and by the several
observances he added to St. Benedict's rule, gave birth to that new order called Camaldoli, in which he united the cenobitic
and eremitical life.
(1) Contracted from Campo Maldeli.
After seeing in
a vision his monks mounting up a ladder to heaven all in white he changed their
habit from black to white. The hermitage is two short miles distant from the
monastery. It is a mountain quite overshaded by a dark wood of fir-trees. In it
are seven clear springs of water. The very sight of this solitude in the midst
of the forest helps to fill the mind with compunction and a love of heavenly
contemplation. On entering it, we meet with a chapel of St. Antony for
travellers to pray in before they advance any further. Next are the cells and
lodgings for the porters. Somewhat further is the church, which is large,
well-built, and richly adorned. Over the door is a clock, which strikes so loud
that it may be heard all over the desert. On the left side of the church is the
cell in which St. Romuald lived, when he first established these hermits. Their
cells, built of stone, have each a little garden walled round. A constant fire
is allowed to he kept in every cell on account of the coldness of the air
throughout the year : each cell has also a chapel in which they may say mass :
they call their superior, major. The whole hermitage is now enclosed with a wall
: none are allowed to go out of it ; but they may walk in the woods and alleys
within the enclosure at discretion. Every thing is sent them from the monastery
in the valley : their food is every day brought to each cell ; and all are
supplied with wood and necessaries that they may have no dissipation or
hindrance in their contemplation. Many hours of the day are allotted to
particular exercises ; and no rain or snow stops any one from meeting in the
church to assist at the divine office. They are obliged to strict silence in all
public common places; and every' where during their Lents, also on Sundays,
Holydays, Fridays, and other days of abstinence,
and always from Complin till prime the next day.
For a severer solitude, St.
Romuald added a third kind of life ; that of a recluse. After a holy life in the
hermitage, the superior grants leave to any that ask it, and seem called by
God, to live for ever shut up in their cells, never speaking to any one but to
the superior when he visits them, and to the brother who brings them
necessaries. Their prayers and austerities are doubled, and their fasts more
severe and more frequent. St. Romuald condemned himself to this kind of life
for several years; and fervent imitators have never since failed in this
St. Romuald died in his monastery in the valley of Castro in the
marquisate of Ancona. As he was born about the year 956, he must have died
seventy years and some months old, not a hundred and twenty, as the present
copies of his life have it. The day of his death was the 19th of June ; but his
principal feast is appointed by Clement VIII, on the 7th of February, the day of
his translation. His body was found entire and uncorrupt five years after his
death, and again in 1466. But his tomb being sacrilegiously opened, and his body
stolen in 1480, it fell to dust,. in which state it was translated to Fabriano,
and there deposited in the great church, all but the remains of one arm, sent to
Camaldoli. God has honoured his relics with many miracles. The order of
Camaldoli is now divided into five congregations, under so many generals or
majors. The life of the hermits is very severe, though something mitigated since
the time of St. Romuald. The Cenobites are more like Benedictines, and perhaps
were not directly established by St. Romuald, says F. Helyot.
If we are not called upon to practise the extraordinary austerities of many
saints we cannot but confess that we live under an indispensable necessity of leading mortified lives, both in order to fulfil our obligation of doing penance,
and to subdue our passions and keep our senses and interior faculties under due
command. The appetites of the body are only to be reduced by universal
temperance, and assiduous mortification and watchfulness over all the senses.
The interior powers of the soul must be restrained, as the imagination, memory,
and understanding their proneness to distraction, and the itching curiosity of
the mind, must be curbed, and their repugnance to attend to spiritual things
corrected by habits of recollection, holy meditation, and prayer. Above all, the
will must be rendered supple and pliant by frequent self-denial, which must
reach and keep in subjection all its most trifling sallies and inclinations. If
any of these, how insignificant so ever they may seem, are not restrained and
vanquished, they will prove sufficient often to disturb the quiet of the mind,
and betray one into considerable inconveniences, faults, and follies. Great
weaknesses are sometimes fed by temptations which seem almost of too little
moment to deserve notice: and though these infirmities should not arise to any
great height, they always fetter the soul, and are an absolute impediment to her
progress toward perfection.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: SAINT ROMUALD,
PLEASE PRAY FOR US TODAY [STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST.]
St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin
Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume VI:
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
THE ILLUSTRIOUS family of Falconieri in
Italy received great honour from the sanctity of this holy virgin. Her
father, Charissimus Falconieri, and his pious lady, Reguardata, were
both advanced in years, and seemed to have lost all hopes of issue, when
in 1270 they were wonderfully blessed with the birth of our saint.
Devoting themselves afterwards solely to the exercises of religion, they
built and founded at their own expense the stately church of the
Annunciation of our Lady in Florence, which for riches and the elegance
of the structure, may at this day be ranked among the wonders of the
world. B. Alexius Falconieri, the only brother of Charissimus, and uncle
of our saint, was with St. Philip Beniti, one of the seven first
propagators and pillars of the Order of Servites, or persons devoted to
the service of God under the special patronage of the Virgin Mary.
Juliana in her infancy seemed almost to anticipate the ordinary course
of nature in the use of reason, by her early piety; and the first words
she learned to pronounce were the sacred names, Jesu, Maria. Fervent
prayer and mortification chiefly took up her attention at an age which
seems usually scarcely capable of any thing serious. Such was her
angelical modesty, that she never durst lift up her eyes to look any man
in the face; and so great was her horror of sin that the very name of it
made her almost fall into a swoon. 1
In the sixteenth year of her age,
despising whatever seemed not conducive to virtue, she bid adieu to all
worldly thoughts and pleasures, renounced her great estate and fortune,
and the better to seek the inestimable jewel of the gospel, she
consecrated her virginity to God, and received from the hands of St.
Philip Beniti the religious veil of the Mantellatๆ. The religious men
among the Servites are called the first Order. St. Philip Beniti
constituted his second Order, which is that of the nuns, in favour of
certain devout ladies. The Mantellatๆ are a third Order of the Servites,
and take their name from a particular kind of short sleeves which they
wear, as fittest for their work. They were instituted to serve the sick,
and for other offices of charity, and at the beginning were not obliged
to strict inclosure. Of this third Order St. Juliana was, under the
direction of St. Philip, the first plant; and as she grew up, the great
reputation of her prudence and sanctity drawing to her many devout
ladies, who desired to follow the same institute, she was obliged to
accept the charge of prioress. Though she was the spiritual mother of
the rest, she made it her delight and study to serve all her sisters.
She often spent whole days in prayer, and frequently received great
heavenly favours. She never let slip any opportunity of performing
offices of charity towards her neighbours, especially of reconciling
enemies, reclaiming sinners, and serving the sick. She sucked the most
nauseous ulcers of scorbutic patients and lepers; by which means the
sores are cleansed without the knife, or painful pressure of the
surgeons hand, and a cure rendered more easy. By an imitation of this
mortification and charity, do many pious religious persons, who attend
the hospitals of the poor, gain an heroic victory over themselves. Saint
Juliana practised incredible austerities. In her old age she was
afflicted with various painful distempers, which she bore with
inexpressible cheerfulness and joy. One thing afflicted her in her last
sickness, that she was deprived of the comfort and happiness of uniting
her soul with her divine Spouse in the sacrament of the altar, which she
was not able to receive by reason that her stomach, by continually
vomiting, could not retain any food. The sacred host however was brought
into her cell, and there suddenly disappeared out of the hands of the
priest. After her death the figure of the host was found imprinted on
the left side of her breast; by which prodigy it was judged that Christ
had miraculously satisfied her languishing holy desire. She died in her
convent at Florence in the year 1340, of her age seventy. Miracles have
been frequently effected through her intercession, among which several
have been juridically proved. Pope Benedict XIII. enrolled her name
among the blessed in 1729. His successor, Clement XII. put the last hand
to her canonization. 1 Her Order is propagated in Italy and Austria. See
Bonannis History of the Founders of Religious Orders, t. 2. Giani, in
her life, and Papebroke, in his Appendix, t. 3. Junij. p. 923. 2
Note 1. Bullar, Rom. t. 15, p. 141. [back]
SAINT JULIANA, PLEASE PRAY
FOR US [SAY YOUR PRAYER REQUEST.]
Saints Marcus and Marcellianus, Martyrs
From the acts of St.
Sebastian. See Tillemont, t. 4. Baronius ad an. 286, n. 23, BUTLERS LIVES OF THE
MARCUS and MARCELLIANUS were twin
brothers of an illustrious family in Rome, had been converted to the faith in
their youth, and were honourably married. Dioclesian ascended the imperial
throne in 284; soon after which the heathens raised tumultuary persecutions,
though this emperor had not yet published any new edicts against the church.
These martyrs were thrown into prison, and condemned by Chromatius, lieutenant
of the prefect of Rome, to be beheaded. Their friends obtained a respite of the
execution for thirty days, that they might prevail with them to comply with the
judge, and they were removed into the house of Nicostratus the public register.
Tranquillinus and Martia, their afflicted heathen parents, in company with their
sons own wives and their little babes at their breasts, endeavoured to move
them by the most tender entreaties and tears. St. Sebastian, an officer of the
emperors household, coming to Rome soon after their commitment, daily visited
and encouraged him. The issue of the conferences was the happy conversion of the
father, mother, and wives, also of Nicostratus, and soon after of Chromatius,
who set the saints at liberty, and abdicating the magistracy retired into the
country. Marcus and Marcellianus were hid by Castulus, a Christian officer of
the household, in his apartments in the palace; but they were betrayed by an
apostate named Torquatus, and retaken. Fabrian who had succeeded Chromatius,
condemned them to be bound to two pillars with their feet nailed to the same. In
this posture they remained a day and a night, and on the following day were
stabbed with lances, and buried in the Arenarium, since called their cemetery,
two miles out of Rome, between the Appian and Ardeatine roads. All the ancient
Martyrologies mark their festival on the 18th of June.
Virtue is often false, and in it the true metal is not to be distinguished from
dross until persecution has applied the touchstone, and proved the temper. We
know not what we are till we have been tried. It costs nothing to say we love
God above all things, and to show the courage of martyrs at a distance from the
danger; but that love is sincere which has stood the proof. Persecution shows
who is a hireling, and who a true pastor, says St. Bernard. 1
Note 1. St. Bern. l. de Convers. ad Clericos. c.
PLEASE PRAY FOR US TODAY [STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST.]
ANTONY OF PADUA, C.
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
FEAST DAY: JUNE XIII
[His genuine life has received
several interpolations from popular reports of no authority. But Wadding's
Annals of his Order furnish us with good memoirs relating to his life and
actions. See the judicious notes of the Bollandists, Acta Sanctorum Junii, t.
ii. p. 706 ; Ragnaud, t. viii. Mic. Ant. Bibl. Hisp. and Andreich.] [BUTLER'S
LIVES OF THE SAINTS.]
DIED: A.D. 1231.
ST. ANTONY, though a native,
of Lisbon, in Portugal, received his surname from his long residence at Padua,
which city is possessed of the treasure of his relics. He was born in 1195, and
christened by the name of Ferdinand, which he changed for that of Antony when he
entered the Order of St. Francis, out of devotion to the great patriarch of
monks, who was the titular saint of the little chapel of his Order in which he
took the habit. His father was Martin de Bullones, an officer in the army of
Alphonsus I., surnamed El Consultador, who having defeated five kings of the
Moors in the battle of Orique, in 1139, was crowned King of Portugal, and
died in 1185.
(1) Osce ii. 14.
This prince's father, Henry of
Burgundy, grandson of Robert, King of France, had begun the conquest of that
country, but never took the title of king. The mother of our saint was Mary of
Tevera, one of the most accomplished of women. Both his parents were equally
distinguished by their nobility and virtue. They placed their son very
young in the community of the canons of the Cathedral of Lisbon, where his
rising genius was carefully cultivated, and from his tender years he always
advanced both in his knowledge and devotion. At fifteen years of age he entered
among the regular canons of St. Austin, near Lisbon ; but not bearing the
interruption and distraction which the visits of his friends there gave him, he
desired, two years after, to be sent to the convent of the Holy Cross of the
same Order at Coimbra, a hundred miles from the former city. The close
retirement and the austerity in which he there lived astonished his brethren,
whilst he pursued his studies, and read assiduously the holy scriptures and
fathers. By his regular method and application, and by his sound and piercing
judgment, he made a quick progress, and together with a profound knowledge of
theology, acquired a perfect habit of.nervous and convincing eloquence. In the
mean time he inflamed his devotion by assiduous prayer and holy meditation, and
nourished daily in his soul the strongest sentiments and affections of piety,
without which means the heart is left spiritually dry, the usual consequence of
studies, whether sacred or profane, unless prayer imparts to them its unction.
But the saint was called by God to serve him with greater fervour, and to be the
ornament and support of another illustrious rising Order of religious men.
lived at Coimbra near eight years, when Don Pedro, Infant of Portugal, brought
over from Morocco the relics of the five Franciscans who had been lately there
crowned with martyrdom. Ferdinand was strongly affected at the sight, and
conceived an ardent desire to lay down his life for Christ. Shortly after,
certain Franciscan friars came to his monastery of the Holy Cross to beg an alms
for their community. Ferdinand discovered to them his inclination to embrace
their institute, and was by them encouraged to put it in execution. No sooner
was this known among the canons, but they endeavoured to dissuade him from such
a resolution, and he suffered much from their railleries and bitter reproaches.
But he rejoiced in humiliations, and he began by them to learn to overcome
himself, and to root out of his heart all lurking poison of pride. Whilst he
examined his vocation, and begged the direction of the Holy Ghost, he found his
resolution every day to gain new strength from the esteem he conceived for an
Order which inspired an eminent spirit of martyrdom, and still enjoyed the
direction and living example of its holy founder. Its poverty and austerities
had also charms to him. Having therefore obtained the consent of his prior, he
received this new habit in 1221, in the little Franciscan convent, dedicated to
the great St. Antony, patriarch of the monks, near Coimbra. After some time
spent in solitude, prayer, and penitential austerities, burning with, a desire
of martyrdom, he obtained leave to go into Africa to preach the gospel to the
Moors. He was scarce arrived there, when God; satisfied with the sacrifice of
his heart, visited him with a severe fit of illness, which obliged him to return
to Spain for the reestablishment of his health. But by contrary winds, the
vessel on which he was embarked was driven to Sicily, and touched at Messina,
where he was informed that, St. Francis was then holding a general chapter at
Assisium. Sick and weak as he was, the desire of seeing the holy founder of his
Order carried him to Assisium. When he had seen St. Francis he desired to
cultivate the happiness which he enjoyed in the company of the saint ; and a
order to stay nearer his person, offered himself to the provincials and
guardians of Italy. St. Francis approved his inclination to renounce his friends
and country; but not one of the superiors there assembled would be troubled with
him, so compromising and sickly was his aspect; or he took care to conceal his
learning end talents, and presented himself only to serve in the kitchen. At
last a guardian in the province of Romagna, named Iratiani, took pity of him,
and sent him to the hermitage of Mount-Paul, a little solitary convent near
Bologna. Antony thought of nothing but of burying himself here in obscurity
unknown to the world, joining the sweets of heavenly contemplation with the
austerities of a penitential life, and the humiliations of such a state. He
never let fall one word which might show his learning, much less any thing of
the sublime communications of his soul with God; but listened to every body,and
only spoke when obliged, till an accident made him known to the world. 1n
assembly of the neighbouring Dominican and Franciscan friars was held at Forli,
in which the Dominicans, as strangers, were desired to make an exhortation to
the company. They all excused themselves, every one saying that he was not
prepared. Then St. Antony's guardian ordered him to speak, and to say whatever
the Holy Ghost should put in his mouth. The saint begged to be excused, alleging
that he had been only used to wash the dishes in the kitchen, and to sweep the
house; but the superior resisting upon his compliance, he spoke with such
eloquence, erudition, and unction as astonished the whole company. He was
at that time about twenty-six years old.
St. Francis was informed of the discovery of this
hidden treasure in his order, and sent him to Vercelli, there to apply himself
to the study of theology, and after a short time to teach the sacred
sciences ; yet recommending him to make the assiduous exercise of contemplation
and prayer his principal employment, lest his studies should otherwise
extinguish in him the spirit of devotion and piety. St. Francis's letter was
couched in the following terms : "To my most dear brother Antony, Friar Francis
wishes health in Jesus Christ. It seemeth good to me, that you should read
sacred theology to " the friars; yet so, that you do not prejudice yourself by
too great earnestness in studies ; and be careful that you do not extinguish in
yourself or in them the spirit of holy prayer." St. Antony taught divinity some
years with great applause at Bologna, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Padua, and was
appointed guardian at Limoges. In all these employments he never made use of the
general dispensation allowed to professors, of an exemption from any of the
regular duties of his community, and he found time to preach assiduously to the
people. He at length forsook the schools to apply himself wholly to the
functions of a missionary preacher; for he thought the conversion of souls from
vice, and the reformation of manners called for his whole attention and zeal. He
seemed formed, both by nature and grace, for this most important office. He had
a polite address, an easy carriage, and a very pleasing countenance. His voice
was strong, clear, and agreeable; he was endowed with a happy memory, and was a
complete master of all the arts of persuasion. To his other advantages he added
that of the most graceful action and accent, by which he knew how to get into
the very souls of his hearers by seizing on their senses, having learned that
man has as much of a sensible as of a rational creature. He was perfectly versed
in the holy scriptures, had an excellent talent of applying them to the purpose
on all occasions, and displayed in a clear light, and with inexpressible energy
the genuine sense, and the spirit and marrow of the sacred text. But what made
his eloquence most prevailing, and rendered it like a torrent of fire which bore
down all before it, was the unction with which he spoke ; for his heart being
filled with the warmest and most feeling sentiments of every virtue, he poured
these forth with an energy and zeal that seemed irresistible. His words were so
many darts, which pierced the hearts of his hearers ; for he had long treasured
up by the exercises of humility, silence, mortification, contemplation, and
prayer what he afterwards communicated to his hearers ; and his soul was itself
all flame before he endeavoured to kindle the fire of divine love in others.
Full of a sovereign contempt of the world and himself, and burning with a desire
to die for Jesus Christ, and to see his pure love reign in all hearts, he was
above the reach of all temptations which could warp his integrity, or make him
weaken or disguise the maxims of the gospel, which he announced with equal
dignity and zeal to the great ones and the small. The learned admired the
loftiness of his thoughts, and the strong images with which he painted the most
sublime mysteries, and added an unspeakable dignity to the most obvious and
common truths of religion and morality ; yet a natural simplicity rendered all
his discourses no less intelligible and easy to the most vulgar understandings.
Charity and prudence took off the edge of harshness from his reprehensions, and
his very reproofs were not bitter or austere, but amiable and insinuating.
Whilst he beat down presumptuous sinners by the terrors of the divine judgments,
he at the same time took care to raise and encourage their sinking souls by
confidence in divine goodness and mercy. He opposed the fashionable vices and
growing heresies of those times with equal vigour and success. The most
obstinate heretics and the most hardened sinners threw themselves at his feet,
declaring themselves conquered hearing him preach at Rome in 1227, in his
surprise, figuratively called him, The Ark of the Covenant, or rich spiritual
treasure. The sanctity and severity of his life gave also great weight to his
words. Such was the gravity of his countenance and the edifying modesty of his
deportment, that he seemed to preach by every action. Having once invited a
brother to go out with him to preach, he returned to his convent without making
any sermon to the people. His companion asked him why he had not preached. " We
have done it," said the saint, " by our modest looks, and by the gravity of our
behaviour." The frequent miracles which were performed by him much enhanced the
reputation of his eminent sanctity wherever he came. The crowds were every where
so great at his sermons that he was often obliged to preach in market-places or
fields. He travelled through cities, towns, and villages with an unwearied zeal,
and preached in France, Spain, and Italy. When he was one day going to begin his
sermon to a most numerous assembly in the fields in France, the sky was on a
sudden covered with thick clouds, and violent claps of thunder presaged a
dreadful storm. The people began to disperse, and run to the neighbouring city.
But the saint encouraged them to stay, and by his prayers obtained that the
audience, as if they had been covered with an invisible canopy, felt nothing of
the dreadful shower of rain and hail, whilst the neighbouring fields and
highways were covered with a deluge.
was no less admirable in the confessional and in the private direction of souls
than in the pulpit. Wherever he came, dissensions and animosities were
extinguished, usurers restored their unjust gains, sinners melted into tears at
his discourses, and by their sobs often interrupted his sermons, and every one
sought his particular advice for the direction of his own conscience and
conduct. In Lombardy, for the protection of the oppressed people, he put his
life in the hands of one the most furious of tyrants. Ezzelino, native of the
marquisate of Treviso, but German extraction, having put himself the head of a
party of the Gibellins, Imperialists, made himself master of Verona, Padua, and
several other cities in Lombardy, and exercised in them the most horrible
tyranny during forty years. He contemned the anathemas of Gregory IX., Innocent
IV., and Alexander IV. Hearing that the citizens of Padua had volted from him,
he put to death in one day twelve thousand persons of that country. The city of
Verona, which was the place of his residence, had lost most its inhabitants, and
was filled with his guards, whose terrible armour added fierceness to their
savage countenances. The saint, who feared no danger in the cause of God and his
neighbour, went boldly to Verona. He found the streets solitary and mournful,
and advancing to the palace, desired an audience of the prince. Being introduced
into his chamber, he saw him seated on a throne, surrounded, by his troop of
murderers, who stood armed, ready to execute his bloody orders the instant they
were issued. Antony, no way dismayed, told the tyrant, that his murders,
sacrileges, and plunders called to heaven for vengeance upon his head, and that
those whom he had slain oppressed were witnesses before God against him. The
saint said many things the same purpose, and the guards kited every moment to
hear the tyrant command him to be cut to pieces. But their great astonishment,
he descended from his throne pale and trembling, and fitting his girdle round
his neck for a halter, cast himself at the feet of the humble servant of God,
and with many tears begged him to intercede with God for the pardon of his sins.
The saint led him up, and gave him suitable advice to do penance. Some time
afterwards he sent a great present to St. Antony, which the holy man refused to
accept, saying, the only agreeable present the prince could make him would be to
restore to the poor what he had unjustly taken from them. Ezzelino seemed for
some time to change his conduct, but after the death of the saint, relapsed into
his former disorders. At length being taken prisoner by the confederate princes
of Lombardy, in 1259, he died distracted in close confinement.
when invested with several dignities in his Order, was watchful to maintain the
primitive spirit and regularity in the houses under his inspection. He saw it
almost in its birth exposed to imminent danger, and saved it by his zeal and
prudence. St. Francis dying in 1226, brother Elias, a man of a worldly spirit,
was chosen general; who abusing his authority, began to introduce several
relaxations of the rule, which tended to the ruin of its fundamental
constitutions and spirit. He built a church too magnificent for the poverty
which the rule required and professed, applied money to his own private use,
bought himself a horse, kept servants, ate in his own chamber, and had better
fare than the community prepared for him. Most of the provincials and guardians,
out of human respects, were gained to his way of thinking; and the rest; who saw
that the tendency of such an innovation was to open a door to relaxations which
must necessarily extinguish the spirit and glory of the Order, had not courage
to speak against it. Only St. Antony and an Englishman, named Adam, boldly
opposed and condemned these abuses; but were loaded with injuries and
ill-treatment, and only by flight escaped perpetual imprisonment in their cells,
which the general, with several provincials, decreed against them as turbulent
and seditious men. They addressed themselves to Pope Gregory IX., by whom they
were graciously received and heard. His holiness summoned Elias to appear before
him at Rome, and having examined into the abuses by him introduced, deposed him
from the generalship. Antony was at that time Provincial of Romagna; but took
this occasion to extort by importunities license from the pope to resign that
post, and also to leave the court, where his holiness earnestly desired to
detain him. He retired first to Mount Alverno; thence returned to his convent at
Padua, which he had pitched upon for his abode some time before he was
Provincial of Romagna, and where he had formerly taught divinity and preached.
After his return, he again preached the Lent there with such fruit, that the
whole city seemed changed by his sermons. Then it was that he put the last hand
to the Latin sermons, which we have, though not as he preached them ; for he
diversified them according to circumstances, and spoke as the ardour of his soul
directed him. They are no more than general heads or commonplaces, destitute of
the ornaments and flowers which he added in speaking.
was over, St. Antony being much spent with labour, and his penitential life,
finding also his health and strength declining very fast under an inward decay,
he desired to give himself some interval between business and eternity. He
therefore retired out of town, to a solitary place called Campietro, or Field of
Peter, there to attend solely to himself and God, and by fervent prayer to
dispose his soul for the enjoyment of God ; for he knew that his earthly
pilgrimage was drawing to an end, and that he was then called to receive the
reward of his labours. He took with him into his solitude two companions, men of
great virtue. His distemper increasing very much upon him, he desired to be
carried back to his convent in Padua ; but the crowds of people pressing to kiss
the hem of his habit were so great and so trouble-some, that he stopped in the
suburbs, and was laid in the chamber of the director of the nuns of Arcela,
where, having received the rites of the church with many tears, he recited
the seven penitential psalms, and a hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin, till
he gave up his happy soul to him who had created it for his own great glory, on
the 13th of June, 1231, being only thirty-six years old, of which he had lived
ten in the Order of St. Francis. At the first news of his departure, the
children ran about the streets, crying out, " The saint is dead ! " Innumerable
miracles testified his sanctity, and he was immediately canonized by Pope
Gregory IX., in 1232, whose bull was dated at Spoletto. That pope had been
personally acquainted with the saint, and was a great, admirer of his virtues.
Thirty-two years after his death, a stately church was built in Padua for his
Order, and his remains were translated into it. The flesh was all consumed
except the tongue, which was found incorrupt, red, and as fresh as it was whilst
he was living. St. Bonaventare, who was then general of the Order, and present
at this ceremony, took it into his hands, and bathing it with his tears, and
kissing it with great devotion, said, " 0 blessed tongue, that didst always
praise God, and hast been the cause that an infinite number learned to praise
Him : now it appears how precious thou art before Him who framed thee to be
employed in so excellent and high a function." The tongue is kept in the same
church in a most costly case. This is at present a great and famous house of
conventual Franciscan friars, which often furnishes the university, which
is certainly to be ranked among the best in Europe, with able professors. The
sepulchral monument of the saint in the church is exceeding rich and
magnificent; and the basso-relievo with which it is adorned a master-piece of
art. The costly lamps which hang before it are the several presents of many
cities. The Portuguese likewise honour him with singular veneration.
On his miracles Papebroke, the Bollandist, may be consulted.1
Pope Gregory I.X. in the bull of his canonization says, " We therefore commanded
the said bishop (of Padua), brother Jordan, Prior of St. Bennet's, and brother
John, Prior of St. Austin's, a monastery of the Dominicans in Padua, to make
diligent scrutiny into the miracles wrought at his sepulchre, and into the
merits of his life. Having seen the authentic proofs of the miracles of the
aforesaid venerable man, besides what we know ourselves of his holy life and
conversation, of which we have had experience, we, by the advice of our
brethren, together with all the prelates with us, have enrolled him in the
number of the saints." He had said before in the same bull: "St. Antony,
residing now in heaven, is honoured on earth by many miracles daily seen at his
tomb, of which we are certified by authentic writings."
admire the graces and extra-ordinary gifts with which God was pleased to glorify
his servant, we must not forget that he was raised so high only because, by
divine grace, through the paths of self-denial and humility, he had learned
perfectly to die to himself, and to be nothing in his own eyes. Pride makes our
hearts an abomination to God, and puts him at the greatest distance from us.
This is the deep wound of our souls, the main-spring of all our passions, the
deadly poison of virtue, the fortress of the devil, and the source of all
disorders. If we perfectly root out this evil, then will divine grace begin to
establish its reign, and display its treasures in our souls.
T. ii. Junij, p.718.
INTERCESSORY PARYER: SAINT ANTHONY, PLEASE PRAY FOR [STATE YOUR PRAYER
BOOK ON SAINT ANTHONY:
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus came into the Catholic
faith through a Catholic sister known as Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
(1647-1690). At the age of 24, Margaret Mary entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. She began to have visions of Our Lord and on December
27, 1673, on the Feast of St. John, she began to have visions that lasted for
eighteen months. Jesus told her that she was to become his instrument in
spreading devotion to his Sacred Heart. While kneeling before the Blessed
Sacrament, Our Lord appeared to her and invited her to "rest a long time on His
Divine Breast". Jesus revealed to her the marvels of the love that His Sacred
Heart had for mankind.
Jesus said to her:
HEART IS SO FULL OF LOVE FOR MEN AND FOR YOU IN PARTICULAR THAT, NO LONGER ABLE
TO CONTAIN WITHIN ITSELF THE FLAMES OF ITS BURNING CHARITY, IT MUST SPREAD THESE
FLAMES BY MEANS OF YOU, AND IT MUST MANIFEST ITSELF TO MEN IN ORDER TO ENRICH
THEM WITH ITS PRECIOUS TREASURES. I HAVE CHOSEN YOU TO ACHIEVE THIS GRAND
CRUSADE OF LOVE."
Saint Margaret Mary
had frequent visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. According to Saint Margaret Mary, His Divine Heart was "more
radiant than the sun and as transparent as crystal," with its adorable wound
visible, and as a "furnace" of burning flames.
In June, 1675: during the feast of Corpus Christi, while praying before Our
Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Monstrance. Our Lord revealed His
Heart to her and said "HERE IS THE HEART THAT HAS SO
LOVED MEN AS TO SPARE NOTHING FOR THEM, EXHAUSTING AND CONSUMING ITSELF IN ORDER
TO PROVE ITS LOVE FOR THEM; AND IN RETURN I RECEIVE, FROM MOST OF THEM, ONLY
Jesus asked her to have a special
feast established in honor of His Sacred Heart on the Friday after the feast of
Corpus Christi. Jesus asked his followers to receive Holy Communion on that day and to
make atonement for the sins of the world by an act of reparation.
Jesus asked her to have an image made of His Sacred Heart and to have
throughout the world with special promises to those souls who would
display His image of His Sacred Heart.
She consulted with her enlightened spiritual director whom
God had given her. On the following Friday, June 21, Father de la Colombiere,
her priest-director, and Saint Margaret Mary consecrated themselves to the
Sacred Heart. With great sufferings and humiliations, Father de la Colombiere
and Saint Margaret Mary made every effort to spread the new devotion to the
Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Lord Jesus revealed to Saint Margaret Mary the following promises to
those souls who would honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:
"1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
"2. I will establish peace in their homes.
"3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
"4. I will be their secure refuge during life and above all in death.
"5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.
"6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of
"7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
"8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
"9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and
"10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
"11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in
My Heart, never to be blotted out.
"12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful
love will grant to all those who communicate on the first Friday in nine
consecutive months, the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My
disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their
safe refuge in this last moment."
HEART OF MARY
devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Veneration of the Heart of
Mary is analogous to worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is, however,
necessary to indicate a few differences in this analogy, the better to explain
the character of Roman Catholic devotion to the Heart of Mary. Some of these
differences are very marked, whereas others are barely perceptible. Devotion
to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "Divine Heart" as
overflowing with love for humanity, presented as "despised and outraged". In
the devotion to the Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of
this Heart for Jesus and for God. Its love for humans is not overlooked, but
it is not so much in evidence nor so dominant.
difference is the nature of the devotion itself. In devotion to the Sacred Heart
of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love responding to love. In
devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as
love. Love is more the result than the object of the devotion, the object being
rather to love God, and Jesus better by uniting themselves to Mary for this
purpose and by imitating her virtues. It would also seem that, although in the
devotion to the Heart of Mary the heart has an essential part as symbol and
sensible object, it does not stand out as prominently as in the devotion to the
Heart of Jesus; devotion focuses rather of the thing symbolized, of love,
virtues, and sentiments, of Mary's interior life.
History of devotion
The history of the devotion to the Heart of Mary is connected on many points
with that to the Heart of Jesus. The attention of Christians was early attracted
by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospels recount the prophesy
delivered to her at Jesus' presentation at the temple: that her heart would be
pierced with a sword. This image (the pierced heart) is the most popular
representation of the Immaculate Heart. The Gospels further invited attention to
Mary's heart with its depictions of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus'
crucifixion. St. Augustine said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the
foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our
Scriptural passage to help in bringing out the devotion was the twice-repeated
saying of Saint Luke, that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her
heart, that there she might ponder over them and live by them. A few of Mary's
sayings, also recorded in the Gospel, particularly the Magnificat (the words
Mary is reported to have said to describe the experience of being pregnant with
Jesus), disclose new features in Marian psychology. Some of the Church Fathers
also throw light upon the psychology of Mary, for instance, Saint Ambrose, when
in his commentary on The Gospel of Luke he holds Mary up as the ideal of
virginity, and Saint Ephrem, when he poetically sings of the coming of the Magi
and the welcome accorded them by the humble mother. Some passages from other
books in the Bible are interpreted as referring to Mary, in whom they personify
wisdom and her gentle charms. Such are the texts in which wisdom is presented as
the mother of lofty love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope. In the New
Testament Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of
the angel who announced that she would become pregnant with Jesus, although she
was still a virgin; the Magnificat is an expression of her humility. In
answering the woman of the people, who in order to exalt the son proclaimed the
mother blessed, Jesus himself said: "Blessed rather are they that hear the word
of God and keep it." The Church Fathers understood this as an invitation to seek
in Mary that which had so endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as
the mother of Jesus, and found in these words a new reason for praising Mary.
St. Leo said that through faith and love she conceived her son spiritually, even
before receiving him into her womb, and St. Augustine tells us that she was more
blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than in having conceived him in the
only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight
indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (De
duodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Church and used
in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Stronger evidences
are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina,
usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and
also in the large book "De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard
de Saint-Laurent. Penitentiary of Rouen in the thirteenth century. In St.
Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1301) the devotion had two earnest
adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the
devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of
the first spiritual children of Saint Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary,
and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget's "Book of Revelations". Johannes
Tauler (d. 1361) beholds in Mary the model of a mystical, just as St. Ambrose
perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444)
was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him
that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the Second Nocturn for the feast of
the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart,
the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his "Theotimus".
this same period one finds occasional mention of devotional practices to the
Heart of Mary, e.g. in the "Antidotarium" of Nicolas du Saussay (d.1488), in
Julius II, and in the "Pharetra" of Lanspergius. In the second half of the
sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt
upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to Saint Jean
Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a
feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autumn in 1648 and
afterwards in a number of French dioceses. He established several religious
societies interested in upholding and promoting the devotion, of which his large
book on the Coeur Admirable (Admirable Heart), published in 1681, resembles a
summary. Jean Eudes' efforts to secure the approval of an Office and feast
failed at Rome, but, notwithstanding this disappointment, the devotion to the
Heart of Mary progressed. In 1699 Father Pinamonti (d. 1703) published in
Italian a beautiful little work on the Holy Heart of Mary, and in 1725 Pere de
Gallifet combined the cause of the Heart of Mary with that of the Heart of Jesus
in order to obtain Rome's approbation of the two devotions and the institution
of the two feasts. In 1729 his project was defeated, and in 1765 the two causes
were separated, to assure the success of the principal one.
Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast
of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805
Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely
observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in
Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were
first of all the revelation of the "miraculous medal" in 1830 and all the
prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires
of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners,
which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless
alleged graces. On July 21, 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the
Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them
upon the Universal Church.
the third apparition at Fatima, Portugal on July 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin
Mary said that "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to Her Immaculate
Heart" in order to save souls from going into the fires of hell and to bring
about world peace. She also asked for the consecration of Russia to Her
Immaculate Heart. On March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul ll fulfilled Our Lady's
request when he made the solemn act of consecration of the world and implicitly,
Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the miraculous statue of Our Lady
of Fatima brought to Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for the momentous
occasion. Sister Lucia, (then) the only surviving visionary of Fatima confirmed
that the request of Our Lady for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary was accepted by Heaven and therefore, was fulfilled. Again on
October 8, 2000, Pope John Paul made an act of entrustment of the world to
Immaculate Heart of Mary for the new millenium.
For more information see the Catholic Encylopedia for
the Immaculate Heart of Mary at:
IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Heart of Mary ever Virgin, you are full of grace.
You are the dearest daughter of the heavenly Father,
the tabernacle of the Word made Flesh,
and the beloved home of the Holy Spirit.
You are the wonder and delight of angels,
of saints, and of men.
I offer you my deepest reverence.
With great love and thanksgiving I consecrate myself,
body and soul, to you this day,
and will never take back my word.
You are the marvel of God's creation;
a Virgin's heart, yet a Mother's too,
with a mother's love of Jesus and of men.
Dear Mother, fashion in my heart a child's true love of you.
Fill me with your own bright virtues:
simplicity and innocence,
meekness and courage,
and unfailing devotedness
to Jesus Christ.
Since I belong to you then, holy Mother,
save me from my enemies,
from the world, from Satan, from myself.
Keep me always in your sinless Heart
to make my poor heart more and more
like your Heart and the Heart of Jesus.
Dear, merciful Mother,
look with a mother's love and pity on the poor,
sinful, suffering children of the whole human family.
Our Holy Father Pius XII has consecrated them to your Immaculate Heart.
Do not turn them away.
Remember the cruel pain your heart
suffered for their salvation with Jesus Christ on Calvary.
Save them by His precious Blood.
Draw them out of the darkness and despair
of their sin and misery into the light, peace,
and holiness of the Church.
Then with the angels and saints,
may they join us in singing the everlasting Magnificat of praise,
gratitude, and love to your tender
and Immaculate Heart,
and to the adorable and merciful Heart of Jesus.
THE LITANY OF MARY QUEEN.
[Mention your prayer
Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.
Most honored of virgins,
pray for us.
Chosen daughter of the Father,
pray for us.
Mother of Christ the King,
pray for us.
Glory of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.
Virgin daughter of Zion,
pray for us.
Virgin poor and humble,
pray for us.
Virgin gentle and obedient,
pray for us.
Handmaid of the Lord,
pray for us.
Mother of the Lord,
pray for us.
Helper of the Redeemer,
pray for us.
Full of grace,
pray for us.
Fountain of beauty,
pray for us.
Model of virtue,
pray for us.
First fruit of the redemption,
pray for us.
Perfect disciple of Christ,
pray for us.
Untarnished image of the Church,
pray for us.
pray for us.
Woman clothed with the sun,
pray for us.
Woman crowned with stars,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
Joy of Israel,
pray for us.
Splendour of the Church,
pray for us.
Pride of the human race,
pray for us.
Advocate of grace,
pray for us.
Minister of holiness,
pray for us.
Champion of God's people,
pray for us.
Queen of love,
pray for us.
Queen of mercy,
pray for us.
Queen of peace,
pray for us.
Queen of angels,
pray for us.
Queen of patriarchs and prophets,
pray for us.
Queen of apostles and martyrs,
pray for us.
Queen of confessors and virgins,
pray for us.
Queen of all saints,
pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin,
pray for us.
Queen assumed into heaven,
pray for us.
Queen of all the earth,
pray for us.
Queen of heaven,
pray for us.
Queen of the universe,
pray for us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
have mercy on us.
Father, you have given us the mother of your Son
to be our Queen and Mother.
With the support of her prayers
may we come to share the glory of your children
in the kingdom of heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
[MENTION YOUR PRAYER REQUEST]
have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on
us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, spouse of St.
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, confirmed in grace,
Saint Joseph, guardian of the Word Incarnate,
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, favorite of the King of Heaven,
Pray for us.
Joseph, ruler of the family of Jesus,
Pray for us.
spouse of the ever-blessed Virgin,
Pray for us.
foster father to the Son of God,
Pray for us.
example of humility and obedience,
Pray for us.
mirror of silence and resignation,
Pray for us.
patron of innocence and youth,
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, exited
with Christ into Egypt,
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, intercessor for
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, advocate of the humble,
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, model of every virtue,
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, honored among men,
Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, in
whom is the union of all Christian perfections,
Pray for us.
of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Saint Joseph,
R. That we may
be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray.
us, O Lord,
we beseech Thee,
by the merits of the spouse
most holy Mother,
that what our unworthiness cannot obtain,
given us by his intercession with Thee,
Who livest and reignest with God
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without
PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH
O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before
the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O thou
Saint Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession, and obtain for me
from thy divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord;
so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my
thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O Saint Joseph, I
never weary contemplating thee, and Jesus asleep in thy arms; I dare not
approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His
fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying
breath. Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen!
BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE
FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
"At the evening of
life, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and
abandon your own ways of acting." ---Saint John of the Cross|
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FOR TODAY
SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS
of St. John was discarded by his kindred for
marrying a poor orphan, and the Saint, thus born and
nurtured in poverty chose it also for his portion.
Unable to learn a trade, he became the, servant of
the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still
pursuing his sacred studies. In 1563, being then
twenty-one, he humbly offered himself as a
lay-brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however,
knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He
would now have exchanged to the severe Carthusian
Order, had not St. Teresa, with the instinct of a
Saint, persuaded him to remain and help her in the
reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first
prior of the Barefooted Carmelites. His reform,
though approved by the general, was rejected by the
elder friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive
and apostate, and cast him into prison, whence he
only escaped, after nine months' suffering, at the
risk of his life. Twice again, before his death, he
was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and
publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by
creatures only deepened his interior peace and
devout longing for heaven.
"Live in the world," said St. John, "as if God and
your soul only were in it; so shall your heart be
never made captive by any earthly thing."
Treats of how the soul may
prepare itself in order to attain in a short time to Divine union. Gives very
profitable counsels and instruction, both to beginners and to proficients, that
they may know how to disencumber themselves of all that is temporal and not to
encumber themselves with the spiritual, and to remain in complete detachment and
liberty of spirit, as is necessary for Divine union.
ALL the doctrine whereof I
intend to treat in this Ascent of Mount Carmel is included in the following
stanzas, and in them is also described the manner of ascending to the summit of
the Mount, which is the high estate of perfection which we here call union of
the soul with God. And because I must continually base upon them that which I
shall say, I have desired to set them down here together, to the end that all
the substance of that which is to be written may be seen and comprehended
together; although it will be fitting to set down each stanza separately before
expounding it, and likewise the lines of each stanza, according as the matter
and the exposition require. The poem, then, runs as follows:
Wherein the soul sings of the
happy chance which it had in passing through the dark night of faith, in
detachment and purgation of itself, to union with the Beloved.
1. On a dark night, Kindled
in love with yearnings -- oh, happy chance! -- I went forth without being
observed, My house being now at rest.
2. In darkness and secure, By
the secret ladder, disguised -- oh, happy chance! -- In darkness and in
concealment, My house being now at rest.
3. In the happy night, In
secret, when none saw me, Nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide, save that
which burned in my heart.
4. This light guided me More
surely than the light of noonday, To the place where he (well I knew who!) was
awaiting me -- A place where none appeared.
5. Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn, Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!
6. Upon my flowery breast, Kept
wholly for himself alone, There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him, And the
fanning of the cedars made a breeze.
7. The breeze blew from the
turret As I parted his locks; With his gentle hand he wounded my neck And caused
all my senses to be suspended.
8. I remained, lost in
oblivion; My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned
myself, Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.
IN order to expound and
describe this dark night, through which the soul passes in order to attain to
the Divine light of the perfect union of the love of God, as far as is possible
in this life, it would be necessary to have illumination of knowledge and
experience other and far greater than mine; for this darkness and these trials,
both spiritual and temporal, through which happy souls are wont to pass in order
to be able to attain to this high estate of perfection, are so numerous and so
profound that neither does human knowledge suffice for the understanding of
them, nor experience for the description of them; for only he that passes this
way can understand it, and even he cannot describe it.
2. Therefore, in order to say a
little about this dark night, I shall trust neither to experience nor to
knowledge, since both may fail and deceive; but, while not omitting to make such
use as I can of these two things, I shall avail myself, in all that, with the
Divine favour, I have to say, or at the least, in that which is most important
and dark to the understanding, of Divine Scripture; for, if we guide ourselves
by this, we shall be unable to stray, since He Who speaks therein is the Holy
Spirit. And if aught I stray, whether through my imperfect understanding of that
which is said in it or of matters uncollected with it, it is not my intention to
depart from the sound sense and doctrine of our Holy Mother the Catholic Church;
for in such a case I submit and resign myself wholly, not only to her command,
but to whatever better judgment she may pronounce concerning it.
3. To this end I have been
moved, not by any possibility that I see in myself of accomplishing so arduous a
task, but by the confidence which I have in the Lord that He will help me to say
something to relieve the great necessity which is experienced by many souls,
who, when they set out upon the road of virtue, and Our Lord desires to bring
them into this dark night that they may pass through it to Divine union, make no
progress. At times this is because they have no desire to enter it or to allow
themselves to be led into it; at other times, because they understand not
themselves and lack competent and alert directors who will guide them to the
summit. And so it is sad to see many souls to whom God gives both aptitude and
favour with which to make progress (and who, if they would take courage, could
attain to this high estate), remaining in an elementary stage of communion
with God, for want of will, or knowledge, or because there is none who will lead
them in the right path or teach them how to get away from these beginnings. And
at length, although Our Lord grants them such favour as to make them to go
onward without this hindrance or that, they arrive at their goal very much
later, and with greater labour, yet with less merit, because they have not
conformed themselves to God, and allowed themselves to be brought freely into
the pure and sure road of union. For, although it is true that God is leading
them, and that He can lead them without their own help, they will not allow
themselves to be led; and thus they make less progress, because they resist Him
Who is leading them, and they have less merit, because they apply not their
will, and on this account they suffer more. For these are souls who, instead of
committing themselves to God and making use of His help, rather hinder God by
the indiscretion of their actions or by their resistance; like children who,
when their mothers desire to carry them in their arms, start stamping and
crying, and insist upon being allowed to walk, with the result that they can
make no progress; and, if they advance at all, it is only at the pace of a
4. Wherefore, to the end that
all, whether beginners or proficients, may know how to commit themselves to
God's guidance, when His Majesty desires to lead them onward, we shall give
instruction and counsel, by His help, so that they may be able to understand His
will, or, at the least, allow Him to lead them. For some confessors and
spiritual fathers, having no light and experience concerning these roads, are
wont to hinder and harm such souls rather than to help them on the road; they
are like the builders of Babel, who, when told to furnish suitable material,
gave and applied other very different material, because they understood not the
language, and thus nothing was done. Wherefore, it is a difficult and
troublesome thing at such seasons for a soul not to understand itself or to find
none who understands it. For it will come to pass that God will lead the soul by
a most lofty path of dark contemplation and aridity, wherein it seems to be
lost, and, being thus full of darkness and trials, constraints and temptations,
will meet one who will speak to it like Job's comforters, and say that it is
suffering from melancholy, or low spirits, or a morbid disposition, or that it
may have some hidden sin, and that it is for this reason that God has forsaken
it. Such comforters are wont to declare immediately that that soul must have
been very evil, since such things as these are befalling it.
5. And there will likewise be
those who tell the soul to retrace its steps, since it is finding no pleasure or
consolation in the things of God as it did aforetime. And in this way they
double the poor soul's trials; for it may well be that the greatest affliction
which it is feeling is that of the knowledge of its own miseries, thinking that
it sees itself, more clearly than daylight, to be full of evils and sins, for
God gives it that light of knowledge in that night of contemplation, as we shall
presently show. And, when the soul finds someone whose opinion agrees with its
own, and who says that these things must be due to its own fault, its affliction
and trouble increase infinitely and are wont to become more grievous than death.
And, not content with this, such confessors, thinking that these things proceed
from sin, make these souls go over their lives and cause them to make many
general confessions, and crucify them afresh; not understanding that this may
quite well not be the time for any of such things, and that their penitents
should be left in the state of purgation which God gives them, and be comforted
and encouraged to desire it until God be pleased to dispose otherwise; for until
that time, no matter what the souls themselves may do and their confessors may
say, there is no remedy for them.
6. This, with the Divine
favour, we shall consider hereafter, and also how the soul should conduct itself
at such a time, and how the confessor must treat it, and what signs there will
be whereby it may be known if this is the purgation of the soul; and, in such
case, whether it be of sense or of spirit (which is the dark night whereof we
speak), and how it may be known if it be melancholy or some other imperfection
with respect to sense or to spirit. For there may be some souls who will think,
or whose confessors will think, that God is leading them along this road of the
dark night of spiritual purgation, whereas they may possibly be suffering only
from some of the imperfections aforementioned. And, again, there are many souls
who think that they have no aptitude for prayer, when they have very much; and
there are others who think that they have much when they have hardly any.
7. There are other souls who
labour and weary themselves to a piteous extent, and yet go backward, seeking
profit in that which is not profitable, but is rather a hindrance; and there are
still others who, by remaining at rest and in quietness, continue to make great
progress. There are others who are hindered and disturbed and make no progress,
because of the very consolations and favours that God is granting them in order
that they may make progress. And there are many other things on this road that
befall those who follow it, both joys and afflictions and hopes and griefs: some
proceeding from the spirit of perfection and others from imperfection. Of all
these, with the Divine favour, we shall endeavour to say something, so that each
soul who reads this may be able to see something of the road that he ought to
follow, if he aspire to attain to the summit of this Mount.
8. And, since this introduction
relates to the dark night through which the soul must go to God, let not the
reader marvel if it seem to him somewhat dark also. This, I believe, will be so
at the beginning when he begins to read; but, as he passes on, he will find
himself understanding the first part better, since one part will explain
another. And then, if he read it a second time, I believe it will seem clearer
to him and the instruction will appear sounder. And if any persons find
themselves disagreeing with this instruction, it will be due to my ignorance and
poor style; for in itself the matter is good and of the first importance. But I
think that, even were it written in a more excellent and perfect manner than it
is, only the minority would profit by it, for we shall not here set down things
that are very moral and delectable for all spiritual persons who desire to
travel toward God by pleasant and delectable ways, but solid and substantial
instruction, as well suited to one kind of person as to another, if they desire
to pass to the detachment of spirit which is here treated.
9. Nor is my principal intent
to address all, but rather certain persons of our sacred Order of Mount Carmel
of the primitive observance, both friars and nuns -- since they have desired me
to do so -- to whom God is granting the favour of setting them on the road to
this Mount; who, as they are already detached from the temporal things of this
world, will better understand the instruction concerning detachment of spirit.
BOOK THE FIRST
Wherein is described the nature
of dark night and how necessary it is to pass through it to Divine union; and in
particular this book describes the dark night of sense, and desire, and the
evils which these work in the soul.
Sets down the first stanza.
Describes two different nights through which spiritual persons pass, according
to the two parts of man, the lower and the higher. Expounds the stanza which
STANZA THE FIRST
On a dark night, Kindled in
love with yearnings -- oh, happy chance! -- I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.
IN this first stanzas the soul
sings of the happy fortune and chance which it experienced in going forth from
all things that are without, and from the desires and imperfections that are
in the sensual part of man because of the disordered state of his reason.
For the understanding of this it must be known that, for a soul to attain to the
state of perfection, it has ordinarily first to pass through two principal kinds
of night, which spiritual persons call purgations or purifications of the soul;
and here we call them nights, for in both of them the soul journeys, as it were,
by night, in darkness.
2. The first night or purgation
is of the sensual part of the soul, which is treated in the present stanza, and
will be treated in the first part of this book. And the second is of the
spiritual part; of this speaks the second stanza, which follows; and of this we
shall treat likewise, in the second and the third part, with respect to the
activity of the soul; and in the fourth part, with respect to its passitivity.
3. And this first night
pertains to beginners, occurring at the time when God begins to bring them into
the state of contemplation; in this night the spirit likewise has a part, as we
shall say in due course. And the second night, or purification, pertains to
those who are already proficient, occurring at the time when God desires to
bring them to the state of union with God. And this latter night is a more
obscure and dark and terrible purgation, as we shall say afterwards.
4. Briefly, then, the soul
means by this stanza that it went forth (being led by God) for love of Him
alone, enkindled in love of Him, upon a dark night, which is the privation and
purgation of all its sensual desires, with respect to all outward things of the
world and to those which were delectable to its flesh, and likewise with respect
to the desires of its will. This all comes to pass in this purgation of sense;
for which cause the soul says that it went forth while its house was still at
rest; which house is its sensual part, the desires being at rest and asleep
in it, as it is to them. For there is no going forth from the pains and
afflictions of the secret places of the desires until these be mortified and put
to sleep. And this, the soul says, was a happy chance for it -- namely, its
going forth without being observed: that is, without any desire of its flesh or
any other thing being able to hinder it. And likewise, because it went out by
night -- which signifies the privation of all these things wrought in it by God,
which privation was night for it.
5. And it was a happy chance
that God should lead it into this night, from which there came to it so much
good; for of itself the soul would not have succeeded in entering therein,
because no man of himself can succeed in voiding himself of all his desires in
order to come to God.
6. This is, in brief, the
exposition of the stanza; and we shall now have to go through it, line by line,
setting down one line after another, and expounding that which pertains to our
purpose. And the same method is followed in the other stanzas, as I said in the
Prologue -- namely, that each stanza will be set down and expounded, and
afterwards each line.
Explains the nature of this dark night through which the
soul says that it has passed on the road to union.
A Dark Night
may say that there are three reasons for which this
journey made by the soul to union with God is called
night. The first has to do with the point from which the
soul goes forth, for it has gradually to deprive itself
of desire for all the worldly things which it possessed,
by denying them to itself; the which denial and
deprivation are, as it were, night to all the senses of
man. The second reason has to do with the mean, or
the road along which the soul must travel to this union
-- that is, faith, which is likewise as dark as night to
the understanding. The third has to do with the point to
which it travels -- namely, God, Who, equally, is dark
night to the soul in this life. These three nights must
pass through the soul -- or, rather, the soul must pass
through them -- in order that it may come to Divine
union with God.
In the book of the holy Tobias these three kinds of
night were shadowed forth by the three nights which, as
the angel commanded, were to pass ere the youth Tobias
should be united with his bride. In the first he
commanded him to burn the heart of the fish in the fire,
which signifies the heart that is affectioned to, and
set upon, the things of the world; which, in order that
one may begin to journey toward God, must be burned and
purified from all that is creature, in the fire of the
love of God. And in this purgation the devil flees away,
for he has power over the soul only when it is attached
to things corporeal and temporal.
On the second night the angel told him that he would be
admitted into the company of the holy patriarchs, who
are the fathers of the faith. For, passing through the
first night, which is self-privation of all objects of
sense, the soul at once enters into the second night,
and abides alone in faith to the exclusion, not of
charity, but of other knowledge acquired by the
understanding, as we shall say hereafter, which is a
thing that pertains not to sense.
On the third night the angel told him that he would
obtain a blessing, which is God; Who, by means of the
second night, which is faith, continually communicates
Himself to the soul in such a secret and intimate manner
that He becomes another night to the soul, inasmuch as
this said communication is far darker than those others,
as we shall say presently. And, when this third night is
past, which is the complete accomplishment of the
communication of God in the spirit, which is ordinarily
wrought in great darkness of the soul, there then
follows its union with the Bride, which is the Wisdom of
God. Even so the angel said likewise to Tobias that,
when the third night was past, he should be united with
his bride in the fear of the Lord; for, when this fear
of God is perfect, love is perfect, and this comes to
pass when the transformation of the soul is wrought
through its love.
These three parts of the night are all one night; but,
after the manner of night, it has three parts. For the
first part, which is that of sense, is comparable to the
beginning of night, the point at which things begin to
fade from sight. And the second part, which is faith, is
comparable to midnight, which is total darkness. And the
third part is like the close of night, which is God, the
which part is now near to the light of day. And, that we
may understand this the better, we shall treat of each
of these reasons separately as we proceed.
Speaks of the first cause of this night, which is that
of the privation of the desire in all things, and gives
the reason for which it is called night.
here describe as night the privation of every kind of
pleasure which belongs to the desire; for, even as night
is naught but the privation of light, and, consequently,
of all objects that can be seen by means of light,
whereby the visual faculty remains unoccupied and in
darkness, even so likewise the mortification of desire
may be called night to the soul. For, when the soul is
deprived of the pleasure of its desire in all things, it
remains, as it were, unoccupied and in darkness. For
even as the visual faculty, by means of light, is
nourished and fed by objects which can be seen, and
which, when the light is quenched, are not seen, even
so, by means of the desire, the soul is nourished and
fed by all things wherein it can take pleasure according
to its faculties; and, when this also is quenched, or
rather, mortified, the soul ceases to feed upon the
pleasure of all things, and thus, with respect to its
desire, it remains unoccupied and in darkness.
Let us take an example from each of the faculties. When
the soul deprives its desire of the pleasure of all that
can delight the sense of hearing, the soul remains
unoccupied and in darkness with respect to this faculty.
And, when it deprives itself of the pleasure of all that
can please the sense of sight, it remains unoccupied and
in darkness with respect to this faculty also. And, when
it deprives itself of the pleasure of all the sweetness
of perfumes which can give it pleasure through the sense
of smell, it remains equally unoccupied and in darkness
according to this faculty. And, if it also denies itself
the pleasure of all food that can satisfy the palate,
the soul likewise remains unoccupied and in darkness.
And finally, when the soul mortifies itself with respect
to all the delights and pleasures that it can receive
from the sense of touch, it remains, in the same way,
unoccupied and in darkness with respect to this faculty.
So that the soul that has denied and thrust away from
itself the pleasures which come from all these things,
and has mortified its desire with respect to them, may
be said to be, as it were, in the darkness of night,
which is naught else than an emptiness within itself of
The reason for this is that, as the philosophers say,
the soul, as soon as God infuses it into the body, is
like a smooth, blank board upon which nothing is
painted; and, save for that which it experiences through
the senses, nothing is communicated to it, in the course
of nature, from any other source. And thus, for as long
as it is in the body, it is like one who is in a dark
prison and who knows nothing, save what he is able to
see through the windows of the said prison; and, if he
saw nothing through them, he would see nothing in any
other way. And thus the soul, save for that which is
communicated to it through the senses, which are the
windows of its prison, could acquire nothing, in the
course of nature, in any other way.
Wherefore, if the soul rejects and denies that which it
can receive through the senses, we can quite well say
that it remains, as it were, in darkness and empty;
since, as appears from what has been said, no light can
enter it, in the course of nature, by any other means of
illumination than those aforementioned. For, although it
is true that the soul cannot help hearing and seeing and
smelling and tasting and touching, this is of no greater
import, nor, if the soul denies and rejects the object,
is it hindered more than if it saw it not, heard it not,
etc. Just so a man who desires to shut his eyes will
remain in darkness, like the blind man who has not the
faculty of sight. And to this purpose David says these
words: Pauper sum ego, et in laboribus a indenture
mea. Which signifies: I am poor and in labours from
my youth. He calls himself poor, although it is clear
that he was rich, because his will was not set upon
riches, and thus it was as though he were really poor.
But if he had not been really poor and had not been so
in his will, he would not have been truly poor, for his
soul, as far as its desire was concerned, would have
been rich and replete. For that reason we call this
detachment night to the soul, for we are not treating
here of the lack of things, since this implies no
detachment on the part of the soul if it has a desire
for them; but we are treating of the detachment from
them of the taste and desire, for it is this that leaves
the soul free and void of them, although it may have
them; for it is not the things of this world that either
occupy the soul or cause it harm, since they enter it
not, but rather the will and desire for them, for it is
these that dwell within it.
This first kind of night, as we shall say hereafter,
belongs to the soul according to its sensual part, which
is one of the two parts, whereof we spoke above, through
which the soul must pass in order to attain to union. 6.
Let us now say how meet it is for the soul to go forth
from its house into this dark night of sense, in order
to travel to union with God.
is declared how necessary it is for the soul truly to
pass through this dark night of sense, which is
mortification of desire, in order that it may journey to
union with God.
reason for which it is necessary for the soul, in order
to attain to Divine union with God, to pass through this
dark night of mortification of the desires and denial of
pleasures in all things, is because all the affections
which it has for creatures are pure darkness in the eyes
of God, and, when the soul is clothed in these
affections, it has no capacity for being enlightened and
possessed by the pure and simple light of God, if it
first cast them not from it; for light cannot agree with
darkness; since, as Saint John says: Tenebroe eam non
comprehenderunt. That is: The darkness could not
receive the light.
reason is that two contraries (even as philosophy
teaches us) cannot coexist in one person; and that
darkness, which is affection set upon the creatures, and
light, which is God, are contrary to each other, and
have no likeness or accord between one another, even as
Saint Paul taught the Corinthians, saying: Quoe
conventio luci ad tenebras? That is to say: What
communion can there be between light and darkness? Hence
it is that the light of Divine union cannot dwell in the
soul if these affections first flee not away from it.
order that we may the better prove what has been said,
it must be known that the affection and attachment which
the soul has for creatures renders the soul like to
these creatures; and, the greater is its affection, the
closer is the equality and likeness between them; for
love creates a likeness between that which loves and
that which is loved. For which reason David, speaking of
those who set their affections upon idols, said thus:
Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea: et omnes qui
confidunt in eis. Which signifies: Let them that set
their heart upon them be like to them. And thus, he that
loves a creature becomes as low as that creature, and,
in some ways, lower; for love not only makes the lover
equal to the object of his love, but even subjects him
to it. Hence in the same way it comes to pass that the
soul that loves anything else becomes incapable of pure
union with God and transformation in Him. For the low
estate of the creature is much less capable of union
with the high estate of the Creator than is darkness
with light. For all things of earth and heaven, compared
with God, are nothing, as Jeremias says in these words:
Aspexi terram, et ecce vacua erat, et nihil; et coelos,
et non erat lux in eis. 'I beheld the earth,' he
says, 'and it was void, and it was nothing; and the
heavens, and saw that they had no light.' In saying that
he beheld the earth void, he means that all its
creatures were nothing, and that the earth was nothing
likewise. And, in saying that he beheld the heavens and
saw no light in them, he says that all the luminaries of
heaven, compared with God, are pure darkness. So that in
this way all the creatures are nothing; and their
affections, we may say, are less than nothing, since
they are an impediment to transformation in God and the
privation thereof, even as darkness is not only nothing,
but less than nothing, since it is privation of light.
And even as he that is in darkness comprehends not the
light, so the soul that sets its affection upon
creatures will be unable to comprehend God; and, until
it be purged, it will neither be able to possess Him
here below, through pure transformation of love, nor
yonder in clear vision. And, for greater clarity, we
will now speak in greater detail.
the being of creation, then, compared with the infinite
Being of God, is nothing. And therefore the soul that
sets its affection upon the being of creation is
likewise nothing in the eyes of God, and less than
nothing; for, as we have said, love makes equality and
similitude, and even sets the lover below the object of
his love. And therefore such a soul will in no wise be
able to attain to union with the infinite Being of God;
for that which is not can have no communion with that
which is. And, coming down in detail to some examples,
all the beauty of the creatures, compared with the
infinite beauty of God, is the height of deformity
even as Solomon says in the Proverbs: Fallax gratia, et
vana est pulchritudo. 'Favour is deceitful and
beauty is vain.' And thus the soul that is affectioned
to the beauty of any creature is the height of deformity
in the eyes of God. And therefore this soul that is
deformed will be unable to become transformed in beauty,
which is God, since deformity cannot attain to beauty;
and all the grace and beauty of the creatures, compared
with the grace of God, is the height of misery and
of uncomeliness. Wherefore the soul that is ravished by
the graces and beauties of the creatures has only
supreme misery and unattractiveness in the eyes of
God; and thus it cannot be capable of the infinite grace
and loveliness of God; for that which has no grace is
far removed from that which is infinitely gracious; and
all the goodness of the creatures of the world, in
comparison with the infinite goodness of God, may be
described as wickedness. 'For there is naught good, save
only God.' And therefore the soul that sets its
heart upon the good things of the world is supremely
evil in the eyes of God. And, even as wickedness
comprehends not goodness, even so such a soul cannot be
united with God, Who is supreme goodness.
the wisdom of the world and all human ability, compared
with the infinite wisdom of God, are pure and supreme
ignorance, even as Saint Paul writes ad Corinthios,
saying: Sapientia hujus mundi stultitia est apud
Deum. 'The wisdom of this world is foolishness with
God.' Wherefore any soul that makes account of all its
knowledge and ability in order to come to union with the
wisdom of God is supremely ignorant in the eyes of God
and will remain far removed from that wisdom; for
ignorance knows not what wisdom is, even as Saint Paul
says that this wisdom seems foolishness to God; since,
in the eyes of God, those who consider themselves to be
persons with a certain amount of knowledge are very
ignorant, so that the Apostle, writing to the Romans,
says of them: Dicentes enim se esse sapientes, stulti
facti sunt. That is: Professing themselves to be wise,
they became foolish. And those alone acquire wisdom
of God who are like ignorant children, and, laying aside
their knowledge, walk in His service with love. This
manner of wisdom Saint Paul taught likewise ad
Corinthios: Si quis videtur inter vos sapiens esse in
hoc soeculo, stultus fiat ut sit sapiens. Sapientia enim
hujus mundi stultitia est apud Deum. That is: If any
man among you seem to be wise, let him become ignorant
that he may be wise; for the wisdom of this world is
foolishness with God. So that, in order to come to union
with the wisdom of God, the soul has to proceed rather
by unknowing than by knowing; and all the dominion and
liberty of the world, compared with the liberty and
dominion of the Spirit of God, is the most abject
slavery, affliction and captivity.
Wherefore the soul that is enamoured of prelacy, or
of any other such office, and longs for liberty of
desire, is considered and treated, in the sight of God,
not as a son, but as a base slave and captive, since it
has not been willing to accept His holy doctrine,
wherein He teaches us that whoso would be greater must
be less, and whoso would be less must be greater. And
therefore such a soul will be unable to attain to that
true liberty of spirit which is attained in His Divine
union. For slavery can have no part with liberty; and
liberty cannot dwell in a heart that is subject to
desires, for this is the heart of a slave; but it dwells
in the free man, because he has the heart of a son. It
was for this cause that Sara bade her husband Abraham
cast out the bondwoman and her son, saying that the son
of the bondwoman should not be heir with the son of the
all the delights and pleasures of the will in all the
things of the world, in comparison with all those
delights which are God, are supreme affliction, torment
and bitterness. And thus he that sets his heart upon
them is considered, in the sight of God, as worthy of
supreme affliction, torment and bitterness; and thus he
will be unable to attain to the delights of the embrace
of union with God, since he is worthy of affliction and
bitterness. All the wealth and glory of all creation, in
comparison with the wealth which is God, is supreme
poverty and wretchedness. Thus the soul that loves and
possesses creature wealth is supremely poor and wretched
in the sight of God, and for that reason will be unable
to attain to that wealth and glory which is the state of
transformation in God; for that which is miserable and
poor is supremely far removed from that which is
supremely rich and glorious.
therefore Divine Wisdom, grieving for such as these, who
make themselves vile, low, miserable and poor, because
they love the things in this world which seem to them so
rich and beautiful, addresses an exclamation to them in
the Proverbs, saying: O viri, ad vos clamito, et vox mea
ad filios hominum. Intelligite, parvuli, astutiam, et
insipientes, animadvertite. Audite quia de rebus magnis
locutura sum. And farther on he continues: Mecum sunt
divitoe, et gloria, opes superboe et justicia. Melior
est fructus meus auro, et lapide pretioso, et genimina
mea argento electo. In viis justitioe ambulo, in medio
semitarum judicii, ut ditem diligentes me, et thesauros
eorum repleam. Which signifies: O ye men, to you I
call, and my voice is to the sons of men. Attend, little
ones, to subtlety and sagacity; ye that are foolish,
take notice. Hear, for I have to speak of great things.
With me are riches and glory, high riches and justice.
Better is the fruit that ye will find in me than gold
and precious stones; and my generation -- namely, that
which ye will engender of me in your souls -- is better
than choice silver. I walk in the ways of justice, in
the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may enrich
those that love me and fill their treasures perfectly.
-- Herein Divine Wisdom speaks to all those that set
their hearts and affections upon anything of the world,
according as we have already said. And she calls them
'little ones,' because they make themselves like to that
which they love, which is little. And therefore she
tells them to be subtle and to take note that she is
treating of great things and not of things that are
little like themselves. That the great riches and the
glory that they love are with her and in her, and not
where they think. And that high riches and justice dwell
in her; for, although they think the things of this
world to be all this, she tells them to take note that
her things are better, saying that the fruit that they
will find in them will be better for them than gold and
precious stones; and that which she engenders in souls
is better than the choice silver which they love; by
which is understood any kind of affection that can be
possessed in this life.
the aforementioned subject is treated and continued, and
it is shown by passages and figures from Holy Scripture
how necessary it is for the soul to journey to God
through this dark night of the mortification of desire
in all things.
what has been said it may be seen in some measure how
great a distance there is between all that the creatures
are in themselves and that which God is in Himself, and
how souls that set their affections upon any of these
creatures are at as great a distance as they from God;
for, as we have said, love produces equality and
likeness. This distance was clearly realized by Saint
Augustine, who said in the Sololoquies, speaking with
God: 'Miserable man that I am, when will my littleness
and imperfection be able to have fellowship with Thy
uprightness? Thou indeed art good, and I am evil; Thou
art merciful, and I am impious; Thou art holy, I am
miserable; Thou art just, I am unjust; Thou art light, I
am blind; Thou, life, I, death; Thou, medicine, I, sick;
Thou, supreme truth, I, utter vanity.' All this is said
by this Saint.
Wherefore, it is supreme ignorance for the soul to think
that it will be able to pass to this high estate of
union with God if first it void not the desire of all
things, natural and supernatural, which may hinder it,
according as we shall explain hereafter; for there
is the greatest possible distance between these things
and that which comes to pass in this estate, which is
naught else than transformation in God. For this reason
Our Lord, when showing us this path, said through Saint
Luke: Qui non renuntiat omnibus quoe possidet, non
potest meus esse discipulus. This signifies: He
that renounces not all things that he possesses with his
will cannot be My disciple. And this is evident; for the
doctrine that the Son of God came to teach was contempt
for all things, whereby a man might receive as a reward
the Spirit of God in himself. For, as long as the soul
rejects not all things, it has no capacity to receive
the Spirit of God in pure transformation.
this we have a figure in Exodus, wherein we read that
God gave not the children of Israel the food from
Heaven, which was manna, until the flour which they had
brought from Egypt failed them. By this is signified
that first of all it is meet to renounce all things, for
this angels' food is not fitting for the palate that
would find delight in the food of men. And not only does
the soul become incapable of receiving the Divine Spirit
when it stays and pastures on other strange pleasures,
but those souls greatly offend the Divine Majesty who
desire spiritual food and are not content with God
alone, but desire rather to intermingle desire and
affection for other things. This can likewise be seen in
the same book of Holy Scripture, wherein it is said
that, not content with that simplest of food, they
desired and craved fleshly food. And that Our Lord
was greatly wroth that they should desire to intermingle
a food that was so base and so coarse with one that was
so noble and so simple; which, though it was so,
had within itself the sweetness and substance of all
foods. Wherefore, while they yet had the morsels in
their mouths, as David says likewise: Ira Dei descendit
super eos. The wrath of God came down upon them,
sending fire from Heaven and consuming many thousands of
them; for God held it an unworthy thing that they should
have a desire for other food when He had given them food
did spiritual persons but know how much good and what
great abundance of spirit they lose through not seeking
to raise up their desires above childish things, and how
in this simple spiritual food they would find the
sweetness of all things, if they desired not to taste
those things! But such food gives them no pleasure, for
the reason why the children of Israel received not the
sweetness of all foods that was contained in the manna
was that they would not reserve their desire for it
alone. So that they failed to find in the manna all the
sweetness and strength that they could wish, not because
it was not contained in the manna, but because they
desired some other thing. Thus he that will love some
other thing together with God of a certainty makes
little account of God, for he weighs in the balance
against God that which, as we have said, is at the
greatest possible distance from God.
is well known by experience that, when the will of a man
is affectioned to one thing, he prizes it more than any
other; although some other thing may be much better, he
takes less pleasure in it. And if he wishes to enjoy
both, he is bound to wrong the more important, because
he makes an equality between them. Wherefore, since
there is naught that equals God, the soul that loves
some other thing together with Him, or clings to it,
does Him a grievous wrong. And if this is so, what would
it be doing if it loved anything more than God?
is this, too, that was denoted by the command of God to
Moses that he should ascend the Mount to speak with Him:
He commanded him not only to ascend it alone, leaving
the children of Israel below, but not even to allow the
beasts to feed over against the Mount. By this He
signified that the soul that is to ascend this mount of
perfection, to commune with God, must not only renounce
all things and leave them below, but must not even allow
the desires, which are the beasts, to pasture over
against this mount -- that is, upon other things which
are not purely God, in Whom -- that is, in the state of
perfection -- every desire ceases. So he that journeys
on the road and makes the ascent to God must needs be
habitually careful to quell and mortify the desires; and
the greater the speed wherewith a soul does this, the
sooner will it reach the end of its journey. Until these
be quelled, it cannot reach the end, however much it
practise the virtues, since it is unable to attain to
perfection in them; for this perfection consists in
voiding and stripping and purifying the soul of every
desire. Of this we have another very striking figure in
Genesis, where we read that, when the patriarch Jacob
desired to ascend Mount Bethel, in order to build an
altar there to God whereon he should offer Him
sacrifice, he first commanded all his people to do three
things: one was that they should cast away from them all
strange gods; the second, that they should purify
themselves; the third, that they should change their
these three things it is signified that any soul that
will ascend this mount in order to make of itself an
altar whereon it may offer to God the sacrifice of pure
love and praise and pure reverence, must, before
ascending to the summit of the mount, have done these
three things aforementioned perfectly. First, it must
cast away all strange gods -- namely, all strange
affections and attachments; secondly, it must purify
itself of the remnants which the desires aforementioned
have left in the soul, by means of the dark night of
sense whereof we are speaking, habitually denying them
and repenting itself of them; and thirdly, in order to
reach the summit of this high mount, it must have
changed its garments, which, through its observance of
the first two things, God will change for it, from old
to new, by giving it a new understanding of God in God,
the old human understanding being cast aside; and a new
love of God in God, the will being now stripped of all
its old desires and human pleasures, and the soul being
brought into a new state of knowledge and profound
delight, all other old images and forms of knowledge
having been cast away, and all that belongs to the old
man, which is the aptitude of the natural self, quelled,
and the soul clothed with a new supernatural aptitude
with respect to all its faculties. So that its
operation, which before was human, has become Divine,
which is that that is attained in the state of union,
wherein the soul becomes naught else than an altar
whereon God is adored in praise and love, and God alone
is upon it. For this cause God commanded that the altar
whereon the Ark of the Covenant was to be laid should be
hollow within; so that the soul may understand how
completely empty of all things God desires it to be,
that it may be an altar worthy of the presence of His
Majesty. On this altar it was likewise forbidden that
there should be any strange fire, or that its own fire
should ever fail; and so essential was this that,
because Nadab and Abiu, who were the sons of the High
Priest Aaron, offered strange fire upon His Altar, Our
Lord was wroth and slew them there before the
altar. By this we are to understand that the love
of God must never fail in the soul, so that the soul may
be a worthy altar, and so that no other love must be
mingled with it.
permits not that any other thing should dwell together
with Him. Wherefore we read in the First Book the Kings
that, when the Philistines put the Ark of the Covenant
into the temple where their idol was, the idol was cast
down upon the ground at the dawn of each day, and broken
to pieces. And He permits and wills that there
should be only one desire where He is, which is to keep
the law of God perfectly, and to bear upon oneself the
Cross of Christ. And thus naught else is said in the
Divine Scripture to have been commanded by God to be put
in the Ark, where the manna was, save the book of the
Law, and the rod Moses, which signifies the
Cross. For the soul that aspires naught else than the
keeping of the law of the Lord perfectly and the bearing
of the Cross of Christ will be a true Ark, containing
within itself the true manna, which is God, when that
soul attains to a perfect possession within itself of
this law and this rod, without any other thing soever.
are treated two serious evils caused in the soul by the
desires, the one evil being privative and the other
order that what we have said may be the more clearly and
fully understood, it will be well to set down here and
state how these desires are the cause of two serious
evils in the soul: the one is that they deprive it of
the Spirit of God, and the other is that the soul
wherein they dwell is wearied, tormented, darkened,
defiled and weakened, according to that which is said in
Jeremias, Chapter II: Duo mala fecit Populus meus:
dereliquerunt fontem aquoe vivoe, et foderunt sibi
cisternas, dissipatas, quoe continere non valent aquas.
Which signifies: They have forsaken Me, Who am the
fountain of living water, and they have hewed them out
broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Those two
evils -- namely, the privative and the positive -- may
be caused by any disordered act of the desire. And,
speaking first of all, of the privative, it is clear
from the very fact that the soul becomes affectioned to
a thing which comes under the head of creature, that the
more the desire for that thing fills the soul, the
less capacity has the soul for God; inasmuch as two
contraries, according to the philosophers, cannot
coexist in one person; and further, since, as we said in
the fourth chapter, affection for God and affection for
creatures are contraries, there cannot be contained
within one will affection for creatures and affection
for God. For what has the creature to do with the
Creator? What has sensual to do with spiritual? Visible
with invisible? Temporal with eternal? Food that is
heavenly, spiritual and pure with food that is of sense
alone and is purely sensual? Christlike poverty of
spirit with attachment to aught soever?
Wherefore, as in natural generation no form can be
introduced unless the preceding, contrary form is first
expelled from the subject, which form, while present, is
an impediment to the other by reason of the contrariety
which the two have between each other; even so, for as
long as the soul is subjected to the sensual spirit, the
spirit which is pure and spiritual cannot enter it.
Wherefore our Saviour said through Saint Matthew: Non
est bonum sumere panem filiorum, et mittere
canibus. That is: It is not meet to take the
children's bread and to cast it to the dogs. And
elsewhere, too, he says through the same Evangelist:
Nolite sanctum dare canibus. Which signifies: Give
not that which is holy to the dogs. In these passages
Our Lord compares those who renounce their
creature-desires, and prepare themselves to receive the
Spirit of God in purity, to the children of God; and
those who would have their desire feed upon the
creatures, to dogs. For it is given to children to eat
with their father at table and from his dish, which is
to feed upon His Spirit, and to dogs are given the
crumbs which fall from the table.
From this we are to learn that all created things are
crumbs that have fallen from the table of God. Wherefore
he that feeds ever upon the creatures is rightly
called a dog, and therefore the bread is taken from the
children, because they desire not to rise above feeding
upon the crumbs, which are created things, to the
Uncreated Spirit of their Father. Therefore, like dogs,
they are ever hungering, and justly so, because the
crumbs serve to whet their appetite rather than to
satisfy their hunger. And thus David says of them: Famem
patientur ut canes, et circuibunt civitatem. Si vero non
fuerint saturati, et murmurabunt. Which signifies:
They shall suffer hunger like dogs and shall go round
about the city, and, if they find not enough to fill
them, they shall murmur. For this is the nature of one
that has desires, that he is ever discontented and
dissatisfied, like one that suffers hunger; for what has
the hunger which all the creatures suffer to do with the
fullness which is caused by the Spirit of God? Wherefore
this fullness that is uncreated cannot enter the soul,
if there be not first cast out that other created hunger
which belongs to the desire of the soul; for, as we have
said two contraries cannot dwell in one person, the
which contraries in this case are hunger and fullness.
what has been said it will be seen how much greater is
the work of God in the cleansing and the purging of
a soul from these contrarieties than in the creating of
that soul from nothing. For thee contrarieties, these
contrary desires and affections, are more completely
opposed to God and offer Him greater resistance than
does nothingness; for nothingness resists not at all.
And let this suffice with respect to the first of the
important evils which are inflicted upon the soul by the
desires -- namely, resistance to the Spirit of God --
since much has been said of this above.
us now speak of the second effect which they cause in
the soul. This is of many kinds, because the desires
weary the soul and torment and darken it, and defile it
and weaken it. Of these five things we shall speak
separately, in their turn.
With regard to the first, it is clear that the desires
weary and fatigue the soul; for they are like restless
and discontented children, who are ever demanding this
or that from their mother, and are never contented. And
even as one that digs because he covets a treasure is
wearied and fatigued, even so is the soul weary and
fatigued in order to attain that which its desires
demand of it; and although in the end it may attain it,
it is still weary, because it is never satisfied; for,
after all, the cisterns which it is digging are broken,
and cannot hold water to satisfy thirst. And thus, as
Isaias says: Lassus adhuc sitit, et anima ejus vacua
est. Which signifies: His desire is empty. And the
soul that has desires is wearied and fatigued; for it is
like a man that is sick of a fever, who finds himself no
better until the fever leaves him, and whose thirst
increases with every moment. For, as is said in the Book
of Job: Cum satiatus fuerit, arctabitur, oestuabit, et
omnis dolor irruet super eum. Which signifies: When
he has satisfied his desire, he will be the more
oppressed and straitened; the heat of desire hath
increased in his soul and thus every sorrow will fall
upon him. The soul is wearied and fatigued by its
desires, because it is wounded and moved and disturbed
by them as is water by the winds; in just the same way
they disturb it, allowing it not to rest in any place or
in any thing soever. And of such a soul says Isaias: Cor
impii quasi mare fervens. 'The heart of the wicked
man is like the sea when it rages.' And he is a wicked
man that conquers not his desires. The soul that would
fain satisfy its desires grows wearied and fatigued; for
it is like one that, being an hungered, opens his mouth
that he may sate himself with wind, whereupon, instead
of being satisfied, his craving becomes greater, for the
wind is no food for him. To this purpose said Jeremias:
In desiderio animoe sum attraxit ventum amoris sui.
As though he were to say: In the desire of his will he
snuffed up the wind of his affection. And he then tries
to describe the aridity wherein such a soul remains, and
warns it, saying: Prohibe pedem tuum a nuditate, et
guttur tuum a siti. Which signifies: Keep thy foot
(that is, thy thought) from being bare and thy throat
from thirst (that is to say, thy will from the
indulgence of the desire which causes greater dryness);
and, even as the lover is wearied and fatigued upon the
day of his hopes, when his attempt has proved to be
vain, so the soul is wearied and fatigued by all its
desires and by indulgence in them, since they all cause
it greater emptiness and hunger; for, as is often said,
desire is like the fire, which increases as wood is
thrown upon it, and which, when it has consumed the
wood, must needs die.
in this regard it is still worse with desire; for the
fire goes down when the wood is consumed, but desire,
though it increases when fuel is added to it, decreases
not correspondingly when the fuel is consumed; on the
contrary, instead of going down, as does the fire when
its fuel is consumed, it grows weak through weariness,
for its hunger is increased and its food diminished. And
of this Isaias speaks, saying: Declinabit ad dexteram,
et esuriet: et comedet ad sinistram, et non
saturabitur. This signifies: He shall turn to the
right hand, and shall be hungry; and he shall eat on the
left hand, and shall not be filled. For they that
mortify not their desires, when they 'turn,' justly see
the fullness of the sweetness of spirit of those who are
at the right hand of God, which fullness is not granted
to themselves; and justly, too, when they eat on the
left hand, by which is meant the satisfaction of
their desire with some creature comfort, they are not
filled, for, leaving aside that which alone can satisfy,
they feed on that which causes them greater hunger. It
is clear, then, that the desires weary and fatigue the
Wherein is shown how the desires torment the soul. This
is proved likewise by comparisons and quotations.
INDEX TO THE
OF THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL
INTRODUCTION ARGUMENT PROLOGUE (Beginning of
described the nature of dark night and how
necessary it is to pass through it to Divine
union; and in particular this book describes the
dark night of sense, and desire, and the evils
which these work in the soul.
|| Sets down the
first stanza. Describes two different nights
through which spiritual persons pass, according
to the two parts of man, the lower and the
higher. Expounds the stanza which follows.
|| Explains the
nature of this dark night through which the soul
says that it has passed on the road to union.
||Speaks of the
first cause of this night, which is that of the
privation of the desire in all things, and gives
the reason for which it is called night.
declared how necessary it is for the soul truly
to pass through this dark night of sense, which
is mortification of desire, in order that it may
journey to union with God.
aforementioned subject is treated and continued,
and it is shown by passages and figures from
Holy Scripture how necessary it is for the soul
to journey to God through this dark night of the
mortification of desire in all things.
treated two serious evils caused in the soul by
the desires, the one evil being privative and
the other positive.
shown how the desires torment the soul. This is
proved likewise by comparisons and quotations.
shown how the desires darken and blind the soul.
described how the desires defile the soul. This
is proved by comparisons and quotations from
described how the desires weaken the soul in
virtue and make it lukewarm.
||Wherein it is
proved necessary that the soul that would attain
to Divine union should be free from desires,
however slight they be.
of the answer to another question, explaining
what the desires are that suffice to cause the
evils aforementioned in the soul.
described the manner and way which the soul must
follow in order to enter this night of sense.
expounded the second line of the stanza
expounded the remaining lines of the
PRAYERS FOR TODAY|
PETITIONS IN HONOUR OF THE SACRED HUMANITY
OF OUR LORD JESUS
O good Jesus, Word of the Eternal Father,
O good Jesus, Son of Mary,
Make me her child.
O good Jesus, My Master,
O good Jesus, Prince of peace,
Give me peace.
O good Jesus, my Refuge,
O good Jesus, my Pastor,
Feed my soul.
O good Jesus, Model of patience,
O good Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Make my heart like unto Thine.
O good Jesus, my Redeemer,
O good Jesus, my God and my All,
O good Jesus, the true Way,
O good Jesus, Eternal Truth,
O good Jesus, Life of the blessed,
Make me live in Thee.
O good Jesus, my Support,
O good Jesus, my Justice,
O good Jesus, my Mediator,
Reconcile me to Thy Father.
O good Jesus, Physician of my soul,
O good Jesus, my Judge,
O good Jesus, my King,
O good Jesus, my Sanctification,
O good Jesus, Abyss of goodness,
O good Jesus, Living Bread from Heaven,
O good Jesus, the Father of the prodigal,
O good Jesus, Joy of my soul,
O good Jesus, my Helper,
O good Jesus, Magnet of love,
O good Jesus, my Protector,
O good Jesus, my Hope,
O good Jesus, Object of my love,
Make me love Thee.
O good Jesus, Fountain of life,
O good Jesus, my Propitiation,
O good Jesus, my Last End,
Let me obtain Thee.
O good Jesus, my Glory,
V. Jesus, hear my prayer.
R. Jesus, graciously hear me.
Let Us Pray
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast said,
"Ask and you shall receive,
seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened unto you,"
mercifully attend to our supplications,
and grant us the gift of Thy Divine charity,
that we may ever love Thee with our whole hearts,
and may never cease from praising Thee,
Who livest and reignest world without end.
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us
Holy Mary, pray for us
St. Joseph, pray for us
Blessed offspring of David, pray for us
Light of patriarchs, pray for us
Spouse of the mother of God, pray for us
Chaste custodian of the Blessed Virgin, pray for us
Guardian of the Son of God, pray for us
Defender of Christ, pray for us
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us
O Joseph, most just, pray for us
O Joseph, most chaste, pray for us
O Joseph, most prudent, pray for us
O Joseph, most forceful, pray for us
O Joseph, most obedient, pray for us
O Joseph, most faithful, pray for us
Mirror of patience, pray for us
Lover of poverty, pray for us
Model of laborers, pray for us
Patriarch of the home, pray for us
Protector of virgins, pray for us
Strength of the family, pray for us
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us
Hope of the sick, pray for us
Patron of the dying, pray for us
Terror of demons, pray for us
Protector of the church, pray for us
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, forgive us O Lord
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, hear us O Lord
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, through the merits of the devoted spouse
of your most holy Mother, help us, we beseech thee,
that what of ourselves we cannot obtain,
may be granted through the intercession
of the Most Holy Patriarch, Saint Joseph.
You who reign with God, the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit now and forever.
GAELIC LITANY TO OUR LADY
O Great Mary,
pray for us.
O Mary, greatest of Maries,
pray for us.
O Greatest of women,
pray for us.
O Queen of angels,
pray for us.
O Mistress of the heavens,
pray for us.
O Woman full and replete with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.
O Blessed and most blessed,
pray for us.
O Mother of Eternal Glory,
pray for us.
O Mother of the heavenly and earthly Church,
pray for us.
O Mother of Love and Indulgence,
pray for us.
O Mother of the Golden Heights,
pray for us.
O Honor of the sky,
pray for us.
O Sign of tranquillity,
pray for us.
O Gate of Heaven,
pray for us.
O Golden Vessel,
pray for us.
O Couch of Love and Mercy,
pray for us.
O Temple of Divinity,
pray for us.
O Beauty of virgins,
pray for us.
O Mistress of the tribes,
pray for us.
O Fountain of gardens,
pray for us.
O Cleansing of sins,
pray for us.
O Purifying of souls,
pray for us.
O Mother of orphans,
pray for us.
O Breast of infants,
pray for us.
O Solace of the wretched,
pray for us.
O Star of the sea,
pray for us.
O Handmaid of the Lord,
pray for us.
O Mother of Christ,
pray for us.
O Resort of the Lord,
pray for us.
O Graceful like the dove,
pray for us.
O Serene like the moon,
pray for us.
O Resplendent like the sun,
pray for us.
O Cancelling Eve's disgrace,
pray for us.
O Regeneration of life,
pray for us.
O Beauty of women,
pray for us.
O Leader of virgins,
pray for us.
O Garden Enclosed,
pray for us.
O Fountain sealed up,
pray for us.
O Mother of God,
pray for us.
O Perpetual Virgin,
pray for us.
O Holy Virgin,
pray for us.
O Prudent Virgin,
pray for us.
O Serene Virgin,
pray for us.
O Chaste Virgin,
pray for us.
O Temple of the Living God,
pray for us.
O Royal Throne of the Eternal King,
pray for us.
O Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.
O Virgin of the Root of Jesse,
pray for us.
O Cedar of Mount Lebanon,
pray for us.
O Cypress of Mount Sion,
pray for us.
O Crimson Rose of the Land of Jacob,
pray for us.
O Blooming like the palm tree,
pray for us.
O Fruitful like the olive tree,
pray for us.
O Glorious Son-bearer,
pray for us.
O Light of Nazareth,
pray for us.
O Glory of Jerusalem,
pray for us.
O Beauty of the world,
pray for us.
O Noblest-Born of the Christian flock,
pray for us.
O Queen of Life,
pray for us.
O Ladder of Heaven,
pray for us.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF GOOD REMEDY FOR ABORTION TO BE OUTLAWED WORLD-WIDE
Over 800 years ago Christians were being captured and
sold into slavery by the thousands, and nobody knew what to do about it.
Then, in the year 1198, a man had an idea. St. John of Matha founded the
Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christian slaves and
set them free. To carry out this plan, the Trinitarians needed large
amounts of money. So, they placed their fund-raising efforts under the
patronage of Mary. They were so successful at that, over the centuries,
the Trinitarians were able to free thousands and thousands of people and
to return them safely home. In gratitude for her miraculous assistance,
St. John of Matha honored Mary with the title of "Our Lady of Good
Remedy." Devotion to Mary under this ancient title is widely known in
Europe and Latin America, and the Church celebrates her feast day on
October 8. Our Lady of Good Remedy is often depicted as the Virgin Mary
handing a bag of money to St. John of Matha. When in need - for whatever
reason, but especially where you have had difficulty obtaining help -
invoke the aid of Our Lady of Good Remedy, and you will surely
experience the power of her intercession.
(We ask the Virgin Mary to bring end to all abortion.)
O QUEEN OF HEAVEN
AND EARTH, Most Holy Virgin, we venerate thee. Thou art the beloved
Daughter of the Most High God, the chosen Mother of the Incarnate
Word, the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Vessel of
the Most Holy Trinity. O Mother of the Divine Redeemer, who under
the title of Our Lady of Good Remedy comes to the aid of all who
call upon thee, extend thy maternal protection to us. We depend on
thee, Dear Mother, as helpless and needy children depend on a tender
and caring mother.
O LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of
unfailing help, grant that we may draw from thy treasury of graces in
our time of need.
Touch the hearts of sinners, that they may seek
reconciliation and forgiveness. Bring comfort to the afflicted and the
lonely; help the poor and the hopeless; aid the sick and the suffering.
May they be healed in body and strengthened in spirit to endure their
sufferings with patient resignation and Christian fortitude.
DEAR LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, thy
compassionate heart knows a remedy for every affliction and misery we encounter
in life. Help me with thy prayers and intercession to find a remedy for my
problems and needs, especially for... (Indicate your special intentions here).
On my part, O loving Mother, I pledge myself to a more intensely Christian
lifestyle, to a more careful observance of the laws of God, to be more
conscientious in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life, and to strive
to be a source of healing in this broken world of ours.
Dear Lady of Good
Remedy, be ever present to me, and through thy intercession, may I enjoy health
of body and peace of mind, and grow stronger in the faith and in the love of thy
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
R. That we
may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His
MORE ON ABORTION:
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS.
father of St. John was discarded by his kindred for marrying a poor
orphan, and the Saint, thus born and nurtured in poverty chose it
also for his portion. Unable to learn a trade, he became the,
servant of the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still pursuing
his sacred studies. In 1563, being then twenty-one, he humbly
offered himself as a lay-brother to the Carmelite friars, who,
however, knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He would now
have exchanged to the severe Carthusian Order, had not St. Teresa,
with the instinct of a Saint, persuaded him to remain and help her
in the reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first prior of
the Barefooted Carmelites. His reform, though approved by the
general, was rejected by the elder friars, who condemned the Saint
as a fugitive and apostate, and cast him into prison, whence he only
escaped, after nine months' suffering, at the risk of his life.
Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his
brethren, and publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by
creatures only deepened his interior peace and devout longing for
Reflection. "Live in
the world," said St. John, "as if God and your soul only were in it;
so shall your heart be never made captive by any earthly thing."
Saint John of the Cross, please pray for [state your prayer
For more information see the works of
St. John of the Cross.
ST. PETER OF ALCANTARA.
FEAST DAY: OCTOBER 19TH
PETER, while still a youth, left his home at
Alcantara in Spain, and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans. He rose
quickly to high posts in the Order, but his thirst for penance was still
unappeased, and in 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first
convent of the "Strict Observance." The cells of the friars resembled graves
rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half
in length, so that he could never lie down ; he ate but once in three days; his
sackcloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his
head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell
that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth.
Amongst those whom he trained to perfection was St. Teresa. He read her soul,
approved of her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms.
St. Peter died, with great joy, kneeling in prayer, October 18th, 1562, at the
age of sixty-three.
REFLECTION.-If men do not go about barefoot
now, nor under-go sharp penances, as St. Peter did, there are many ways of
trampling on the world; and our Lord teaches them when He finds the necessary
MORE ON SAINT PETER FROM BUTLER'S
LIVES OF THE SAINTS
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Saint
Teresa of Avila said concerning Saint Peter of Alcantara that, "The
Lord once told me that no one should ask Him for anything in his
name and not be heard."
Saint Peter of Alcantara, please
pray for us today [state your prayer request.]
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
HAIL MARY, FULL
THE LORD IS WITH THEE,
BLESSED ART THOU AMONGST
AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB JESUS,
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD,
PRAY FOR US SINNERS
NOW AND AT THE HOUR
OF OUR DEATH.
SEE SAINT LOUIS DE MONTFORT'S BOOK ON
THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY
THE VIRGIN MARY
POURS OUT SPECIAL GRACES FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAY THE ROSARY!
SAINT PADRE PIO
PRAYED HIS ROSARY THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND WOULD SAY AT LEAST 15
DECADES OF THE ROSARY EACH DAY. THE MESSAGE HE WANTED TO
LEAVE THE WORLD WITH BEFORE HE DIED WAS FOR PEOPLE TO PRAY THE
Our Lady of the Rosary
Lady of Victory, Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of the Most Holy
Our Lady of
Diocese of Malaga,
Rosario, Santa Fe,
Surigao del Norte,
Olํas del Rey,
Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary,
also known as
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,
is a title of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
in relation to the
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is on October 7, the anniversary of the
decisive victory of the combined Christian fleet in 1571 at the
Battle of Lepanto,
defeating an Ottoman fleet off western Greece. It was formerly sometimes
known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dominican tradition, in 1214,
France attempting to convert the
back to the Catholic faith. The young priest had little success until one day he
received a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who gave him the Rosary as a tool
While Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is generally acknowledged as a
legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St.
Dominic, including the 15th century priest and teacher,
Alanus de Rupe.
On December 3,
1836, Fr. Charles El้onor des Genettes had an interior locution directing him to
dedicate the parish of Our Lady of Victory to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On October 13,
Our Lady of Fatima
told the shepherd children, "I am the Lady of the Rosary".
during the civil war with the anti-clerical
sacristan Bernardo Martinez reported seeing an apparition of Our Lady who urged
him to pray the rosary and work for peace. One of the appearances was in the
parish church of Our Lady of Victories near
THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS.
FEAST DAY: OCTOBER 2ND
GOD does not abandon to mere chance any of His
handiworks; by His providence He is everywhere present; not a hair falls from
the head of a sparrow to the ground without His knowledge. Not content, however,
with yielding such familiar help in all things, not content with affording that
existence which He communicates and perpetuates through every living being, He
has charged His angels with the ministry of watching and safeguarding every one
of His creatures that behold not His face. Kingdoms have their angels assigned
to them, and men have their angels; these latter it is whom religion designates
as the Holy Guardian Angels, Our Lord says in the Gospel, "Beware lest ye
scandalize any of these little ones, for their angels in heaven see the face of
my Father." The existence of Guardian Angels is, hence, a dogma of the Christian
faith : this being so, what ought not our respect be for that sure and holy
intelligence that is ever present at our side; and how great should our
solicitude be, lest, by any act of ours, we offend those eyes which are ever
bent upon us in all our ways !
REFLECTION.-Ah! let us not give occasion, in
the language of Holy Scripture, to the angels of peace to weep bitterly.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Today, thank your guardian angel for
his work in which he always strives to keep us close to Jesus. Ask you
guardian angel to guide your steps in the upcoming days, weeks, months and
INTENTIONS FOR 2018|
THE POPES PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR
ENTRUSTED TO THE POPES WORLDWIDE
PRAYER NETWORK (APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER)
Evangelization: Religious Minorities in Asia
That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries,
may be able to practise
their faith in full freedom.
Universal: Say No to Corruption
That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist
any lure of corruption.
Evangelization: Formation in Spiritual Discernment
That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual
discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.
Universal: For Those who have Responsibility in Economic
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of
exclusion and know how to open new paths.
Evangelization: The Mission of the Laity
That the lay faithful may fulfil their specific mission, by
responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today.
Universal: Social Networks
That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which
respects others for their differences.
Evangelization: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral
work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in
their friendship with their brother priests.
Universal: The treasure of Families
That any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may
protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.
Universal: Young People in Africa
That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in
their own countries.
Evangelization: The Mission of Religious
That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and
be present among the
poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.
Universal: In the Service of Peace
That the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the
language of conflict.
Evangelization: In the Service of the Transmission of Faith
That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of
faith, may find, in their
dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the
Vatican, 13 February 2017
Queen of Heaven and earth,
most Holy Virgin,
we venerate thee.
Thou art the beloved daughter
of the Most High God,
mother of the
the immaculate spouse of
the Holy Spirit,
the sacred vessel of the
Most Holy Trinity.
O Mother of the Divine Redeemer,
who under the title of
Lady of Good Remedy
comes to the aid of all
who call upon
extend thy maternal protection to us.
We depend on thee,
as helpless and needy children
depend on a tender
and caring mother.
O Lady of Good Remedy,
grant that we may draw
from thy treasury of
in our time of need.
Touch the hearts of sinners,
that they may seek
reconciliation and forgiveness.
the afflicted and the lonely;
help the poor and the
aid the sick and the suffering.
May they be healed
and strengthened in spirit
to endure their sufferings
with patient resignation
and Christian fortitude.
Dear Lady of Good Remedy,
thy compassionate heart knows a remedy
every affliction and misery
we encounter in life.
Help me with
thy prayers and intercession
to find a remedy for my problems and
(Mention your personal
On my part,
O loving Mother,
I pledge myself to a more
intensely Christian lifestyle,
to a more careful observance of
the laws of God,
to be more conscientious
in fulfilling the
obligations of my state in life,
and to strive to be a source of
in this broken world of ours.
Dear Lady of Good
be ever present to me,
and through thy intercession,
may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind,
and grow stronger
in the faith
and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son,
and make the world alive with His Spirit.
Novena To The Virgin Mary Untier of Knots |
Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots
Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come
to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to
serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine
love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your
compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in
my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I
am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the
undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into
your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One
himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands
there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your
grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus,
take into your hands today this knot.
[Mention your request here]
I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my
hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the
fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my
destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my
plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!
Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.
FOR DONALD TRUMP
SO THAT HE DOES GOD'S WILL IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Pray hard for him. If you have time now please
say one Hail Mary and One Glory Be for him now.
Pray that he would do God's will while working as President for our
country. That he would protect the unborn, help the poor and keep
peace throughout this world.
AMERICA'S GREATEST SIN IS
AMERICAN WAR CASUALTIES
Each standard size cross-mark represents 50,000 people killed.
The smaller cross-marks represent less than 50,000 deaths.
The war casualties represent all American combat-related deaths.
Statistics from 1982 World Almanac.|
WORLD WAR I
WORLD WAR II
abortion was legalized in 1973
PRAY THAT ABORTION WOULD BE OUTLAWED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
MORE ON ABORTION:
THE POWER AND THE BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM
PRAYING THE ROSARY
THE FIFTEEN PROMISES OF MARY TO
CHRISTIANS WHO RECITE THE ROSARY
These promises were given by the Blessed Mother to Saint Dominic and
Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary,
shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special
protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the
3. The rosary shall be a powerful armour against
hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain
for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of
men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them
to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify
themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself
to me by the recitation of the rosary, shall not perish.
Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the
consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by
misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not
perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the
grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the
sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite
the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light
of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they
shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the
10. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a
high degree of glory in heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you
ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.
12. All those who
propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the
rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during
their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the
rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.
THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY(by
Saint Louis De Montfort)
Graces Derived from Going to Mass
(Note: Assisting at Mass simply means attending Mass.
By attending a Mass Catholics are actually assisting in Mass.)
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE
PIETA PRAYER BOOKLET,
Published in U.S.A. by MLOR Corporation, 1186 Burlington Drive,
Hickory Corners, MI 49060-9330:
1. The Mass is Calvary continued.
2. Every Mass is worth as much as the sacrifice of our Lord's life,
sufferings and death.
3. Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.
4. At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest
5. Every Mass will go with you to judgment and plead for pardon.
6. At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your
sins, according to your fervor.
7. Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the sacred humanity of
Our Lord the greatest homage.
8. He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
9. He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed. The
power of Satan over you is diminished.
10. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
11. One Mass heard during life will be of more benefit to you than many
heard for you after your death.
12. You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might
have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory.
13. Every Mass wins for you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.
14. You receive the priest's blessing which Our Lord ratifies in Heaven.
15. You kneel amidst a multitude of holy angels, who are present at the
adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
16. You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
In eternity, we shall fully realize that it was certainly worthwhile to
have assisted at Holy Mass daily. PRAY FOR PRIESTS THAT THEY MAY
OFFER THE MASS WITH HOLY LOVE AND REVERENCE.
Should I Go To Mass Every Day?"
"The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"
For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort
us at death. (revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the great).
Padre Pio, the stigmatic priest, said, the world could exist more easily
without the sun than without the Mass.
The Cure'd' Ars, St. Jean Vianney said, if we knew the value of the Mass
we would die of joy.
A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass
offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand
celebrated for the same intention after death. St. Leonard of Port
Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may
be more profitable than many after it.
"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in
their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their
souls after death." (Pope Benedict XV).
Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord,
"How can I thank you?" Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS".
Louis De Montfort stresses that people should give there hearts and
wills to Jesus through Mary and that by doing this a soul will be able
to soar toward God. See Saint Louis's book
True Devotion To Mary.
Saint Louis warns of the devil's great ability to deceive souls,
including souls of saints:
"Because the devils, who are skillful thieves, wish to surprise us
unawares, and to strip us. They watch day and night for the
favorable moment. For that end they go round about us
incessantly to devour us and to snatch from us in one moment, all
the graces and merits we have gained for many years.
Their malice, their experience, their stratagems and their number
ought to make us fear this misfortune immensely, especially when we
see how many persons fuller of grace than we are, richer in virtues,
better founded in experience and far higher exalted in sanctity,
have been surprised, robbed and unhappily pillaged. Ah!
How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the firmament, have we
not seen fall miserably, and in the twinkling of an eye lose all
their height and their brightness! Whence comes that sad and
curious change? It was not for want of grace, which is wanting
to no man; but it was for want of humility. They thought
themselves capable of guarding their own treasures. They
trusted in themselves, relied upon themselves. They thought
their house secure enough, and their coffers strong enough, to keep
the precious treasure of grace. It is because of that scarcely
perceptible reliance upon themselves, though all the while it seemed
to them that they were relying only on the grace of God, that the
most just Lord permitted them to be robbed by leaving them to
themselves. Alas! If they had but known the admirable
devotion which I will unfold presently, they would have confided
their treasure to a Virgin powerful and faithful, who would have
kept it for them as if it had been her own possession; nay, who
would have even taken it as an obligation of justice on herself to
preserve it for them".
TRUE DEVOTION TO THE VIRGIN MARY,
SAINT LOUIS de MONTFORT
THE VIRGIN MARY
Holy Mary, my Queen and sovereign Lady, I give you myself, trusting in
your fidelity and your protection. I surrender myself entirely to your
motherly tenderness, my body, my soul, all that I am, all that I
possess, for the whole of this day, my life, and especially
at the hour of my death. I entrust to you once more all my hopes, all my
consolations, all my anxieties, all my troubles, my life, my dying
breath, so that by your prayers and merits, I may have, in all I do, one
only goal, your good pleasure and the holy will of your Son. Amen!
Chaplet of St. Michael
One day, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to Antonia d'Astonac, a
most devout Servant of God and told her that he wished to be honoured by
nine salutations corresponding to the nine Choirs of Angels, which
should consist of one Our Father and three Hail Marys in honour of each
of the Angelic Choirs.
Promises of St. Michael
"Whoever would practice this devotion in his honour would have, when
approaching the Holy Table, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of
the nine Choirs. In addition, for the daily recital of these nine
salutations, he promised his continual assistance and that all the holy
angels during life, and after death deliverance from Purgatory for
themselves and all their relations."
The Chaplet of St. Michael
O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to
the Father, etc.
one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine
salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]
[STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST]
1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of
Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect
the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may
the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the
paths of Christian perfection.
3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones
may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of
the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations
may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly
the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may
the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.
6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers
may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the
the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of
Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience.
8. By the
intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may
the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order
that we may attain the glory of Heaven.
9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels
may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and
conducted in the life to come to Heaven.
Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St.
Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.
O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly
hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the
house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with
excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to
you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve
God more and more faithfully every day.
Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus
Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a
merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most
glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we
ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may
harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into
Your Presence.This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
OF THIS WEB SITE
Welcome to this Catholic Spiritual Direction Web Site. It is
the intention of this site to lead people to a closer relationship with
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit through the
promotion of prayer and Christian teaching which will enable Christians
to adhere to the straight and narrow path Jesus speaks of in the
Gospels. Included in these web pages are the Douay-Rheims Bible and the
works of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas a Kempis and Saint Louis de
Montfort, Saint Teresa of Avila, and the works of other saints of the
Catholic faith, all of whose teachings on spiritual direction have been
followed by priests, ministers, clergymen, Popes and Saints. These
teachings adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. This site is
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
Mystic, Stigmatist, Prophet,
and Great Visionary, a saintly Augustinian nun from Flamske, Germany.
Her highly descriptive visions of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ,
The Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
are presented here. In time more works from the Saints of the Catholic
Church will be added to these pages.
DIFFICULTIES AT WORK OR AT HOME:|
When difficulties come to us at work or at home it important to pray
your way through these difficulties. At work, it could be trouble
with a supervisor or a co-worker, with the result that misery is brought
into our lives. Or at home a wife or a husband, or a child or a
relative may be causing you trouble. It is important to pray your
way through these difficulties. The different forms of prayers
listed above, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Saint Michael, the Divine Mercy
Chaplet and the Holy Mass, can move God to assist us with the things the
bother us the most during our lives. Try these prayers, they
And sometimes, it takes the prayers of others to help
change the current situations that are going on in our lives.
On the following web page, there are several prayer groups that will
pray for yours needs; this a great tool against our daily problems and
against the assaults of demons. Sometimes it takes the prayers of
many people to change things.
SAINT TERESA RECOMMENDS HOLY WATER
From the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila , Chapter 31. 1562 A.D.
"From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy
water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again.
They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great
virtue. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular
and most notable consolation. In fact, it is quite usual for me to be
conscious of a refreshment which I cannot possibly describe, resembling
an inward joy which comforts my whole soul. This is not fancy, or
something which has happened to me only once it has happened again and
again and I have observed it most attentively. It is let us say, as if
someone very hot and thirsty were to drink from a jug of cold water: he
would feel the refreshment throughout his body. I often reflect on the
great importance of everything ordained by the Church and it makes me
very happy to find that those words of the Church are so powerful that
they impart their power to the water and make it so very different from
water which has not been blessed."
The Catholic Church around the world uses Holy Water in every church to
make the church a fortress against the demons which assault men and
women. The Holy Water is usually situated near every entrance to
the church for people to use to anoint themselves with the Sign of the
Cross. When an individual puts on Holy Water any demons present
will flee. Catholics should put Holy Water in containers and place
them in their homes and their offices; by doing so they make their homes
and offices fortresses against the demons which are always lurking
about. Catholics should also consider carrying the Holy Water in
small containers in their pockets to ward off demonic attacks during
GRACE POURED OUT FROM HOLY WATER
"because they include a movement of reverence for
God and Divine things; and in this
blessing, the sprinkling of holy
water, any sacramental anointing, a
in a dedicated church, and anything else of the kind, conduce to the
remission of venial
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
ORDER HOLY WATER BOTTLES:
SAINT JOHN XXIII
JOHN XXIII SUMMARY ON WIKIPEDIA
OF INTERCESSION TO
SAINT JOHN XXIII.
Saint John XXIII, you spent your life deeply immersed in the truths of
the Catholic Faith. You led us by your great example of sacrifice
and love as you successively led millions to love Our Lord Jesus Christ
and His Holy Church.
We now ask for your intercession for those who are troubled and in need:
Saint John XXIII, please pray for the Holy Catholic Church and for the
following prayer request:
[state your prayer request.]
SAINT JOHN PAUL II
SEE: EWTN Biography on Pope John Paul II
PRAYER FOR THE INTERCESSION
OF SAINT JOHN PAUL II
O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your
the glory of the Cross of Christ
splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal
intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his
[MENTION PRAYER REQUEST]
and according to your will,
graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
of Saint Catherine of Siena
for Physical and Spiritual Healing.
PRECIOUS BLOOD, ocean of divine mercy:
Precious Blood, most pure offering:
Procure us every grace!
Precious Blood, hope and
refuge of sinners:
Atone for us!
Precious Blood, delight of holy souls:
Draw us! Amen.
Are you sick or do you know someone who is ill. Say the
prayer above for them everyday. Also, there is greater power of
prayer when many people are praying for the sick. Ask many fellow
Catholics to join in prayer with you for the sick. You can send
prayer requests to Catholic Groups that will join you in prayer at: