JUNE 5.—ST. BONIFACE, BISHOP, MARTYR.
ST. BONIFACE was born at Crediton, in Devonshire. England, in the year 680. Some
missionaries staying at his father's house spoke to him of heavenly things, and
inspired him with a wish to devote himself, as they did, to God. He entered the
monastery of Exminster, and was there trained for his apostolic work. His first
attempt to convert the pagans in Holland having failed, he went to Rome to
obtain the Pope's blessing on his mission, and returned with authority to preach
to the German tribes. It was a slow and dangerous task; his own life was in
constant peril, while his flock was often reduced to abject poverty by the
wandering robber bands. Yet his courage never flagged. He began with Bavaria and Thuringia, next visited Friesland, then passed on to Hesse and Saxony,
everywhere destroying the idol temples and raising churches on their site. He
endeavored, as far as possible, to make every object of idolatry contribute in
some way to the glory of God; on one occasion, having cut down an immense oak
which was consecrated to Jupiter, he used the tree in building a church, which
he dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles. He was now recalled to Rome,
consecrated Bishop by the Pope, and returned to extend and organize the rising
German Church. With diligent care he reformed abuses among the existing clergy,
and established religious houses throughout the land. At length, feeling his
infirmities increase, and fearful of losing his martyr's crown, Boniface
appointed a successor to his monastery, and set out to convert a fresh pagan
tribe. While St. Boniface was waiting to administer Confirmation to some
newly-baptized Christians, a troop of pagans arrived armed with swords and
spears. His attendants would have opposed them, but the Saint said to his
followers: "My children, cease your resistance; the long-expected day is come at
last. Scripture forbids us to resist evil. Let us put our hope in God: He will
save our souls." Scarcely had he ceased speaking, when the barbarians fell upon
him and slew him with all his attendants, to the number of fifty-two.
REFLECTION.—St. Boniface teaches us how the love of Christ changes all things. It was for Christ's sake that he toiled for souls, preferring poverty to riches, labor to rest, suffering to pleasure, death to life, that by dying he might live with Christ.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Ask Saint Boniface to intercede for your needs today. Saint Boniface pray for us!