Saint Cajetan, Confessor

August 7

Today is the feast day of Saint Cajetan.  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Cajetan of Thiene  (also known as Saint Gaetano), was born October, 1487 at Vicenza in Venetian territory and he died at Naples in 1547.  Under the care of a pious mother he passed a studious and exemplary youth, and took his degree as doctor utriusque juris at Padua in his twenty-fourth year.

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

St. Cajetan, founder of the holy order, whose members are called Theatines, was born in 1487, at Vicenza, in Lombardy, of noble and pious parents. Immediately after his baptism, his mother consecrated him to the Blessed Virgin, humbly begging her to guard him and take his spiritual welfare under her motherly protection. His entire after life proved how effectual his mother’s prayers had been. He was never, even in his most tender years, like other children; his greatest pleasure consisted in praying, building small altars, giving alms to the poor, and being most perfect in his obedience to his parents. His whole conduct was such, that even in childhood, he was called a saint. He afterwards went to the University, and always made it his greatest care to preserve his innocence unspotted among so many temptations. Having received, at Padua, the degree of civil and canon laws, he repaired to Rome, where he was ordained priest, and preferred by Pope Julius II. to a high ecclesiastical position.

After the death of the Pope, he resigned his dignity and returned to his home, desiring to work more effectually for the salvation of souls. He served the sick in and out of the hospitals, with untiring charity, in the time of pestilence. His labors were at first, confined to his native town; later, however, he went to Venice. His principal aim was to save souls. The sick, he persuaded by kind and gentle exhortations; and others he moved to virtue by his earnest sermons. The popular saying was, that Cajetan looked like a seraph when standing before the altar, and like an Apostle when in the pulpit. His devotion when he said mass, was equalled by his fervor and zeal while preaching. Whenever he had the opportunity, he tried to win a soul for the Almighty. After some time, he went again to Rome, where, inspired by God, and with the co-operation of three other pious and learned men, he founded an Order for such priests as desired to live an apostolic life, to reform the negligence of the clergy, and the corrupt morals of the people of the world; to observe carefully the sacred ceremonies of the church; restore the observance of pious conduct in the temples dedicated to the worship of the Most High; to labor in opposition to the heretics; assist the sick and dying, and in a word, to promote the welfare of men to the best of their ability.

He imposed a special obligation on the members in regard to the vow of poverty; they were not only forbidden to have annual revenues, but even to ask alms. They had to leave the whole care of their subsistence to God, and wait patiently for what Providence would send them. Hard as this seemed to be, still many were found willing to bear such abject poverty. The first house of the order was at Rome; but it was abandoned after the first year, on account of an inroad of imperial soldiers, who also treated Cajetan with great cruelty. Among these soldiers there was one who had formerly been acquainted with the Saint at Vicenza, and knew that, at that time, he was very rich. Believing that he still possessed great treasures, he tried to force them from him, by maltreating him most brutally, and several times casting him into prison.

From Rome, the holy founder went to Venice, where he again nursed those stricken down with pestilence. He was then ordered by the Pope to Naples, to found a new house for his Order. This city had to thank the vigilance of this Saint, under God, for its preservation from heresy; for, several disciples of Luther, who at that time disseminated his poisonous doctrines in Germany, had come to Naples and begun privately, as well as publicly, to maintain, under the name of “Evangelical liberty,” the teachings of Luther. They had also brought with them several books which contained the Lutheran doctrines, designing to give them to the people, and thus contaminate the city with the doctrines they contained. When St. Cajetan was informed of this, and had, moreover, seen the Evil One standing in the pulpit beside Bernardin Ochino, one of Luther’s disciples, whispering into his ear every word that he preached, he notified the ecclesiastical authorities of these facts, and preached so zealously against the new heresy, that the heretical books were all given up and burnt, and the inhabitants of the city were preserved in the true faith. The Saint rendered the same service to several other cities in Italy.

The holy man was exceedingly severe towards himself. He never divested himself of his rough hair-shirt. Almost daily he scourged himself most mercilessly. In partaking of nourishment he was so temperate, that his life might justly be called a continual fast. He spent most of his nights in devout exercises, taking but a short rest upon straw. He never spoke except to honor God or benefit man. He was indefatigable in his exertions for the salvation of souls, and hence it is not surprising that God bestowed many graces upon him. One Christmas Eve, when he was passing the night in the Church of St. Mary Major, the Holy Child appeared to him, and the Blessed Virgin, who carried Him, laid Him into the Saint’s arms, filling his soul with heavenly consolation. The holy man had many other visions during his life, and was often seen in a state of ecstasy during his prayers. He also possessed the gift of prophecy, and miraculously cured a great many sick. There was a priest of his Order, whose foot was to be amputated. The evening before the operation was to be performed, the Saint examined the foot, which was extremely swollen and affected with gangrene; he kissed it, made the holy sign of the cross over it, bandaged it anew, exhorting the sufferer to put his trust in God and to ask the intercession of St. Francis. After this he turned to God in prayer. When on the following day, the surgeon came to perform the painful and dangerous amputation, they found, to their amazement, that the foot was healed.

When St. Cajetan sailed from Venice to Naples, a terrible storm arose, and all on board expected the boat to sink every moment. Cajetan took his Agnus Dei and threw it into the sea, which immediately became calm. His life is filled with similar events; we, however, having no space for more of them, will only relate how happily and with what heroic charity he ended his earthly career.

The authorities at Naples, civil as well as ecclesiastical, had resolved to institute the Inquisition in the city, to guard the faithful more thoroughly against heresy. The people were, however, opposed to it to such an extent, that a revolt was feared, and neither the exhortations and persuasions of St. Cajetan nor of other men were of any avail. The holy man was deeply distressed at the danger of so great a city and still more of so many souls. Hence he offered his life as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of the Almighty, praying that God would accept of it, restore peace, and spare the city and its inhabitants. The following event will show how pleased the Almighty was with this sacrifice. Soon after the Saint had offered himself to Heaven, he became dangerously sick, and repeating his offer, died a most peaceful and holy death, having had the privilege of seeing Christ and the Blessed Virgin. The Saviour assured him of his salvation, the Divine Mother of her protection until his death. And yet he would not die in any other manner than as a penitent; for when the physician said he needed a more comfortable bed, he protested most emphatically against it, saying that he would not, in his last hour, allow his body any comfort, but that he would be laid in his penitential robes upon ashes on the ground, adding: “There is no road leading to Heaven but that of innocence or repentance. He who has departed from the first, must take the second; else he is eternally lost.”

He received the last Sacraments with great devotion, turned his eyes towards Heaven, and rendered up his soul tranquilly to God, in the year of our Lord 1547. The strife in the city soon after ceased and peace was restored, as if God had wished to show that He had accepted the life of St. Cajetan as a peace offering for the salvation of innumerable souls. Many miracles were wrought by the Almighty to recompense the great faith which St. Cajetan manifested in the Divine Providence, when he instituted such complete poverty in his new order. After his death also, God honored him by working many miracles through his intercession. (1)

He was beatified by Urban VIII in 1629, and canonized by Clement X in 1671. His feast is kept on the 7th of August.  He is known as the patron saint of the unemployed.

Image: Statue in St Peter’s by Carlo Monaldi (10)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Cajetan%20Popup.htm
  2. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03145a.htm
  3. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-7-saint-cajetan-of-thiene.html
  4. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diedci-Solimena-Sangaetano.jpg
  5. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints8-5.htm
  6. http://magnificat.ca/cal/en/saints/saint_cajetan_of_thiena.html
  7. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-07.html
  8. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j033sdCajetan8-7.htm
  9. http://www.nobility.org/2013/08/05/cajetan/
  10. http://stpetersbasilica.info/Statues/Founders/Cajetan/Cajetan.htm

 

Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

August 6

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew says Jesus “was transfigured before them. His face shone as the sun: his garments became white as snow”. (Mt 17:1-6)

The date for this feast – 6th August – seems to have been chosen in order to be exactly forty days before 14th September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, because of a tradition that the Transfiguration took place forty days before the crucifixion.  This feast began to be celebrated in and around Jerusalem in the fourth and fifth centuries.  The feast probably reached Constantinople during the time of the great hymn-writer Andrew of Crete (c. 660-740), who was a monk at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre from 675 until 685, when he moved to serve at the Great Church of Sancta Sophia, Constantinople. Later he became Archbishop of Gortyna in Crete. It was a major feast, which developed a magnificent series of hymns and readings.

The feast appeared in the West, first in Spain in the eleventh century, then at Cluny, when Peter the Venerable was abbot (1122-56). Its introduction to Rome is associated with the Christian defeat of the Turks at Belgrade on 22 July 1456. The news reached Rome on 6th August, so Pope Callixtus III (Alfons de Borja 1455-8), a Valencian sensitive to the memory of Moorish domination in Spain, decreed it as a feast for the Roman Church beginning on 6th August 1457.

All three synoptic Gospels – Mark, Matthew, and Luke – give us an account of the Transfiguration of Jesus on top of Mount Tabor (Mark 9:1-8, Matthew 17:1-6, Luke 9:28-36). After Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the One sent by God to redeem mankind, and Jesus prediction of His own passion and death, Jesus, together with three of His disciples – Peter, James, the son of Zebedee, and John – went up the mountain.

Jesus ordered the three not to tell others what they had seen until he had risen on the third day. Even if they did not fully comprehend what had happened on Mount Tabor, for the apostles Peter, James, and John, it was a glimpse of the glories of heaven and of sharing in the resurrection of Christ promised to all who believe in Jesus as the One promised by God. That event served as an inspiration for them to persevere and be steadfast in their faith in Jesus who would suffer and die but would be resurrected after three days. (2)

Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger

“O God, Who in the glorious Transfiguration of Thine Only-begotten Son, didst confirm the mysteries of the Faith by the testimony of the fathers: and Who, in the voice which came from the shining cloud, didst wondrously foreshow our perfect adoption as sons: deign in Thy mercy to make us co-heirs with this King of Glory, and grant that we may be made partakers of that same glory”. Such is the formula which sums up the prayer of the Church and shows us Her thoughts on this day of faith and of hope.

We must first notice that the glorious Transfiguration has already been twice brought before us in the Sacred Cycle-on the second Sunday of Lent and on the preceding Ember Saturday. What does this mean, but that the object of the present solemnity is not so much the historical fact already known, as the permanent mystery attached to it; not so much the personal favor bestowed on St. Peter and the sons of Zebedee, as the accomplishment of the great message then entrusted to them for the Church? Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man be risen from the dead (Matt. 17: 9). The Church, born from the open side of the Man-God on the Cross, was not to behold Him face to face on earth; after His Resurrection, when He had sealed His alliance with Her in the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven, it is on faith alone that Her love was to be fed. But by the testimony which takes the place of sight, Her lawful desires to know Him were to be satisfied. Wherefore, for Her sake, giving truce, one day of His mortal life, to the ordinary law of suffering and obscurity He had taken upon Himself for the world’s salvation, Jesus manifested the glory which filled His blessed soul. The King of Jews and Gentiles revealed Himself upon the mountain, where His calm splendor eclipsed for evermore the lightnings of Sinai; the covenant of the eternal alliance was declared, not by the promulgation of a law of servitude engraved upon stone, but by the manifestation of the Lawgiver Himself, coming as Bridegroom to reign in grace and beauty over hearts. Elias and Moses, representing the Prophets and the Law whereby His coming was prepared, from their different starting-points, met beside Him like faithful messengers reaching their destination; they did homage to the Master of their now finished mission, and effaced themselves before Him at the voice of God the Father: This is My Beloved Son! Three witnesses, the most trustworthy of all, assisted at this solemn scene: the disciple of faith, the disciple of love, and that other son of thunder who was to be the first to seal with His blood both the faith and the love of an Apostle. By His order they kept religiously, as well they should, the secret of the King, until the day when the Church could be the first to receive it from their predestined lips.

But did this precious mystery take place on August 6? More than one doctor of sacred rites affirms that it did. At any rate, it was fitting to celebrate it in the month dedicated to Eternal Wisdom (in the Scripture readings of the Divine Office). It is she, the brightness of eternal light, the unspotted mirror and image of God’s goodness (Wisd. 7: 26), who, shedding grace upon the Son of Man, made Him on this day the most beautiful amongst all His brethren. Seven months ago the mystery was first announced by the gentle light of the Epiphany; but by virtue of the mystical number seven, here revealed once more, the beginnings of blessed hope, which we then celebrated as children with the Child Jesus, have grown together with Him and the Church; and the latter, established in unspeakable peace by the full growth which gives Her to Her Spouse, calls upon all Her children to grow like Her by the contemplation of the Son of God, even to the measure of the perfect age of Christ. We understand, then, why the liturgy of today repeats the formulas and chants of the glorious Feast of Epiphany: Arise, be enlightened O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee (Resp. 1 of Matins from Is. 60: 1); it is because on the mountain together with Our Lord, the Bride is also glorified, having the glory of God.

While the face of Jesus shone as the sun, His garments became white as snow (Matt. 17: 2). Now these garments so snow-white, as St. Mark observes, that no fuller on earth could have bleached them so, are the just men, the royal ornament inseparable from the Man-God, the Church, the seamless robe woven by our sweet Queen for Her Son out of the purest wool and most beautiful linen that the Valiant Woman could find. Although Our Lord personally has now passed the torrent of suffering and entered forever into His glory, nevertheless the bright mystery of the Transfiguration will not be complete until the last of the elect, having passed through the laborious preparation at the hands of the Divine Fuller and tasted death, has joined in the Resurrection of our adorable Head.

These eternal words, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee, have had two echoes in time, at the Jordan and on Thabor; and God, Who never repeats Himself, did not herein make an exception to the rule of saying but once what He says. For although the terms used on the two occasions are identical, they do not tend, as St. Thomas says, to the same end, but show the different ways in which man participates in the resemblance of the eternal filiation. At the Baptism of Our Lord, where the mystery of the first regeneration (baptism) was declared, as at the Transfiguration which manifested the second (the resurrection of the dead), the whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice, the Son in His Humanity, the Holy Ghost under the form, first of a dove, and afterwards of a bright cloud; for if in baptism the Holy Ghost confers innocence symbolized by the simplicity of the dove, in the Resurrection He will give to the elect the brightness of glory and refreshment after suffering, which are signified by the luminous cloud.

But without waiting for the day when Our Savior will renew our very bodies conformable to the bright glory of His own Divine Body, the mystery of the Transfiguration is wrought in our souls already here on earth. It is of the present life that St. Paul says and the Church sings today: God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus (from 2 Cor. 4: 6). Thabor, holy and divine mountain, rivaling Heaven, how can we help but say with St. Peter: “It is good for us to dwell on thy summit!” For thy summit is love; it is charity which towers above the other virtues, as thou towerest in gracefulness, and loftiness, and fragrance over the other mountains of Galilee, which saw Jesus passing, speaking, praying, working miracles, but were not as privileged as thee. It is after six days, as the Gospel observes, and therefore in the repose of the seventh which leads to the eighth of the Resurrection, that Jesus reveals Himself to the privileged souls who correspond to His love. The Kingdom of God is within us; when, leaving all impressions of the senses as it were asleep, we raise ourselves above the works and cares of the world by prayer, it is given us to enter with the Man-God into the cloud: there beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, as far as is compatible with our exile, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord (from 2 Cor. 3: 18). “Let us then,” cries St. Ambrose, “ascend the mountain; let us beseech the Word of God to show Himself to us in His splendor, in His beauty; to grow strong and proceed prosperously, and reign in our souls. For behold a deep mystery! According to thy measure, the Word diminishes or grows within thee. If thou reach not that summit, high above all human thought, Wisdom will not appear to thee; the Word shows Himself to thee as in a body without brightness and without glory.”

If the vocation revealed to thee this day be so great and so holy, “reverence the call of God,” says St. Andrew of Crete: “do not ignore thyself, despise not a gift so great, show not thyself unworthy of the grace, be not so slothful in thy life as to lose this treasure of Heaven. Leave earth to the earth, and let the dead bury their dead; disdaining all that passes away, all that dies with the world and the flesh, follow even to Heaven, without turning aside, Christ Who leads the way through this world for thee. Take to thine assistance fear and desire, lest thou faint or lose thy love. Give thyself up wholly; be supple to the Word in the Holy Ghost, in order to attain this pure and blessed end: thy sanctification, together with the enjoyment of unspeakable goods. By zeal for the virtues, by contemplation of the truth, by wisdom, attain to Wisdom, Who is the principle of all, and in Whom all things subsist.” (1)

Customs

On this day the pope at Mass uses new wine or presses a bunch of ripe grapes into the chalice; raisins are also blessed at Rome. The Greeks and Russians bless grapes and other fruit.

Image: Crop of Transfiguration of Christ.  artist: Giovanni Bellini, circa 1487. (11)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-157/Transfiguration.htm
  2. http://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/transfiguration-of-our-lord-jesus-christ/
  3. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15019b.htm
  4. https://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost5.html
  5. http://www.catholictradition.org/Eucharist/real-presence45.htm
  6. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Transfiguration.html
  7. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/the_transfiguration_of_our_lord.html
  8. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-06.html
  9. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-6-feast-of-transfiguration-of.html
  10. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j140sdTransfiguration_Streten_7-6.shtml
  11. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The-Transfiguration-1480-xx-Giovanni-Bellini.JPG

Our Lady of the Snow

August 5

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of the Snow.  Ora pro nobis. 

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

The Catholic Church celebrates today the annual feast of the dedication of a very remarkable church at Rome, called St. Mary Ad Nives–” St. Mary of the Snow,” or ” St. Mary Major.” The origin of this church is as follows: In the middle of the fourth century, at the time of Pope Liberius, there resided at Rome a nobleman named John. Although rich in temporal goods, he was still wealthier in those which are not of this world, and his wife was his equal in birth, riches and virtue. They had been married many years without having been blessed with children, although they had often prayed to God for them. At last, they resigned themselves to the will of Providence, and resolved to employ all their wealth in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and make her heir to it, as they had always entertained great devotion for her. They were, as yet, uncertain as to the manner in which they should carry out their intention. They both sought refuge in prayer and alms, begging the Blessed Virgin to teach them how they might best appropriate their possessions to her honor.

Mary, the Divine Mother, deigned to make her wishes known to them. Appearing to them both in the night, she told them to go, on the following day, which was the fifth of this month, to the Aesquiline mount, in Rome, and to build a church in her honor on the spot which they would find covered with snow. This, she added, would be more agreeable to her than anything else they could do. When they awoke next morning and told each other their dream or rather their vision, they were filled with inexpressible joy, and immediately repaired to Pope Liberius to hear his opinion on the subject. As the Pope had had the same vision the same night, there was no longer reason to doubt the truth of the revelation. Assembling the clergy and people without delay, the Pontiff formed a procession to go to the appointed spot.

When they arrived there, they saw, in truth, a place large enough for a church, covered with snow. All were greatly surprised at this, which they could not but consider a miracle, since it was in the midst of summer, on the fifth of August, when neither in Rome nor within many miles of it, any snow could naturally have fallen. The pious couple drew from this fact the greatest comfort, as it was an indication that the Almighty and the Blessed Virgin were pleased with their intention. Therefore, hesitating no longer, they forthwith made all the necessary preparations for building a magnificent temple. The building was begun and very soon completed. All that was needed for its erection, as well as for its maintenance, was joyfully furnished. Pope Liberius most solemnly consecrated the new temple; and all the faithful went to it to venerate the Queen of Heaven. At first, this church was called the Basilica, signifying a palace, or the Liberian Basilica, on account of its royal magnificence. It was also called St. Mary ad Nives, for the reason mentioned above. Today it is known as the St. Mary Major, or the Great, as it is the greatest of all the churches of Rome built in honor of the Blessed Virgin, on account of its origin, magnificence and rich endowment. It is also called St. Mary ad Praesepe–St. Mary of the Manger–because in one of its chapels, the crib or manger, in which the new-born Saviour was placed by His virgin mother, is kept.

Pope Gregory the Great, in 509, formed and led the great precession, celebrated in the annals of the church, to implore God, through the intercession of Mary, to avert the dreadful pestilence which ravaged Rome. Its fury somewhat abated, but as it was still in the city, the Pope, in the following year, formed a second precession, headed by the picture of the Blessed Virgin painted by St. Luke, which is kept in the church of St. Mary ad Nives. During the procession, the pestilence left all those houses by which the picture passed, until, at last, when the faithful dispersed, the whole city was free from the terrible scourge. Another miraculous event occurred during the procession, which must not be omitted. Angels were heard singing: “Rejoice, O Queen of Heaven, Alleluia. He whom thou didst deserve to bear, Alleluia! is risen as He said, Alleluia!” The holy Pope, prostrating himself with all the people, finished the angels’ hymn of praise with the words: “Pray for us to God, Alleluia!” When the procession had reached the Mausoleum, or tomb of the Emperor Adrian, the Pope saw upon its summit an angel sheathing his sword, as a sign that the wrath of the Almighty was appeased by the intercession of Mary, and that the pestilence which had so long ravaged the city, would disappear. The rejoicing of the people, and the devotion which was from that time shown to the miraculous picture of the Blessed Virgin, cannot be worthily described. (2)

Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August in Rome, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible.  August 5, 352, snow fell during that night.

Legend has it that there lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign.

In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested?

“Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”

Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.

Since the 7th century the Church was known also as Maria ad Præsepe because the Basilica has some pieces of wood from the Manger in which Our Lord was born. The ceiling of the Basilica is gilded with the first gold that came from the Americas. This was the first church in Rome to be dedicated to Our Lady. In the 4th century Pope Liberius added a lateral hall to a large existing hall of a Roman patrician palace and dedicated it to the cult; for this reason it was called the Basilica Liberii [Liberian Basilica]. Pope Sixtus III (432-440) restored it almost a century later and dedicated it to the Virgin, who the Council of Ephesus had defined as Theotokos, that is, the Mother of God. It was then that the Basilica received the name of Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria Mayor.

To commemorate the Miracle of the Snow, every August 5th a cascade of white petals descends from the coffered ceiling onto the altar place during the religious festivities. 

It was in this church that one Christmas night Our Lady placed the Divine Infant into the arms of St Cajetan of Thiene. It was here on another Christmas night that St Ignatius Loyola celebrated his first Mass. In this church, St Pius V prayed the Rosary that obtained for the Catholic warriors the victory of Lepanto. There is a chapel in the Basilica that has a picture of Our Lady that, according to tradition, was painted by St Luke. St Charles Borromeo used to pray often in front of this Madonna, and in testimony of his gratitude to her, he wrote the Rule of the Canons of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Originally the feast was celebrated only at St Maria Maggiore; in the fourteenth century it was extended to all the churches of Rome and finally it was made a universal feast by Pius V. Clement VIII raised it from a feast of double rite to double major. The mass is the common one for feasts of the Blessed Virgin; the office is also the common one of the Bl. Virgin, with the exception of the second Nocturn, which is an account of the alleged miracle. The congregation, which Benedict XIV instituted for the reform of the Breviary in 1741, proposed that the reading of the legend be struck from the Office and that the feast should again receive its original name, “Dedicatio Sanctæ Mariæ”. (4)

 





You tube: Uploaded on Aug 5, 2010   

Rome, August 5, 2010: Feast of the Dedication of the Liberian Basilica. Solemn Pontifical Mass sung by the Cardinal Archpriest of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major. At the intonation of the Gloria, white petals begin to fall from an opening in the ceiling and rain down as snow for the duration of the hymn.

Image: cropped Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. Artist: Masolino de Panicale, circa: 1st third of 15th century (11)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/snows.htm
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Snows.html
  3. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-173/Snows.htm
  4. http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-the-snows.html
  5. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/the_dedication_of_saint_mary_of_the_snows.html
  6. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-05.html
  7. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-5-dedication-of-basilica-of.html
  8. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j247sd_OLSnow_08_05.html
  9. http://www.nobility.org/2016/08/04/august-5-lady-snow
  10.  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11361c.htm
  11. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Masolino,_fondazione_di_santa_maria_maggiore.jpg

 

 

Saint Dominic de Guzman, Confessor

August 4

Today is the feast of Saint Dominic de Guzman.  Ora pro nobis.

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

 

St. Dominic, the glorious patriarch and founder of the famous Order of the Friars Preachers, was born in Spain of illustrious and pious parents. His mother, before his birth, had a vision in her sleep, in which it seemed to her that she was bearing a little dog, which carried in its mouth a burning torch that illuminated the whole world. At the time of his baptism, a noble matron saw a bright star on the brow of Dominic. By this God probably intended to foreshadow the future labors of St. Dominic and their effect; how, by his sermons, he would drive away the heretics–those veritable wolves in the Christian fold– and how while he illumined the whole world with his teaching and virtues, he would at the same time inflame it with love of God.

Dominic evinced, in his earliest youth, a love of virtue quite unusual for his age. He would rise in the middle of the night to pray; he was extremely moderate in eating and drinking, and modest in all his ways. He detested all worldly amusements, avoided all questionable society, was compassionate towards the poor, and sought all his pleasure in prayer, in visiting the churches and in study. He acquired knowledge suitable for his station in life, was sent to the most renowned Universities, where he never departed, in the least, from his pious course. He preserved his innocence and purity unspotted till his death, and the means which he employed to do this were, avoidance of idleness, and of intercourse with the other sex; temperance in eating and drinking.

After having finished his studies with great honor, James Azebedo, bishop of Osma, received him into the number of the regular canons. When thirty years of age, he began to preach, and continued for two years, with great success. After this he accompanied the bishop to France, which was, at that period, greatly disturbed by the heresy of the Albigenses. When they arrived at their destination they took lodgings in a house where the people were tainted with the heresy; but Dominic soon convinced them of their error and they returned to the true faith. They were the first of the heretics converted, and Dominic consecrated the first fruits of his labors, in profound gratitude, to the Almighty, feeling within himself a daily increasing desire to devote himself entirely to the extermination of this new heresy. Obeying the admonition of the Divine Voice that spoke to his heart, he asked of the Pope the necessary permission and prepared himself with a few other zealous priests, by prayers, fasts and other penances, for so great a work.

After this, taking a staff in his hand, in imitation of the holy Apostles, he wandered barefooted through all the cities and villages where the Albigenses had sown the seed of their heresy, preached with great zeal the truths of the Catholic faith and refuted the errors of the heresy, without allowing himself to be in the least disturbed by the ravings of the enemies of the church. Authentic historians say that he converted more than 100,000 heretics to the truth faith. The gift of miracles which God bestowed upon His unwearied apostle to confirm his words, added much to his influence. The Albigenses had written a book filled with heretical doctrines, which they gave the Catholics to read. St. Dominic refuted this by another book, and to convince the people that his was the true one, he threw both into the fire, in the presence of a crowd of heretics and faithful. The heretical book was instantly seized by the flames and consumed, while the book written by the Saint remained intact, raised itself up, fluttered a little while in the air, and then lighted upon a beam to the utter amazement of the spectators. This miracle was repeated a second and a third time, and not only strengthened the faith of the Catholics, but confounded the heretics. At another time, when the celebrated Count Montfort, with a small force of Catholics numbering 1800 men, attacked a large army of Albigenses, St. Dominic by floods of tears, obtained from God so signal a victory for the Catholics, that 20,000 of the enemy remained upon the field of battle, others were driven into the river and drowned and the rest were routed.

It is also related that this holy man relieved many who were possessed, cured many who were sick, and raised the dead to life. These and similar miracles could not fail to obtain for the Saint the veneration of men, and they were the means of converting many heretics. To preserve these in the true faith and to bring others to the knowledge of the truth, he resolved to found an order, the principal aim of which would be to preach the Gospel, to lead sinners to repentance, confirm Catholics in their faith, and convert the heretics. Pope Innocent III. at first refused to give his consent to this plan; but, one night, he dreamed that the walls of the Lateran church appeared to fall, but were supported by St. Dominic, and saved from the impending destruction; he concluded from this that St. Dominic had been elected by God to be the pillar of His church, and no longer withheld his consent to the founding of the new order. Pope Honorius III. who followed Pope Innocent, confirmed the order, to the great comfort of the Saint. It may, in truth, be said that by means of this order, the destruction which menaced the whole world through the heretics and false teachers, was averted.

One night, when St. Dominic prayed in the church of St. Peter, he saw Christ sitting on a throne in the clouds, surrounded by indescribable splendor. He held three spears in his hand to punish the world with three chastisements, famine, war and pestilence, because of the iniquity of the people. Not one of the Saints dared to oppose the anger of God with prayers. At last, the Blessed Virgin herself came to His feet, and humbly asked mercy for those whom He had redeemed with His precious blood. She assured Him that St. Dominic and St. Francis, who was then in Rome, to obtain the approval of his order, and their brethen, would do all in their power to move the sinful world to repentance and reformation. The prayers of His Blessed Mother appeased Christ, and He approved of the intentions of the two holy men. This vision was not only a great comfort to St. Dominic, but an incentive to use all his endeavors to reach the end he had proposed to himself.

For many years he strove, with incomparable zeal, to accomplish his design, when it pleased the Almighty to call him to receive the reward of his unwearied labors. He received the announcement of his death from Our Lord Himself, Who appeared to him during his prayers and said: “Come, come to enjoy true happiness.” After this, he fell ill, and having made his confession, he so fervently and devoutly received the Blessed Sacrament, that he drew tears from the eyes of all who were near him. Before his end, he exhorted his disciples to obedience, poverty, chastity, and brotherly love. He further commanded them to work zealously for the salvation of souls, to trust unwaveringly in God, to love their heavenly Father above all things, to avoid idle discourses, to speak only with or of God. At last he requested them to read aloud for him the usual prayers for the departing soul. When they came to the words: “Come to his assistance, ye Saints of God, come forth to meet him, ye Angels of the Lord, receiving his soul, offer it to the Most High,” he calmly closed his eyes and gave up his soul, filled with so many merits, into the hand of God, in the year 1221, the 50th of his age.

He left to posterity, not only the holy Order which he founded, but the most noble example of virtue. His heart was filled with the love of God; hence he endeavored most assiduously to prevent others from offending the Divine Majesty and to move sinners to repentance. Frequently he passed the whole night in prayer and in chastising his body, offering it to God for the conversion of sinners, saying that he would willingly give every drop of his blood, if by it he were able to prevent a single sin, or to convert a sinner. It was his wish to suffer and to give his life for the love of Christ. Humility made him three times refuse a bishopric. He desired nothing but to work for the salvation of souls, to suffer and be despised. Towards himself he was extremely severe; he constantly wore a rough hair-shirt, fastened around the loins with an iron chain, drawn so tightly, that it cut into the flesh. The steps of the altar or the bare boards were his bed. He scourged himself three times each night, first for his own sins; secondly for the sins of other men; and thirdly, for the souls in purgatory. His life was, besides, a continual fast. He never tasted meat. To live on alms and to aid the poor was all he desired. While he was still a student, he sold his books and clothes more than once, and gave the money to the poor. To a widow who asked him for alms to release her son from captivity, he offered himself as ransom, so that her son might return to her.

Many other splendid examples of admirable virtues must be omitted here, for want of space; but the great devotion he always entertained for the Queen of Heaven must be mentioned. This devotion arose from his great love for her. He began nothing without invoking her assistance with filial confidence, and he disseminated veneration for her by the use of the Rosary, which the Almighty deigned to confirm by many miracles. He advised Blanche, the pious Queen of France, who had no issue, to have recourse to the Divine Mother, and to say the rosary devoutly in her honor. Blanche followed his advice and in the course of time, gave birth to Louis, the holy and celebrated Catholic king. To the devout use of the rosary is also ascribed the above-mentioned victory of Montfort over the Albigenses; for, the Catholic soldiers, at the instance of St. Dominic, wore the rosary around their necks, and thus under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, attacked and defeated the enemy. How many miracles the Almighty performed after St. Dominic’s death, at his intercession, is to be found in the books of those authors who have written his life more minutely. (7)

It was in 1208, while Saint Dominic knelt in the little chapel of Notre Dame de La Prouille, and implored the great Mother of God to save the Church, that Our Lady appeared to him and gave him the Rosary, bidding him to go forth and preach it.  Our Lady told Dominic to tell the people how to say the prayers of the Rosary on the beads, while meditating on the 15 Mysteries. In the Office for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, it is declared that, “he was admonished by the Blessed Virgin Mary to preach the Rosary to the people as a singular remedy against heresy and sin.”

More than a dozen Popes have attested to this tradition, including Pope Leo XIII, who wrote: “The belief that to this form of prayer a special power has been accorded by the Queen of Heaven is justified, because by Her instigation and under Her patronage it was introduced by the holy Father Dominic, and it was spread in a time hostile to everything Catholic, much like our own, and as a powerful means of opposing the enemies of the Faith effectually…

During the famous battles in southern France against the Albigensians, with his rosary in hand he revived the courage of the Catholic armies, led them to victory against overwhelming numbers, and finally subdued the heresy. His nights were spent in prayer; and, though all beheld him as an Angel of purity, before morning broke he would scourge himself to blood. His words rescued countless souls, and three times raised the dead to life. At length, on August 6, 1221, at the age of fifty-one, he gave up his soul to God.

The life of St. Dominic was one of tireless effort in the, service of God. While he journeyed from place to place he prayed and preached almost uninterruptedly. His penances were of such a nature as to cause the brethren, who accidentally discovered them, to fear the effect upon his life. While his charity was boundless he never permitted it to interfere with the stern sense of duty that guided every action of his life. If he abominated heresy and labored untiringly for its extirpation it was because he loved truth and loved the souls of those among whom he laboured.

He never failed to distinguish between sin and the sinner. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, if this athlete of Christ, who had conquered himself before attempting the reformation of others, was more than once chosen to show forth the power of God. The failure of the fire at Fanjeaux to consume the dissertation he had employed against the heretics, and which was thrice thrown into the flames; the raising to life of Napoleone Orsini; the appearance of the annals in the refectory of Saint Sixtus in response to his prayers, are but a few of the supernatural happenings by which God was pleased to attest the eminent holiness of His servant. We are not surprised, therefore, that, after signing the Bull of canonization on 13 July, 1234, Gregory IX declared that he no more doubted the saintliness of Saint Dominic than he did that of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

 

THE ROSARY

The hermits of the first centuries, who could not read the psalter, used to recite one Our Father and one Hail Mary in the place of every psalm; and in order to note the number they said, they made use of small stones, or of seeds strung on a cord. St. Dominic was the first who made the custom general of substituting one hundred and fifty Hail Marys for the one hundred and fifty psalms; hence the rosary used to be called the Psalter of Mary. When, about the year 1200, the heresies of the Albigenseans wrought great mischief in the south of France and the north of Italy, St. Dominic was commissioned by the Pope to preach in refutation of their erroneous tenets. His efforts availed little, and he besought the aid of the Mother of God. She appeared to him, and bade him make use of the rosary as a weapon against her enemies. He accordingly introduced it everywhere, and before long it had effected the conversion of more than a hundred thousand heretics. The use of the Rosary soon spread throughout Christendom, and it became a most popular devotion. It is a method of prayer at once simple and sublime; the prayers are so easy that a child can repeat them, and the mysteries are so profound that they supply a subject for meditation to the most learned theologians. It is a prayer of contemplation as well as a prayer of supplication, for it places before the mind the principal truths of the faith. The Rosary is a compendium of the Gospels; a complete and practical manual of instruction wherein the chief points of Christian doctrine are presented under the guise of prayer. By meditation on the events of Our Lord’s life faith and charity are increased; from the example of our divine Redeemer we learn to be humble, gentle, obedient; we are incited to imitate the virtues which the mysteries teach, to strive after what they promise us. Moreover the union of vocal and mental prayer makes the Rosary easy, pleasant, and profitable. As a method of prayer it is unrivaled; the longer and more devoutly it is practiced, the more one appreciates its excellence and becomes convinced of its supernatural origin.
1. The Rosary is well pleasing to God, because of its humility, and because it is an imitation of the unceasing song of praise sung by the angels.The Rosary is the prayer of the humble, for in it well-known truths are simply stated and constantly repeated. The proud despise it, but God, Who looks down on the low things (Ps. cxii. 6), approves it. It is an imitation of the angel’s song; we read in Holy Scripture that the angelic choirs cry to one another: ” Holy, holy, holy. Lord God of hosts; all the earth is full of His glory ” (Is. vi.3). And when we recite the Rosary, we praise the Mother of God in a similar manner. It is beyond a doubt that this form of prayer is most acceptable to the Mother of God, for when she appeared at Lourdes she had a rosary in her hand. Pope Pius IX unhesitatingly asserts that it is her gift to men, and she loves no other prayer as well. 2. The Rosary is a most useful devotion, for by it we obtain great graces and sure help in time of trouble; many indulgences are besides attached to it.

The Rosary is a very treasury of graces. Many sinners owe their conversion to it. It possesses marvelous power to banish sin and restore the transgressor to a state of grace. By it the just grow in virtue. All the saints who have lived subsequently to the institution of the Rosary have been assiduous in its use, and this may have contributed largely to their sanctification. Several holy bishops and servants of God are known to have pledged themselves by vow to recite it daily; St. Charles Borromeo, despite the numerous and pressing duties of his position, recited it every day with the seminarists and the members of his household. Blessed Clement Hofbauer was accustomed to say the Rosary while passing through the streets of Vienna, and rarely did he recite it in vain for the conversion of a sinner. It is recorded of several distinguished officers and victorious commanders that they never engaged in battle without first saying the Rosary, and to this they attributed their military successes. The Rosary has been called “the thermometer of Christianity,” for the reason that where it is diligently recited faith is ardent, and good works are manifest; and where it is neglected religion is at a low ebb. In seasons of general calamity, miraculous aid has been granted to Christendom by means of the Rosary; this was especially the case in wars with the Turks, the victory of Lepanto (1571), the deliverance of Vienna (1683), the victory of Belgrade were all owing to the power of the Rosary. It was said that the beads of the chaplet did more execution than the bullets of the soldiers. It was in thanksgiving for these victories that the Holy See instituted the feast of the Holy Rosary on the first Sunday in October. Pope Sixtus IV declared that many dangers which threatened the world are averted, and the wrath of God is appeased by the prayers of the Rosary. Our Holy Father Leo XIII says that, as in St. Dominic’s time the Rosary proved a sure remedy for the evils of the age, so it may now effect much towards the amelioration of the ills that afflict society.

Every one who recites the Rosary must feel its supernatural power; there is no prayer which affords more consolation in affliction, more tranquillity to the troubled breast. It soothes in sorrow, it imparts the peace spoken of in the Gospel. Another proof of its excellence is the hatred and contempt wherewith unbelievers regard it. The devil incites them to decry what is a fruitful source of grace to the Christian, and by which souls are wrested from his grasp. The Rosary has been richly indulgenced by the Holy See, and the recital of it strongly urged upon the faithful. An indulgence of five years and five quarantines may be gained if five consecutive decades be said, on a properly indulgenced rosary. Our Holy Father Leo XIII. has decreed that every day during the month of October, the Rosary, together with the litany of Loretto, be said in church either during the parish Mass, or in the afternoon, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. For every time of assisting at this devotion seven years and seven quarantines are granted. ‘Pope Pius IX. bequeathed, as a legacy to the faithful, this admonition: “Let the Rosary, this simple, beautiful method of prayer, enriched with many indulgences, be habitually recited of an evening in every household. These are my last words to you; the memorial I leave behind me.” Again he said: “In the whole of the Vatican there is no greater treasure than the Rosary.” (8)

Image: Crop of The Perugia Altarpiece, Side Panel Depicting St. Dominic, artist: Fra Angelico, circa 1437 (5).

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05106a.htm
  2. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_dominic.html
  3. http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/saint-dominic.html
  4. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-153/Virgin%20Most%20Renowned.htm#Example
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Perugia_Altarpiece,_Side_Panel_Depicting_St._Dominic.jpg
  6. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints8-3.htm
  7. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Dominic%20Prayers.html
  8. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Rosary.html
  9. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Dominic%20and%20the%20Attacks%20of%20the%20Devil.html
  10. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-153/Virgin%20Most%20Renowned.htm#Example
  11. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-04.html

Our Lady of the Angels

August 2

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Angels.

Our Lady of Angels, or of the Portiuncula, is located six hundred yards from the city of Assissium, in Italy. It was a desolate locality, and apparently an unsettled one where robbers and the lawlessness flourished, for the Benedictines who had lived at the monastery felt it was too hazardous to remain there. They abandoned the monastery, relocating to Mount Subasio.  The original chapel is thought to date from the 4th Century, and was built by holy hermits who had come from the Valley of Josaphat. It is said that they brought relics of the Blessed Virgin with them to the region when they constructed the chapel. 

When Saint Francis chanced to come upon the little, run down and abandoned chapel of Our Lady of Angels, or Santa Maria degli Angelis, in the year 1208, it was almost completely hidden in shrubs and brush. Saint Francis entered the hidden church, which measured only twenty-two feet by thirteen feet, and saw the ancient fresco that had been placed above the main altar. It was an image of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by angels. Some say that this is why the chapel was named Our Lady of Angels, although there are also legends that angels could often be heard singing there.

This chapel was the Saint’s favorite spot on earth. It was here he heard the Gospel that caused him to establish his First Order.  Here Francis received his first brothers, and from here he sent them into the world. In this chapel, St. Clare knelt before the image of Our Lady of the Angels, and on the floor her golden tresses fell beneath the scissors plied by Francis himself. Indeed, Francis placed such a high value on this chapel, which he had rebuilt with his own hands, that he wrote a special rule just for “Portiuncula.”

At first Saint Francis wished the convent which he built there to be the principal one of his order. He assembled the first General Chapter here, where there were five thousand religious. It was also where he died on October 3rd in the year 1226, the twentieth of his conversion, and at age forty-five. The cell in which the poor man of Assisi died can still be seen where it rests against one of the columns of the cupola under the choir bay.

In Franciscan annals August 2 is one of the most important days of the year, for it is the Feast of St. Mary of the Angels, the anniversary of the dedication of the birthplace of the Franciscan Order, the day of a special Indulgence, the Portiuncula Indulgence. The origin of the Portiuncula Indulgence has been lost in the haze of centuries. The first written document we have regarding this Indulgence is dated October 31, 1277, some sixty years after the Indulgence is said to have been granted. As a result, many different accounts have come down to us purporting to relate the vision of St. Francis and the way in which the Pope consented to grant this Indulgence. Each author seems to relate a different version that St. Francis beheld. However, although the accounts differ in details, in substance they are the same.

No one has ever better described the full significance of this devotion to Mary than St. Francis himself when he said to Pope Honorius: “I need nothing more than your word. Our Lady is the parchment, Christ the notary, and the Angels our witnesses!” 

It was on the feast of Our Lady, Queen of Angels, August 2, 1492, that Christopher Columbus knowing there was a plenary indulgence granted to all who received Holy Communion on that day, went with all his crew to Mass, received Holy Communion, finished packing his boat — called the Santa Maria, the Holy Mary — and set sail for the New World. It took Columbus seventy-two days to cross the ocean. (6)

 

Image: The Miracle of the Porziuncola, Artist: António de Oliveira Bernardes, Circa 1698. (5)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-angels.html
  2. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j141sdQueenofAngels_8-02.htm
  3. http://catholictradition.org/Angels/guardians19.htm
  4. https://airmaria.com/2011/08/02/august-2-portiuncula-indulgence-our-lady-of-the-angels/
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Evora66.jpg
  6. http://catholicism.org/our-lady-of-the-angels.html

 

Paris Report: August 2016

REGINA is an international Magazine with correspondents on the ground in more than a dozen countries. Today, REGINA’s Paris-based correspondent, 35, discusses the realities she is living today.

REGINA: What’s happening now?

PARIS: There have been so many controversies about the last two terror attacks: the one in Nice, and early this week, while he was celebrating mass, a priest who was held hostage by two Islamist terrorists who finally cut his throat and tried to kill the other people attending this weekday mass. And now, the French police blog has reported that in Belgium, a couple days ago, a priest was stabbed to death by a Syrian migrant. But no word of it in the big French media, of course. Would anger people even more.

REGINA: And what is your government saying?

PARIS: And the French president is saying all has been done to protect us against Islamist terror.

REGINA: How are French people receiving this?

PARIS: That’s like saying you citizens are potential targets and we, the country’s leaders, will not do anything but sit and watch it happen.

REGINA: And what are the people saying about this?

PARIS: A country’s leaders’ first duty is to protect the country’s citizens. Our leaders are so incompetent.

REGINA: What is the government response?

PARIS:  They’re saying things like, let’s understand our Muslim brothers who are “the first victims” of terrorism. No kidding?!  There’s no word to adequately describe the government’s attitude and rhetoric.

REGINA: One of the terrorists who beheaded the priest was under observation and had to wear a locator device, except for a few hours a day. It was during that time that he committed the atrocity. PARIS: The French government is only taking baby steps against terrorists. One of them in jail has been allowed a private cell with a private gym, because, so they say, he needs to be in good shape for his trial. Can you believe this? France is afraid of what the European Commission on Human Rights will say if it cracks down too hard on terrorists, on would-be terrorists, if they restrict freedoms too much for the sake of safety and security. Their philosophy right now is : better terrorists free to commit their crimes and thousands slaughtered than a few innocents surveilled or arrested by mistake.

REGINA: What do you think most French people are thinking, in their hearts?

PARIS: Those terrorists are France’s enemy, or traitors when they’re French and should be handled as such. But they’re not because Muslims can’t be stigmatized by France, in the name of Human Rights, but any of us, hundreds of us, honest non-Muslim citizens may be slaughtered, that’s okay.

REGINA: Hungary’s prime minister has state unequivocally that they do not need migrants. Are any other countries also taking a different stance?

PARIS: Poland could not care less about what that European commission says about their practices, for the better. But we, the French, drape ourselves in virtue and good conscience, so we can’t go against what the EU says we should do. Too bad if innocent citizens are killed because of that. The exception to this is the Corsicans. French leaders may be scared, but not in Corsica. There, the main organization for the independence of Corsica has publicly stated: if ISIS agents start killing Corsicans, we’ll do the same to them. Not to say that that’s the right thing to say and/or do. But many in France say well, at least they have guts.

REGINA: Where does the French Church stand in all of this?

PARIS: At the beginning of the current president’s Hollande’s term, four years ago, his minister of Education said Catholicism was threatening democracy in France. Today the French Catholic church is saying to its flock:  let’s love those who are  slaughtering us.

REGINA: Nothing else?

PARIS: No. Nothing like ‘this is just intolerable, awful, horrible, we are so damn mad, those terrorists are evil.’

REGINA: What do French Catholics in the pews think about what the Church hierarchy is saying?

PARIS:  The Pope least of all. Our priests, bishops and archbishops are offering us in sacrifice. That’s as simple as that.

REGINA: We hear the same thing.

PARIS: Okay, when you’re Christian, talking of love and peace makes sense even in the worse situations. But damn it, at least say something to condemn the evil and those who’re committing it, to say you understand your flock’s outrage. No. Nothing.

On TV, one priest even said we should consider forgiving. Really ? The Church will not allow the divorced and remarried to go to communion, for example, but as a terrorist, especially if you slaughter a priest, you may be forgiven, just like that? Plus, nobody has asked for forgiveness.

REGINA: We hear the same thing.

PARIS: But to be fair, I have read about one army chaplain and the bishop to the French armed forces who have said things to the effect that it’s never said in the Scriptures that Christ is against all violence. Accepting to be crucified is very violent. Christ has kicked the merchants out of the temple. Violence may be legitimate when you use it to defend yourself, your loved ones, your country. It has never been asked of Christians to offer themselves, their priests, their children in sacrifice to evil. But those who dare say such things are not the priests or bishops interviewed in the media.

REGINA: This morning, our Facebook friends reported, “Three police guarding a packed Mass in Cannes, France.” Have you seen this or heard this from anyone?

PARIS: Soldiers standing guard in front of churches is useless. Those terrorists do not care. Nothing will deter them from killing, taking their own lives or being killed and die as martyrs as they say.

REGINA: English-speaking media is blaring that Muslims are attending Catholic masses ‘in solidarity’ today. Have you seen this or heard this from anyone?

PARIS: On Sunday, imams invited Muslims to attend mass in solidarity with Catholics. Many people are not sure what to think of that. And then, they are doing that now, but did they express solidarity with the Jews when that Islamic terrorist entered a Jewish school in Paris and slaughtered children? Did they express solidarity when three French soldiers were shot down near their base? They did not.

REGINA: France has a huge Muslim population. Is no one speaking up about this travesty?

PARIS: On a radio (RMC) talk show, a listener called to say he was Muslim and as such was so mad at France’s being way too kind with the Islamic terrorists, that he’s sick and tired of terrorists being so well treated, that in Algeria or Morocco, they would be treated as the worst criminals. Hopefully, many Muslims think the same. We don’t know as there’s often what is said to the media, and what is really thought.

REGINA: What has the government done vis a vis stopping the spread of radical Islam?

PARIS: They say they have been closing mosques where radical imams are preaching. You know what? They close these mosques for some time, and then you learn in the press that the same mosques have been allowed to re-open. Yesterday, there was a meeting between the minister of the Interior and imams’ representatives: the latter promised for the umpteenth time to reform their practices. They have been promising that for years, but nothing has been done. And, say some specialists, they can’t change the Koran, anyway.

REGINA: What do you read into the actions of the current French government?

PARIS: Our leaders are scared of being labeled racists, anti-Muslims, extremists, politically incorrect, etc. Too bad if that kills thousands of citizens. Finally, there are people who say that it makes sense that the Church does want to make things worse by having harsh words on Islam or Muslims. The Church and the government are scared of one thing: that a clandestine organization will start acting against Muslims or even that there will be civil war.

Saint Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church

August 2

Today is the feast day of Saint Alphonsus Mary de Liguori.  Ora pro nobis.

 

St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (†1787; Feast – August 2)

To this great Saint, great both in works and in doctrine, are directly applied these words of the Holy Ghost: they that instruct many to justice shall shine as stars for all eternity (Dan. 12: 3). At the time he appeared, an odious sect (Jansenism) was denying the mercy and the sweetness of our Heavenly Father; it triumphed in the practical conduct of even those who were shocked by Calvinistic theories. Under pretext of a reaction against an imaginary school of laxity, and denouncing with much ado some erroneous propositions made by obscure persons, the new Pharisees had set themselves up as zealous for the law. Stretching the Commandments, and exaggerating the sanction, they loaded the conscience with the same unbearable burdens which the Man-God reproached the ancient Pharisees with laying on the shoulders of men; but the cry of alarm they had raised in the name of endangered morals, had nonetheless deceived the simple, and ended by misleading even some of the best. Thanks to the show of austerity displayed by some of its adherents, Jansenism, so clever in veiling its teachings, had too well succeeded in its designs of forcing itself upon the Church in spite of the Church. Unsuspecting allies within the holy city gave up to its mercy the sources of salvation. Soon in too many places, the sacred Keys were used but to open Hell; the Holy Eucharist, instituted for the preservation and increase of spiritual life in all Catholics, became accessible only to the “perfect;” and these latter were esteemed such, according as, by a strange reversion of the Apostle’s words, they subjected the spirit of adoption of sons to the spirit of servitude and fear. As to the faithful who did not rise to the heights of this new asceticism, “finding in the tribunal of penance, instead of fathers and physicians of souls, only exactors and executioners” (Letter for the Concession of the Title of Doctor to St. Alphonsus Maria, Pope Pius IX); they could only choose between despair and indifference. Everywhere legislatures and parliaments lent a hand to the so-called reformers, without heeding the flood of odious unbelief that was rising around them, without seeing the gathering storm clouds.

 

Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you shut the kingdom of Heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those who are going in, you suffer not to enter… Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of Hell twofold more than yourselves (Matt. 23: 13, 15). Not of your reasonings was it said that the sons of Wisdom are the Church of the just, for it was added: Their generation is obedience and love (Eccli. 3: 1—the Jansenists were notorious for their lack of obedience to the Holy See). Not of the fear which you preached did the Psalmist sing: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (Ps. 110: 10); for even under the law of Sinai, the Holy Ghost said: Ye that fear the Lord, believe Him: and your reward shall not be made void. Ye that fear the Lord, hope in Him: and mercy shall come to you for your delight. Ye that fear the Lord, love Him: and your hearts shall be enlightened (Eccli. 2: 8-10). Every deviation, whether towards rigor or laxity, offends the rectitude of justice; but especially since Bethlehem and Calvary, no sin so wounds the Divine Heart as distrust; no fault is unpardonable except the despair of a Judas, saying like Cain: My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon (Gen. 4: 13).

Who then, in the somber quietism into which the teachers then in vogue had led even the strongest minds, could find once more the key of knowledge? But Wisdom, says the Holy Ghost, kept in Her treasures the signification of discipline (Eccl. 1: 31). Just as in other times She had raised up new avengers for every dogma that had been attacked: so now She brought forth St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori as the avenger of the violated Law and the most excellent Doctor of Christian morality. A stranger alike to fatal rigorism and baneful liberalism, he knew how to restore to the justices of the Lord their rectitude, and at the same time their power of rejoicing hearts, to His commandments their luminous brightness, whereby they are justified in themselves, to His testimonies the purity which attracts souls and faithfully guides the simple and the little ones from the beginnings of Wisdom to its summits (Cf. Ps. 18: 8-10). Whilst on the one hand he never left unanswered any attack made at that time against revealed truth, his ascetical and mystical works brought back piety to its traditional sources, the frequentation of the Sacraments, and the love of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. The Sacred Congregation of Rites, after examining in the name of the Holy See the works of our Saint, and declaring that nothing deserving of censure was to be found therein (Decrees of May 14 and 18, 1803), arranged his innumerable writings under forty separate titles. St. Alphonsus Maria, however, resolved only late in life to give to the public, through the press, the lights which flooded his soul; his first work, the golden book of Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin, did not appear until the author was nearly fifty years of age. (Holy Mother Church paid unprecedented honors to the Saint in Her Decree of 22 July, 1831, which allows confessors to follow any of St. Alphonsus Maria’s own opinions without weighing the reasons on which they were based.) Though God prolonged his life beyond the usual limits, He spared him neither the double burden of the Episcopate and the government of the Congregation he had founded, nor the most painful infirmities, nor still more grievous moral sufferings.

Let us listen to the Church’s account of his life in the Breviary:

St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori was born of a noble family at Naples, and from his early youth gave clear proofs of sanctity. While he was still a child, his parents once presented him to St. Francis Giralomo of the Society of Jesus. The Saint blessed him, and prophesied that he would reach his ninetieth year, that he would be raised to the Episcopal dignity, and that he would do much good for the Church. Even as a boy he shrank from games, and both by his words and example incited noble youth to Christian modesty. When he reached early manhood he enrolled himself in pious associations, and made it his delight to serve the sick in the public hospital, to spend much time in prayer and in the church, and frequently to receive the Sacred Mysteries. He joined study to piety with such success that, when scarcely sixteen years of age, he took the degree of Doctor, both in Canon and Civil Law, in the University of his native city. In obedience to his father’s wishes, he practiced law; but while winning himself a name in the discharge of this office, he learned by experience what dangers beset a lawyer’s life, and, of his own accord, abandoned the profession. Then he refused a brilliant marriage proposed to him by his father, renounced his right of inheritance as eldest son, and, hanging up his sword at the altar of the Virgin of Mercy, he devoted himself to the divine ministry. Having been made a priest, he attacked vice with such great zeal that, in the exercise of his apostolic ministry, he hastened from place to place, working wonderful conversions. He had a special compassion for the poor, and particularly for country people, and founded a Congregation for priests, called “of the Holy Redeemer,” who were to follow the Redeemer through the fields, hamlets and villages, preaching to the poor.

In order that nothing might turn him from his purpose, he bound himself by a perpetual vow never to waste any time. On fire with love of souls, he strove to win them to Christ and to make them lead more perfect lives, both by preaching the Divine Word and by writings full of sacred learning and piety. Marvelous was the number of hatreds he stilled and of wanderers he brought back to the path of salvation. He had the greatest devotion to the Mother of God, and published a book on the “Glories of Mary.” More than once, when he was speaking of Her with great earnestness during his sermons, a wonderful brightness came upon him from Our Lady’s image, and he was seen by all the people to be rapt in ecstasy. The Passion of Our Lord and the Holy Eucharist were the objects of his unceasing contemplation, and he spread devotion to them in a wonderful degree. When he was praying before the altar of the Blessed Sacrament, or celebrating Holy Mass, which he never failed to do, through the violence of his love he shed burning tears, was inflamed in an extraordinary manner, and at times was carried out of his senses. He joined a wonderful innocence, which he had never stained by mortal sin, with an equally wonderful spirit of penance, and chastised his body by fasting, iron chains, hair-shirts, and scourging even unto blood. At the same time he was remarkable for the gifts of prophecy, reading of hearts, bilocation, and many other miracles.

He firmly refused the ecclesiastical dignities which were offered to him, but he was compelled by the authority of Pope Clement XIII to accept the government of the church of St. Agatha of the Goths. As Bishop, though he changed his outward dress, yet he made no alteration in the severity of his life. He observed the same moderation; his zeal for Christian discipline was most ardent, and he displayed the greatest devotedness in rooting out vice, in guarding against false doctrine, and in discharging the other duties of the pastoral charge. He was most generous towards the poor, distributing to them all the revenues of his See, and in a time of scarcity of grain he sold even the furniture of his house to feed his starving people. He was all things to all men. He brought religious women to lead a more perfect life, and took care to erect a monastery for nuns of his Congregation. Severe and continual sickness forced him to resign his bishopric, and he returned to his children as poor as when he had left them. Though worn out in body by old age, labors, chronic gout, and other painful maladies, his mind was fresh and clear, and he never ceased speaking or writing of heavenly things till at length, on the first day of August, he most peacefully expired, at Nocera dei Pagani, amidst his weeping children. It was in the year 1787, the ninetieth of his age. His virtues and miracles made him famous, and on this account, in 1816, Pope Pius VII enrolled him amongst the Blessed. God still glorified him with new signs and wonders, and, on the Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity, in the year 1839, Pope Gregory XVI solemnly inscribed his name on the list of Saints. Pope Pius IX, having consulted the Congregation of Sacred Rites, declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church. Finally Pope Pius XII established him the Heavenly Patron of all confessors and moralists.

“I have not hid Thy justice within my heart: I have declared Thy truth and Thy salvation” (Ps. 39: 11; Gradual of the Mass of St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori). Thus sings the Church in his name today, in gratitude for the great service he rendered Her in the days of sinners, when piety seemed to be lost. Exposed to the attacks of an extravagant pharisaism, and watched by a skeptical and mocking philosophy, even the good wavered as to which was the way of the Lord. While the moralists of the day could but forge fetters for consciences, the enemy had a good chance of crying: Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us. The ancient wisdom revered by their fathers, now that it was compromised by these foolish teachers, seemed but a ruined edifice to people eager for emancipation. In this unprecedented extremity, St. Alphonsus Maria was the prudent man whom the Church needed, whose mouth uttered words to strengthen men’s hearts.

Long before his birth, a great Pope has said that it belongs to doctors to enlighten the Church, to adorn Her with virtues, to form Her members; by them, he added, She shines in the midst of darkness as a morning star; their word, made fruitful from on high, solves the enigmas of the Scriptures, unravels difficulties, clears obscurities, interprets what is doubtful; their profound works, beautified by eloquence of speech, are so many priceless pearls which ennoble no less than adorn the House of God. Thus did Pope Boniface VIII speak in the thirteenth century, when he was raising to the rank of Doubles the Feasts of the Apostles and Evangelists, and of the four then recognized Doctors—St. Gregory, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and St. Jerome. But is it not a description, striking as a prophecy, faithful as a portrait, of all that St. Alphonsus Maria was?

“The love of God is never idle,” says St. Gregory. “Where it exists it does great things: if it refuses to act, it is not love.” What fidelity was that of St. Alphonsus Maria in accomplishing that marvelous vow, whereby he denied himself the possibility of even a moment’s relaxation. When suffering intolerable pain, which would appear to anyone else to justify, if not command, some rest, he would hold to his forehead with one hand a piece of marble, which seemed to give some slight relief, and with the other hand would continue his precious writings.

But still greater was the example God set before the world, when He permitted our Saint, then in his old age, through the treason of one of his own sons, to be disgraced by that Apostolic See, for which he had worn away his life, and which in return withdrew him, as though unworthy, from the very institute he had founded! Then Hell was permitted to join its chastisements with those of Heaven; and he, the doctor of peace, endured terrible temptations against faith and holy hope. Thus was his work made perfect in that weakness which is stronger than strength; and thus did he merit for troubled souls the support of the virtue of Christ. Nevertheless, having become a child once more in the blind obedience required under such painful trials, he was quickly brought near again to the Kingdom of Heaven and to the Crib, which he had celebrated in such sweet accents. (St. Alphonsus Maria was the author, both of the lyrics and the melody, of Italy’s most popular Christmas Carol, “Tu scendi dalle stelle,” also known as “O Bambino.”) And the virtue which the Man-God felt going out from Him during His mortal life escaped from our Saint, too, in such abundance that the little sick children presented by their mothers for his blessing were all healed. (3)

Besides his Moral Theology, the Saint wrote a large number of dogmatic and ascetical works nearly all in the vernacular. The “Glories of Mary”, “The Selva”, “The True Spouse of Christ“, “The Great Means of Prayer”, “The Way of Salvation”, “Opera Dogmatica, or History of the Council of Trent“, and “Sermons for all the Sundays in the Year“, are the best known. He was also a poet and musician. His hymns are justly celebrated in Italy.  A duet composed by him, between the Soul and God, was found in the British Museum bearing the date 1760 and containing a correction in his own handwriting.

He retired to the Monastery of his Order to prepare for death, but he would have to wait 11 more years. Blind and deaf, but still lucid, he lived his last years in a wheelchair. He was dangerously ill so often that he received the last rites nine times. He was tormented both physically and morally, because he was assaulted for some years by concerns and anguish over the future of his Order, as well as by strong temptations against purity.

ADVICE TO PARENTS
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Saint Alphonsus, founder of the Redemptorist Order, Bishop and Doctor of the Church expounds on the privilege and responsibilities of parenthood as a special vocation from God. The wisdom of this holy man has guided and fortified Catholics for over two hundred years.

The gospel tells us, that a good plant cannot produce bad fruit, and that a bad one cannot produce good fruit. We learn from this, that a good father brings up good children. But, if the parents are wicked, how can the children be virtuous? Our Lord says, in the same gospel, Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? (Matt. 7:16). So, it is impossible, or rather very difficult, to find children virtuous, who are brought up by immoral parents. Fathers and mothers, be attentive to this sermon, which is of great importance to the eternal salvation of yourselves and of your children. Be attentive, young men and young women, who have not as yet chosen a state in life. If you wish to marry, learn the obligations which you contract with regard to the education of your children, and learn also, that if you do not fulfill them, you shall bring yourselves and all your children to damnation. I shall divide this into two points. In the first, I shall show how important it is to bring up children in habits of virtue; and, in the second, I shall show with what care and diligence a parent ought to labor to bring them up well.

A father owes two obligations to his children; he is bound to provide for their corporal wants, and to educate them in the habits of virtue. It is not necessary to say anything else about the first obligation, than, there are some fathers more cruel than the most ferocious of wild beasts, for these squander away in eating, drinking, and pleasure, all their property, or all the fruits of their industry, and allow their children to die of hunger. Let us discuss education, which is the subject of this article.

It is certain that a child’s future good or bad conduct depends on his being brought up well or poorly. Nature itself teaches every parent to attend to the education of his offspring. God gives children to parents, not that they may assist the family, but that they may be brought up in the fear of God, and be directed in the way of eternal salvation. “We have,” says Saint John Chrysostom, “a great deposit in children, let us attend to them with great care.” Children have not been given to parents as a present, which they may dispose of as they please, but as a trust, for which, if lost through their negligence; they must render an account to God.

One of the great Fathers says that on the day of judgment, parents will have to render an account for all the sins of their children. So, he who teaches his son to live well, shall die a happy and tranquil death. He that teaches his son…when he died, he was not sorrowful, neither was he confounded before his enemies (Eccl. 30: 3,5). And he will save his soul by means of his children, that is, by the virtuous education which he has given them. She shall be saved through childbearing (I Tim. 2:15).

But, on the other hand, a very uneasy and unhappy death will be the lot of those who have labored only to increase the possessions, or to multiply the honors of their family, or who have sought only to lead a life of ease and pleasure, but have not watched over the morals of their children. Saint Paul says that such parents are worse than infidels. But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8).

Were fathers or mothers to lead a life of piety and continual prayer, and to communicate every day, they should be damned if they neglected the care of their children.

If all fathers fulfilled their duty of watching over the education of their children, we should have but few crimes. By the bad education which parents give to their offspring, they cause their children, says Saint John Chrysostom, to rush into many grievous vices; and thus they deliver them up to the hands of the executioner. So it was, in one town, a parent, who was the cause of all the irregularities of his children, was justly punished for his crimes with greater severity than the children themselves. Great indeed is the misfortune of the child that has vicious parents, who are incapable of bringing up their children in the fear of God, and who, when they see their children engage in dangerous friendships and in quarrels, instead of correcting and chastising them, they take compassion on them, and say, “What can I do? They are young; hopefully they will grow out of it.” What wicked words, what a cruel education! Do you hope that when your children grow up, they will become saints? Listen to what Solomon says, “A young man, according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). A young man who has contracted a habit of sin, will not abandon it even in his old age. His bones, says holy Job, will be filled with the vices of his youth, and they will sleep with him in the dust (Job 20:11). When a young person has lived in evil habits, his bones will be filled with the vices of his youth, so that he will carry them to the grave, and the impurities, blasphemies, and hatred to which he was accustomed in his youth, will accompany him to the grave, and will sleep with him after his bones are reduced to dust and ashes. It is very easy, when they are small, to train children to habits of virtue, but, when they have come to manhood, it is equally difficult to correct them, if they have learned habits of vice.

Let us come to the second point, that is, to the means of bringing up children in the practice of virtue. I beg you, fathers and mothers, to remember what I now say to you, from on it depends the eternal salvation of your own souls, and of the souls of your children.

Saint Paul teaches sufficiently, in a few words, in what the proper education of children consists. He says that it consists in discipline and correction. And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord (Ephes. 5:4). Discipline, which is the same as the religious regulation of the morals of children, implies an obligation of educating them in habits of virtue by word and example. First, by words: a good father should often assemble his children, and instill into them the holy fear of God. It was in this manner that Tobias brought up his little son. The father taught him from his childhood to fear the Lord and to fly from sin. And from infancy he taught him to fear God and abstain from sin (Tobias 1:10). The wise man says, that a well educated son is the support and consolation of his father. Instruct your son, and he will refresh you, and will give delight to your soul (Prov. 29:17). But, as a well instructed son is the delight of his father’s soul, so an ignorant child is a source of sorrow to a father’s heart, for the ignorance of his obligations as a Christian is always accompanied with a bad life.

It was related that, in the year 1248, an ignorant priest was commanded, in a certain synod, to make a discourse. He was greatly agitated by the command and the Devil appearing to him, instructed him to say, “The rectors of infernal darkness salute the rectors of parishes, and thank them for their negligence in instructing the people; because from ignorance proceeds the misconduct and the damnation of many.”

The same is true of negligent parents. In the first place, a parent ought to instruct his children in the truths of the Faith, and particularly in the four principle mysteries. First, that there is but One God, the Creator and Lord of all things; secondly, that this God is a remunerator, Who, in the next life, will reward the good with the eternal glory of Paradise, and will punish the wicked with the everlasting torments of Hell; thirdly, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, that is, that in God there are Three Persons, Who are only One God, because They have but One Essence; fourthly, the mystery of the Incarnation of the Divine Word, the Son of God, and True God, Who became man in the womb of Mary, and suffered and died for our salvation.

Should a father or mother say, “I myself do not know these mysteries,” can such an excuse be admitted? Can one sin excuse another? If you are ignorant of these mysteries, you are obliged to learn them, and afterwards to teach them to your children. At least, send your children to a worthy catechist. What a miserable thing to see so many fathers and mothers, who are unable to instruct their children in the most necessary truths of the Faith, and who, instead of sending their sons and daughters to Christian doctrine, employ them in occupations of little account, and when they are grown up, they do not know what is meant by mortal sin, by Hell, or eternity. They do not even know the Creed, the Our Father, or the Hail Mary, which every Christian is bound to learn under pain of mortal sin.

Religious parents not only instruct their children in these things, which are the most important, but they also teach them the acts which ought to be made every morning after rising. They teach them first, to thank God for having preserved their life during the night, secondly to offer to God all their good actions which they will perform, and all the pains which they will suffer during the day, thirdly, to implore of Jesus Christ and Our Most Holy Mother Mary to preserve them from all sin during the day. They teach them to make, every evening, an examination of conscience and an act of contrition. They also teach them to make every day, the acts of Faith, Hope and Charity, to recite the Rosary, and to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Some good fathers of families are careful to get a book of meditations to read, and to have mental prayer in common for half an hour every day. This is what the Holy Ghost exhorts you to practice. Do you have children? Instruct them and bow down their neck from their childhood (Eccl. 7:25). Endeavor to train them from their infancy to these religious habits, and when they grow up, they will persevere in them. Accustom them also to go to confession and communion every week.

It is also very useful to infuse good maxims into the infant minds of children. What ruin is brought upon children by their father who teaches them worldly maxims! “You must,” some parents say to their children, “seek the esteem and applause of the world. God is merciful; He takes compassion on certain sins.” How miserable the young man is who sins in obedience to such maxims. Good parents teach very different maxims to their children. Queen Blanche, the mother of Saint Louis, King of France, used to say to him, “My son, I would rather see you dead in my arms, than in the state of sin.” So then, let it be your practice also to infuse into your children certain maxims of salvation, such as, What will it profit us to gain the whole world, if we lose our own souls? Everything on this earth has an end, but eternity never ends. Let all be lost, provided God is not lost. One of these maxims well impressed on the mind of a young person, will preserve him always in the grace of God.

But parents are obliged to instruct their children in the practice of virtue, not only by words, but still more by example. If you give your children bad example, how can you expect that they will lead good lives? When a dissolute young man is corrected for a fault, he answers, “Why do you censure me, when my father does worse?” The children will complain of an ungodly father, because for his sake they are in reproach (Eccl. 41:10). How is it possible for a son to be moral and religious, when he has had the example of a father who uttered blasphemies and obscenities, who spent the entire day in the tavern, in games and drunkenness, who was in the habit of frequenting houses of bad fame, and of defrauding his neighbor? Do you expect your son to go frequently to confession, when you yourself approach the confessional scarcely once a year?

It is related in a fable, that a crab one day rebuked its young for walking crookedly. They replied, “Father, let us see you walk.” The father walked before them more crookedly than they did. This is what happens to the parent who gives bad example. Hence, he has not even courage to correct his children for the sins which he himself commits.

According to Saint Thomas, scandalous parents compel, in a certain manner, their children to lead a bad life. “They are not,” says Saint Bernard, “fathers, but murderers, they kill, not the bodies, but the souls of their children.” It is useless for parents to say: “My children have been born with bad dispositions.” This is not true, for, Seneca says, “You err, if you think that vices are born with us; they have been engrafted.” Vices are not born with your children, but have been communicated to them by the bad example of the parents. If you had given good example to your sons, they would not be so vicious as they are. So parents, frequent the Sacraments, learn from the sermons, recite the Rosary every day, abstain from all obscene language, from detraction, and from quarrels, and you will see that your children follow your example. It is particularly necessary to train children to virtue in their infancy, Bow down their neck from their childhood, for when they have grown up, and contracted bad habits, it will be very difficult for you to produce, by words, any amendment in their lives.

To bring up children in the discipline of the Lord, it is also necessary to take away from them the occasion of doing evil. A father must forbid his children to go out at night, or to go to a house in which their virtue might be exposed to danger, or to keep bad company. Cast out, said Sarah to Abraham, this bondswoman and her son (Gen. 21:10). She wished to have Ismael, the son of Agar the bondswoman, banished from her house, that her son Isaac might not learn his vicious habits. Bad companions are the ruin of young persons. A father should not only remove the evil which he witnesses, but he is also bound to inquire after the conduct of his children, and to seek information from family and from outsiders regarding the places which his children frequent when they leave home, regarding their occupations and companions. A father ought to forbid his children ever to bring into his house stolen goods. When Tobias heard the bleating of a goat in his house, he said, Take care, perhaps it is stolen, go, restore it to its owners (Tobias 2:21).

Parents should prohibit their children from all games, which bring destruction on their families and on their own souls, and also dances, suggestive entertainment, and certain dangerous conversations and parties of pleasures. A father should remove from his house books of romances, which pervert young persons, and all bad books which contain pernicious maxims, tales of obscenity, or of profane love. He should not permit his daughters to be alone with men, whether young or old. But some will say, “But this man tutors my daughter; he is a saint.” The saints are in Heaven, but the saints that are on earth are flesh, and by proximate occasions, they may become devils.

Another obligation of parents is to correct the faults of the family. “Bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.” There are fathers and mothers who witness faults in the family and remain silent. Through fear of displeasing their children, some fathers neglect to correct them, but if you saw your child falling into a pool of water, and in danger of being drowned, would it not be savage cruelty not to catch him by the hair, and save his life? He that spares the rod hates his son (Prov. 13:24). If you love your children, correct them, and while they are growing up, chastise them, even with the rod, as often as it may be necessary.

I say, with the rod, but not with a stick; for you must correct them like a father, and not like a prison guard. You must be careful not to beat them when you are in a passion, for you will then be in danger of beating them with too much severity, and the correction will be without fruit, for then they believe that the chastisement is the effect of anger, and not of a desire on your part to see them amend their lives. I have also said, that you should correct them while they are growing up , for when they arrive at manhood, your correction will be of little use. You must then abstain from correcting them with the hand; otherwise, they will become more perverse, and will lose their respect for you. What use is it to correct children with injurious words and with imprecations? Deprive them of some part of their meals, of certain articles of dress, or shut them up in their room. I have said enough. Draw from this discourse the conclusion, that he who has brought up his children badly, will be severely punished, and that he who has trained them in the habits of virtue, will receive a great reward. (10)

He died peacefully in the Mother House of the Redemptorists near Naples on August 1787, the 90th year of his life. (6)

Image: Alfonso Maria de Liguori (8)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.catholictradition.org/liguori.htm
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Alphonsus%20De%20Liguori%20Sermons.html
  3. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-173/Alphonsus.htm
  4. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_alphonsus_liguori.html
  5. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/08-02.html
  6. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j223sd_AlphonsusLigouri_08_02.html
  7. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01334a.htm
  8. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kloster_St_Josef_Neumarkt_-_Innenraum_32.jpg
  9. http://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/alpquote.shtml
  10. http://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/advice.shtml
  11. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/The%20Value%20of%20Time.html

 

 

Feast of Saint Peter’s Chains

August 1

Today is the feast day of Saint Peter in Chains.


by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 

The Holy Church, today, celebrates a special feast in commemoration of the great benefit which God bestowed upon His people by miraculously delivering St. Peter, the visible head of the church, from prison. The entire event is described in the Acts of the Apostles, by St. Luke. Herod Agrippa, a son of Aristobulus, favored by the Roman Emperor Claudius, ruled over Judaea, with the title of king. To give more stability to his reign, he endeavored to make himself beloved by the Jews, for which there was no easier way than to persecute the Christians, especially those who fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel of Christ, as did the holy Apostles. He had, therefore, apprehended, and soon after beheaded, James the Great, brother of St. John, which bloody deed gave the Jews great satisfaction. To increase this, Herod commanded them to seize St. Peter, intending to make away with him in the same manner. His command was executed; Peter was taken prisoner, chained and locked in a narrow dungeon, which was guarded so vigilantly, that he could not escape. It was then near the Easter Festival, after which St. Peter was to be beheaded. The Christians, in deep distress, were praying day and night, that the Almighty would not permit His flock to be so soon deprived of its shepherd.

There was no human power to save him; but God, hearing the prayer of His people, delivered him by a miracle. On the eve of the day on which he was to be executed, God sent an Angel to set him free. Although heavily laden with chains, the holy Apostle slept peacefully, guarded by the soldiers. The Angel, who by his brightness, illumined the dungeon, struck him on the side and awakened him, saying: “Arise quickly. Gird thyself; put on thy sandals and cloak and follow me.” The Apostle, whose chains had fallen from his hands, and who thought it all a dream, obeyed and followed the Angel. They passed the first and second watches without attracting their attention, and reached the iron gate which led into the street. The gate opened without the aid of human hands. After having conducted St. Peter through one street, the Angel vanished and was seen no more. Not until then did the holy Apostle realize that his deliverance was not a dream but a reality. Hence he began to praise the Almighty, exclaiming: “Now I know truly that the Lord has sent his Angel and delivered me out of the hands of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of Judaea.” He proceeded immediately to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where the faithful were assembled in prayer.

When he knocked at the door, a servant, named Rhode, came, and asked who was there. Judging by the voice that it was Peter, she was so greatly startled with joy and astonishment, that, without opening the door, she ran back to announce the news. They all believed that she was insane, but as she reiterated her words, some said that it must be his guardian Angel. Meanwhile, the Saint repeated his knocking at the door. They opened it and perceived, with amazement, their beloved shepherd safe and free from chains. Their joy on beholding him was as great as had been their grief when he was taken prisoner. Having given the sign for silence, St. Peter related all that had happened to him. They all gave thanks to Divine Providence when he had ended, and learned to trust in future to the heavenly power and mercy.

Among the sermons of St. Chrysostom, there is one in which he asserts, that the chains by which St. Peter had been bound to the ground, came into the possession of the Christians soon after his deliverance, and were held by them in great honor. Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Theodosius the Younger, received them as a present from the patriarch Juvenal, when on a visit to the holy places, and sent one of them to the Church at Constantinople. The other she gave to her daughter Eudoxia, who married the Emperor Valentinian III. Eudoxia showed the chain to Pope Sixtus III., who, on his part, showed her the one with which St. Peter had been bound, before the Emperor Nero sentenced him to die. No sooner had the two chains been held together, than they suddenly united as if they had been but one chain and forged by the same hand. This miracle increased the veneration in which these chains were held, and actuated Eudoxia to build a special church at Rome for their keeping, where they can still be seen. Many sick were healed by their touch and many possessed were delivered; among the latter was a Count of the court of the Emperor Otho, who, in the year 969, was sent to Rome to be freed from the Evil Spirit. Pope John XIII. had hardly touched the count’s neck with the holy chains, when he was relieved and his torments were ended.

St. Gregory the Great, writes that it was considered a great happiness to possess a few particles filed off from these chains, and that many persons devoutly wore them enclosed in golden crosses and lockets around their necks. Experience has shown that the touch of these crosses or lockets has restored health to many a sick person. A nobleman, who scoffed at this, and, in derision, dared to break one of these crosses, was severely chastised. He was instantly possessed by the Evil One and became so enraged that he took his own life, as St. Gregory relates. St. Augustine states that the iron of these precious chains is justly esteemed far above gold. Blessed are those fetters which touched the apostle and made him a martyr. “The touch of the blessed limbs of St. Peter has sanctified the instruments of torture.” In another place the same Saint says: “If the shadow of St. Peter possessed a healing virtue, how much greater power must the chains of his sufferings have derived from him.” (2)

Prayer from the Liturgical Year, 1909
Put thy feet into the fetters of Wisdom, and thy neck into her chains, said the Holy Spirit under the ancient alliance; . . . and be not grieved with her bands. . . . For in the latter end thou shalt find rest in her, and she shall be turned to thy joy. Then shall her fetters be a strong defense for thee . . . and her bands are a healthful binding. Thou shalt put her on as a robe of glory (Eccli. vi. 25-32). Incarnate Wisdom, applying the prophecy to thee, O Prince of Apostles, declared that in testimony of thy love the day would come when thou shouldst suffer constraint and bondage. The trial, O Peter, was a convincing one for Eternal Wisdom, who proportions her requirements to the measure of her own love. But thou, too, didst find her faithful; in the days of the formidable combat, wherein she wished to show her power in thy weakness, she did not leave thee in bands; in her arms thou didst sleep so calm a sleep in Herod’s prison; and, going down with thee into the pit of Nero, she faithfully kept thee company up to the hour when, subjecting the persecutors to the persecuted, she placed the sceptre in thy hands, and on thy brow the triple crown.

From the throne where thou reignest with the Man-God in heaven, as thou didst follow Him on earth in trials and anguish, loosen our bands which, alas! are not glorious ones such as thine: break these fetters of sin which bind us to Satan, these ties of all the passions which prevent us from soaring towards God. The world, more than ever enslaved in the infatuation of its false liberties which make it forget the only true freedom, has more need now of enfranchisement than in the times of pagan Caesars: be once more its deliverer, now that thou art more powerful than ever. May Rome especially, now fallen the lower because precipitated from a greater height, learn again the emancipating power which lurks in thy chains; they have become a rallying standard for her faithful children in these latter trials. Make good the word once uttered by her poets, that “encircled with these chains she will ever be free.” (2)

Image: Crop of Liberation of St. Peter Artist: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, circa: 1665 (5)

Research by REGINA Staff

 1. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints8-1.htm

2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Peters%20Chains.html

3. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-165/Chains.html

4. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_peters_chains.html

5. https://www.wikiart.org/en/bartolome-esteban-murillo/liberation-of-st-peter-1667

 

 

Feast of the Holy Machabees, Martyrs

August 1

Today is the feast day of the Holy Machabees.  Orate pro nobis.

Shortly before the revolt of Judas Maccabeus (2 Maccabees 8), Antiochus IV Epiphanes arrested a mother and her seven sons, and tried to force them to eat pork. When they refused, he tortured and killed the sons one by one. The narrator mentions that the mother “was the most remarkable of all, and deserves to be remembered with special honour. She watched her seven sons die in the space of a single day, yet she bore it bravely because she put her trust in the Lord.” Each of the sons makes a speech as he died, and the last one says that his brothers are “dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life”. The narrator ends by saying that the mother died, without saying whether she was executed, or died in some other way. (2)  According to one tradition, their individual names are Habim, Antonin, Guriah, Eleazar, Eusebon, Hadim (Halim), Marcellus, their mother Solomonia.

Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger

The August heavens glitter with the brightest constellations of the sacred cycle. Even in the 6th century, the Second Council of Tours remarked that this month was filled with the Feasts of Saints. My delights are to be with the children of men, says Wisdom; and in the month which echoes with her teachings, she seems to have made it her glory to be surrounded with blessed ones, who, walking with her in the midst of the paths of judgment, have in finding her found life and salvation from the Lord. This noble court is presided over by the Queen of all grace, whose triumph consecrates this month and makes it the delight of that Wisdom of the Father, Who, once enthroned in Mary, never quitted Her. What a wealth of divine favors do the coming days promise to our souls! Never were our Father’s barns so well filled as at this season, when the earthly as well as the heavenly harvests are ripe.

While the Church on earth inaugurates these days by adorning Herself with St. Peter’s chains as with a precious jewel, a constellation of seven stars appears for the third time in the heavens. The seven brothers Machabees preceded the seven sons of St. Symphorosa and the seven sons of St. Felicitas in the bloodstained arena; they followed Divine Wisdom even before she had manifested her beauty in the flesh. The sacred cause of which they were the champions, their strength of soul under the tortures, their sublime answers to the executioners were so evidently the type reproduced by the later martyrs, that the Fathers of the first centuries with one accord claimed for the Christian Church these heroes of the synagogue, who could have gained such courage from no other source than their faith in the Christ to come. For this reason they alone of all the holy personages of the Old Covenant have found a place on the Christian cycle of Saints; all the martyrologies and calendars of East and West attest the universality of their cultus, while its antiquity is such as to rival that of St. Peter’s Chains in that same basilica of Eudoxia, where their precious relics lie.

At the time when in the hope of a better resurrection they refused under cruel torments to redeem their lives, other heroes of the same blood, inspired by the same faith, flew to arms and delivered their country from a terrible crisis. Several children of Israel, forgetting the traditions of their nation, had wished it to follow the customs of strange peoples; and the Lord, in punishment, had allowed Judea to feel the whole weight of a profane rule to which it had guiltily submitted. But when King Antiochus, taking advantage of the treason of a few and the carelessness of the majority, endeavored by his ordinances to blot out the divine law which alone gives power to man over man, Israel, suddenly awakened, met the tyrant with the double opposition of revolt and martyrdom. Judas Machabeus in immortal battles reclaimed for God the land of his inheritance, while by the virtue of their generous confession, the seven brothers also, his rivals in glory, recovered, as the Scripture says, the law out of the hands of the nations, and out of the hands of the kings (1 Mach. 2:48). Soon afterwards, craving mercy under the hand of God and not finding it, Antiochus died, devoured by worms, just as later on were to die the first and last persecutors of the Christians, Herod Agrippa and Galerius Maximian.

The Holy Ghost, who would Himself hand down to posterity the acts of the protomartyr of the New Law, did the same with regard to the passion of Stephen’s glorious predecessors in the ages of expectation. Indeed, it was he who then, as under the law of love, inspired with both words and courage these valiant brothers, and their still more admirable mother, who, seeing her seven sons one after the other suffering the most horrible tortures, uttered nothing but burning exhortations to die. Surrounded by their mutilated bodies, she mocked the tyrant who, in false pity, wished her to persuade at least the youngest to save his life; she bent over the last child of her tender love and said to him: My son, have pity upon me, that bore thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age. I beseech thee, my son, look upon Heaven and earth, and all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing and mankind also: so thou shalt not fear this tormentor, receive death, that in that mercy I may receive thee again with thy brethren (2 Mach. 7:27, 28, 29). And the intrepid youth ran in his innocence to the tortures; and the incomparable mother followed her sons.

The Breviary Lesson is taken from a sermon of St. Gregory Nazianzen:

What [shall I say] of the Machabees? For this festal day is celebrated in their name by this present congregation. Although by many they are not held in honor, because they did not enter on the conflict after Christ, yet they are worthy to be honored by all, because they showed courage and constancy in defense of the laws and institutions of their fathers. For if they suffered martyrdom before the Passion of Christ, what would they have done, if they had suffered persecution after Christ, and if they had had, as a model to be imitated, His death, which He accepted for our salvation? For, if they showed such and so great a courage, when they had no example before them, would they not have been even more courageous in the battle, if they had had that example before their eyes? There is even a certain mystical and hidden reason, which seems highly probable to me, and to all who love God, that none of those who suffered martyrdom before the coming of Christ could have attained to it without faith in Christ.  (1.)

Image: Maccabees. Artist: Wojciech Stattler, 1842. (3)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-165/Machabees.html

     2.  http://www.archbishoplefebvre.com/blog/the-holy-macabees

      3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stattler-Machabeusze.jpg

 

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Confessor

July 31

Today is the feast day of Saint Ignatius Loyola.  Ora pro nobis.

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

 

St. Ignatius, the glorious founder of the Society of Jesus, and the unweary laborer for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, was born of noble parents in Biscay, a province of Spain, in the castle of Loyola, from which he took his name. His birth took place in 1491, in the same century in which Martin Luther, the well-known heretic, was born, who with Calvin, born in 1506, persecuted the Catholic Church and endeavored to destroy it entirely. God, according to a papal declaration, always watching over His holy Church, would oppose Ignatius to these two new heretics, that through him, and through the Society founded by him, their erroneous doctrines might be thoroughly refuted, and the Catholic faith have powerful protectors, as, in former days, He had opposed Arius by St. Athanasius, Nestorius by St. Cyril, Pelagius by St. Augustine, and other heretics by other apostolic men.

Ignatius, chosen by God for so important a work, was endowed with great natural gifts, possessed a comprehensive mind, and early exhibited wonderful abilities and tact, with unusual wisdom and strength of soul. All his aspirations were lofty, and nothing vulgar or low could attract him. Soon perceiving his talents, his parents sent him, after he had been carefully instructed in the Catholic faith, to the Court of King Ferdinand of Castile, where he was educated with the pages, and was taught all that was supposed befitting his rank. In riper years, he entered the army, hoping to become famous by his valor. In 1521, an opportunity was offered to give a proof of his courage. The king had entrusted to him the defence of the city of Pampeluna, which was besieged by the French. Ignatius acted with all the prudence and caution of an old and experienced warrior. But Providence so ordered, that the wall upon which Ignatius stood, bravely defending the fortress, was struck by a cannonball, and a fragment of stone severely injured one of his limbs, while at the same time the ball rebounding, bruised his foot so badly, that he sank unconscious to the ground. The French were soon in possession of the fortress, but they treated their heroic prisoner with the greatest kindness, and sent him, a few days later, on a litter, to the Castle of Loyola. Here Ignatius became so ill, that it was deemed necessary to give him the last sacraments. The thread on which his life hung: was so slender that the physicians all agreed that there was no hope for him, if before midnight the symptoms should not change.

The Most High did not wish to call Ignatius out of life, and had brought him to this state only to make him disgusted with the world, and so lead him to a holier warfare. Therefore, on the eve of the feast of the Apostles St. Peter and St, Paul, God sent the Prince of the Apostles, to whom Ignatius had been greatly devoted from his early youth, to restore him to health. Appearing to Ignatius during his sleep, St. Peter looked tenderly at him, and touching his wounds, took from him all pain, and thus saved him from the danger of death. But nevertheless, it was the will of God that Ignatius should keep his bed a considerable time, in order to regain his strength. To pass the time, he asked for something to read; but, by special providence, none of the romances he desired were to be found, and in their stead, two devout books were brought to him, one containing the “Life of Christ,” and the other the “Lives of the Saints.” Ignatius, little inclined to read them, took them for want of others, and at first only looking into them, soon became, by the grace of God, so deeply interested in them that, meditating on the acts of Christ and the Saints, he repented of his past idle life, and resolved, thenceforth, to follow their steps, and to serve God alone. Rising during the night, he cast himself before an image of the Blessed Virgin, begging of her the grace to be accepted into her service and that of her beloved Son, and to remain in it until the end of his days.

Hardly was his prayer finished, when suddenly a terrible noise was heard, the house was shaken as by an earthquake, and the windows were shattered. St. Ignatius regarded this as a sign that his prayer was heard, and exhibited more joy than fear. The Evil One, hereupon, endeavored, by a thousand representations and apprehensions, to make him abandon his determination, and pressed him with the most dangerous temptations. But Ignatius again sought refuge with the divine Mother, and addressed her in the words of the Holy Church: “Show thyself a Mother.” The Divine Mother appeared to him with her heavenly Child, and animating him to persevere, she assured him of her assistance. After this comforting vision, all his temptations ended, and all his thoughts were directed towards the regulation of his new life. As soon as he was sufficiently recovered, he, under some pretext, left the house of his father and repaired to Montserrat, where a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin drew crowds of pilgrims. There he made his general confession amid a flood of tears, and received, with the greatest devotion, the Blessed Sacrament. After this, he gave his horse to the monastery, and hung his sword near the altar of the Blessed Virgin, as a sign that henceforth he would no longer serve the world but God only. Having bestowed his costly garments on a beggar, he clothed himself as a poor pilgrim, and remained, as a newly-enrolled soldier of the highest of all generals, all night long before the altar of the Mother of Mercy, in fervent prayer.

The next day, which was the feast of the Annunciation of our Lady, he left early and betook himself to Manresa, which is three miles from Montserrat, and going to the hospital which was there, he served the sick with the most tender devotion.

As soon, however, as he detected that they began to esteem him for his charity and other pious deeds, he secretly left and went into a mountain cave, five or six hundred yards off, in which he led an extremely austere and penitential life. He daily spent seven hours on his knees, praying and weeping on account of his sins. He fasted continually except on Sundays, when he partook of the food of angels. Water and the bread which he received as alms, was his only nourishment. He always wore a hair-shirt, which was fastened round his loins by small chains. He scourged himself three times daily, often unto blood. The bare ground was his bed, and he never took more than a few hours’ rest, passing the remainder of the night in meditation on death and the Passion of Christ.

By long continuation of this austere life, his body became so emaciated and weak, that he was found more than once, lying more dead than alive on the road to Manresa, whither he used to go to assist at Holy Mass. Some friends advised him not to be so severe with himself; but he said: “Oh! let me suffer this trifle in order to secure my salvation.” Satan also tried to dissuade him from his austerities, and as he could not succeed, he took, by the permission of the Almighty, the form of a virtuous man, and going to the holy penitent, said, that it was not possible to continue long such extreme mortifications, and that he should therefore moderate them somewhat. “Unhappy man,” said he, ” you may still live seventy years; and have you the courage to spend so long a time in such penance and severity? ” Ignatius replied: “Can you promise me one single day of the many years of which you speak?” With these words, he brought the spirit of lies to shame, and drove him away. God permitted also this holy penitent to be tormented with the most harassing scruples. To overcome these, he resolved to abstain from all food and drink until he was free from them, as he had read that a certain Saint had used this remedy in a similar case. Seven days he passed without partaking of any nourishment; but his confessor, on hearing of it, commanded him to take his usual sustenance. Ignatius obeyed, and was from that moment not only released from his scruples, but obtained also from God an especial gift to free others from them.

Many other special graces did the Almighty bestow upon Ignatius in the first year of his conversion, which space does not permit us to relate. But there is one thing which we cannot omit to mention: it is that, during the year of penance at Manresa, Ignatius wrote that wonderful book of “Spiritual Exercises,” which has been recommended by the most learned and the most holy men, as the path, pointed out by heaven itself, to conversion, to spiritual perfection and holiness. The Apostolic See has praised and confirmed it, and the spiritual benefits which have been derived from it, and are still to this hour derived from it, are inexpressibly great. But as it is known that Ignatius, when he wrote this book, was as yet without learning, it must be concluded that he was inspired by God to give those instructions, by virtue of which he, and, later, the sons of his Order, worked real miracles of conversion in so many different places and persons. During this penitential year, the heart of Ignatius was filled with an intense desire to visit the Holy Land, not only for the purpose of seeing those places which have been hallowed by the presence of our Saviour, but also in the hope of converting the Mahommedans, and of giving his life for the true faith, in that land where our beloved Redeemer gave His for our welfare.

This voyage was undertaken in the greatest poverty and with deep devotion, and the holy places visited with a true spirit of ardent piety and reverence. As, however, the ecclesiastics, who resided there, dissuaded him from remaining long, and Ignatius himself recognized that, to gain his aim in life, which was to further the salvation of souls, he needed learning, he returned to Europe, and began at Barcelona, when 33 years of age, to study the rudiments of the Latin grammar with the boys in the public school. He continued his studies at different places and finished them at Paris, where he received the title of Doctor of Divinity. The trials, dangers, persecutions, disgraces, wrongs and calumnies he suffered, as well in his travels as during the years of his studies, would be too long to relate here. On his return from the Holy Land, he was seized by the Spaniards, who were at war with France, and was at first taken for a spy, and afterwards for a fool, and thus most disgracefully treated. By a few words, he could have escaped these insults; but he was silent and bore it all patiently, for the love of Christ, who just then had appeared to Him. At several places where he studied, or through which he travelled, he was apprehended by order of the authorities, and cast into prison; as at Alcala, Salamanca and Venice. The only cause of this cruel treatment was that, wherever the holy man was, he showed solicitude for the salvation of others, and converted many by his pious discourses, explanation of the Christian doctrine and his own Spiritual Exercises. Many he persuaded to leave the world, others he led to a quiet Christian life. For this he was suspected of disseminating false doctrines and corrupting men under the appearance of piety. But as often as he was examined, he was found guiltless, and requested to continue in his zeal.

At Paris, where he had recalled many young men from an idle and sinful life to a better and more useful one, it was resolved to whip him in public, as a corrupter of youth. When, however, the director of the school had recognized his innocence, he publicly and on his knees asked pardon of the Saint, and praised, in the highest terms, his zeal in leading souls in the path of salvation. To speak of God and of heavenly things had become a second nature to him, so that those who knew not his name, called him the man of spiritual conversation, or the man who was constantly looking up to heaven. He reformed a convent near Barcelona, the inmates of which stood in very ill repute. This drew upon him the vengeance of certain persons, who had been, at his suggestion, excluded from the house, and who, one day, lay in wait for him and beat him most unmercifully, threatening to treat him still worse, if he did not cease preaching at the convent. Ignatius was not in the least deterred by this from his good work. His enemies then hired two ruffians to kill him. These set upon him and treated him in a most brutal manner, whilst the Saint, with eyes raised to heaven, prayed God to forgive them. They left him weltering in his blood, supposing they had killed him. He, however, recovered, and no sooner were his wounds healed, than he again went to the convent in order to strengthen the nuns to perseverance in virtue. When someone tried to dissuade him from going, on account of the danger, he said: “What can be more pleasing to me than to die for love of Christ and my neighbors?” Not satisfied with his personal labors for the salvation of souls, he resolved to seek such men as would join him with all the power of their minds, to labor for the same object. He succeeded in uniting to himself nine students of the University of Paris, all of whom possessed great knowledge and were eminent for their talents. Among them was Francis Xavier, afterwards so celebrated as the Apostle of the Indies. Ignatius, by his Spiritual Exercises, led them all to virtue and sanctity, and inspired them with the fervent desire to devote themselves to the salvation of souls and to the honor of God.

In 1534, on the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, Ignatius and his companions went to a Chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, on Montmartre, near Paris, and after they had received holy communion, they all made a vow to renounce the world and go to Jerusalem to convert the heathen. If, however, they were unable, after waiting one year, to make their way to Palestine, they vowed that they would go to Rome, throw themselves at the feet of the Holy Father, and offer their services in whatever he might deem most beneficial for the salvation of souls. On account of a war between the Turks and the Venetians, they were unable to make their pilgrimage to Palestine; and hence, in fulfillment of their vow, they went to Rome. When Ignatius and the two companions who were with him had reached a place called La Storta, near Rome, the Saint went into a chapel nearby to say his prayers. His fervor was such that, in an ecstasy, he saw the Heavenly Father and beside Him His Son bearing the Cross. He heard the Heavenly Father commend him with loving words to His Son, putting him and his companions under His protection. The Divine Son manifested His pleasure at this Divine command, and turning to Ignatius, said: “I will favor you at Rome.” With this the vision ended, but the inner comfort which Ignatius and his companions, to whom he related it, derived from it, departed not, but remained in their hearts.

As soon as Ignatius had arrived in Rome, he threw himself at the feet of the Holy Father and offered the services of himself and his companions, for such spiritual labor as he might wish them to do in any part of the world. The Pope received them with pleasure, and having had sufficient proofs of their virtue and learning, he sent some of them to those places where he thought they would do the most good. Ignatius remained with the rest at Rome, and at first instructed young and old in the Christian doctrine; but later, he began to preach for the reformation of morals and exhorted the people to a more frequent use of the holy Sacraments. It cannot be denied that the custom of instructing children in the Christian doctrine, and also the frequent reception of the holy Eucharist, which was at that period greatly neglected, were again revived, or at least increased by St. Ignatius and his companions. To preserve this improvement and these advantages for future times, and to increase them still more, St. Ignatius resolved to found a new Order, whose members should labor for the spiritual well-being of men. He disclosed his intentions to the Pope, and having written, by his permission, certain rules, presented them to his Holiness for approval. After many difficulties, the holy desires of Ignatius were at length fulfilled, and thus was founded a new Order, under the name of the Society of Jesus, which in the year 1540 was first sanctioned by Paul III., afterwards by several other Popes, and was also confirmed by the Council of Trent. This Order demands of its members, besides the usual three vows of perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience, a vow to instruct youth, and requires of the Professed another vow, of special obedience to the Pope, by which they are bound to go, even without money, whithersoever the Pope may send them to labor for the salvation of souls. Ignatius was chosen as General by the members of the new Order, but he did not accept the office until he was commanded to do so by his confessor after having long consulted with God in prayer. He administered his office with admirable wisdom and strength of character, and to the immeasurable benefit of the entire Christian world, until his death.

Although remaining at Rome, he sent his disciples into other cities and lands, after having instructed them carefully in all that pertained to the salvation of souls and to the manner of leading them to God. Above all, he recommended entire self-abnegation, after the example of Christ, Who has said: “Whoever will follow me, must deny himself.” Hence he often said these important words: “Conquer thyself.” St. Francis Xavier, who frequently made use of this expression, was asked why he did so? He answered: “Because I learned it from our Father Ignatius.” Ignatius further endeavored to lead his disciples to acquire true virtue, especially a fervent love of God and of their neighbors. In this, as in all other virtues, he was a shining example to them all. According to the testimony of the Apostolic See, he had acquired the most perfect control over his inclinations. He also taught the members of the Order to be solicitous for the cleanliness and beauty of the house of God, for the conversion of heretics and heathens, for the promotion of virtue among Catholics, for the instruction of the ignorant, especially of children in the mysteries of the faith; for the frequent use of the Sacraments; for the increase of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin; and, in a word, for everything that could advance the honor of God and the salvation of souls.

The members of the Order faithfully obeyed his directions. The fame of the great good that these holy men did, induced many kings and princes to invite them into their states. Among these, the first was John III., King of Portugal, who, through his Ambassadors at Rome, demanded seven of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. At this request, Ignatius sighed deeply and said: “If the king requires seven of my brethren, how many will remain for other countries? ” These words show how zealous he was in his thoughts and wishes. As the number of his religious was small, at that time, and as he would, moreover, send none who were not well-grounded in learning and virtue, instead of seven, he sent but two; but those two did more than could have been expected of seven.

They were Simon Rodriguez and Francis Xavier, the latter of whom, on account of his having converted many thousands of heathens and performed many miracles, is known and honored all over the Christian world. The good which was done by the holy efforts of these two men, induced the king to found the first college for the Society of Jesus, at Goa, the capital of India, and soon after, another at Coimbra in Portugal, which, in the course of time, supplied many places with apostolic laborers. While thus the disciples of St. Ignatius untiringly labored to win souls for Heaven in Portugal, India, and other countries, the Holy Father employed equally well those who were with him in Rome. All that he had taught his companions about decorating the house of God, converting the heretics, and instructing the Catholics, as before related, he practiced at Rome, without abating his zeal. “The world seemed too small for him,” said Gregory XV. No labor, no danger, could deter him, where the salvation of even a single soul was concerned. “If I could die a thousand deaths in one day,” said he on one occasion, “I would willingly do so to save a single soul.” At another time he was heard to say, that if he had the choice either to die immediately with the assurance of his salvation, or without this assurance to live and to have an opportunity to gain a soul for Heaven, he would rather remain upon earth and save that soul than die immediately and go to Heaven. These words display the love of St. Ignatius towards his neighbor and his zeal for the spiritual welfare of men.

No less was this manifested in his works; and it can be truly said that there was no man, whatever his race or station, for whose welfare he did not labor either personally or through the members of his order. With the greatest love and solicitude, he instructed children in the Christian doctrine, even when he was general of the order, and bound all its members to do the same. He founded public schools in various places, where youth was instructed in virtue and learning without any compensation. People of all ages and conditions were animated by his pious discourses, and especially by his Spiritual Exercises, to fervor in the service of God, and were led not only to repentance for their sins, but to the practice of the highest virtue. For the welfare of orphans and of children who had been abandoned by their parents, he established in Rome two houses where they were taken care of and instructed until they were able to take care of themselves. For single women, who on account of their poverty were in danger of sin, he founded the Asylum of St. Catharine, where they had a home until they either entered a convent or were provided with a dower. Another house was founded for women who were willing to abandon their wicked life and do penance. In it they were maintained and instructed. God only knows how many sins the holy man prevented by the foundation of these houses, and how much good he thus occasioned. It is true that some who had been reclaimed, returned to their old course of life, and the Saint was told that he should not waste his efforts upon them. But he answered: “It does not seem to me that my care and labor have been lost, even if such persons return to their former vices. It is much if I prevent them from offending God only for a single night.”

His solicitude extended even to the hardened Jews; their conversion was an object of great concern to him, and God blessed his efforts in their behalf with such signal success that he baptized forty of them in one year. He also established a house where those who had renounced Judaism were received and kept until they were thoroughly instructed in the Christian religion and baptized. The solicitude which the Saint manifested toward Germany, which was at that time in great danger of entirely forsaking the true faith, must not be forgotten. For the salvation of that country, he not only offered many prayers, penances and masses, but also ordered that all the priests of the Society should offer the holy sacrifice once every month, and all those who were not priests, should say certain prayers for the same intention. This ordinance is still kept. Besides this, he instituted, amidst infinite difficulties, the German College, which is still in existence in Rome, and in which young Germans are educated for the priesthood and prepared for the missions, in order that when their education is completed and they return to their homes, they may be able to protect the Catholic religion, convert the heretics, and by their good example, induce all to live virtuously. Martin Chemnitz, a well known Lutheran, wrote in regard to this College, that if the Society of Jesus had done but this, it could be called the destroyer of the reformed religion. St. Ignatius further manifested his sympathy with oppressed Germany, by sending several apostolic men to Cologne, Mayence, and other cities, who bravely opposed the heretics, and animated the Catholics to fidelity to their church. Melancthon, the assistant of Luther, said himself, that by the power of these men, the dissemination of the new Gospel was greatly hindered. When he perceived that the number of the Society daily increased, he cried out with grief: “Oh ! wo, wo! How will it be with the new gospel? The whole world will be filled with Jesuits!”

The Evil One, the founder and protector of all heresies, seemed to think the same; for he used his utmost endeavors to interfere with St. Ignatius in his most holy efforts. He instigated some to accuse, not only the Saint, but the whole Society, of the most hideous vices, and to persecute them whenever there was the slightest opportunity. There is not to be found an Order which, during its whole existence, has had to suffer such bitter persecution, and has been so slandered, so unjustly dealt with by the heretics, and even by some who called themselves Catholics, as the Order founded by St. Ignatius. But never was the Saint seen depressed about his personal persecutions; and the attacks which were directed against the whole Order he bore with great cheerfulness, as he concluded that as Satan was the author of them, he must have suffered some severe loss through the labors of the Society. On the contrary, when one day he was told that in a certain country, the members of his Order had nothing to suffer, he became very thoughtful, and said that he feared they were negligent in doing their duty, since they were not persecuted. He also prophesied that the Society of Jesus would always have the glory of being persecuted by the enemies of Christ and of the holy church. He frequently recalled the words of Christ: “If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you.”

The greater and more frequent the persecutions were, the more the Society increased, and the more extended was its usefulness among the faithful, the heretics and the heathens, to the indescribable consolation of its founder. Pope Marcellus II. said that, since the days of the Apostles, he had never read of any one whose labors God had blessed with such abundant fruit during his life time, as those of St. Ignatius. The holy founder lived long enough to see his Order spread in all parts of the world, divided into twelve provinces, with more than one hundred colleges and houses. He heard how, by the unwearying labors of the Fathers, whole nations were converted from their idolatry to the true faith, numberless heretics brought back to the Church, and everywhere Catholics were strengthened in that faith, without which there is no salvation. He himself heard and saw how youth was carefully instructed in the Catholic religion, in the fear of God, and in all branches of knowledge; and how the people in general were animated to greater piety, to the more frequent use of the Holy Sacraments and all Christian virtues. He heard of the many miracles wrought by St. Francis Xavier, and other Apostolic men, in testimony to the true faith. He had the happiness of hearing that some members of his Order had heroically given their blood for the faith of Christ; and from every land he received news of the good which his children were incessantly doing for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. All this filled the heart of the holy man with inexpressible joy, as he desired nothing more fervently than that the Almighty might be known and honored by all men. He was frequently heard to exclaim: “Oh God! that all men might know and love Thee.”

Meanwhile his own soul burned with the desire to see, face to face, the God Whom he loved as his highest good. This desire grew to such an extent that the mere thought of death, or a glance at heaven, drew tears from his eyes, and made him disgusted with the whole world. Often, while looking up at the sky, he would cry out: “Oh! how I despise the world, when I look up to Heaven.” He begged God to free his soul from the fetters of mortality. God heard his prayer. A fever seized him, and although the physicians pronounced it not dangerous, Ignatius knew that it was a messenger to call him away. He asked for the last Sacraments and devoutly received them. When evening came, he called one of the oldest Fathers of the Order, and sent him to ask for the Holy Father’s last blessing and a plenary indulgence. He passed the night in an almost continual ecstasy, until an hour after sunrise, when, with eyes raised to heaven, and with the sacred names of Jesus and Mary on his lips, he ended his life, on July 31st, 1556, in the 64th year of his age. At the same hour when this took place, the Saint, arrayed in bright, shining light, appeared to a pious widow, named Margaret Gigli, at Bologna, and announced to her his death. The unexpected death of the great founder filled Rome with mourning, and everywhere was heard the lamentation: “The holy man is dead.” Many did not hesitate to honor him as a Saint immediately, and ask his intercession with the Almighty. The resting place of his holy relics was twice changed. At the first interment, an eminent servant of the Almighty heard heavenly music during two days; at the second, many saw bright stars upon his shrine.

Holy men and women, who lived at the time of St. Ignatius, admired and praised the Saint and the Society he founded. St. Philip Neri, who lived at Rome, said that he had seen the countenance of Ignatius, several times, resplendent with a heavenly light. In all doubts and fears, he resorted to St. Ignatius for counsel and comfort. To two members of the Society, whom he met one day, he said: “You are sons of a great father, to whom I owe much; he taught me the science of prayer.” After the Saint’s death, Philip sent to the tomb to commend to him his cares, and according to his own words, received marvellous comfort and assistance. St. Francis Xavier esteemed the Saint so highly while he still lived, that he called him the beloved father of his soul, and a Saint. He cut the name of St. Ignatius from a letter which he had received from him, placed it in a reliquary and carried it about him, and wrought many miracles with it. He always wrote to him on his knees, as a sign of great reverence for him, and read the letters he received from him in the same manner. I must omit the praise bestowed on St. Ignatius by other Saints, as, St. Francis of Sales, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Cajetan, St. Andrew Avellino, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Teresa, St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, and many others. The pious Louis of Granada, a Dominican, who lived at the time that St. Ignatius and his order were bitterly persecuted, showed himself a warm friend and powerful protector and admirer of both until his death. Neither shall I mention here what many Popes, bishops and other high dignitaries of the Church have said in praise of the Society of Jesus, nor repeat the high commendations given by crowned heads and great statesmen, although it might add greatly to the glory of the holy founder.

We will only consider somewhat more attentively the words of the Roman Calendar of the Saints. It states that the Saint was remarkable for holiness and miracles. Much is contained in these few words. Ignatius was remarkable for his holiness. The heroic virtues, which so brilliantly shone in him, are a proof of this; his firm and intense faith, his unwavering trust in God; his fervent love of the Saviour and of his neighbor; his tender affection for the passion and death of Christ; his filial devotion to the Virgin Mother; his constant self-abnegation; his perfect resignation to the Divine Will; his invincible patience, admirable meekness, deep humility, and insatiable zeal to labor for the honor of the Most High, and to save souls for Heaven. Especial instances of all these virtues are to be found in the book which treats of the devotion of the Ten Wednesdays in honor of St. Ignatius.

Ignatius was also remarkable for his miracles. God worked many wonders through him during his life-time. One of his disciples who was dangerously sick, was healed by embracing him; another was cured of epilepsy. He relieved a noble matron from the Evil Spirit of whom she had been possessed four years, and healed several others of different maladies. He even restored life to a young man in Barcelona who had hung himself in despair and who was pronounced dead by all who saw him. God wrought still more miracles at the intercession of his faithful servant, after his death. In the process of his canonization we find two hundred miracles, which were tested by the ecclesiastical authorities and were found to rest on the authority of incontestable witnesses under oath. After the canonization their number was still increased. During his life also many other gifts and graces were granted him by God, such as the gift of tears; the gift of reading the hearts of others ; the spirit of prayer which he possessed in so eminent a degree, that he often fell into ecstasies which lasted several days, and finally the gift of prophecy and revelations. It is known that he said to a youth at Barcelona, who desired to follow him and live in poverty: “You will remain in the world and become a lawyer, and the father of several children, one of whom will, in your place, enter the Order which God will found through me, His unworthy servant.” At Antwerp he said to a merchant: “There will come a time when you will found a College in your country for the members of the Order which God will establish through me, His unworthy servant.” All this took place exactly as he had foretold. The number of the revelations and visions with which he was blessed is very large.

Besides the visit of St. Peter, the Blessed Virgin and our Lord, mentioned in the above pages, it is known that Christ appeared several times to him, at Manresa, during his year of penance; and also later during his holy life. The Blessed Virgin also appeared to him in like manner, especially at the time when he wrote his book of the Spiritual Exercises. The Roman Breviary asserts that he was so enlightened by the grace of God, that he used to say, that if there were no gospel, he would be ready to die for his faith on the evidences which the Almighty had revealed him at Manresa. In one of his ecstacies, so much was revealed to him of the incomprehensible mystery of the Holy Trinity, that he wrote a book which excited the most profound astonishment of all learned men. At another time, the happy death of two of his companions was revealed to him. The first was made known to him whilst he was at Monte Cassino, where, during his prayers, he saw the soul of Father Hozes, surrounded by a heavenly splendor, carried by angels into Heaven. The second was when on his way to say mass for his sick disciple at St. Peter’s Church, in Rome, suddenly stopping in his walk, he looked fixedly up to Heaven, then turning to go home, he said: “Let us go home, for our Father Coduri has departed.” From this it was concluded that he had seen the soul of the dead ascending to heaven.

To the visions which St. Ignatius had of others, I will add one that another had of him. At Cologne, on the Rhine, lived Leonard Kessel, a priest of the Society of Jesus, who had an intense desire to see St. Ignatius, who at that time resided at Rome. He begged permission to go, for this purpose, to Rome, which, however, was not granted him. While one day praying in his room, his holy Father Ignatius suddenly stood before him, and after having for some time kindly discoursed with him, as suddenly disappeared. All this proves that Ignatius was indeed remarkable for holiness, miracles and other divine gifts. In conclusion, I will explain why St. Ignatius is always represented in priestly robes, with the most holy name of Jesus on his breast and a book in his hand. His priestly robes denote that he was, in his time, an ornament to the priesthood, and eminently sanctified this dignity.

It is further a sign of the great devotion with which the Saint said mass. He offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the first time on Christmas-night, at Rome, before the manger of Our Lord, after eighteen months of preparation. It was on that occasion and frequently afterwards, that during Holy Mass, bright rays of light surrounded him, that he was raised from the ground, and his face suffused with tears of devotion. The more to satisfy his ardor, he generally said Mass in the chapel of the house, passing a whole hour in the act, during which he frequently fell into ecstacy, and had the grace of seeing Christ visible in the Host. The rapture was so intense, that it was feared his veins would burst, and he had often to be carried to his room in a state of exhaustion. He passed two hours in prayer before and after mass, whenever the duties of his office permitted.

The name of Jesus on his breast, is an evidence of the great love he bore for the Saviour. This and no other name would he give to his order, that its members might never forget how Christ labored and suffered, and be thus encouraged to shrink from no labor for the Most High, to fear no danger, no persecution nor even death in the pursuance of that which had become their sacred duty. The Saint used to say that nothing could more effectually give us courage to endure, than the remembrance of this holy name. By the book which he holds in his hand, are designated the Rules which he wrote for his society, and which have been pronounced, by those able to judge, a most perfect piece of human wisdom. While he was writing this book, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him several times, and almost dictated what he wrote. The Council of Trent called it a pious Institution, approved by the Apostolic See, in which there was nothing to be altered. Pope Julius III. said, in a Bull, that there was nothing in the Institute of the Society of Jesus, that was not pious and holy. Pope Paul III. who was the first to approve and confirm the Society, when he was informed of the praiseworthy deeds which its members, in accordance with its rules, had performed, exclaimed: “The finger of God is here!” The words: “To the greater glory of God,” which are read in the book, are those which St. Ignatius was wont to use, and they express the whole aim of his Rules which is no other than the advancement of the honor of God and the salvation of souls. (2)

He was beatified by Paul V on 27 July, 1609, and canonized by Gregory XV on 22 May, 1622. His body lies under the altar designed by Pozzi in the Gesù. Though he died in the sixteenth year from the foundation of the Society, that body already numbered about 1000 religious (of whom, however, only 35 were yet professed) with 100 religious houses, arranged in 10 provinces.
 Image: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Artist: Peter Paul Ruebens, 1600s (11)
Research by REGINA Staff

 

  1. http://www.catholictradition.org/ignatius.htm
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Ignatius.html
  3. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Ignatius%20Biography.html
  4. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-113.html
  5. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_ignatius_of_loyola.html
  6. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/07-31.html
  7. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2011/07/july-31-saint-ignatius-of-loyola.html
  8. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j032sdIgnatius7-31.htm
  9. http://www.nobility.org/2013/07/29/st-ignatius-loyola/
  10. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07639c.htm
  11. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Ignatius_of_Loyola_(1491-1556)_Founder_of_the_Jesuits.jpg
  12. https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-ignatius-loyola-1491-1556/
  13. https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-ignatius-the-mystic/
  14. https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-ignatius-of-loyola-success-out-of-failure-2/

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