+ Imprimatur John, Cardinal McCloskey
Archbishop of New York - New York, June 3, 1878
THE early years of Camillus gave no sign of sanctity. At the age of nineteen he took service with his father, an Italian noble, against the Turks, and after four years’ hard campaigning found himself, through his violent temper, reckless habits, and inveterate passion for gambling, a discharged soldier, and in such straitened circumstances that he was obliged to work as a laborer on a Capuchin convent which was then building. A few words from a Capuchin friar brought about his conversion, and he resolved to become a religious. Thrice he entered the Capuchin novitiate, but each time an obstinate wound in his leg forced him to leave. He repaired to Rome for medical treatment, and there took St. Philip as his confessor, and entered the hospital of St. Giacomo, of which he became in time the superintendent. The carelessness of the paid chaplains and nurses towards the suffering patients now inspired him with the thought of founding a congregation to minister to their wants. With this end he was ordained priest, and in 1586 his community of the Servants of the Sick was confirmed by the Pope. Its usefulness was soon felt, not only in hospitals, but in private houses. Summoned at every hour of the day and night, the devotion of Camillus never grew cold. With a woman's tenderness he attended to the needs of his patients. He wept with them, consoled them, and prayed with them. He knew miraculously the state of their souls; and St. Philip saw angels whispering to two Servants of the Sick who were consoling a dying person. One day a sick man said to the Saint, "Father, may I beg you to make up my bed? it is very hard." Camillus replied, "God forgive you, brother! You beg me! Don't you know yet that you are to command me, for I am your servant and slave." "Would to God," he would cry, "that in the hour of my death one sigh or one blessing of these poor creatures might fall upon me!" His prayer was heard. He was granted the same consolations in his last hour which he had so often procured for others. In the year 1614 he died with the full use of his faculties, after two weeks' saintly preparation, as the priest was reciting the words of the ritual, "May Jesus Christ appear to thee with a mild and joyful countenance!"
Reflection.—St. Camillus venerated the sick as living images of Christ, and by ministering to them in this spirit did penance for the sins of his youth, led a life precious in merit, and from a violent and quarrelsome soldier became a gentle and tender Saint.
This weeks Friday Fare… Food for the Soul
Illustrating the Catholic Catechism
+ Imprimatur + John M. Farley, D.D.
THE BUNCH OF GRAPES
It is related of St. Macarius, one of the Fathers of the desert, that, having received as a present a beautiful bunch of grapes, though he longed to taste them, he, to exercise himself in self-denial and obedience to his rule, resolved not to do so, but sent them with his compliments to a neighboring hermit. He, inspired with the same holy motives, sent them to a third; and the third to a fourth, and so on until finally the grapes, having passed through most of the cells in the desert, came back to ST. Macarius practically untouched. The latter, on receiving them and on learning after inquiry through whose hands they had passed, gave thanks to God that in the world should be found so many faithful sons of Adam and Even to make reparation for their parents' transgression.
THE BURIED SEED
A little city girl was one springtime visiting country cousins, and seeing the laborers in the field planting the seed, she cried out: "Oh, what a foolish thing! to bury the beautiful seed in the earth to rot and die!" The farmer smiled and said: "Yes; but if we don't bury it, we shall have no fine fields of corn this summer, nor abundant harvest in the fall." This law of nature is also the law of grace. Whoever humbleth himself shall be exalted. So, too, Christ's voluntary degradation was the cause of our exaltation. HE Himself expressed this truth when He said: "Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
THE DISAPPOINTED PHILOSOPHER
Unselfish self-sacrifice in behalf of others even unto death, is one of the surest credentials of God's ambassadors. A member of the French Directory, whose name was Lepaux, had, after puzzling his brains for a long time, devised a new religion which he called Philanthropy (the modern altruism), but he could gain no disciples. One day he complained of his want of success to Talleyrand, the well-known statesman. "I am not the least surprised at your failure," the latter replied. "If you wish for success, go and work miracles; heal the sick, restore life to the dead; let yourself be crucified and buried, and rise again on the third day. Do this, and take my word for it, all the world will run after you." The philosopher saw the truth of this, and went away humbler man than he came. Messengers specially sent by God must not only work wonders, but must also be models of self-sacrifice as a confirmation of their preaching and a proof of their divine mission.
THE LAST KREUTZER FOR THE HOMELESS
The poor are often more self-denying than the rich. At one time inundations were very frequent in the Tyrol, because the river Inn, swollen by the melted snow, overflowed its banks. Many villages were so devastated that after the subsidence o the water they were not to be recognized. A collection was on one occasion being made in a neighboring district for the benefit of the sufferers from the inundation. The collectors on their quest came to a house where a poor widow with a large family lived. As they crossed the threshold, one of them said: "We shall get nothing here; the woman is poor enough herself with that heap of children." Yet the widow, learning their errand, gave them twenty kreutzers, saying at least she and her children had a roof over their heads and beds to sleep in, whereas the unfortunate people who had lost their home had nothing. The collectors thanked her and wet their way. They had not proceeded far before the widow's youngest child came running after them, saying: "We found another ten-greutzer piece; take this too," and she put the coin into their hand. This act of generous self-denial on the part of the poor widow reminds us of the gift of the widow in the Gospel, who cast into the temple treasury two brass mites, all the living that she had.