Enjoy some sweet Vanilla Chai Lip Balm and our Winter Balm featuring frankincense and cinnamon. This is a wonderful time of year full of feasts and a count down to my favorite Holy Day - Christmas! We will have posts and giveaways up for All Saints and All Souls Day later this week. God bless!
The cooler weather is here and we are embracing those sweet scents of Fall/Winter. Hop on over to see what is new in our shop.We are having a little sale in honor of All Saints Day over at St. Fiacre's Farm! Use coupon code ALLSAINTSDAY14 at check out to save 10% off your order.
Enjoy some sweet Vanilla Chai Lip Balm and our Winter Balm featuring frankincense and cinnamon. This is a wonderful time of year full of feasts and a count down to my favorite Holy Day - Christmas! We will have posts and giveaways up for All Saints and All Souls Day later this week. God bless!
We continue on with our series on Those Outside the Church and how the Catholic Church teaches us we should handle those men made by God, whom do not follow the One True Faith.
The Works of Bishop Hay - The Sincere Christian Vol. II
By: Right Rev. Bishop Hay of Edinburg
Printed in 1871
GENERAL LAWS OF GOD, FORBIDDING ALL COMMUNICATION IN RELIGION WITH THOSE OF A FALSE RELIGION
Q. 11. What are those laws which prohibit this in general?
A. They are principally these following:-
(I.) The first is grounded upon the light in which all false religions are considered in the Holy Scripture, for there we are assured that they arise from false teachers, who are called seducers of the people, ravenous wolves, false prophets, who speak perverse things: that they are anti-christs, and enemies of the cross of Christ; that, departing from the true faith of Christ, they give heed to the spirits of error; that their doctrines are the doctrines of devils, speaking lies; that their ways are pernicious, their heresies damnable, and the like. In consequence of which, this general command of avoiding all communication with them in religion is given by the apostle: "Bear not the yoke together with unbelievers; for what participation hath justice with injustice? or what fellowship hath light with darkness? and what concord math Christ with Belial? or what part hath the faithful with the unbelievers? or what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God," 2 Cor. vi. 14. Now it is the true religion of Jesus Christ, the true doctrine of His gospel, which is justice and light; all false doctrines are injustice and darkness: it is by our holy faith that we belong to Christ, and are temples of the living God; all false religions flow from the father of lies, and make those who embrace them unbelievers; therefore all participation, all fellowship, all communication with false religions, is here expressly forbidden by the Word of God. We have seen above we are obliged to love the persons of those who are engaged in false religions, to wish them well, and to do them good; but here we are expressly forbidden all communication in their religion - that is, in their false tenants and worship. Hence the learned and pious English divines who published at Rheims their translation of the NEw Testament, in their note upon this passage, say: "Generally, here is forbidden conversation and dealing with unbelievers in prayers, or meetings at their schismatical service, or other divine office whatsoever; which the apostle here utterth in more particular terms, that Christian people may take the better heed of it."
(2.) The next general command to avoid all religious communication with those who are heretics, or have a false religion, is this, - "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, AVOID; knowing that he that is such an one is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment," Tit. iii. 10. Here we see another general command to avoid all such - that is, to flee from them, to have no communication with them. But in what we are commanded to flee from them? not as to their persons, or the necessary communications of society; for them as the same holy apostle says upon a similar occasion, "You must needs go out of the world," I Cor. v. 10. Not as to the offices of Christian charity; for these we are commanded by Christ Himself, in the person of the good Samaritan, to give to all mankind, whatever their religion be: therefore, in the most restricted and limited sense which the words can bear, the thing in which we are commanded to avoid them . Hence the pious translators of the Rheims New Testament, in their note on this text, say: "Heretics, therefore, must not wonder if we warn all Catholics, by the words of the apostle in this place, to take heed of them, and to shun their preachings, books, and conventicles."
(3) A third general command on this subject is manifestly included in this zealous injunction of the apostle: "We charge you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received from us," 2 Thess. iii. 6. In this passage all the different sects of false religions are particularly pointed out; for, however trey may differ in their other respects, they generally agree in this, of rejecting apostolical traditions handed down to us by the Church of Christ; all such the apostle here charges us, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to avoid - to withdraw ourselves from them. Now it is evident that the most limited sense in which this command, so warmly laid on us by the apostle, can be taken, is to withdraw ourselves fro them in everything relating to religion, - from their sacraments, prayers, preachings, religious meetings, and the like. It is in these things that they "do not walk according to the tradition received from the apostles." In these things, then, we are here commanded, in the name of Christ Himself, "to withdraw ourselves from them."
Seeing, therefore, that the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of this holy apostle, has so often, and in such strong terms, forbidden all manner of fellowship in religion with those who are out of His holy Church, let us not be deceived by the specious but vain sophistry of cunning men, who lie in wait to deceive; let us not offend our god, by transgressing these His express commands, by joining in the prayers or going to the meetings of such as are separated from His holy Church, lest He should withdraw His holy grace from us, and as we expose ourselves to the danger, leave us to perish in it. Let us hear and follow the advice and command of the same holy apostle: "As therefore ye have received JEsus Christ the Lord, walk ye in Him; rooted and built up in Him, and confirmed in the faith; as also ye have learned, abounding in Him in thanksgiving. Beware lest any man impost upon you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ," Col. ii. 6. Wherefore, to all those arguments which may be brought from human, wordily, or interested motives, to induce us to join in or to partake of any religious duty with those of a false religion, though in appearance only, we ought to oppose this one, - "God has expressly forbidden it, therefore no human power can make it lawful."
SECTION IV- PARTICULAR LAWS OF GOD FORBIDDING ALL COMMUNICATION WITH FALSE RELIGIONS, AND ASSIGNING REASONS FOR IT.
Q. 12. What are the particular laws on the subject?
A. In the three general commands above mentioned, God Almighty speaks, by the mouth of His holy apostle, as Lord and Master, and lays His orders upon us absolutely. In what follows, He unites the merciful Saviour to the Sovereign; and whilst He no less strictly commands us to avoid all religious communication with those who are separated from His holy faith and Church, He at the same time condescends to engage our obedience, by showing us the strongest reasons for it.
(1) "Beware of false prophets," says our blessed Master, "who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves," Mat. vii. 15. Here Jesus Christ commands His followers to "beware of false prophets" - that is, to flee from them, to be on their guard against them; and He adds this powerful motive, "set ye be seduced and ruined by them; for, whatever appearance of gelidness they may put on, though they come to you in the clothing of sheep, yet within they are ravenous wolves, and seek only to slay and to destroy. To the same purpose He says in another place, "Take heed that no man seduce you; for many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and they will seduce many," Mat. xxiv. 4. "And many false prophets shall arise and seduce many," ver. 11. Here He foretells the cunning of false teachers, and the danger of being seduced by them, and commands us to take care of ourselves, that such be not our fate. But how shall we escape from them? He afterwards tells us how: do not believe them, have nothing to do with them, have no communication with them. "Then," He says, "if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if it is possible) even the elect. Behold, I have told it you before hand. If, therefore they shall say to you, Behold He is in the desert, go ye not out; behold He is in the closet, believe it not," Mat. xxiv. 23. Can there be a more powerful reason to enforce the observance of His command, or a stronger motive to induce His followers to have no religious communication with such false teachers> Many will be certainly seduced by them; and so will you if you expose yourself to the danger.
(2) St. Peter, considering the great mercy bestowed upon us by the grace of our vocation to the true faith of Christ, says, that it is our duty to :declare the praises and virtues of Him Who hath called us out of darkness into His admirable light," I Pet. ii. 9. St. Paul also exhorts us to "give thanks to God the Father, Who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His beloved Son," Col. i. 12; where it is manifest that as the true faith of JEsus Christ is the only light that conducts to salvation, and that it is only in His kingdom - that is, in His Church 0 where that heavenly light is to be found, so all false religions are darkness; and that to be separated from the kingdom of Christ is to be in darkness as to the great affair of eternity. And indeed what greater or more miserable darkness can a soul be in than to be led away by seducing spirits, and "departing from the faith of Christ, give heed to the doctrine of devils." 1 Tim. iv. i. St. Paul, deploring the state of such souls, says that they "have their understandings darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts," Eph. iv. 18. On this account the same holy apostle exhorts us in the most pressing manner to take care not to be seduced from the light of our holy faith by the vain words and seducing speeches of false teachers, by which we would certainly incur the anger of god; and, to prevent so great a misery, he not only exhorts us to walk as children of the light in the practice of all holy virtues, but expressly commands us to avoid all communication in religion with those who walk in the darkness of error. "Let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief; be ye not, therefore, partakers wit them. For ye were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord; walk ye as the children of light, … and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness," Eph. v. 6. Here, then, we have an express command, not only not to partake with the unfruitful works of darkness - that is, not to join in any false religion, or partake of its rites or sacraments - but also, not to have any fellowship with its professors, not to be present at their meetings or sermons, or any other of their religious offices, lest we be deceived by them, and incur the anger of the Almighty, provoke Him to withdraw His assistance from us, and leave us to ourselves, in punishment of our disobedience.
(3) St. Paul, full of zeal for the good souls, and solicitous to preserve us from all danger of losing our holy faith, the groundwork of our salvation, renews the same command in his Epistle to the Romans, by way of entreaty, beseeching us to avoid all such communication with those of a false religion. He also shows us by what sign we should discover them, and points out the source of our danger from them: "Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who cause dissensions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and to avoid them; for they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly, and by pleasing speeches and good words seduce the hearts of the innocent," Rom. xvi. 17. See here whom we are to avoid - "those that cause dissensions contrary to the ancient doctrine;" all those who, having left the true faith and doctrine which they had learned, and which has been handed down to us from the beginning of the Church of Christ, follow strange doctrines, and make divisions and dissensions in the Christian world. And why are we to avoid them? because they are not servants of Christ, but slaves to their own belly, whose hearts are placed upon the enjoyments of this world, and who, by "pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent" - that is, do not bring good reasons or solid arguments to seduce people to their evil ways, so as toe convince the understanding, for that is impossible; but practice upon their hearts and passions, realizing the laws of the Gospel, granting liberties to the inclinations of flesh and blood, laying aside the sacred rules of mortification of the passions and of self-denial, promising wordily wealth, and ease, and honors, and, by pleasing speeches of this kind, seducing the heart, and engaging people to their ways.
(4) The same argument and command the apostle repeats in his epistle is to his beloved disciple Timothy, where he gives a sad picture, indeed, of all false teachers telling us that they put on an outward show of piety the better to deceive, "having an appearance, indeed, of godliness, but denying the power thereof; then he immediately gives this command: "Now these avoid: for of this sort are they that creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires;" and adds tho sign by which they may be known, that, not having the true faith of Christ, and being out of His holy Church - the only sure rule for knowing the truth - they are never settled, but are always altering and changing their opinions, "ever learning, and never attain to the knowledge of the truth;" because, as he adds, "they resist the truth, being corrupted n their mind, and reprobate concerning the faith," 2 Tim. iii. 5. Here it is to be overfed that, though the pastel says that silly weak people, and especially women, are most apt to be deceived by such false teachers, yet he gives the command of avoiding all communication with them in their evil ways, to all without exception, even to Timothy himself; for the epistle is directed particularly to him, and to him he says, as well as to all others, "Now these valid," though he was a pastor of the Church, and fully instructed by the apostle himself in all the truths of religion; because, besides the danger of seduction, which none can escape who voluntarily expose themselves to it, all such communication is evil in itself, and therefore to be avoided by all, and especially by pastors, whose example would be more prejudicial to others.
(5) Lastly, The beloved disciple St. John renews the same command in the strongest terms, and adds another reason, which regards all without exception, and especially those who are best instructed in their city: "Look to yourselves," says he, "that you lose not the things that ye have wrought, but that you may receive a full reward. Whosoever revolteth, and contiueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continuity in the doctrine, the same both the Father and the Son. If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, nor say to him, God speed you: for he that saith to him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works," 2 John, ver. 8. Here, the, it is manifest, that all fellowship with those who have not the doctrine of JEsus Christ, which is "a communication in their evil works" - that is, in their fall tenets, or worship, or in any act of religion 0 is strictly forbidden, under pain of losing the "things we have wrought, the reward of our labors, the salvation of our souls." And if this holy apostle declares that thievery saint God speed to such people is a communication with their wicked works, what would he have said of going to their places of worship, of hearing their sermons, joining in their prayers, or the like? From this passage the learned translators of the Rheims New Testament, in their note, justly observe, "That, in matters of religion, in praying, hearing their sermons, presence at their service, partaking of their sacraments, and all other communicating wit them in spiritual things, it is a great and damnable sin to deal with them." And if this be the case with all in general, how much more with those who are well instructed and better versed in their religion than others? for their doing any of these things must be a much greeter crime than in ignorant people, because they know their duty better.
To be completed next week ...
"The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature."
Excerpts from the Encyclical Quas Primus
By Pope Pius XII
19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men." If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquility, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.
20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth -- he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."
21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year -- in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.
22. History, in fact, tells us that in the course of ages these festivals have been instituted one after another according as the needs or the advantage of the people of Christ seemed to demand: as when they needed strength to face a common danger, when they were attacked by insidious heresies, when they needed to be urged to the pious consideration of some mystery of faith or of some divine blessing. Thus in the earliest days of the Christian era, when the people of Christ were suffering cruel persecution, the cult of the martyrs was begun in order, says St. Augustine, "that the feasts of the martyrs might incite men to martyrdom." The liturgical honors paid to confessors, virgins and widows produced wonderful results in an increased zest for virtue, necessary even in times of peace. But more fruitful still were the feasts instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin. As a result of these men grew not only in their devotion to the Mother of God as an ever-present advocate, but also in their love of her as a mother bequeathed to them by their Redeemer. Not least among the blessings which have resulted from the public and legitimate honor paid to the Blessed Virgin and the saints is the perfect and perpetual immunity of the Church from error and heresy. We may well admire in this the admirable wisdom of the Providence of God, who, ever bringing good out of evil, has from time to time suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak, and allowed Catholic truth to be attacked by false doctrines, but always with the result that truth has afterwards shone out with greater splendor, and that men's faith, aroused from its lethargy, has shown itself more vigorous than before.
23. The festivals that have been introduced into the liturgy in more recent years have had a similar origin, and have been attended with similar results. When reverence and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament had grown cold, the feast of Corpus Christi was instituted, so that by means of solemn processions and prayer of eight days' duration, men might be brought once more to render public homage to Christ. So, too, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted at a time when men were oppressed by the sad and gloomy severity of Jansenism, which had made their hearts grow cold, and shut them out from the love of God and the hope of salvation.
24. If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would
be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.
25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.
26. The way has been happily and providentially prepared for the celebration of this feast ever since the end of the last century. It is well known that this cult has been the subject of learned disquisitions in many books published in every part of the world, written in many different languages. The kingship and empire of Christ have been recognized in the pious custom, practiced by many families, of dedicating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only families have performed this act of dedication, but nations, too, and kingdoms. In fact, the whole of the human race was at the instance of Pope Leo XIII, in the Holy Year 1900, consecrated to the Divine Heart. It should be remarked also that much has been done for the recognition of Christ's authority over society by the frequent Eucharistic Congresses which are held in our age. These give an opportunity to the people of each diocese, district or nation, and to the whole world of coming together to venerate and adore Christ the King hidden under the Sacramental species. Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King. It is by a divine inspiration that the people of Christ bring forth Jesus from his silent hiding-place in the church, and carry him in triumph through the streets of the city, so that he whom men refused to receive when he came unto his own, may now receive in full his kingly rights.
27. For the fulfillment of the plan of which We have spoken, the Holy Year, which is now speeding to its close, offers the best possible opportunity. For during this year the God of mercy has raised the minds and hearts of the faithful to the consideration of heavenly blessings which are above all understanding, has either restored them once more to his grace, or inciting them anew to strive for higher gifts, has set their feet more firmly in the path of righteousness. Whether, therefore, We consider the many prayers that have been addressed to Us, or look to the events of the Jubilee Year, just past, We have every reason to think that the desired moment has at length arrived for enjoining that Christ be venerated by a special feast as King of all mankind. In this year, as We said at the beginning of this Letter, the Divine King, truly wonderful in all his works, has been gloriously magnified, for another company of his soldiers has been added to the list of saints. In this year men have looked upon strange things and strange labors, from which they have understood and admired the victories won by missionaries in the work of spreading his kingdom. In this year, by solemnly celebrating the centenary of the Council of Nicaea. We have commemorated the definition of the divinity of the word Incarnate, the foundation of Christ's empire over all men.
28. Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October -- the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day. This year, however, We desire that it be observed on the thirty-first day of the month on which day We Ourselves shall celebrate pontifically in honor of the kingship of Christ, and shall command that the same dedication be performed in Our presence. It seems to Us that We cannot in a more fitting manner close this Holy Year, nor better signify Our gratitude and that of the whole of the Catholic world to Christ the immortal King of ages, for the blessings showered upon Us, upon the Church, and upon the Catholic world during this holy period. READ THE FULL ENCYCLICAL HERE
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Christ the King Coloring Page
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Christ the King Coloring page from Crusaders for Christ
Christ our King: an explanation of the new feast from a historical and dogmatic Standpoint
The Rulers of Russia by Father Denis Fahey Impr. 1931
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We continue on with our series on Those Outside the Church and how the Catholic Church teaches us we should handle those men made by God, whom do not follow the One True Faith.
The Works of Bishop Hay - The Sincere Christian Vol. II
By: Right Rev. Bishop Hay of Edinburg
Printed in 1871
Q. 7. What are the consequences which flow from these Scripture principles?
A. Cheifly these following: 1. That when a person is called upon by public authority to give an account of his religion, he is obliged in conscience openly to declare his faith, because the honor of God then requires him to do so, and obliges him not to be ashamed of Chrsit nor of His words, even though his doing so should cost him all he has in this world, even life itself. Hence the holy martyrs, when examined before their persecuting judges, openly confessed their faith in Jesus Christ, and rejoiced, with the apostles, to suffer for His name's sake.
2. When we hear wicked men speaking impious things against the Gospel, or ridiculing the sacred truths it teaches, and have rounds to hope that our defending them would either check their impiety or prevent others present from being hurt by it, it is our city to profess our esteem and veneration for the Gospel, because then both the good of our neighbor and the honor of God call upon us to do so. And is it not surprising that, if we hear our friend, father, or prince spoken evil of, we think ourselves obliged to take their part and defend them, and yet that we should be cold and backward to defend the cause of the great God, when we hear His divine truths blasphemed, or ashamed to show ourselves Christians, lest we should be ridiculed by men? Have we not reason to dread that Christ will be ashamed of us at the great day? This was not the case with the royal prophet, that man according to God's own heart, who said to God, "I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed," Ps. cxviii. 46; nor with St. Paul, who said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel," Rom. i. 16.
3. That it is always criminal to seem to approve of or profess any false religion, whether this be done by words, signs, or actions; because to approve a false religion, even in appearance, or before men, is a tacit condemnation of the true, is a dangerous lie, dishonorable to God, and a scandal to our neighbor. Hence, when the persecuting heathen king rehired the venerable Eleazar to eat swine's flesh, contrary to the law, as a sign of his denying his religion, "he, choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward of his own accord to the torment;" and when some of his friends, moved with a false compassion, proposed to bring him other flesh which the law allowed, that he might appear to have eaten swine's flesh in obedience to the king, and so save his life, "he answered without delay, … saying he would rather be sent into the other world; for it doth not become our age, said he, to dissemble, whereby many young persons, … through my dissimulation, and for a little time of a corruptible life, should be deceived, and thereby I should bring a stain and a cures upon my old age; for though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men, yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive nor dead; … and he was forthwith carried to execution," 2 Mac. vi. 19.
4. That when a person living among those of a false religion conceals his faith, though he keep it in his heart, and in order to conceal it neglects all its external duties, and even transgresses the sacred laws and precepts of the Church lest he should be discovered, and meet with some temporal loss or inconvenience, he is guilty of a sin, because he is ashamed of the faith of Christ, disobeys His holy Church, and prefers his own wordily ease and interest to the glory of God and the honor of His holy Gospel.
5. That if this person, the more effectually to conceal his religion, not only neglects its duties, but even joins in acts of the false religion of those with whom he dwells by being present at their prayers, or going to their churches, his sin is still more grievous, because he positively presses a false religion, denies the true religion of Jesus Christ before men, and therefore must expect to be denied by Him at the great day. Of such as these the Scripture says, "When they worship the Lord they serve also their idols," 4 Kings, xvii. 33,41. And their great misery is, that they conceal their worship of the Lord, being afraid to show it, and worship openly their idols, their wordily interests, and the favor of men.
6. That if any outward action or dress, or the like, be either of its own nature, by the laws of the country, or the custom of the place, considered a distinctive sign of a false religion, it is always unlawful and a sin in any member of the Church of Christ to do that action or wear that dress, whatever may be his private intention in doing so because in the eyes of the world it is an open profession of that false religion, nor does it depend upon his private intention to make it otherwise. Hence the Church severely condemned the practice of some Christians living among Mahometans, who, while they privately attended their Christian duties, took Turkish names, and used the Turkish dress, that, passing for Mahometans, they might enjoy certain privileges in trade, and be freed from certain taxes which Christians were obliged to pay. All such dissimulation in religion is detestable in the sight of God, not only for the reasons given above, but also because of the injury it does to His holy religion itself; for when it is discovered, as it seldom fails sooner or later to be, it gives the enemies of our holy faith cause to believe that it approves such dissimulation, and increases their hatred and aversion to it.
7. Every action or way of speaking which either includes, or seems to include, a contempt or disapprobation of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, or an approbation of what is contrary thereto, and which scandalizes weak brethren, or tends to lead them into error or sin, is still more detestable in the eyes of God; as, beside all the evils above mentioned, it also tends to the ruin of those souls for which Christ died. We have seen how this consideration weighed with that holy servant of God Eleazar, to keep him from doing a thing lawful in itself, but which, having the appearance of evil, would have proved a scandal to others; and St. Paul, in the strongest manner, shows us the greatness of the crime of giving scandal in things that regard religion above all others.
Q. 8. What is the doctrine delivered by St. Paul on this head?
A. It consists of several most necessary points: for (1) He lays down three different kinds of injury we may do to our neighbor's soul, by giving bad example of any kind, but especially in what regards our religion; first, To scandalize him - that is, to encourage our neighbor to do evil, or to be the cause of inducing him to sin; secondly, to offend him - that is, to give him pain and trouble of mind, on seeing our evil deeds; thirdly, to make him weak - that is, to weaken his esteem and zeal for his religion, by seeing or hearing us do or say anything slighting of it. Now all these things he exhorts us to avoid, by abstaining even from the most innocent of actions, if our neighbor through weakness take offense at them. "It is good," says he, "not to eat flesh, and not to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother is offended, or scandalized, or made weak." Rom. xiv. 21 " "Put not a stumbling-block or a scandal in your bother's way; … but if, because of thy meat, thy brother be grieved, thou walkest not now according to charity. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died," Rom xiv. 13. 15.
(2) He declares that when a person thinks anything a sin which is not so in itself, and commits it, he becomes guilty, by acting against his conscience. "All things," says he, "are clean, but it is an evil for that man who eateth with offense; … for he that discerneth" (that is, thinks some meats clean and some unclean), "if he eat, is condemned, because not of faith" - that is not according to but against his conscience, Rom. xiv. 20, 23.
(3) He affirms that, if we do a thing innocent in itself, but which has the appearance of evil, and much more so if it be evil, by which our brother is encouraged or otherwise induced to it, believing it to be evil, or knowing it to be such, we commit a grievous sin, by ruining our brother's soul, and sinning against Christ, who died for our salvation. Meats offered to idols, in reality contract no uncleanness on that account, but because an idol is nothing, and therefore in themselves they may be eaten without any scruple; yet all are not of that opinion, and "if any one eats with the conscience of the idol" (that is, thinking it unlawful to do so), "his conscience, being weak, is defiled/" Now, though another who has knowledge may lawfully each such meat, yet, if his doing so induces his weak brother to do the same, he is guilty of the ruin of his brother. :Take heed," says he, "lest perhaps this your liberty become a stumbling-block to the weak; for if a man see him that hath knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not his conscience, being weak, be emboldened to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols? and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died? Now, when ye sin thus against the brethren, and would their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ," I Cor. viii. 9,.
Wherefore, (4) He concludes, that for his part "if meat scandalize my brother, I will never taste flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother," I Cor, viii. 13. And a little after he gives this general command to all, "Give no offense to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God," I Cor. x. 32. From this it is manifest that every word or action including or seeming to include a contempt of religion, by which our brethren may "be offended, or scandalized, or made weak," is very offensive in the sight of God, from this consideration alone, that it tends to make "them perish for whom Christ died, wounds their weak conscience," and through them is a "sin against Christ." And how severe a judgment Christ will pass against all those who scandalize their weak brethren appears from His own words, when He says, "He that shall scandalize one of those little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because f scandals; for it must needs be that scandals come; but, nevertheless, woe to that man by whom scandal cometh," Mat. xviii. 6 And the holy Eleazar declared that, had he been guilty of that crime, though by an action which was in itself lawful, and to save his own life, yet "neither alive nor dead should he escape the hand of the Almighty," 2 Mac. vi. 26.
8. Lastly, That it is always criminal to expose one's self without necessity to the probably danger of losing one's faint, or being corrupted in one's religion; for the Scripture declares that "He that liveth the danger shall perish in it," Ecclus. iii. 27. And our Saviour commands us to pluck out our eye, or cut off the and or foot, and throw it from us, if it be scandal to us - that is, to fly from, separate ourselves from, and avoid every person, thing, or employment, which puts us in the dangerous occasion of running our souls, though as near and dear or useful to us as an eye, a hand or a foot; and He adds this cogent reason, "For it is better," says He, "for thee that one of thy members should perish, than that thy whole body should be cast into hell-fire," Mat. v. 29. And again: "It is better for thee to tenter into life maimed and lame, than, having two hands and two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire," Mat. xviii. 8.
Q. 9. What is the conclusion to be drawn from all these Scripture truths?
A. The conclusion is manifest, namely - "That all communication in matters of region with those separated from the Church of Christ, which either is in itself, or is esteemed in the eye of men to be, a defection from the true faith, or a profession or approbation of their false tenants, or is a distinctive sign of belonging to their sect, or an occasion of offense and scandal to the faithful, or an exposing of one's self to the probable danger of seduction, is a very great crime in the sight of God, and strictly forbidden by His holy law, as being intrinsically evil in its own nature."
Q. 10. Is there any positive law of God expressly forbidding all communication with those of a false religion?
A. There are several very strong and clear commands for this purpose, some of which contain an unlimited prohibition of all such communication in general, and others enforce this prohibition by assigning particular reasons for it.
Continued next week … Laws regarding Communication with Those of a False Religion
This week's Keeping it Catholic Monday post is an extension of last weeks. Below are the writings from the book Fr. Muller mentioned in last weeks post. This is a three part series for the month of October.
The Works of Bishop Hay - The Sincere Christian Vol. II
By: Right Rev. Bishop Hay of Edinburg
Printed in 1871
ON COMMUNICATING IN RELIGION WITH THOSE WHO ARE SEPARATED FROM THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
Whoever seriously considers what has been shown in the preceding inquiry, and the light in which the sacred Scriptures represent all false religions, will have no difficulty in drawing this conclusion, that all communication with such in religious matters, must be highly riminal in the sight of God; because such communication implies an approbation of their false doctrine, and is, as St. John expresses it, "a commmunicatingwith their wicked works," 2 John, 11. It might seem unnecessary, therefore, to advance anything further on this head; but as the licentiousness of the heart of man, fostered by the latitudinarian maxims so current in the world, is too apt, under some specious pretense or other, to take liberties in practice, which are bare conclusion from other principles might prove too weak to restrain; and as the spirit of God has been pleased to explain our duty on this point in the plainest terms, in His sacred Scriptures, it cannot, therefore, but be agreeable to all sincere disciples of Jesus Christ to know fully that their holy religion teaches them concerning it. This will serve of their own satisfaction in knowing their duty and the grounds of it, and ail also arm them against the "cunning craftiness of such as may go about to deceive them." This appendix, therefore, is added to show, from the most incontestable authority, that it is altogether unlawful for the members of the true Church of Christ to hold any religious communication even in appearance only, with those who are separated from her communion; and that the vain pretexts which may be brought to authorize such communication are mere delusions, and, as St. Paul justly calls them, "impositions of philosophy, vain deceit, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ." Col. ii. 8. This will manifestly appear by what the sacred Word of God declares upon this subject.
SECTION 1- Principles premised from the Holy Scriptures
Q. 1. Are we obliged to confess our holy faith outwardly, acknowledging ourselves to be members of the Church of Christ?
A. We are strictly obliged to do so, when either God's honor or the good of our neighbor's soul requires it; because the Scriptures make this an express condition of salvation. Thus, (I) "This is the word of faith which we preach; that if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that god raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," Rom. x. 9. In which words the apostle declares, that it is an article of Divine faith, revealed by God, and preached as His word by the apostles, that if we confess JEsus outwardly, and believe Him in our hearts, we shall be saved; for though the internal faith of the heart is sufficient for our justification - that is, for being reconciled with God through repentance - yet, if occasion be given, we are also bound to confess outwardly, both by words and actions, without shame, or fear of the world, the faith which we believe in our hearts, in order to obtain salvation. And it is with great reason that St. Paul affirms this to be revealed truth; for, (2) Jesus Christ Himself declares it to His holy apostles in these words: "Whosoever, therefore, shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven," Mat. x. 32; and in another place He repays it with an asseveration, saying: "And I say unto you, whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God," Luke, xii. 8. In these words, the necessity of confessing our faith in Jesus Christ is revealed by Him; which, therefore, St. Paul in the former text calls the word of faith. Now, by confessing Jesus Christ is not only meant confessing our belief in His person, but also in His doctrine, and consequently in His Church, in which alone His true doctrine is preserved; for of St. Paul, before his conversion, it is said that "He breathed out threatings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord," Acts, ix. i - that is, against the Church of Christ as he himself declares, saying, "Beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it," Gal. i. 13.; and yet, when Christ appeared to him by the way going to Damascus, He said to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou Me? … I am Jesus whom thou persecutes," Acts, ix. 4; where it is manifest that persecuting Christ and persecuting His Church is the same thing; and consequently, confessing Christ and confessing His Church is the same thing also, according to His own words to the pastors of His Church, - "He that hears you hears Me; and he that despises you despises Me."
Q. 2. Is it a grievous sin to deny Christ, or His faith and Church?
A. It is of its own nature a grievous sin of the deepest dye; for Christ Himself says, "Whosoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny thin before My Father Who is in heaven." Mat. x. 33; and again, - "He that shall deny Me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God," Luke, xii. 9. On this authority St. Paul declares the same truth as a faithful saying, and commands his disciple Timothy, and in him all the pastors of God's Church, to preach and inculcate the same to their people: "A faithful saint …. if we deny Him, He will deny us; if we believe not, He continuity faithful, He cannot deny Himself; of these things put them in mind, charging them before the Lord," 2 Tim. ii. II; where it is manifest that, to deny Jesus Christ, and consequently to deny His faith of Church, is a deadly sin, which, at the great day, will bring upon us that dreadful sentence, "I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye works of iniquity," Luke, xiii, 27.
Q. 3. How does it appear that denying the faith or Church Christ is included in these texts, and is the same as denying Christ Himself?
A. This is manifest, both from reason given above, and also from the following express declaration of Christ Himself, saying, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me, and My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels," Mark, viii. 38; where it is evident that to be ashamed, not only of Christ, but also of His words - that is, of His doctrine, of His faith, and consequently of His Church, the depositary of His faith - is a mortal sin of its own nature; and if the being ashamed of these is a mortal sin, how much more the denying of them?
Q. 4. But is it not allowable to deny our faith outwardly, whilst we keep it firmly in our hearts, in order to escape some great evil, such as the loos of all our goods, our liberty or of life itself?
No: it is never allowable, even in appearance, either by words, or signs, or actions, to deny our faith, though it were to gain the whole world, or to escape the greatest evils; for, (I) This is exactly what Christ condemns in express terms, when He says, "Whosoever shall deny Me before men" - this is, outwardly in appearance, in the eyes of the world - "I will also deny Him before My Father Who is in heaven/" (2_ Because He makes the losing our life for His sake, and for the sake of His Gospel, when called to the test a condition of salvation."Whosoever," says He, "shall loose his life for My sake, and for the Gospel, shall save it; for what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also shall be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of His Father." Marl, viii. 35; where it is evident that even the being ashamed of His Gospel - that is, of His words - even though it were to save our live or tai the whole world, is a crime which will destroy the soul; how much more to deny it? whereas if we lose our life for His holy faith, we save our souls, and gain eternal happiness. (3.) Because to deny our faith, only in appearance, is, of its own nature, a mortal sin, and therefore never can be allowable on any consideration.
Q. 5. Did the primitive Christians understand these texts in this manner?
A. There cannot be a stronger proof of the belief of the primitive Church in this matter than the noble behavior of thousands and thousands of her members, who laid down their lives in the midst of the most cruel torments, rather than do the smallest thing that could have even the appearance of denying their holy religion. It was not always required of these blessed martyrs openly to renounce their faith, or to abandon it entirely. Merely saying certain words, or doing some action, which was to be interpreted as a disavowal of their religion, or an approbation of the then established religion of the country was frequently all that was required of them to save goods, liberty, and life. To be present at a heathen sacrifice, though their heart took no share in what was done, was sufficient; and had they complied with this but once, they would seldom have again been sought after, but allowed to flow what religion they pleased; yet they persevered resolutely, choosing to forfeit all that was near and dear to them in this world,and to undergo the most exquisite torments, rather than do the smallest action contrary to the allegiance which they owed to Jesus Christ, or, in appearance only, seem to be ashamed of Him and of His sacred words. Surely, nothing but the most perfect conviction of the unlawfulness of the thing could have a caused so many of both sexes, and often of the most tender age, to reject with horror such a compliance. Their all was at stake - life, liberty, goods, children, and everything they possessed; by compliance they would have secured all those things which men are taught to regard as the most valuable in this world, and, moreover, were often promised riches and honors, and the favor of the emperors. By non-compliance they forfeited all, and were condemned to die in the most excruciating manner; yet, convinced that such compliance was unlawful, an injury to God, a dishonor to His holy faith, and a scandal to their brethren, they cheerfully embraced death in all its horrors, rather than be guilty of such a crime. What shows still more plainly the ideas of the primitive Church on this point is her treatment of certain weak brethren, who, to avoid these tortures, procured, for money an attestation from the magistrates that they had complied with what the persecuting laws required, though in reality they had not. They were regarded by the Church as traitors to their God and to their religion, they were death with as such, and not admitted to the participation of the sacred mysteries, till, by long and severe public penance, they had endeavored to expiate their crime, and repair the scandal they had given.
Q. 6. Wherein does the malie of sin consist when one, either by words, or signs, or actions, denies his faith, though only in appearance, whilst he still retains it in his heart?
A. The malice of this sin is manifold. (1) It is a grievous lie, in a matter of the highest importance, when one professes outwardly that the truths of God are false which he knows in his heart to be true; and if this profession be accompanied with an oath, it is perjury, and one of the grossest insults that can be offered to Almighty God, because it is calling Himself to witness that the Divine truths revealed by Him are false/ (2.) It is giving the lie to God before men; for, as he "that believeth not the Son maketh God a liar, because he beliveth not the testimony which HE hath testified of His Son," I John, v. 10; so he that denieth any truth revealed by Jesus Christ maketh Him a liar, because he acknowledges before men that His Divine faith is not true. Hence, (3) All acts of this kind are most dishonorable to Almighty God, and contain a grevous contempt of His infinite majesty, of which He says, "They that despise Me shall be despised," I Kings (Sam.) ii. 30. (4) They are also grievously injurious to Divine charity, and show that we love the world, our possessions, our life much more than God, when, from fear of losing them, we deny Him and His holy faith. (5) They also contain the malice of grievous scandal, for they give the enemies of our holy faith occasion to think slightly of it, and to be the more confirmed in their own errors. The bad example also of such actions naturally induces weak brethren to follow it, and to lose the esteem they ought to have for their holy religion, to the ruin and destruction of their souls.
To be continued next week … Consequences that Follow
The Catholic Pioneers of America
By: John O'Kane Murray M.A.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, THE DISCOVERER OF AMERICA.
Died A. D. 1506.
The eventful and glorious life of Christopher
Columbus is that marvellous link in the chain of time, which connects the history of the Old World with that of the New. We can catch but faint glimpses at the early years of this immortal genius. His virtuous parents, Dominic Colombo1 and Susanna Fontanarossa, were in fair circumstances, when their first child came into the world, at Genoa, Italy, about the year 1435. The little stranger was baptized Christopher, which signifies bearer of Christ.
His father gave him the best education his limited means permitted, and at the age of ten, the bright, precocious boy was sent to the University of Pavia, where he studied Latin, and laid the foundations of that knowledge of geography, mathematics, and the natural sciences which proved so valuable in after life. But his collegiate career was brief, for he was soon obliged to return home and assist his father. At the age of fourteen, however, Columbus began "life on the ocean wave" under the command of a relative arnd namesake a veteran admiral in the service of the republic of Genoa. The long period passed in this rugged school gave him that skill and experience which make the hardy, accomplished navigator. Nor were spirit-stirring scenes wanting to develop his natural bravery, and to aid in expanding his master-mind.
He had spent many a year " before the mast," when an event occurred that gave his life a new direction. During a fierce naval encounter off Cape St. Vincent, the ship commanded by Columbus took fire, and was soon enveloped in flames. The sea alone offered a place of safety, and the future discoverer of America, seizing an oar, boldly struck for land, some six miles distant. He reached the shore, after a desperate struggle, and piously thanked Heaven for his fortunate escape. God reserved him for greater things. Finding himself thus cast penniless on the strange coast of Portugal, he directed his steps to Lisbon, where he was so happy as to find his brother Bartholomew, This was about the year 1470. The capital of Portugal was then the centre of all that was eminent in commerce and navigation. Columbus found a home under the hospitable roof of his enterprising brother, and supported himself by drawing maps and charts. Nor did he ever forget his aged parents, to whom, from time to time, he remitted sums of money. Filial love was one of the most beautiful traits in his religious and magnificent character.
While at Lisbon, a romantic attachment, that ended in marriage, took place between Columbus and a noble young lady, Dona Felippa de Perestrello. Neither was wealthy. Miss de Perestrello s riches were her virtue, beauty; and accomplishments. She was the daughter of an eminent navigator who died Governor of Porto Santo, but who, by an unhappy reverse of fortune, was compelled to leave his family with little but the memory of an honored name.
This alliance of Columbus with a family of high standing, however, proved serviceable to him in
more ways than one. It introduced him to the greatest men of the court, and the most noted scholars of the country. Besides, his ardent spirit of discovery received a fresh impulse in the notes and journals of his deceased father-in-law. He engaged in many voyages, carefully noting everything new or valuable. His studies, his researches, his experiments, all tended towards one object the grand project of penetrating the great ocean which stretched away towards the west.
By degrees he became convinced of the true shape of the earth ; and his piercing intellect grasped the great problem of reaching other continents by a direct course across the Atlantic, on whose wide expanse no mariner dared to venture. Its vast and deep waters were regarded with mysterious awe, seeming to bound the world as with a chaos, into which conjecture could not penetrate, and enterprise feared to meet ruin or misfortune. Columbus was poor in the goods of this world, To aid him in carrying out such a vast and brilliant design, the assistance of a rich patron was essential. But alas, for manly worth and genius, long years were spent in fruitless efforts to obtain even a hearing. Nothing, however, could daunt the fearless energy of this incomparable man. He was a firm believer in the divinity of his mission. He was convinced that the time had arrived to accomplish it. For "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads oh to fortune." The long and painful preparatory efforts of Columbus to interest Europe in his enterprise would, at this day, seem almost incredible. He besought Genoa and Venice for a ship or two to find his world, and they refused him. The Portuguese tried to steal his plan, and carry it out themselves ; but Providence would not permit America to be discovered by thieves. He remained for years about the court of Spain appealing to the wisdom of the wise, the judgment of the learned, the ambition of the brave, and the avarice of the acquisitive; but he argued, appealed, petitioned in vain! No one believed in his theory, or hoped in his adventure. The wise smiled scornfully, the learned laughed in their academic sleeves, and even the brave had no ambition for battling the tempest, or for planting their banners in the wide sea-field, or on the shores of unknown continents,
Nearly all looked upon him as a "dreamer of day dreams wild" ; and regarded him in the same light as we should a person of the present day who would launch forth in an air-ship on a voyage of discovery to the moon ! Columbus, however, was no faint-hearted enthusiast. His soul was too lofty and Christian to be cast down by the malice of fortune. Heaven strengthened him, and his pure and elevated motives enabled him to bear up bravely against delay, poverty, and contempt. What does history tell us of this inspired mariner s motives?
I. Columbus solemnly desired to open the way to pagan lands ; to be the means of carrying the saving truths of the Catholic Religion to the heathen who sat in darkness and the shadow of death.
2. He conceived the grand idea of raising sufficient sums of money, from his discoveries, to defray the expenses of equipping a large army for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre from the grasp of the infidel and barbarous Turks. The discoverer of America was, indeed, a true Catholic son of the old Crusaders, pious and enthusiastic as Peter the Hermit, patient and fearless as Godfrey de Bouillon, dauntless as the Ponce de Leon, and a partaker in the holy wisdom of Saint Louis and Saint Bernard.
The story of his voyage has been often told. But it can never become threadbare can never cease to be interesting to all who love the true, the sublime, and the beautiful. Columbus had reached the age of fifty- seven, and his prospects of securing a patron to aid him were as distant as ever. He was about to quit Spain, a sad and disappointed man. On his way he called at the convent of La Rabida, where he had left his little son, and over which ruled his acquaintance, the good Franciscan, Father John Perez.
When the cultured, kind-hearted monk beheld Columbus once more at the gate of his convent, humble in garb and depressed in spirit, he was greatly moved. Father Perez had once been confessor to Queen Isabella, and he bethought himself as to what he could do. He borrowed a mule, and rode off in the direction of Santa Fe. He obtained an interview with the royal lady. A gentleman named Santangel, likewise, pleaded in behalf of the mission of Columbus. And Isabella the Catholic, noble and unselfish woman that she was, took the matter to heart, and exclaimed: "I undertake it for my own crown of Castile, and I will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary funds.
Thus on the very first page of American history three Catholic figures stand out in bold relief a mariner, a monk, and a noble lady. The New World is their monument. Even after the terms of agreement were drawn up and signed by Ferdinand and Isabella, it required no small trouble and delay to complete the preparations. At length, all was in readiness, and the day dawned on which Columbus was to sail o his immortal voyage across the unknown and mysterious deep. It was Friday, August 3d, A. D. 1492.
"The morning is breaking on Palos bay,
On its town and wharf, and ramparts gray,
On three barks at their moorings that gallantly ride,
With the towers of Castile on their flags of pride.
But where are their crews, our lost kinsman who shall
Embark before noon in each doomed caravel ?
There is wringing of hands, and wailing and woe,
As the gathering crowds to the churches go."
What sacred emotions stirred the brave heart of Columbus on that early morning ! How ardently he must have implored high Heaven for success ! In those Columbus was declared Admiral of the Seas and Viceroy of all the countries he should discover, and was to receive a tenth part of the profits. Friday was always a fortunate day for Columbus. On Friday he sailed from Palos, on Friday he discovered America, and on Friday he reentered Palos in triumph. It is the blessed day of the Redemption, distant days of faith, no great enterprise was under taken without invoking the aid of religion and the solemn blessing of the Church. On the day before departure, Columbus marched in procession at the head of his crews numbering one hundred and twenty men to the monastery of La Rabida. Each confessed his sins, obtained absolution, heard Mass* and received the Holy Communion the true bread of saints and heroes.
On August 3d, before the last stars had ceased to glitter in the morning sky, Columbus had heard Mass and received Holy Communion, in the chapel of the monastery, from the hands of his friend, Father Perez. After bidding adieu to the kind Franciscans, he stepped on board his vessel, and was received with all the honors due to an Admiral of Castile. The signal to sail was given half an hour before sunrise, and a fair wind bore the little fleet out to sea, under the protection of the most Holy Virgin.
Although Columbus had the title of High Admiral, his squadron consisted of only three small vessels, named the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. The Santa Maria1 was his flag-ship. The Pinta was commanded by Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and the Nina by Vincent Yafiez Pinzon. As they sailed along, each evening heard the prayer of the Catholic Santa Maria signifies Holy Mary. It was Columbus himself who gave the vessel this name her name before he took charge of her having been Gallega and he had her blessed,and placed under the special protection of the Immaculate Virgin. This is worthy of note in connection with the discovery of America, mariners to God, and their pious hymns of praise to the most Blessed Virgin. The grand old Latin verses of the Salve Regina and the Ave Maris Stella were the first sounds that ever broke the silence of ages on that trackless waste of waters. And how appropriate are the beautiful words of the Ave Maris Stella :
"Bright Mother of our Maker, hail !
Thou Virgin ever-blessed,
The Ocean's Star by which we sail,
And gain the port of rest."
When week after week had vainly glided by, and the compass itself began to vary, despair took the place of hope in the breast of each ignorant, terror stricken sailor ; but there was still one guiding master mind, "constant as the northern star." The great soul of Columbus, aided by Heaven, awed despair and mutiny into submission. At length, the New World burst on their view. It was Friday, the I2th of October, 1492. At the dawn of day there was seen issuing from the mists, a flowery land, whose groves, colored by the first golden rays of the morning sun, exhaled an unknown fragrance. The scenery was smiling and beautiful.
Before the ships lay an island of considerable extent, level, and without any appearance of mountains. Groups of half-naked people cautiously stole down to the shore, and gazed in mingled fear and amazement at the little squadron as it rode at anchor. The Admiral entered his cutter, richly attired in scarlet, and bearing the royal standard. His two chief officers, the Pinzons, likewise stepped into their boats, each bearing the banner of the enterprise, emblazoned with a green cross. "On landing, Columbus threw himself on his knees,"says Irving, -kissed the earth, and returned thanks to God with tears of joy. He arose, drew his sword, and declared that he took possession of that land in the name of Christ for the Crown of Castile.
He then ordered the carpenters to construct a large wooden cross. A hole was made in the earth, the end of the erected standard of redemption was placed in it, and held in position by the Admiral himself, while the hymn Vexilla Regis was joyfully chanted by the whole party:
"Forth comes the standard of the King-
All hail, thou mystery adored !
Blessed Cross on which He died Himself,
And by death our life restored.";
When the sacred symbol was firmly fixed in the soil, the Te Deum was sung, and. the solemn music was wafted over wave and forest. Columbus called the island San Salvador. And such was the first landing of the prince of Catholic Pioneers in the New World, almost four centuries ago.
Columbus now steered in a southerly direction, and discovered Cuba, where the Spaniards first saw
potatoes and tobacco. Continuing his explorations, he reached Hayti, which he named Hispaniola, and on the coast of which the Santa Maria grounded on a sand bank, and was soon a total wreck. The Admiral built a fort at this point, and leaving it in trust of a small body of manners, he boarded the Nina, and sailed for Spain in January, 1492.
But scarcely was the prow of his little bark turned on its homeward voyage, when a fearful tempest threatened to engulf the discoverer of America. His skill was tasked to the utmost; nor did he fail to look up to Heaven for assistance. In those dark hours of distress, he implored the protection of our Blessed Mother, and vowed a pilgrim age to her nearest shrine the first land he touched a vow punctually fulfilled. When the great Admiral once more touched the shores of sunny Spain, his first act was a solemn procession to the Monastery of La Rabida. The faithful Father Perez said a Mass of thanksgiving, and the Te Deum was chanted. In his letter to the Spanish sovereigns, signifying his arrival, there is no tinge of egotism, no talk about his achievements. He simply asks Spain to exhibit a holy joy, for Christ rejoices on earth as in Heaven, seeing the future redemption of souls." The Court was at Barcelona, and the progress of Columbus towards that city was like the march of some victorious monarch. Ferdinand and Isabella received him with royal magnificence.
"A thousand trumpets ring within old Barcelona s walls, A thousand gallant nobles throng in Barcelona s halls. All meet to gaze on him who wrought a pathway for mankind, Through seas as broad, to worlds as rich, as his triumphant mind ; And King and Queen will grace forsooth the mariner s array- The lonely seaman, scoffed and scorned in Palos town one day. He comes, he comes ! The gates swing wide, and through the streets advance His cavalcade in proud parade, with plume and pennoned lance, And natives of those new-found worlds, and treasures all untold And in the midst THE ADMIRAL, his charger trapped with gold; And all are wild with joy, and blithe the gladsome clarions swell, And dames and princes press to greet, and loud the myriads yell. They cheer, that mob, they wildly cheer Columbus checks his rein, And bends him to the beauteous dames and cavaliers of Spain." The discoverer of America was now honored by princes, and his praise was sounded by those who had mocked him in other days. It was a moment of prosperity a gleam of sunshine before the gathering clouds that announce the storm. Up to this time, his enemies had done nothing worse than to waste his time and health and strength, and delay his work. It was now to be their base part to ruin his benevolent schemes, to bring his gray hairs in sorrow to the grave, and to heap reproaches on his memory.
After a short repose, Columbus pushed the preparations for a second voyage. He had in view the conversion of the Indians to the Catholic Faith and vast schemes of colonization. Among the noted persons who accompanied him were Alonzo de Ojeda, John de la Cosa, John Ponce de Leon, his old friend Father John Perez, O.S.F., 1 and the Vicar Apostolic, Father Bernard Boil, O.S.B. There were twelve missionary priests. The expedition, which consisted of seventeen ships and about fifteen hundred persons, reached Hispaniola late in the fall of 1493. The foundation of the ill-starred city of Isabella was laid, and the work of settlement commenced. But from that to the day of his death, the life of the illustrious Admiral was one ceaseless conflict with calumny, avarice, villainy, and misfortune. He was soon surrounded by a host of bitter enemies. I cannot, however, enter into details. There is no space and the story is too sad.
In a few years, Columbus found it necessary to leave his brother Don Bartholomew in command and proceed to Spain in order to defend himself against the slanderous charges made by his foes in the New World. He succeeded. He then organized an expedition for his third voyage, in which he discovered the mainland of South America, August ist, 1498. The part first seen was the delta of the Orinoco. But misfortune kept pace with his discoveries. In a short time the malice of his enemies succeeded in it. It is also stated that Father Perez u was the first priest who landed in the New World, and the first who said Mass there."Now called Hayti.
Having him sent home in chains. And thus shame fully shackled in irons were "hands that the rod of empire might have swayed." "I shall preserve these chains, said the great discoverer, "as memorials of the reward of my services !" "He did so," writes his son Ferdinand. "I saw them always hanging in his cabinet, and he requested that when he died, they might be buried with him."
The sight of Columbus in chains aroused a feeling of indignation. It was a most disgraceful affair. Ferdinand and Isabella, it is true, expressed great sorrow ; but a gross injustice never to be repaired was done the venerable prince of discoverers. After another period of repose, he set out on his fourth and last voyage in May, 1502. He was accompanied by his younger son Ferdinand, his noble brother Don Bartholomew, and his faithful friend James Mendez. Though now sixty-six years of age and in broken health, the great old Admiral intended to circumnavigate the globe. Various reasons made him hope to find a strait at the Isthmus of Darien. He would pass through it, and sail around the world. He was mistaken, of course ; but the guess ran strangly near the truth.
The astonishing resources of his genius, and his patience in suffering, were never more heavily taxed than in this expedition. He discovered the northern coast of Honduras, and after a desperate struggle with wind and waves, the badly-damaged ships rounded a cape, and at once found fair weather and free navigation. Columbus, full of gratitude to Heaven, named the cape Gracios a Dios. or Thanks be to God a name retained to this day. He then stood towards the south, and coasted along the Isthmus of Panama, carefully examining every bay and inlet in search of his supposed strait between the Atlantic and the Pacific ; and not finding what he sought, he directed the prows of his now sinking, crazy, and worm-eaten vessels across the Caribbean Sea, but was forced to run them aground on the shores of Jamaica. While there, mutiny weakened his authority, and famine stared him in the face. 1 It was only by predicting an eclipse that he compelled the savage and treacherous natives to supply him with food, thus preserving himself and his diminished crews from death by starvation. After countless adventures, and weighed down by age and infirmities, he returned to Spain in 1504.
The death of the generous Isabella destroyed his last hopes of being reinstated in his dignities. Ferdinand treated him with shameful ingratitude. The mighty Admiral who gave Spain a hemisphere, did not own a roof in Spain, and closed his days in the shades of poverty and neglect. In a letter to his on James, he urges him to extreme economy." I receive nothing of the revenue due to me," he writes, "but live by borrowing. Little have I profited by twenty years of toils and perils, since at present I do not own a roof in Spain. I have no resort but an inn, and during most of the time, I have not money to pay my bill." But to the last his moral and intellectual greatness stood out in bold relief, clear and majestic.
He made his will, turned his thoughts to Heaven, received the last Sacraments with all the devotion of his magnificent soul, and murmured in dying accents, "Into thy hands, O Lord ! I commend my spirit." His bed was surrounded by his two sons, James and Ferdinand, some friends, and a few Franciscan Fathers. And thus died Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America, on Ascension Day, the 3Oth of May, 1506. He was about seventy one years of age.
In person, Columbus was tall, well formed, and commanding. His face was a pure oval, upon which nature had stamped a look of unusual grace, gravity, strength, and beauty. The noble expanse of his forehead was indicative of his richly gifted intellect. His bright eyes were gray, keen, and strong; while his nose was aquiline, and his finely chiseled lips expressed the magnanimity of his James inherited the rights, titles, and dignities of the Admiral, and Ferdinand wrote his life. A dimpled chin, a few freckles, a ruddy complexion, and hair white as snow since his thirtieth year such is the rough pen-picture of that wonderful man left us by his contemporaries. His presence enforced respect, and everything about him suggested an air of modest distinction. Such was his natural dignity, that, though a poor wool-carder s son, he appeared before kings and grandees with as much ease and grace as if he had been born in a palace.
To the day of his death, he was an ardent student, "ever trying to find out the secrets of nature." His mind had grasped all kinds of knowledge. He was equally familiar with the ancient geographers and the Fathers of the Catholic Church. His poetical imagination was governed in its flights by a strong practical judgment ; and his discovery of America has been truly called "a conquest of reflection."
But it was virtue, above all, that crowned the manly integrity of his character. God and religionheld the first place in his mind. "Throughout his life,"says Irving, "he was noted for a strict attention to the offices of religion ; nor did his piety consist in mere forms, but partook of that lofty and solemn enthusiasm with which his whole character was strongly tinctured."
A Catholic of Catholics, if this prince of pioneers desired to open the way to unknown continents, and to raise large sums of money, it was not through any motive of grasping selfishness. Before St. Ignatius Loyola adopted the maxim, Ad majorem Dei gloriam, Columbus put it in practice. To carry the light of the Gospel to the heathen, to connect the ends of the earth for the glory of
Heaven, to rescue the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of the infidel Turk such were the grand motives that guided his life s labors. Though a layman, he was one ot the greatest of missionaries. His discoveries led to the salvation of millions of souls, and this messenger of the Cross rivals the most illustrious of the saints in being the means of unlocking the portals of Paradise to countless multitudes. Whom shall we name braver than this inspired mariner the immortal discoverer of America ? His victories stand alone in history.
"He was the conqueror," writes Helps, "not of man, but of nature , not of flesh and blood but of the fearful unknown of the elements." By the unaided force of his genius, his dauntless spirit, and the blessing of Heaven, he rose superior to every danger and every difficulty. With him originated the brilliant idea that the Atlantic could be made a pathway across the world ; and in spite of years of bitter opposition, and the most heartless persecution, he succeeded in impressing the truth of his conviction upon others, His hair was white at thirty, from deep reflection on the subject of discovery ; and he was fifty-seven, when, triumphing over man and tempest, he planted the cross on the wild shores of San Salvador. But never for a moment was he deserted by sublime courage. He was ever a man without fear and without reproach ; and his noble forbearance in the wrongs, insults, and countless injuries heaped on his declining years, reveals a soul, to the last, heroic and beautiful in its magnanimity. How shall we define true greatness? By what standard shall we judge men so as to be able, with some justice and precision, to point out the greatest.
It may be safely laid down, that he is the greatest man to whom the world is most indebted. Measured by his unparalleled achievements and their vast results, Christopher Columbus, I venture to assert, stands first on the roll of the truly great, heading the list of the most illustrious men of all time.
There is nothing in history to compare with his work in splendor and permanence. He imitated nobody, and nobody could repeat his actions. To him science, commerce, and religion owe more than to any other man. He introduced Europe to America. He found the lost hemisphere, and dispelled the darkness that ignorance had thrown around the globe for thousands of years. Though unjustly named after another, the New World reveres him as its father and discoverer. The Catholic Church recognizes in him one of her greatest and most worthy children. In short, the whole earth and all mankind are his debtors. His noble character transcends praise, as his heroic deeds baffle description ; and as there is but one America on the map of the world, so there is but one Columbus among the sons of men. I number myself with those, who, having carefully studied the life and labors of Christopher Columbus, ardently hope to see the cause of his canonization soon brought forward in due form. Years ago, in referring to this subject, Pope Pius IX., of glorious memory, said, "There is no harm in trying."
Some changes are coming to Sanctus Simplicitus- as so many of our readers are mothers of families you will all understand, that seasons in life bring us different things. When we started this blog it was a way to save things we found about the Liturgical Year. In our small duplex in town we had much time to spend on this and also the two weekly series Keeping It Catholic Monday and Feria Friday.
The Rev. Mother Francis Raphael, O.S.D. writes, in
The Spirit of the Dominican Order: “If we examine the
special devotion of our saints, we shall find that the
mysteries of the Rosary were like the unseen thread
running through them all.”
We read in the Sentinel of the Blessed Sacrament: “It
was Our Lady herself who, at Lourdes, excited us to the
devotion of the most Holy Rosary. She passed through her
fingers a long Rosary of glittering beads, smiling the while
upon Bernadette, who was reciting her chaplet. “If we desire
to gather the fruit, we must bend the branch. If we long to
possess Jesus, we must draw Mary to us. The Rosary is the
sweet and powerful means of finding Jesus through His Mother.
The month of the Holy Rosary comes to recall to us how much
the Immaculate Virgin loves this devotion and excites us to practice
it. Let us be faithful to the call, we above all, who are servants of
The Most Blessed Sacrament…
If we afford so much pleasure to father, to mother, to friends by a
hearty greeting, how much more must our fervent ‘Angelic Salutation’
please Jesus and Mary! Oh, then, let us repeat, without tiring, this filial
salutation, and Jesus and Mary will help us now and at the hour of death.”
Lift Up Your Hearts by Father Lasance
The Feast of the Holy Rosary
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger,
+ Imprimatur 1876
In various passages of the Old and New Testaments we find prayer compared to a sweet odor rising before the throne of God. And referring to the faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost, Sacred Scripture calls her a rose-plant. This appellation recalls to our mind that method by which we frequently invoke and honor the blessed Mother of God: it reminds us of the holy Rosary. Every Catholic is sufficiently well acquainted with the manner in which this beautiful devotion is performed.
It consists in this: that whilst saying the Our Father and Hail Mary, we meditate on the mysteries of our holy faith, which, if duly considered and dwelt upon, will draw from the heart the sweet odor of pious emotions.
Today, I wish to speak of those emotions of the soul which mostly determine the efficacy of the devotion of the holy Rosary; of the emotions which render prayer agreeable to Mary, acceptable before God, and greatly conducive to our own sanctification.
If, in reciting the Rosary, we do not reflect at all, or only carelessly, on the mysteries of our holy faith, we may be assured that we do not pray except with our lips, and that such a prayer will be to us of no or of but little avail. And yet, of all prayers, that of the Rosary is most likely to degenerate into a mere mechanical recital of words, on account of the constant repetition of the same forms.
It is evident, then, that, in order to perform this beautiful devotion to the Blessed Virgin well, we must occupy our mind with the truths of our holy faith.
Now, the mysteries on which we meditate whilst reciting the Rosary, are, according to the events which they call to our mind, divided into the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Glorious mysteries. Today we shall consider the sweet-scenting roses of the joyful mysteries.
Mary, mystical Rose, as Holy Church calleth thee, would that as often as we perform the beautiful devotion of the Rosary, it might ascend to thy heavenly throne as a perfumed offering of thy devoted children! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God!
"The Conception by the Holy Ghost." This is the first event pondered over in commemorating the joyful mysteries. These words refer to the fundamental mystery of our holy faith in the order of salvation and redemption of mankind. They refer to the Incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
The emotions of the soul which are stirred up within us and ascend towards heaven as the perfume of roses, at the mentioning of this mystery, are those of thankfulness for the infinite mercy which the Almighty was pleased to show to the unhappy race of Adam. Indeed, it was an act of mercy which was shown not even to the Angels. They fell, and are lost forever. But to fallen man the infinitely merciful God stretched forth His saving arm, wishing to celebrate in the salvation of our race the triumph of His mercy.
What else would be the sentiments of our souls, at the thought of such marvelous clemency, but those of thanksgiving? But at the same time we must not forget to encourage ourselves to lead such a life as will entitle us to participate in the privileges of Redemption. For certainly the state of a redeemed, and yet lost soul, would be much more miserable than that of a fallen Angel, to whom mercy has never been extended.
But, in order to secure to ourselves the merit of Redemption, let us be close imitators of the virtues of Mary. Especially let us imitate her profound humility and her unshaken conformity in the most holy will of God, so beautifully expressed in those words addressed by her to the angel at Nazareth: ''Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word."
Oh, yes, if we recite the first decade of the joyful mysteries in sentiments like these; if we renew the good resolution to show our thankfulness for the grace of Redemption, principally by living a pure and holy life, and wishing that nothing but the will of God may be fulfilled in us, then surely our prayer will ascend to the throne of heaven as sweet and agreeable as the perfume of the most odoriferous roses.
"The Visitation of our Lady to her cousin Elizabeth." The Visitation of Mary bespeaks her active virtue of charity towards her fellow-creatures. And the holy emotions that, like fragrant roses, will spring up in our souls at the thought of Mary's example of charity, will be the resolutions to thank God for the grace of Redemption by a true and active charity toward our neighbor.
Though, as children of the same Adam, we are already brothers and sisters, and are bound to contribute to each other's happiness, yet how much more urgent has not this duty become on every one of us since the Son of God became man and has called every man His brother! How much more are we not bound to live in harmony and peace with our fellowmen, now that we are destined to be the children of the same Church on earth and to enjoy eternal bliss together in heaven! And looking up to Mary, our resolution of a mutual, lively charity must surely be increased, since, through Jesus Christ, she has become the Eve of the New Testament, and thus the spiritual Mother of all the children of God.
But, in order to fulfill the commandment of charity to its full extent, we must diligently consider those very virtues which Mary practised when visiting Elizabeth. Mary, namely, though she was at that time already clothed with the dignity of Mother of the Incarnate Son of God, hastened to Elizabeth in order to perform for her the offices of a servant. She hastened, and joyfully overcame the difficulties of the road.
Thus, then, according to the example of Mary we must help our neighbor in the spirit of self-sacrifice, speedily and lovingly; we must administer to his bodily as well as spiritual wants.
Mary helps her cousin Elizabeth, and John is delivered by the very presence of the Mother of God, from the stain of original sin, and sanctified as the precursor of the coming Messiah. Oh, yes, such holy emotions of fraternal charity rise up to heaven, agreeable to God as the perfume of roses, and consoling to the maternal heart of Mary.
"The birth of our Lord in the stable at Bethlehem." We must follow Jesus if we wish to live as children of our heavenly Father, in charity with God and man. "Follow Me." In these words Christ addresses Himself to every human soul. The virtues, however, which Christ our Model wants us to imitate, are those which were practised by him as a child in the manger.
There lies the Incarnate Son of God, annihilated in the guise of a helpless babe, poor, trembling, and sacrificing Himself for the Redemption of mankind. How eloquently does not this example speak to our soul! If you wish to follow Me, the God-Man says to us, humble yourselves and be willing to receive humiliations, as I did at Bethlehem when rejected from the doors of its inhabitants. Indeed, without humility there can be no true virtue, no solid foundation of piety, no increase of grace, no certainty of salvation.
If you wish to follow Me, look at Me in the manger; there I lie, poor and helpless. Free, then, your heart from the gross cares for this world, from the harassing thoughts of riches and possessions. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Thus the divine Child speaks to us by its example from the hard bed of straw. Be not solicitous about the coming day. "Give us this day our daily bread." Are not cares for riches the thorns that choke within our soul the divine word of God?
The firm determination of freeing ourselves from all desires after earthly riches, will surely ascend to the throne of God as a sweet fragrance of spiritual roses, whilst the harassing cares for the things of this world will hover below as the foul odor of sin. And again, how much will we not be encouraged by a glance at the Blessed Virgin, who offered up for herself and the Child Jesus the offering of the poor!
''The offering of the Infant Jesus in the temple." Such a life is indeed a victory over self, and inseparable from the spirit of sacrifice. If we are animated with a sincere and earnest desire of following in the footsteps of Jesus, we must deny ourselves, take the cross upon our shoulders, and place ourselves with eagerness under the banner of the holy cross--under the banner of Christ, Who, as Simeon predicted, shall be a sign of contradiction to many.
We must, furthermore, sanctify our life in patience, and purify our intentions ever more and more. All for Jesus! We must be ready to accept everything with a willing heart, in union with the divine heart of Jesus. And whatever may be the opinion of the world, let us not heed it, but do what Jesus desires us to do, in order to follow His divine example.
If we say the Rosary, animated with such sentiments against the world and its desires, our prayer will be as blooming roses in the sight of the Almighty. Filled with this resolution against the spirit of the world, Mary led a retired life at Nazareth till Jesus was about to accomplish the sacrifice of the redemption of mankind. For then she came forth, but only to place herself beneath the cross, whence alone we can draw salvation and eternal happiness.
''The finding in the temple." Though a soul may determine to despise the maxims of the world, to devote herself to the service of God and to follow her Jesus, still the time may and will come when she will be assailed by temptations to sin and lukewarmness. And what remains to be done if she should have the misfortune of yielding to sin, and thus separating herself from her Spouse? The soul must return in sorrow and repentance, and must, moreover, draw good from evil by determining to regain lost grace, and to be more watchful in future against the snares of the evil one.
Here the roses that exhale their sweet odor before the Most High are the sentiments of repentance over our shortcomings and imperfections, and particularly over the grievous sins which we may have committed during the past.
Now, concerning contrition, what remarkable things do we not read in the ''Lives of the Saints"! Not a few of them led a life of the most rigorous penance for a single venial sin or a mere imperfection. Sorrow for past sins will be particularly salutary for the soul, as it strengthens the foundation of all virtues--humility-- and increases patience, a virtue so necessary for final perseverance in the service of the Almighty.
But, that in truth our prayer may rise up to God, agreeable as the fragrance of roses, we must, before beginning the prayer, make the good intention of meditating in true recollection of spirit on the mysteries prescribed. And it is especially to the devotion of the Rosary that the admonition of the Holy Ghost has reference when He says: "Before prayer prepare thy heart."
Observe well this counsel, O child of Mary, and the roses that will spring up whilst reciting the beads will change themselves into precious gems to adorn the crown that is awaiting you in heaven!--Amen!
"According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, thy comforts have given joy to my soul."--Ps. xciii, 19.
In Holy Writ true prayer is often compared to a sweet odor or fragrant incense, rising before the throne of the Most High. But this comparison holds good only for prayer, which is animated with senti- ments of adoration and praise, and thanksgiving and love.
Now the prayer, which is most generally said by all Catholics on the face of the earth, and in whose commemoration a special feast has been instituted, is that of the holy Rosary. Last year we considered together with what sentiments and emotions we should be animated when reflecting on the joyful mysteries.
And we found, as you will remember, that the mysteries of this part of the Rosary have reference, principally, to the maxims of the Christian's daily life in the service of the Almighty.
But this, our daily life, passed in sweet and peaceful union with God, is often interrupted by bitter sufferings and direful adversities. And in order that we may bear patiently and meritoriously the ills of life, it will not suffice only to contemplate the ordinary life of Christ, but we must also often turn our thoughts to the sacred passion and death of our divine Redeemer. Such salutary thoughts are stirred up within our hearts by reciting the Rosary and meditating on the sorrowful mysteries.
There is nothing more meritorious, and nothing more agreeable, in the sight of God, than a perfect resignation to His will in times of adversity. Let us, then, consider today what fragrant roses of pious emotions will spring up in our hearts while meditating the sorrowful mysteries--roses that will exhale their sweet odor before the throne of Jesus and Mary.
Mother of dolors, would that every pair of beads commemorating the sorrowful mysteries, were to thee a bunch of roses laden with, the perfume of a true love of the cross of thy Jesus! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God! "The sweating of blood." The particular suffering of our Lord which excites us most to compassion, is His anguish in the garden of Olives.
Every soul that in spirit contemplates Jesus sweating blood, must say within itself: It is for me that Christ sweats blood, through fear that, notwithstanding His passion, to which He subjected Himself for me, I might yet yield to temptation and perish. I say: for me. Jesus came down upon earth for the redemption of the soul of every man, and He offered up His sufferings for each particular human being, as though each one had been the only object of His sufferings.
Yes, If in this manner we consider the bitter passion of our Lord, its recollection will move our hearts most effectually, and produce in it corresponding emotions of sorrow and repentance.
Now, whilst recalling the bloody sweat, and, in general, the mysteries of the passion, as the Rosary presents them to our mind, it is highly important and beneficial to contemplate, in spirit, the Redeemer in His sufferings, that our heart may be filled with compassion, and that we may be moved to ask ourselves: O, my Jesus, what can I do in order to console Thee?
According to St. Luke, Christ fell three times to the ground. He grew pale, trembled, and prayed: "Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me," and the blood oozed from His veins, moistened His garment, and flowed upon the ground.
What a sorrowful sight for every soul that loves Jesus! The uppermost thought here is the question: "What was it that afflicted our Lord thus unto death?" Ah, as I said above, it was the thought of the innumerable risks and dangers to which our final salvation is exposed, and which may render fruitless for us His passion and death.
Console the Lord by your promise to avoid, as much as you can, every occasion of sin, and to make use of the means which Holy Church offers us to overcome every temptation as soon as it manifests itself. Oh, how agreeable will not such resolutions be to the sorrowful heart of our Lord and that of His blessed Mother! But you must prove the sincerity of this your intention by adhering faithfully to your resolution, especially on the day on which you say your Rosary.
"The flagellation at the pillar." This scene, too, in the Passion of our Lord, is very apt to fill our hearts with great compassion.
Contemplate thy Jesus, and see how He is lacerated to the very bones; how, bathed in His own blood. He falls to the ground, and breaks forth in the sorrowing words of the prophet: "I am a worm, and no man." Here, again, the question rises within our soul: What was it, O Lord, that lacerated thee? The answer is: It is the countless number of sins committed by the human race. What a countless number of lashes had He to suffer from them!
Reflect on your own sins. Who could count all those sins of thought, word, desire, action, and omission which you have already committed?
And what shall we say if we consider how many sins are committed every moment, how long this wickedness has already lasted, and how long it may still continue? Console the Lord, and protest, with a firm resolution, that henceforth you will nevermore commit a deliberate sin; that you will even try, with all your heart, to avoid every imperfection, and, moreover, hinder others as much as possible from offending Him.
And you will accomplish this latter part first by giving others no occasion of sin, and, secondly, by using every opportunity to lead heretics and infidels to the road of salvation, the Holy Church of God. And more yet, to do all in our power that the children of the Church themselves may not sin, but walk in holiness and humility before the Almighty.
With such emotions fill your heart at the thought of our Lord's flagellation, and the sweetest fragrance will rise from these roses of compassion and zeal for souls, a consolation to the divine heart of Jesus and the sorrowful heart of Mary.
"The crowning with thorns." Contemplate in spirit your God and Lord as He was presented by Pilate to the Jews, crowned with thorns, clothed, by way of mockery, with a purple garment, and bearing a reed in His hand. Listen to the cries of the bloodthirsty crowd: ''Crucify Him; crucify Him." Pity your derided Jesus.
Christ looks at the people, for whom He has done so much good; He looks at the whole human race, whom He came to save, and He feels most painfully the insults that are heaped upon Him by the children of His Church. He is particularly afflicted on account of the inconstancy of those who, purified by the waters of baptism, walked for a time in the path of virtue, but fell back again into sin, and thus plunged themselves deeper into the abyss of perdition than if they had never known the grace of Redemption.
Console the Lord by your protestations that you will ever lovingly and faithfully confess Him before man, without being misled by false human respect. Certainly such a resolution is of the greatest utility, especially in our times, when all the efforts of the children of the world are directed to the destruction of the Church, and the restoration of ancient heathenism.
Consoling, indeed, and agreeable as the fragrance of roses will such emotions be to the afflicted hearts of Jesus and Mary.
''The carrying of the Cross." Jesus is pressed to the ground under the burden of the Cross. Consider with what an ardent love for us the Lord embraced the Cross, which was ignominiously laid upon him! He falls under its burden a first, a second, and a third time, until Simon of Cyrene lends Him his assistance, and carries the wood of salvation to Calvary.
Christ permits all this in order to admonish us that without a co-operation on our part His Passion will be of no avail to us, but that in order to participate in the grace of Redemption we must check our bad propensities and firmly resolve to bear, patiently and willingly, the hardships of life for the love of Him. And when the hour of tribulation approaches think of Mary, who, when meeting her divine Son loaded with the cross, did not murmur, but pressed Him to her heart, in perfect conformity to the most holy will of God, whose wish she knew it was, that Christ should thus suffer in order to reconcile the human race with His heavenly Father.
Protest, before Jesus, that you will unite your sentiments of conformity to the most holy will of God with those of Mary, and that you will be ready to bear, willingly, whatever divine Providence may send you for your own sanctification. Oh, how few persons there are who suffer patiently and without murmuring against the providence of God! And for this reason sentiments of patience and perfect resignation in God's most holy will rise up to the Lord and His blessed Mother, with the delicious perfume of the queen of flowers.
"Crucifixion." See your Jesus! The cross is elevated; His wounds gape; the sun disappears from the heavens; the earth trembles; and from the Cross Christ speaketh the words: "Father, forgive them." Every one of His words has reference to the salvation and sanctification of our souls. Consider especially the words: "It is consummated!"
Console the heart of Jesus by protesting that you will follow Him, with fidelity, to the end. And, in order that you may do so, turn your thoughts to John under the cross, when Jesus said to him: "Behold thy mother!" And she stood under the cross, her heart filled with compassion, thanksgiving, adoration, and conformity to the most holy will of God. Fall, in spirit, at the feet of Mary, and make the promise of flying to her, as your mother, in all your necessities of body and soul. Try, also, to inspire others with a great confidence to Mary. If we thus honor her, she will, undoubtedly, become to us a guaranty of final perseverance in the state of grace.
Such sentiments of love and fidelity will certainly exhale a heavenly fragrance before the throne of Jesus and Mary. And since the proverb, "Every day brings its evils," is but too true, it would certainly be most beneficial, for those who meditate on the sorrowful mysteries, to renew their resolution and show themselves particularly patient in their sufferings on the day when they perform this beautiful devotion. And, in order that they may succeed so much the better in their praiseworthy endeavors, let them invoke the help of Mary, saying: O Mary, obtain for me the grace, that when the sword of sorrow shall pierce my soul, I may, in perfect patience and resignation, like thee, follow Jesus, my crucified love. Amen.
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"And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and on her head a crown of stars." -Apoc. xii, i.
The Lord loveth a willing heart. This disposition of readiness and alacrity in the service of God is excited within our souls by meditating on the glorious mysteries of the Rosary.
He who serves God from motives of fear and necessity, lacks courage, determination, zeal, and, not seldom, constancy. But if we consider the mysteries of faith, which refer to the glorious life of Christ and His Blessed Mother, we shall be strengthened and encouraged to suffer, with joy and patience, whatever our holy religion may require of us, calling to mind the words of St. Paul: ''If we suffer with the Lord, we shall also be glorified with Him."
The glorious mysteries, those on which we meditate when reciting the third part of the Rosary, are those of the resurrection of our Lord, His ascension into heaven, the coming of the Holy Ghost, the assumption of our Blessed Lady, and her crowning as Queen of heaven.
And now with regard to these divine truths, we will first consider the events themselves which faith places before our mind, and then reflect on the emotions with which they filled the heart of Mary when they were being accomplished, in order that we too may be animated with similar thoughts and affections. And we should strive, moreover, to retain these pious sentiments, not only during the time of prayer, but during the whole course of our life.
We shall then consider today the glowing roses which will bloom in our heart, when, in remembrance of Jesus and Mary, we contemplatively recite the Rosary of the glorious mysteries.
Mary, crowned Queen of heaven, Mother of Christ and our Mother, fill our hearts with an ardent desire of being united to Thee in heaven, in order that we may live on earth in a manner becoming the children of so glorious a Mother! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!
''The resurrection from the dead." What an encouraging, what a glorious sight! Christ rising from the tomb on Easter-morning, surrounded by myriads of holy angels, and an infinite number of souls, that in the course of four thousand years have sanctified and saved themselves through hope in the coming Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
Mary was the first, as tradition relates, to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection from the dead. What a heavenly joy must it have been for the heart of Mary to see Jesus, Whom she had so bitterly bewailed, once more among the living! With what an ardent love must she have pressed Him to her maternal heart!
The fruit which we ought to reap from the consideration of this divine mystery is,--a great increase of faith. For as St. Paul says: ''Christ is risen, He lives, and, therefore, all His teachings are true." Christ is risen! Like Him, our prototype, we too shall rise, with a glorified body, radiant as the sun, moving with the ease and swiftness of thought beyond the reach of suffering and death.
But we must also live in a manner becoming men, that profess to follow in the footsteps of Christ. And like Jesus we must preserve our heart unsullied from sin, putting off the old man, and clothing ourselves with the new. In order to succeed the better in these, our pious endeavors, let us often turn our thought towards Mary, the most faithful follower of Jesus, who was left upon earth by her divine Son, that she might be a Mirror of Justice to the Apostles and the primitive Christians, as well as to all those who, in the course of time, might be united with them in the one Holy Church of God.
Happy those, O Mary, who saw thee upon earth with the eyes of their body; but happy also those who in spirit look up to thee as their example, and imitate thy virtues! Oh, how much does not the life of a true child of Mary contribute to the edification and sanctification of others!
"The ascension into heaven." Let us repair in Spirit to Mount Olivet. How touching the farewell scene which we there behold: The Apostles and disciples of the Lord throw themselves at His feet, in order to receive their Master's blessing before He goes to the Father. But what must have been the feelings of Mary, when Jesus embraced her before His ascension into heaven, where she was soon to meet Him and be united with Him for all eternity!
Throw yourself in spirit at the feet of Jesus and beg His blessing, in order that you too may follow Him one day into life everlasting, and occupy that throne which He has prepared for you in heaven. The constant remembrance of the Ascension of our Lord should excite in every Catholic a longing desire to follow Him soon.
Oh, what a precious fragrance such emotions exhale before the Lord, in a world filled with the foul odor of malice and sin!
"Lift up your heart to the Lord!" thus the priest at the altar admonishes us in the words of St. Paul. If you are risen with Christ, desire the things that are from above. For the difference between the children of the world and those of God consists in this: that the former never think of heaven, whilst the latter desire it most ardently, saying with St. Paul:
"I long to be dissolved and to be with Christ." This great longing for heaven should excite in us the resolution of often visiting our divine Redeemer in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. For there Christ is yet present as truly and really as He is in heaven, and as He was on earth with Mary in her house at Nazareth, and as, after His ascension, He remained with her under the sacramental species, which, as we are informed by private revelations of saints, were never consumed in Mary from one Communion to another.
A close union with Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar, animated by an ardent desire of paying Him frequent visits, of often assisting at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and especially of frequently and worthily receiving Him in Holy Communion, characterizes the true child of Mary.
These are the thoughts which should occupy our mind when meditating on the second glorious mystery. And if we consider that, notwithstanding His Ascension, our Lord is yet upon earth, let us say to ourselves: What a happiness to be a child of the true Church, and to be so near to our Saviour! Hail to you, child of Mary, if your heart gives testimony that you live solely for Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament!
You may, in this case, with peace and confidence await the second coming of the Lord--His coming as Judge--which was foretold to the disciples on Mount Olivet by the Angels: "This Jesus, Whom you have seen ascending into heaven, shall come again." And you may even now know your sentence from those words spoken by Christ: "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abides in Me and I in him," and: "He that eateth this bread shall live forever."
Such emotions of love towards Jesus will send forth a fragrance that shall pervade our whole life, and which St. Paul, speaking of the faithful followers of the Saviour, calls the sweet odor of Christ.
"The coming of the Holy Ghost." Christ, as St. John tells us, sent the Holy Ghost not to remain with His Apostles only, but also with all those who would believe in Him to the end of time. As often as you meditate on this glorious mystery look up to Mary, surrounded by the Apostles and first disciples of Christ. Contemplate her, the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and consider how abundantly the divine Spirit poured forth His seven gifts into her soul. Ask of our good Mother, that she may obtain for you a great increase of the seven gifts of the Paraclete.
Just as these heavenly gifts render the Christian an active member of the Church militant, and inspire him with fidelity and courage to give testimony to his holy faith in life and death, so do they likewise designate the true child of Mary.
The true child of Mary is filled with the fear of the Lord and the fear of sin; it flees from temptations and conquers them, receives often the Sacrament of Penance, and is not influenced by human respect.
The true child of Mary loves prayer; often fortifies itself with the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar, and celebrates with devotion the feasts of the Church.
The true child of Mary endeavors to grow in the science of the saints, cares for the one thing necessary, the salvation of its soul, and is always ready to assist others with good counsel.
The true child of Mary shows itself, for the love of Jesus and Mary, courageous and submissive in times of adversity, judges the world in the light of faith, and tries to employ every moment in the work of its eternal salvation. The dutiful servant of the blessed Mother of God prays often to the Holy Ghost, that He may fill his heart ever more and more with holy intentions and desires. Oh, what a fragrance of holy thoughts pervades the souls of the children of Mary!
''The assumption of our Lady into heaven." Who could meditate upon this mystery without wishing soon to enter heaven, and enjoying forever the presence of the blessed Mother of our Redeemer? But the question whether you will go to the abode of the blessed, will be decided by the sanctity of your life, and your constancy in the service of God. Now, the surest pledge for such a perseverance is, according to the holy fathers and doctors of the Church, a genuine devotion to the blessed Virgin.
Child of Mary, profess openly your allegiance to her, that at the end of your life she may assist you with a mother's care.
"The coronation of our Lady in heaven." Contemplate Mary sitting on her throne in heaven. St. John once had a vision, in which he saw Christ in heaven, adorned with precious diadems. Now, every one of these ensignia of royalty is also borne by Mary, the Queen of heaven. Rejoice, then, O child of Mary! for one day, and perhaps soon, will you not only see her in all her glory, but also participate in her splendor forever.
What a canticle of joy will your soul entone before the throne of Mary, as soon as you will comprehend with what maternal solicitude the Queen of heaven watched over you, lest you might forfeit the heirloom of a blissful eternity, and be separated from her forever.
After these holy considerations renew the resolution of devoting yourself entirely to her honor, love, and imitation upon earth, and of gaining over as many hearts as possible to her honor and veneration.
Such holy emotions and desires, excited in a child of Mary by meditation on the glorious mysteries, will rise towards heaven agreeable as the fragrance of roses, to the greater glory of God, and to the greater honor of Mary, our blessed, glorious Mother. Amen!
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The Book of the Holy Rosary
A wonderful title on the Rosary giving an in-depth description of the Fifteen Mysteries using sources such as the Holy Bible and the Saints. This is the most in-depth book we have seen on the matter! It also has black and white pictures through out and sure to help one better understand the teachings of the Rosary by the Holy Catholic Church.
Read more and peak inside The Book of the Holy Rosary
Devotion of the Holy Rosary
Fr. Muller stresses his great acclamation of the devotion upon which the salvation of great multitudes of sinners rests. The heartfelt recitation of the Rosary and meditation is the best thank you we can give to Mary for her unfathomable mercies. We learn the history of the Rosary, what the Rosary is, the benefits, devotions, temporal blessings. We must say the Rosary with humility, for a lawful object, with fervor, and we must say it with confidence.
Read more about Devotion to the Holy Rosary
The Garden of Roses of Our Lady - Rosary Devotions
Not only must we pray often, we must also try to imitate the virtues shown forth in the Mysteries (of the Rosary); for the Rosary is composed of both vocal and mental prayer; and mental prayer, or meditation,is of little value unless made practical. And here I would state that anyone who can master the methods of reciting the Rosary as set forth in this little book can just as easily meditate. So that in learning to recite the Rosary the faithful soul learns also how to practice mental prayer. Read more about The Garden of Roses of Our Lady...
The Holy Rosary Coloring Book
This coloring book contains a picture and instructions for each of the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. It is a great way to teach your little children how to pray and understand the mysteries of the Rosary and to develop their love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Follow this link for more information and to purchase The Holy Rosary Coloring Book.
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God the Teacher of Mankind - Vol. 1
The First and Greatest Commandment
By: Father Michael Muller
+ Imprimatur 1881
7. What is at attendance at false worship?
It is to assist at the religious worship of heretics.
To worship God according to a rite contrary to all precepts of the Gospel is a false and unlawful worship of God. Hence it would be a grevous sin for a Catholic to worship God according to the ceremonial laws of the Jews, for though they were prescribed by God for the Jews before the coming of Christ, yet they were abolished by Christ in the new law.
It is also a false and unlawful worship of God to adopt a new religion in opposition to the doctrine of the true Church of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church, and assist at the religious worship of such a false religion. Hence, even if a Catholic despises in his heart such a false religion and worship, it is unlawful for him to play the organ, or to sing, or to discharge the office of sacristan, in Jewish or Protestant temples during their false worship, or to compose hymns or music for the asme, or to ring the bell for calling the people together, or to contribute money towards the erection of temples for false worship, or to call a Protestant minister for the performance of some relies rites, as, for instance, the rights of marriage or baptism, or funeral, etc.; or to take Protestant children, or accompany grown persons, to Protestant Sunday-schools or church and stay with them during their religious worship. Any such act is strictly forbidden by the law of God and of the Church, because it is a real communicate and formal co-operation in a false worship, and real approval of it.
No one," say the Fathers of the Fourth Council of Carthage (in 398), "must either pray, or sing psalms with heretics; and whosoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, whether clergyman or layman, let him be excommunicated." Such was the language of the Church in all ages.
Pope Paul IV wrote to the Catholics in England: "We are forced to admonish and to conjure you, that on no account you go to the churches of heretics, or hear their sermons or join in their rites, lest ye incur the wrath of God; for it is not lawful for you to do such things without dishonoring God and hurting your own souls." In consequence of such authoritative decision, the Catholic pastors of England and Scotland have made most strict prohibitions of all such communication by their special regulations.
Here one may say: The reason why I play the oran, or sing, or officiate as sacristan, etc., in a Protestant church, is because I get a good pay which enables me to support my family. I answer: What you do is a grievous violation of the first commandment. It is never allowed to commit a mortal sin in order to acquire the means of support. Alas! that there are so many people who make a living by unlawful means! "But the bishop, or parish priest has given me permission to play the organ, to sing, etc., in the Protestant church," says another one. I answer: Neither any priest nor bishop, nay, not even the Pope, can give you permission to violate any of the commandments.
"But I am well instructed in my religion," says another; "I can see no harm in what I do in the Protestant church/" I answerL I doubt what you say. If you were well instructed, you would know that attendance at false worship is a mortal sin, and that this sin is still greater for him who plays, or sings, at it, or renders any other kind of service for it. And do you see no harm in committing a mortal sin? Do you see no harm in the great scandal you give to those Catholics who know of it, and to the Protestants, whom by your playing and singing, etc., you confirm in the belief that their religion is as good as the Catholic religion? (See Bishop Hay's Sincere Christian, vol. ii. Ion communicating those out of the Church; and Father A. Konings; C.SS>R., Moral Theology, de Co-operatione Catholicorum p. 136)
St. Hermenegild, the son of Leovigild, king of Spain, became a convert to the Catholic faith. When his father, who was addicted to the Arian heresy, heard of it, he became quite enraged, and out his son in a frightful dungeon, where he made him suffer most cruel torments. The holy martyr wrote to his father: "I avow your goodness o me has always been very great. I will preserve, to the last moment of my life, the respect, duty, and tenderness which I owe you. But it is possible that you should wish me to like wordily greatness better than my salvation? I value the crown as nothing. I am ready to lose scepter and life, too, rather than abandon the divine truth."
the prion was a school of virtue to this great martyr. He clothed himself in sack-cloth, and performed other bodily penances in addition to the hardships of his prison. He offered up to God many fervent prayers to obtain sufficient strength and courage to remain faithful in confessing the truth and dying for it.
The solemnity of Easter being come, the perfidious father sent, in the night, an Arian bishop with the message to his son that, if he received communion from the hand of that prelate, he would be received into favor again. Hermenegild, however, rejected the proposal and indignation, reproaching the messenger with the impiety of his sect, as if he had been at full liberty. When the bishop returned to the Arian king with his account, the furious father, seeing the faith of his son proof against all his endeavors to make him give up the Catholic religion, sent soldiers with orders to kill him. They entered the prison and found the saint fearless and ready to receive the stoke of death. The cleaved his head with an axe, and scattered his brains on the floor. (Butler's Lives of the Saints, April 13)