The Confidence of St. Vincent de Paul

When the will of God is clearly seen in any affair, no matter how difficult, it should be undertaken with intrepidity, and pursued with constancy even to the end, however many and great may be the obstacles which oppose it. For the providence of God never fails those things that are undertaken by His order. -St. Vincent de Paul

When this Saint had begun an undertaking and felt sure that it was the will of God, he never abandoned it, for any opposition that might intervene. Instead of becoming disheartened, he only showed the greatest constancy and resolution, the more he was harassed and opposed by creatures.

One of his priests having written to this Saint that plans were on foot to supplant his Congregation, and that persons of influence were supporting these evil designs, he gave this reply: “Let us establish and settle ourselves firmly in total dependence upon God’s providence, and then not allow our minds to be overshadowed by these useless apprehensions, for nothing will happen contrary to His holy will.”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

Advertisements
Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Saint, Saints, Wisdom, Religion | Tagged

The Modesty of Mary – Part 1 of 2

The hidden life of Mary possesses a characteristic that distinguishes it from that of Jesus. We do not find in Mary that humility which astonishes and confounds, that mingling of power and weakness of greatness and obedience, which we admire in the life of Jesus. The life of Mary is always equal, always simple and hidden; it is the reign of sweet and humble modesty. Modesty formed the characteristic of her piety, of her virtues, and of all her actions.

I. Mary was modest in her exterior. She was distinguished neither by the severity of her deportment, nor by an affected carelessness. Humble and sweet like the spirit of Jesus, all that she had in her use spoke of her lowly condition, and in no way distinguished her from the women of her rank. We, too, ought to bear the insignia of lowliness, neither too much nor too little, if we wish to resemble our Mother in her life.

II. Mary was modest in the world. She eagerly sacrificed her privacy and the sweetness of contemplation, in order to go to her cousin Elizabeth, to felicitate her and to serve her. For three months she was her companion, her humble servant, making the happiness of that privileged household. When her Son’s glory demanded it, Mary appeared in public. She assisted at the wedding at Cana. She spoke no word in her own praise, nor did she bring forward her title of Mother of God, nor the power and glory of her Son, in order to rise in the esteem of men. Her modesty was such that she lent her self to the call of charity, and withdrew when she was no longer needed.

III. Mary was modest in her duties. She fulfilled them with sweetness, without eagerness, always satisfied whatever might happen, always ready for a new duty. She discharged all with such equality of humor that she never gave evidence of chagrin, nor asked for any consolation. She never attracted the attention of any one, because everything about her was natural and ordinary.

IV. Mary was modest in her piety. Mary, raised to the highest degree of prayer to which any creature can attain, lived in the habitual exercise of perfect love, exalted above all the angels, and forming, by her dignity of Mother of God, an order apart in the wonders of God. She served her Lord, nevertheless, in the common and ordinary way of piety. She followed the prescriptions of the Law, she assisted at the legal feasts, she prayed with the multitude.

Such ought to be our piety. Nothing conspicuous in its practices, simple in its means, and modest in its action, care fully shunning singularity, the subtle fruit of self-love, and everything extraordinary as too subject to vanity and illusion.

Text from Father Eymard’s Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (New York: Sentinel Press, 1903).

To be continued next Saturday . . .

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged

Confidence in Divine Providence

When Father Alvarez was rector of a poor college, he had a steward who often came to tell him of the daily wants, and what was necessary to support the house. Once he asked him whether he had recommended the matter to God. The steward replied that he had no time to pray. “This,” rejoined the good Superior, “ought to be the first thing. Go into some room, and make a little prayer to the Lord. Do you think this flock has no master, or such a one as has no regard for their lives? Go in peace, and remember that this depends not on your efforts.” The steward obeyed, and often afterwards found means of support which he considered miraculous.

St. Francis de Sales says that St. Jane Frances de Chantal showed a most courageous and generous soul in continuing undertakings with which God had inspired her.

When St. Francis Xavier saw that the honor of God called him, he went without fearing difficulties or dangers of any kind. And so he attempted nothing which he did not continue, and began nothing which he did not pursue to the end.

When St. Charles [Borromeo] had weighed any enterprise he was about to commence, prudently and maturely, and judged it good for the service of God, though it might seem to others sure to fail, he began and prosecuted it with great courage, and always with success.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom

St. Matthew

One day, as our Lord was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw, sitting at the receipt of custom, Matthew the publican, whose business it was to collect the taxes from the people for their Roman masters. Jesus said to him, “Follow Me;” and leaving all, Matthew arose and followed Him.

Now the publicans were abhorred by the Jews as enemies of their country, outcasts, and notorious sinners, who enriched themselves by extortion and fraud. No Pharisee would sit with one at table. Our Saviour alone had compassion for them. So St. Matthew made a great feast, to which he invited Jesus and His disciples, with a number of these publicans, who henceforth began eagerly to listen to Him. It was then, in answer to the murmurs of the Pharisees, that He said, “They that are in health need not the physician. I have not come to call the just, but sinners to penance.”

After the Ascension, St. Matthew remained some years in Judaea, and there wrote his Gospel, to teach his countrymen that Jesus was their true Lord and King, foretold by the Prophets. St. Matthew afterward preached the faith far and wide, and is said to have finished his course in Parthia.

Illustration and text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged

Attachment to One’s Reputation

Souls that are weak and too much attached to their own reputation, make a great stir and commotion, and can have no peace, if any calumny is spread against them. It is not thus with generous souls who aim at nothing except to please God. They know very well that He sees their innocence, and has it at heart more than they themselves, and therefore He will not neglect to defend them, as their greatest good requires. -St. Augustine

In a letter to Monsignor Camus, St. Francis de Sales says: “I hear that they are all tearing me to pieces in Paris, but I hope God will patch me up again as good as new, if it is necessary for His service. I do not care for any more reputation than I need for this. For, provided God be served, what does it matter whether it be by good or evil report, by the exaltation or lowering of our reputation? Let Him dispose of my name and honor as He will, since all is His. And if my abjection increases His glory, ought I not to rejoice in being cast down?”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom

St. Januarius

Many centuries ago, St. Januarius died for the faith in the persecution of Diocletian, and to this day God confirms the faith of His Church, and works a continual miracle, through the blood which Januarius shed for Him.

The Saint was Bishop of Beneventum, and on one occasion he travelled to Misenum in order to visit a deacon named Sosius. During this visit Januarius saw the head of Sosius, who was singing the Gospel in the church, girt with flames, and took this for a sign that ere long Sosius would wear the crown of martyrdom. So it proved. Shortly after Sosius was arrested, and thrown into prison. There St. Januarius visited and encouraged him, till the bishop also was arrested in turn.

Soon the number of the confessors was swollen by some of the neighboring clergy. They were exposed to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre. The beasts, however, did them no harm; and at last the Governor of Campania ordered the Saints to be beheaded. Little did the heathen governor think that he was the instrument in God’s hand of ushering in the long succession of miracles which attest the faith of Januarius.

The relics of St. Januarius rest in the cathedral of Naples, and it is there that the liquefaction of his blood occurs. The blood is congealed in two glass vials, but when it is brought near the martyr’s head it melts and flows like the blood of a living man.

Text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom

St. Stanislas Kostka

St. Stanislas was of a noble Polish family. At the age of fourteen he went with his elder brother Paul to the Jesuits’ College at Vienna; and though Stanislas was ever bright and sweet-tempered, his austerities were felt as a reproach by Paul, who shamefully maltreated him. This ill-usage and his own penances brought on a dangerous illness, and being in a Lutheran house he was unable to send for a priest.

He now remembered to have read of his patroness, St. Barbara, that she never permitted her clients to die without the Holy Viaticum: he devoutly appealed to her aid, and she appeared with two angels, who gave him the Sacred Host. He was cured of this illness by Our Lady herself, and was bidden by her to enter the Society of Jesus.

To avoid his father’s opposition, he was obliged to fly from Vienna; and having proved his constancy by cheerfully performing the most menial offices, he was admitted to the novitiate at Rome. There he lived for ten short months marked by a rare piety, obedience, and devotion to his institute.

Reflection. — St. Stanislas teaches us in every trial of life, and above all in the hour of death, to have recourse to our patron Saint, and to trust without fear to his aid.

Illustration and text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged