St. Lucy

The mother of St. Lucy suffered four years from an issue of blood, and the help of man failed. St. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel had been healed of the same disorder. “St. Agatha,” she said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” They spent the night praying by the tomb, till, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in vision to St. Lucy, and calling her sister, foretold her mother’s recovery and her own martyrdom. That instant the cure was effected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and consecrate her virginity to Christ.

A young man to whom she had been promised in marriage, accused her as a Christian to the heathen; but Our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin whom He had chosen for His own. The fire kindled around her did her no hurt. Then the sword was plunged into her heart, and the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled.

Reflection. — The Saints had to bear sufferings and temptations greater far than yours. How did they overcome them? By the love of Christ. Nourish this pure love by meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life; and, above all, by devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is the antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.

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

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Contentment With the Divine Will

We ought to submit to the will of God, and be content in whatever state it may please Him to put us; nor should we ever desire to change it for another, until we know that such is His pleasure. This is the most excellent and the most useful practice that can be adopted upon earth. -St. Vincent de Paul

The venerable Father Daponte told an intimate friend that he was glad of all his natural defects of appearance and speech, since it had pleased the Lord to mark him with them; that he was glad also of all his temptations and miseries, both interior and exterior, since God so willed it, and that if it were the will of God that he should live a thousand years, oppressed by far greater trials, and in the deepest darkness, provided that he should not offend Him, he would be quite content.

When the news of her husband’s death in the war was brought to St. Elizabeth, she instantly raised her heart to God, and said: “O Lord, Thou knowest well that I preferred his presence to all the delights of the world! But since it has pleased Thee to take him from me, I assent so fully to Thy holy will, that if I could bring him back by plucking out a single hair from my head, I would not do it, except at Thy will.”

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

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St. Damasus I

St. Damasus was born at Rome at the beginning of the fourth century. He was archdeacon of the Roman Church in 355, when Pope Liberius was banished to Berda, and followed him into exile, but afterward returned to Rome.

On the death of Liberius, our Saint was chosen to succeed him. Ursinus, a competitor for the high office, incited a revolt, but the holy Pope took only such action as was becoming to the common father of the faithful. Having freed the Church of this new schism, he turned his attention to the extirpation of Arianism in the West, and of Apollinarianism in the East, and for this purpose he convened several councils. He rebuilt the Church of St. Laurence, which to this day is known as St. Laurence in Damaso; he made many valuable presents to this church, and settled upon it houses and lands in its vicinity. He likewise drained all the springs of the Vatican, which ran over the bodies that were buried there, and decorated the sepulchres of a great number of martyrs in the cemeteries, and adorned them with epitaphs in verse.

Having sat eighteen years and two months, he died on the 10th of December, in 384, being near fourscore years of age.

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

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Trusting in the Divine Will

As the Lord knows for what we all are adapted, He gives to all their positions as be sees to be most for His own glory, for their salvation, and the good of their neighbors. Our mistake, then, is in not submitting ourselves totally to whatever He wishes to do with us. -St. Teresa

The Lord, one day, gave St. Francis Borgia the choice of life or death for his wife, who was seriously ill. But he replied with emotion, “Why, O Lord, commit to my judgment what lies solely in Thy power? What concerns me is to follow Thy holy will in all things, since no one knows better than Thou what is best for me. Do, then, what is most pleasing to Thee, not only with my wife, but with my children also, and with myself. Fiat voluntas Tua!

A blind man earnestly entreated St. Vedastus, on the day of his festival, to give him sight, and obtained it. Then, continuing his prayer, he said that he would not have asked it, except as a help towards his salvation, when it was immediately taken away again.

The same thing happened to another, who was cured of a painful infirmity by the intercession of St. Thomas of Canterbury, but who protested to the Saint that if health was not best for him, he did not desire it. Upon this, his previous illness instantly returned, at which he felt no disappointment.

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

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Delighting in the Divine Will

So great is the delight which the angels take in executing the will of God, that, if it were His will that one of them should come upon earth to pull up weeds and root out nettles from a field, he would leave Paradise immediately, and set himself to work with all his heart, and with infinite pleasure. – Bl. Henry Suso

He himself was so satisfied with the will of God, so completely attached and submissive to it, that he said, “I would rather be a bat at the Divine will, than a seraph at my own.”

So great was the love and tenderness which St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi entertained for the Divine will, that at the mere mention of it, she would be lost in an ocean of spiritual joy, and sometimes rapt into ecstasies.

One evening, after most of the others had retired to sleep, some one said of a certain Sister that she had a great desire to do the will of God. The Saint replied joyously, “She is right, for to do the will of God is a thing most lovely” — and with that she remained bereft of sense, for she could not bear the flood of sweetness that flowed over her at the thought of the loveliness of the Divine will. She then ran through the dormitory, exclaiming, “How amiable is the Divine will!” and calling upon the rest to come and confess this with her. She excited such a tender emotion in them all, that they arose and went with her to the chapel, where they all unitedly confessed with a loud voice that the Divine will was worthy of all love, and the hearts of all were deeply stirred.

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

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The Humility of Mary

St. Augustine says, that in order to obtain more certainly and abundantly the favors of the saints, it is necessary to imitate them, for when they see us practising the virtues which they practised, then they are more moved to pray for us. . . . Let the child then endeavor, concludes St. Bernard, to imitate the mother, if he desires her favor; for when Mary sees that he honors her as a mother she will treat and favor him as a child.

St. Thomas says, whereas the other saints have excelled, each in some one particular virtue, the blessed Virgin has excelled in all, and in all the virtues has been given us for an example.

Because, as the holy Fathers teach, humility is the foundation of all the virtues, let us in the first place consider how great was the humility of the mother of God.

Humility, says St. Bernard, is the foundation and guardian of the virtues; and with reason, for without humility a soul can possess no other virtue. Let her possess all the virtues, they will all depart when humility departs. . . . The Son of God himself came on earth to teach it by his example, and he desired that in this we should especially strive to imitate him: “Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart.” And Mary, as she was the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus Christ in all the virtues, was so in that of humility, by which she merited to be exalted above all creatures.

The first act of humility of heart is to have an humble opinion of ourselves; and Mary always thought so lowly of herself.

The more she saw herself enriched, the more humble she became, remembering that all was the gift of God.

Mary did not refuse to go and serve Elizabeth for three months.

Mary, when her Son was preaching in a certain house, as St. Matthew relates, wished to speak with him, but would not enter the house unbidden.

At the time of the death of her Son, she did not shrink from appearing in public on Calvary, through fear of the disgrace of being known as the mother of one who was condemned as a criminal to die by an infamous death.

It is not to be doubted, as St. Gregory of Nyssa says, that for our nature, corrupted by sin, there is perhaps no virtue more difficult to practise than humility. But there is no escape; we can never be true children of Mary if we are not humble.

Text from St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1888).

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Conformity to the Divine Will

Conformity to the Divine will is a most powerful means to overcome every temptation, to eradicate every imperfection, and to preserve peace of heart. It is a most efficacious remedy for all ills, and the treasure of the Christian. -St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul was himself so much attached to this virtue, that it might be called his characteristic and principal one, or a kind of general virtue which spreads its influence over all the rest, which aroused all his feelings and all his powers of mind and body, and was the mainspring of all his actions. If he placed himself in the presence of God in his prayers or other exercises, his first impulse was to say with St. Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” If he was very attentive in consulting and hearkening to God, and showed great circumspection in distinguishing between true inspirations proceeding from the Holy Spirit, and false ones which come from the devil or from nature, this was in order to recognize the will of God with greater certainty, and be in a better position to execute it.

The blessed Jacopone being astonished that he no longer felt any disturbances and evil impulses, as he did at first, heard an interior voice saying: “This comes from your having wholly abandoned yourself to the Divine will, and being content with all it does.”

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

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