Mastering the Tongue

St. Vincent de Paul made himself so completely master of his tongue, that useless or superfluous words were rarely heard from his mouth, and never a single one inconsiderate, contrary to charity, or such as might savor of vanity, flattery, or ostentation. It often happened that after opening his mouth to say something unusual that came into his mind, he closed it suddenly, stifling the words, and apparently reflecting in his own heart, and considering before God whether it was expedient to say them. He then continued to speak, not according to his inclination, for he had none, but as he felt sure would be most pleasing to God.

When anything was told him which he already knew, he listened with attention, giving no sign of having heard it before. He did this to mortify self-love, which always makes us desire to prove that we know as much as others.

When he found himself overwhelmed with excessive work, he did not complain, but his ordinary words were: “Blessed be God! we must accept willingly all that He deigns to send us.”

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, when about to converse with any one, fervently repeated this prayer: Pone Domine, custodiam, ori meo, etc. — Set a watch, O Lord, before my lips, etc. (Ps 141:3)

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

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

Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

In the thirteenth century, when the persecution carried on by Frederick II was raging against the Church, there lived in Florence seven illustrious men who, united by the bonds of Christian charity, strove to make their lives conform as far as possible to the dictates of evangelical perfection. On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, 1233, when they were absorbed in prayer in the Laudesi chapel, Mary herself deigned to appear among them, inviting them to abandon all things and dedicate themselves to the service of her Son and herself. Promptly and joyfully they followed the summons of the Queen of Heaven and, abandoning wealth and relatives, withdrew to a solitary place to lead a life of austerity and union with God.

In order the better to flee the tumult of the world, after a short time they left Florence and betook themselves to Monte Senario, about nine miles northward of this city. There, for some years they continued their hidden life of penance, enjoying the ineffable sweetness promised to those who faithfully serve our divine Lord and His Holy Mother. On the evening of Good Friday, 1240, while meditating on the sorrowful mysteries which the Church commemorates on that day, the Queen of Heaven appeared to them again, bidding them found a Religious Order, the Order of her Servants, whose aim should be to spread devotion to her sorrows throughout the world. The object of this devotion was to recall the part which Mary had as the associate of Jesus in His work of redeeming mankind from the bondage of sin.

When the foundation of the Order had thus been laid by Mary herself, the Seven Holy Founders abandoned their beloved solitude of Monte Senario and undertook long journeys throughout Italy, France, Germany and Poland, everywhere preaching the sorrows and glories of Mary, converting sinners and pacifying cities. Heavenly signs accompanied the death of each of these Saints. And as one lore united them while they lived, so after their death one tomb received them all. In the course of centuries they were invoked together by the people, under the title of the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of the Servants of Mary, called also the Order of Servites. These holy men were all raised together to the honors of the altar by Pope Leo XIII, of holy memory, in the year 1888.

Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).

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

Simeon’s Prophecy

Reflections on Each of the Seven Dolors of Mary
On the First Dolor, Of Simeon’s Prophecy

In this valley of tears, every man is born to weep, and every one must suffer those afflictions that daily befall him. But how much more miserable would life be, if every one knew also the future evils which are to afflict him! Too unhappy would he be, says Seneca, whose fate was such. The Lord exercises his compassion towards us, namely, that he does not make known to us the crosses that await us; that if we are to suffer them, at least we may suffer them only once. But he did not exercise this compassion with Mary, who, because God wished her to be the queen of dolors, and in all things like his Son, and to see always before her eyes, and to suffer continually all the sorrows that awaited her; and those were the sufferings of the passion and death of her beloved Jesus. For St. Simeon in the temple, after having received the divine child in his arms, predicted to her that this child was to be the mark for all the opposition and persecution of men; “Set for a sign which shall be contradicted;” and that therefore the sword of sorrow should pierce her soul: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce.”

The blessed mother, although she knew before this that the life of her Son would be sacrificed for the salvation of the world, yet she then learned more particularly and distinctly the sufferings and cruel death that awaited her poor Son. She knew that he would be contradicted in all things. Contradicted in doctrine; for instead of being believed, he would be esteemed a blasphemer for teaching that he was the Son of God.

Contradicted in his reputation, for he was noble, of royal lineage, and was despised as a peasant: “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” He was wisdom itself, and was treated as an ignorant man: “How doth this man know letters, having never learned? As a false prophet: “And they blind folded him and smote his face…. saying: Prophesy who is this that struck thee.” He was treated as a madman: “He is mad, why hear you him?” As a wine-bibber, a glutton, and a friend of sinners: “Behold a man that is a glutton, and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners.” As a sorcerer: “By the prince of devils he casteth out devils.” As a heretic and possessed person: “Do we not say well of thee, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

The nearer the time of the passion of her Son approached, with so much greater pain did that sword of sorrow, predicted by St. Simeon, pierce the heart of the mother.

If, then, Jesus our King and his most holy mother did not refuse, for love of us, to suffer during their whole life such cruel pains, there is no reason that we should complain if we suffer a little.

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

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

Enduring Little Trials

It should be our principal business, to conquer ourselves, and, from day to day, to go on increasing in strength and perfection. Above all, however, it is necessary for us to strive to conquer our little temptations, such as fits of anger, suspicions, jealousies, envy, deceitfulness, vanity, attachments, and evil thoughts. For in this way we shall acquire strength to subdue greater ones. -St. Francis de Sales

When an old monk was asked how he could bear the noise of some shepherd boys near him, he answered: “I was at first inclined to say something to them; but I thought better of it, and said to myself, ‘If I cannot endure so little as this, how shall I endure greater trials, when they come to me?'”

St Francis Xavier acted in the same way on occasion, and said that we must not deceive ourselves; for whoever does not conquer himself in trifles, will not be able to do so in greater matters.

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 | Tagged

True Humility

Humility, to be true, must be always accompanied by charity; that is, loving, seeking, and accepting humiliations to please God, and to become more like Jesus Christ; to do otherwise, would be to practise it in the manner of the heathen. -St. Francis de Sales

St. Jerome relates of St. Paula that when she heard it said that she had become a fool through too much spiritual fervor, and that it would be well if a hole were made in her head to give air to her brain, she answered modestly, in the words of the Apostle, “Nos stulti propter Christum” — We are fools for Christ’s sake. (1 Cor 4:10)

St. Jerome also says that when she received insults, contempt, or ignominy, she never allowed the slightest word of resentment to escape from her lips, but was accustomed in such cases to repeat to herself the words of the psalm: Ego autem quasi surdus non audiebam, et quasi mutus, non aperiens os suum — But I as a deaf man, heard not, and as a dumb man, who opens not his mouth. (Ps 38:13)

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

Humble Tasks

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi willingly occupied herself in laborious tasks; and the lower and meaner they were, with the more pleasure and readiness did she accomplish them. The same thing was done by St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

The blessed Alessandro Sauli, Bishop of Aleria, a man of learning, and esteemed in his Order, willingly occupied himself, even when he was Superior, in humble employments, such as sweeping the house, washing the dishes, drawing water, bringing wood to the kitchen, working in the garden, serving the old and the sick, carrying heavy burdens on his back, taking charge of the door, ringing the bells, or helping the sacristan. When, on account of preaching or other spiritual works, he was at any time prevented from performing these daily exercises, he was accustomed to supply the omission by doing double work on the next day.

St. Camillus de Lelli was also remarkable in this way. When he was Superior General of his Order, he was often seen serving in the refectory, washing dishes in the kitchen, carrying the cross, and sometimes even the coffin, at funerals, and going about Rome with a wallet on his shoulders, begging bread; though he was blamed for it by some great nobles and cardinals who were his friends and happened to meet him in the streets in this guise.

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

Our Lady of Lourdes

As our blessed Lady cooperated with Jesus in our redemption by the martyrdom of her heart, so she does not cease to interpose her powerful intercession before the throne of God, to obtain the salvation of her devoted servants. Among all the shrines of the world from which she bestows her graces, there is none that surpasses Lourdes in splendor and celebrity. It is there especially that Mary shows herself to be truly our heavenly Mediatrix.

On the eleventh of February, 1858, toward noon, a poor but pious girl, of the name of Bernadette Soubirous, went to gather faggots on the banks of the river Gave. She was coming to the foot of the mountain, when suddenly she beheld standing before her a Lady of incomparable beauty. The Lady’s hands were devoutly joined and through them were passing the beads of a Rosary as if she were reciting it. This was the first of those apparitions which continued until Easter Monday, the fifth of April, in presence of a large concourse of people.

Bernardette, on these occasions, would begin by reciting the Rosary and our blessed Lady, as if attracted by this prayer, did not tarry in showing herself to her chosen servant.

Thus the Queen of Heaven deigned to make known to the world the treasures of her maternal goodness by means of this pious maid. She had chosen Bernardette as the instrument of wonderful happenings and as her messenger to the Christian people. On Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of February of that same year, more than twenty thousand people were assembled on the banks of the river Gave, to witness, not the apparition of Our Lady, for to Bernardette alone was the vision granted, but the spectacle of the transfiguration of the face of this simple and pious maid during her ecstasy. Indeed, the multitude could see the reflection of Our Lady in the resplendent face of Bernardette in the same way as we see the reflection of the sun on the mountain top, when the sun itself is hidden behind the rocky heights.

On one occasion Bernardette was commanded by Our Lady to turn up the dry soil with her hands, and at once there gushed forth a small spring which later grew into a limpid stream, and which, from that time, has ever continued to flow abundantly. The water from this spring, carried into different parts of the world, has wrought many marvelous cures.

We see from this how Mary, the Mother of Mercy, has designed, especially in these later times, to come to the aid of her servants. Happy are they who place their whole trust in her, for they will not be deceived.

Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).

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