St. Teresa of Avila

When a child of seven years, Teresa ran away from her home at Avila in Spain, in the hope of being martyred by the Moors. Being brought back and asked the reason of her flight, she replied, “I want to see God, and I must die before I can see Him.” She then began with her brother to build a hermitage in the garden, and was often heard repeating “Forever, forever.” Some years later she became a Carmelite nun.

Frivolous conversations checked her progress towards perfection, but at last, in her thirty-first year, she gave herself wholly to God. A vision showed her the very place in hell to which her own light faults would have led her; and she lived ever after in the deepest distrust of self. She was called to reform her Order, favored with distinct commands from Our Lord, and her heart was pierced with divine love; but she dreaded nothing so much as delusion, and to the last acted only under obedience to her confessors, which both made her strong and kept her safe. She died on October 4th, 1582.

“After all I die a child of the Church.” These were the Saint’s last words.

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

==Oct 16 (also St. Hedwige; St. Marguerite d”Youville (Canada))
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Margaret Mary was born at Terreau in Burgundy, on the 22d July, 1647. During her infancy she showed a wonderfully sensitive horror of the very idea of sin. In 1671 she entered the Order of the Visitation, at Paray-le-Monial, and was professed the following year.

After purifying her by many trials, Jesus appeared to her in numerous visions, displaying to her His Sacred Heart, sometimes burning as a furnace, and sometimes torn and bleeding on account of the coldness and sins of men. In 1675 the great revelation was made to her that she, in union with Father de la Colombiere, of the Society of Jesus, was to be the chief instrument for instituting the feast of the Sacred Heart, and for spreading that devotion throughout the world.

She died on the 17th October, 1690.

Reflection. — Love for the Sacred Heart especially honors the Incarnation, and makes the soul grow rapidly in humility, generosity, patience, and union with its Beloved.

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

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St. Callistus I

Early in the third century, Callistus, then a deacon, was intrusted by Pope St. Zephyrinus with the rule of the clergy, and set by him over the cemeteries of the Christians at Rome; and, at the death of Zephyrinus, Callistus, according to the Roman usage, succeeded to the Apostolic See. A decree is ascribed to him appointing the four fasts of the Ember seasons, but his name is best known in connection with the old cemetery on the Appian Way, which was enlarged and adorned by him, and is called to this day the Catacomb of St. Callistus.

During the persecution under the Emperor Severus, St. Callistus was driven to take shelter in the poor and populous quarters of the city; yet, in spite of these troubles, and of the care of the Church, he made diligent search for the body of Calipodius, one of his clergy who had suffered martyrdom shortly before, by being cast into the Tiber. When he had found it he was full of joy, and buried it, with hymns of praise.

Callistus was martyred October 14th, 223.

Reflection. — In the body of a Christian we see that which has been the temple of the Holy Ghost, which even now is precious in the eyes of God, who will watch over it, and one day raise it up in glory to shine forever in His kingdom. Let our actions bear witness to our belief in these truths.

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

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Jesus Presented in the Temple By Mary

What must we glean from the mystery of the Presentation of Jesus by Mary? The lesson is this, that we must not give ourselves to God’s service in order to enjoy, to have consolations, to possess unalterable peace and tranquillity. Doubtless, Jesus says: “Take My yoke, for it is sweet, and My burden is light.” But He has also said: “He that does not take up his cross daily and follow Me, is not worthy of Me.”

What, then, shall we do? We should offer ourselves in union with Mary, our Mother, give ourselves to God, and accept the pain, the sufferings, and all the crosses that He may will to send us. At first, after giving herself to God, the soul receives consolation, the service of God is full of sensible sweetness for her. There are many souls who, disgusted with the world in which they find only deceit, return to piety, to find in it peace and consolation. They seek that alone, they desire to find only that in God’s service. They serve Him as long as the Lord bestows upon them divine favors; but when He hides Himself, and wishes to substitute stronger nourishment instead of children’s food, they become disgusted, discouraged, and scrupulous. They torture their imaginations to find out what could have drawn upon them such punishment. They fancy that their confessions have not been sincere, that they have made bad Communions. They wish to find in themselves the cause of that change; but not succeeding, they become despondent, and end by abandoning their pious exercises.

We must not, indeed, disdain God’s consolations, we must receive them with joy when He sends them; but we must not seek them alone. Such sweetness, such favors pass, while Jesus alone remaineth forever. There have been saints who were favored with great sweetness from God, with ecstasies and transports but O how they suffered! God gave them those celestial favors only at long intervals. They were the recompense of their sufferings, and an encouragement to suffer still more for His love. It is by suffering that we are sanctified. It is by crosses and trials that the soul is strengthened and disengaged from self, in which blessed state it no longer seeks its satisfaction in the service of God, but in God alone.

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

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St. Edward the Confessor

Edward was unexpectedly raised to the throne of England at the age of forty years, twenty-seven of which he had passed in exile. On the throne, the virtues of his earlier years, simplicity, gentleness, lowliness, but above all his angelic purity, shone with new brightness. By a rare inspiration of God, though he married to content his nobles and people, he preserved perfect chastity in the wedded state.

So little did he set his heart on riches, that thrice when he saw a servant robbing his treasury he let him escape, saying the poor fellow needed the gold more than he. He loved to stand at his palace-gate, speaking kindly to the poor beggars and lepers who crowded about him, and many of whom he healed of their diseases.

The long wars had brought the kingdom to a sad state, but Edward’s zeal and sanctity soon wrought a great change. His reign of twenty-four years was one of almost unbroken peace, the country grew prosperous, the ruined churches rose under his hand, the weak lived secure, and for ages afterwards men spoke with affection of the “laws of good St. Edward.” The holy king had a great devotion to building and enriching churches. Westminster Abbey was his latest and noblest work.

He died January 5th, 1066.

Reflection. — David longed to build a temple for God’s service. Solomon reckoned it his glory to accomplish the work. But we, who have God made flesh dwelling in our tabernacles, ought to think no time, no zeal, no treasures too much to devote to the splendor and beauty of a Christian church.

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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St. Wilfrid

“A quick walker, expert at all good works, with never a sour face”— such was the great St. Wilfrid, whose glory it was to secure the happy links which bound England to Rome. He was born about the year 634, and was trained by the Celtic monks at Lindisfarne.

Even as a boy Wilfrid longed for perfect conformity in discipline, as in doctrine, with the Holy See, and at the first chance set off himself for Rome.

On his return, he founded at Ripon a strictly Roman monastery, under the rule of St. Benedict. In the year 664 he was elected Bishop of Lindisfarne, and five years later was transferred to the see of York. He had to combat the passions of wicked kings, the cowardice of worldly prelates, the errors of holy men. He was twice exiled and once imprisoned; yet the battle which he fought was won. He swept away the abuses of many years and a too national system, and substituted instead a vigorous Catholic discipline, modelled and dependent on Rome.

He died October 12th, 709, and at his death was heard the sweet melody of the angels conducting his soul to Christ.

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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Through Many Dangers

When we find ourselves in any danger, even a grave one, we ought not to lose courage, but to trust much in the Lord; for where the peril is greater, there also is greater aid from Him who chooses to be called the Helper in dangers and tribulations. -St. Ambrose

St. Ignatius Loyola was once on board a ship in a severe storm, when the mast was broken off, and all were weeping and trembling in expectation of death. He alone was cheerful and fearless, remembering that the winds and sea obey God, and that without His permission, tempests rise not, neither can they sink any ship, and choosing for himself whatever fate God might choose for him.

There are some who so cling to their confidence in God, that they cannot abandon it even in extreme cases which appear quite hopeless.

What could be more desperate than the situation of Susanna, accused, condemned, and led out to death? Yet she trusted in the Lord, and was set free.

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

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St. Thomas of Villanova

St. Thomas, the glory of the Spanish Church in the sixteenth century, was born A.D. 1488. A thirst for the science of the Saints led him to enter the house of the Austin Friars at Salamanca.

Charles V. listened to him as an oracle, and appointed him Archbishop of Valencia. On being led to his throne in church, he pushed the silken cushions aside, and with tears kissed the ground. His first visit was to the prison; the sum with which the chapter presented him for his palace was devoted to the public hospital. As a child he had given his meal to the poor, and two thirds of his episcopal revenues were now annually spent in alms. He daily fed five hundred needy persons, brought up himself the orphans of the city, and sheltered the neglected foundling with a mother’s care. During his eleven years’ episcopate not one poor maiden was married without an alms from the Saint.

Spurred by his example, the rich and the selfish became liberal and generous; and when, on the Nativity of Our Lady, A.D. 1555, St. Thomas came to die, he was well-nigh the only poor man in his see.

Reflection. — “Answer me, O sinner!” St. Thomas would say, “what can you purchase with your money better or more necessary than the redemption of your sins?”

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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