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Monday, June 26, 2017
Sts. John and Paul

Double (1954 Calendar): June 26

 John and Paul, Roman brothers, were imperial officers of high repute. When Julian the Apostate summoned them to appear at his court they refused, in order to remain faithful to their Master in Heaven. Having been allowed ten days in which to reconsider their decision, the brothers used the time distributing their possessions to the poor. Firm in their love of God and fellow men, John and Paul were beheaded in about A.D. 362.

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

Amidst the numerous sanctuaries which adorn the capital of the Christian universe, the church of Saints John and Paul has remained from the early date of its origin one of the chief centers of Roman piety. From the summit of the Cœlian Hill it towers over the Coliseum, the dependencies of which stretch subterraneously even as far as the cellarage of the house once inhabited by our Saints. They, the last of the Martyrs, completed the glorious crown offered to Christ by Rome, the chosen seat of his power. The conflict in which their blood was spilt consummated the triumph whose hour was sounded under Constantine, but which an offensive retaliation on the part of hell seemed about to compromise.

No attack could be conceived more odious for the Church than that devised by the apostate Cæsar. Nero and Diocletian had violently and with hatred declared against the Incarnate God a war of sword and torture; and without recrimination, Christians by thousands had died, knowing that the testimony thus demanded was merely the order of things, just as it had been in the case of their august Head before a Pontius Pilate, and upon the cross. But with the clever astuteness of a traitor, and the affected disdain of a false philosopher, Julian purposed to stifle Christianity amidst the bulrushes of an oppression progressive to a nicety, and respectfully abhorrent of human blood. Merely to preclude Christians from public offices, and to prohibit them from holding chairs for the teaching of youth, that was all the apostate aimed at! However, the blood which he wanted to avoid shedding must flow, even though a hypocrite’s hands be dyed therewith; for, according to the divine plan, bloodshed alone can bring extreme situations to an issue, and never was Holy Church menaced with greater peril. They would now make a slave of her whom they had beheld still holding her royal liberty in face of executioners. They would now await the moment when, once enslaved, she would at last disappear of herself, in powerlessness and degradation. For this reason the bishops of that time found vent for their indignant soul in accents such as their predecessors had spared to princes whose brute violence was then inundating the empire with Christian blood. They now retorted upon the tyrant scorn for scorn; and the manifestations of contempt that consequently came showering in from every quarter upon the crowned fool, completely unmasked at last his feigned moderation. Julian was now shown up as nothing but a common persecutor of the usual kind; blood flowed, the Church was rescued.

Thus is explained the gratitude which this noble Bride of the Son of God has never ceased to manifest to these glorious Martyrs we are celebrating today: for amidst the many generous Christians whose outspoken indignation brought about the solution of this terrible crisis, none are more illustrious than they. Julian was most anxious to count them among his confidants: with this view, he made use of every entreaty, as we learn from the Breviary Lessons; nor does it appear that he even made the renouncing of Jesus Christ a condition. Well then, it may be retorted, why not yield to the Imperial whim? Could they not do so without wounding their conscience? Surely too much stiffness would be rather calculated to ill-dispose the prince, perhaps even fatally. Whereas to listen to him would very likely have a soothing effect upon him; nay, possibly even bring him round to relax somewhat of those administrative trammels unfortunately imposed upon the Church by his prejudiced government. Yea, for aught one knew, the possible conversion of his soul, the return of so many of the misled who had followed him in his fall, might be the result! Should not such things as these deserve some consideration? should they not impose, as a duty, some gentle handling? Ah! yes; such reasoning as this would doubtless appear to some people as wise policy. Such preoccupation for the apostate’s salvation could easily have had nothing in it but what was inspired by zeal for the Church and for souls; and indeed the most exacting casuist could not find it a crime for John and Paul to dwell in a court where nothing was demanded of them contrary to the divine precepts. Nevertheless the two brothers resolved otherwise; to the course of soothing and reserve-making, they preferred that of the frank expression of their sentiments, and this bold out-speaking of theirs put the tyrant in a fury and brought about their death. The Church has judged their case, and she has found them not in the wrong; hence, it is unlikely that the former path would have led them to a like degree of sanctity in God’s sight.

The names of John and Paul inscribed on the sacred diptychs show well enough their credit in the eyes of the Divine Victim, who never offers Himself to the God Thrice-Holy without blending their memory with that of His own immolation. The enthusiasm excited by the noble attitude of these two valiant witnesses to the Lord, still re-echoes in the Antiphons and Responsories proper to the Feast. It was formerly preceded by a Vigil and fast; together with the sanctuary which encloses their tomb, it may be said to date as far back as the very morrow of their martyrdom. Granted by a singular privilege a place in the Leonian Sacramentary; whilst so many other martyrs slept their sleep of peace outside the walls of the Holy City, John and Paul reposed in Rome itself, the definitive conquest of which had been won for the God of armies by their gallant combat. That very same day of the year immediately succeeding their victorious death (June 26, 363), Julian fell dead, uttering against heaven his cry of rage: “Galilean, thou hast conquered!”

From the Queen City of the universe their renown, passing beyond the mountains, shone forth almost as soon and with nearly equal splendor in the Gauls. Returned from the scene of his own struggle in the cause of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, Hilary of Poitiers at once propagated their cultus. This great Bishop was called to our Lord scarce five years after their martyrdom; but he had already found time to consecrate to their name the church in which his loving hands had laid his sweet daughter Abra and her mother, awaiting the hour when he too should be joined to them in the same spot, expecting the day of the Resurrection. It was from this very church of Saints John and Paul, called later on St. Hilary the Great’s, that Clovis on the eve of the battle of Vouillé beheld streaming towards him that mysterious light, presage of the victory which would result in the expulsion of Arianism from the Gauls, and in the foundation of monarchical unity. These holy Martyrs continued, in after years, to show the interest they took in the advancement of the kingdom of God by the Franks. When the disastrous issue of the second Crusade was filling the soul of St. Bernard with bitterness (for he had preached it), they appeared to him, upraised his courage, and manifested by what secrets the King of Heaven had known how to draw His own glory out of events in which man saw only failure and disaster.

 O Almighty God, let our joy be doubled on this feast of the victory of blessed John and Paul, for they were made true brothers by sharing the same faith and the same martyrdom. Through our Lord . . .
Sunday, June 25, 2017
St. William the Abbot

Double (1954 Calendar): June 25

St. William was the Piedmontese religious founder (1085-1142).  He lived as a hermit in various regions of Italy. While he was on a height between Nola and Benevento, he was joined by a group of hermit-monks to whom he gave a rule based on that of St. Benedict. His congregation of Williamites was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. William was merciless in the austerities he imposed upon himself, believing ardently that the Christian who suffers with Jesus will also be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17).

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

Martyrs are numerous on the cycle during the Octave of St. John. But not alone in martyrdom’s peerless glory does our Emmanuel reveal the potency of his grace, or the victorious force of example left to the world by his Precursor. At the very outset, we have here presented to our homage one of those countless athletes of penance, who succeeded John in the desert; one of those who fleeing, like him, in early youth, a society wherein their soul’s foreboding told only of peril and annoy, consecrated a lifetime to Christ’s complete triumph within them over the triple concupiscence, thus bearing witness to the Lord by deeds which the world ignores, but which make angels to rejoice and hell to tremble. William was one of the chiefs of this holy militia. The Order of Monte-Vergine, that owes its origin to him, has deserved well of the Monastic institute and of the whole Church in those southern parts of Italy, wherein God has been pleased, at different times, to raise up a dyke, as it were, against the encroaching waves of sensual pleasures, by the stern spectacle of austerest virtue.

Both personally and by his disciples, William’s mission was to infuse into the kingdom of Sicily, then in process of formation, that element of sanctity upon which every Christian nation must necessarily be based. In southern, just as in northern Europe, the Norman race had been providentially called in to promote the reign of Jesus Christ. Just at this moment, Byzantium, powerless to protect against Saracen invasion the last vestiges of her possessions in the West, was anxious nevertheless to hold the Churches of these lands fast bound in that schism into which she had recently been drawn by the intriguing ambition of Michael Cerularius. The Crescent had been forced to recoil before the sons of a Tancred and a Hauteville; and now, in its turn, Greek perfidy had just been outwitted and unmasked by the rude simplicity of these men, who learned fast enough how to oppose no argument to Byzantine knavery save the sword The Papacy though for a moment doubtful soon came to understand of what great avail these new comers would be in feudal quarrels the jar and turmoil whereof were to extend far and wide for yet two centuries more leading at last to the long struggle betwixt Sacerdotalism and Caesarism All through this period as has ever been the case since the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost was directing every event for the ultimate good of the Church He it was that inspired the Normans to give solidity to their conquests by declaring themselves vassals of the Holy See and thus fixing themselves on the Apostolic rock But at the same time both to recompense their fidelity at the very opening of their career and to render them more worthy of the mission which would have ever been their honor and their strength, had they but continued so to understand it, this same Holy Spirit gave them Saints. Roger I beheld St. Bruno interceding for his people in the solitudes of Calabria, and there also that blessed man miraculously saved the duke from an ambush laid by treason. Roger II was now given another such heavenly aid to bring him back again into the paths of righteousness from which he had too often strayed, the example and exhortations of the founder of Monte-Vergine.
Following the footsteps of John, thou didst understand, O William, the charms of the wilderness; and God was pleased to make known by thee how useful are such lives as thine, spent afar from the world and apparently wholly unconcerned with human affairs. Complete detachment of the senses disengages the soul, and makes her draw nigh to the Sovereign Good; solitude, by stifling earth’s tumult, permits the voice of the Creator to be heard. Then man, enlightened by the very Author of the world concerning the great interests that are being at that very time put into play in this work of His, becomes in the Creator’s hands an instrument at once powerful and docile for the carrying out of these very interests, in reality identical with those of the creature himself and of nations. Thus didst thou become, O illustrious Saint, the bulwark of a great people, who found in thy word the rule of right; in thine example the stimulus of loftiest virtue; in thy superabundant penance, a compensation in God’s sight for the excesses of its princes. The countless miracles which accompanied thine exhortations were not without a telling eloquence of their own, in the eyes of new nations among whom success of arms had created violence and had lashed up passion to fury: that wolf, for instance, which, after having devoured the ass of the monastery, was enforced by thee to take its victim’s place in humble service; or again, that hapless woman who, beholding thee inaccessible to the scorching flames on that bed of burning coals, renounced her criminal life, and was led by thee into paths even of sanctity!

Many a revolution, upheaving the land wherein once thou didst pray and suffer, has but too well proved the instability of kingdoms and dynasties that seek not first, and before all things else, the Kingdom of God and His Justice. Despite the oblivion, alas too frequent, into which thy teaching and example have been thrown, protect the land wherein God granted thee graces so stupendous, that land which He vouchsafed to confide to thy powerful intercession. Faith still lives in its people; then keep it up, notwithstanding the efforts of the enemy in these sad days; but make it also to produce fruits in virtue’s field. Amidst many trials, thy monastic family has been able, up to this present age of persecution, to propagate itself and to serve the Church: obtain that it, together with all other Religious families, may show itself, unto the end, stronger than the tempest. Our Lady, whom thou didst serve right valiantly, is at hand to second thine efforts; from that sanctuary whose name has outlived lived the memory of the poet, who unconsciously sang her glories, may Mary ever smile upon the thronging crowds that year by year toil up the holy mount hailing the triumph of her virginity; may she accept at thy hands our hearts homage and desire, although we cannot in very deed accomplish this sacred pilgrimage.

 O God, the example and protection of Your saints, strengthen us in our own weakness, and enable us to walk in the path of salvation. May we pay fitting honor to the merits of the blessed abbot William, so that he may intercede for us and lead us in his own footsteps. Through our Lord . . .
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Damian Ashby, RIP

In your charity pray for the repose of the soul of Damian Ashby. Damian was for several years secretary of the Latin Mass Society, a good and faithful son of Holy Church.

Image of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Brighton, United Kingdom
Friday, June 16, 2017
TRADITION RISING: Cardinal Burke in Chartres Pilgrimmage

17,000 pilgrims from all over the world walk from Paris to Chartres in the strongest showing yet of traditional Catholic restoration. See awesome photos and video footage of RTV's pilgrim photographer as Michael Matt chats with Father Pendergraft about Catholic Tradition's rising worldwide youth movement.  Plus, see Cardinal Raymond Burke celebrates the TLM in Notre-Dame de Chartres.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Sts. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia

Simple (1954 Calendar): June 15

St. Vitus, born of an illustrious Sicilian family, was arrested with his tutor and his nurse. After many sufferings, they were martyred A.D. 303. In the Middle Ages St. Vitus was declared one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and came to be considered as the special patron of those inflicted with nervous disorders.

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

One of the titles of this Divine Spirit who is reigning so specially over this portion of the Cycle is the Witness of the Word (John xv. 26). Thus was He announced to the world by the Man-God Himself when about to quit it in order to return to His Father after having on His part rendered His own great testimony to Sovereign Truth (John xviii. 37). Formed by the Holy Ghost on the type of Jesus Christ, the faithful too are witnesses whose mission is to trample on lying error, the enemy of God, by expressing the Truth, not in words only but in deeds. There is a testimony however, that is not given to all to render: this is the Testimony of blood. The martyrs hold this privilege, this is the special stand granted to them in the ceaseless battle ever being waged betwixt Truth and Falsehood, and this battle is the sum total of all History. Hence Martyrs come crowding on the brilliant heavens of Holy Church at this season. In a few days the Church will be all thrilling with gladness at the birth of Saint John the Baptist, that man great beyond all men (Matthew xi. 11), and whose greatness specially consists in that he was sent by God to be a witness, to give testimony of the Light (John i. 6, 8). We will then meditate at leisure on these thoughts for which we seem to be prepared by the ever swelling groups of joyous martyrs who cross our path as it were to announce the near approach of the Friend of the Bridegroom (John iii. 29).

Today we have Vitus, accompanied by his faithful foster-parents, Modestus and Crescentia. He is but a child, yet he comes teaching us the price of Baptism and the fidelity we owe to our Father in Heaven despite all else beside. Great is his glory, both on Earth and in Heaven. The demons who used to tremble before him in life still continue their dread of him. His name remains ineffacably inscribed on the memory of the Christian people, just as that of a Saint Elmo or Erasmus, among their most potent “helpers” in daily needs. Saint Vitus, or more commonly Saint Guy, is invoked to deliver those who are attacked by that lamentable sickness which is named from him, as also to neutralise bad effects from the bite of a mad dog, and his beneficence is evinced even to the dumb brutes also. He is likewise implored in cases of lethargy, or unduly prolonged sleep. For this reason, the cock is his distinctive attribute in Christian art, as well as because recourse is usually had to this Saint when one wants to awake at some particular hour.

YOU have won the battle, glorious Martyrs! The struggle was not long, but it gained for you an eternal crown! You have purchased to yourselves, O Modestus and Crescentia, the everlasting gratitude of your God Himself, for to Him you faithfully gave back the precious charge committed to your keeping in the person of that dear child who became your very own through Faith and Baptism. And you too, noble boy, who preferred your Father in Heaven to your earthly parent, who may tell the caressing tenderness lavished on you eternally by Him whom before men you did so unflinchingly own to be your true Father? Even here below He is pleased to load you with striking marks of His munificence, for to you he confides, on a large scale, the exercise of His merciful power. Because of that holy liberty which reigned in your soul from reason’s earliest dawn by which your body was subjected to your soul’s control, you now hold over fallen nature a marvellous power. Unhappy sufferers whose distorted limbs are worked violently at the caprice of a cruel malady, and are no longer mastered by the will or, on the other hand, those who are rendered powerless and no longer free to act by reason of resistless sleep: all these recover at your feet, that perfect harmony of soul and body, that needful docility of the material to the spiritual, by which man may freely attend to the duties incumbent on him, whether as regards God or his neighbour. Vouchsafe to be ever more and more lavish in the granting of these favours, which are the precious gifts specially at your disposal, for the good of suffering mankind, and for the greater glory of your God who has given you an eternal crown. We implore you, in the words of the Church and by your merits, that God may destroy in us that pride which spoils the equilibrium of man himself and makes him deviate from his path. May it be granted us to have a thorough contempt of evil for thus is restored to man, liberty in love: superbe non sapere, sed placita humilitate proficere, ut prava despiciens, quoecumque recta sunt libera exerceat charitate.


Grant to Thy Church, O Lord, we beseech Thee, through the intercession of Thy holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, not to be highminded, but to advance in that humility which is pleasing in Thy sight, that despising such things as be evil, she may practice with overflowing charity whatsoever things are right. Through our Lord . . .
Receive Holy Communion as an Act of Reparation

An Act of Reparation From the Angel of of Peace at Fatima as taught to the three young children one year before Mary appeared in Fatima.  Let us pray this prayer during this Feast of Corpus Christi:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.
As we celebrate today the Most Glorious Eucharist, let us consider this article and perservere in our acts of reparation this day against sin.  Recall that Our Lord is already much offended as our Lady said at Fatima:

Reparation to the Sacred Heart
Fr. Raoul Plus, S. J.

Section III: The Practice of Reparation

THE spirit of reparation, if it is sincere and profound, will seek to manifest itself by a number of tangible proofs, by certain practices, which may be ranged under the following three heads: Affective reparation, effective reparation, and aiffictive reparation, according as the virtue especially exercised is love, self-sacrifice, or penance.


Sin and indifference deprive our Lord of love; therefore to make up for this we must give Him love. Hearts are turned away from God; then we must give Him ours. It is in prayer especially that the heart is given; and hence we have the practice of offering reparation by means of the Holy Hour. Our Lord is forgotten in His most Holy Sacrament. The object of this devotion is to give to our Lord not only one's own homage, but also the homage of those who deny His Real Presence, and so, according as one's duties permit, a certain time is spent in reparation before the Blessed Sacrament. These turns of prayer and watching before the Blessed Sacrament are organized and facilitated by certain Associations founded for the purpose.

Others may prefer to make a Novena of Reparation from the 1st to the 9th of each month. The purpose of this devotion is to console and compensate our Saviour for the insults He receives in the Blessed Sacrament. No exercises or set prayers are prescribed; you are advised to assist at Mass as often as possible, to receive Communion in reparation at least once, and to have a Mass said for the same intention at least once a year.

By reason of the fewness of vocations, in France alone 12,000 priests are lacking. This means that every day 12,000 Masses are not offered; there are 12,000 altars upon which the Precious Blood is not shed for the remission of sins, upon which Christ does not appear daily to restore the balance between Divine justice and man's iniquity. Why should there not be some souls who would take the place of these priests, souls devoted to the Passion and the Eucharistic sacrifice, filled with the spirit of redemption and love, who would try to make up, by the complete sacrifice of their hearts, for all these Masses that are lacking? The following method might be suggested: In the case of one who attends Mass daily, to offer the Mass for the said intention. If one is unable to attend Mass every day, to offer a particular half-hour of the day for that purpose, reciting the following or a similar prayer: "O Jesus, eternal Priest, deign to raise up numerous priests in whom Thou may fully livest Thy priestly life . . . Deign also to raise up many souls which by their detachment from the earth and their zeal for the salvation of souls will be coadjutors of the priesthood, and in a manner take the place of the priests that are lacking."

A practice taught by our Lord Himself is the devotion, in the spirit of reparation, of the First Friday. It is too well known to need much emphasis. Suffice it to quote two extracts from St. Margaret Mary's letters: "My Divine Saviour had bidden me to go to Communion on the first Friday of every month, to make reparation, so far as in me lies, for the insults that are offered to Him each month in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar." . . . "Let those who wish to honour the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a special way choose for this purpose the first Friday of each month, to offer Him homage according as their piety inspires them." (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 72.)

Everyone knows the promises -----at first sight rather surprising-----which our Lord has attached to the faithful fulfilment of these practices. No wonder he speaks of the "exceeding mercy of His Divine Heart." Those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months "will not die in My disfavour, nor without receiving the Sacraments, and my Heart will be their refuge at their last hour." And it must be admitted that it is partly in view of these wonderful promises that the devotion of the faithful to the Nine Fridays has increased so rapidly.

But it must be understood that these promises of our Lord are not to be set on the same footing as the words of the Gospels. Their value -----though it must not be minimized-----is simply such as attaches to a private revelation approved by the Church.

Moreover, it may be asked whether these words are to be taken absolutely, or are we to add the implicit condition: "Provided that he who has made the nine Fridays does not wilfully expose himself to the peril of damnation"? Authors are disagreed as to the answer. It seems to us that in this, as in the case of the sabbatine promise connected with the scapular of Mount Carmel, the second explanation is the better one.

Another practice popular among devotees of reparation, and recommended by our Lord, is that of Holy Communion offered in reparation. Really if everyone properly understood the doctrine of the Eucharist and the intention with which Christ instituted this Sacrament, no Communion would ever be received except in a sacrificial spirit. Our Lord instituted the Eucharist not so much to give us the benefit of His Presence as to associate us closely with His sacrifice. On the altar, as we have said above, He still has the intention of offering Himself absolutely to His Father for His glory and for the salvation of the world; and as by our Baptism we have become an integral part of His Person, He asks us as members of Christ to unite our sacrificial oblation to that of the Head. Thus, while the minimum disposition for the reception of the Eucharist is the state of grace, the disposition which is necessary in order to receive the fullest benefit from the Sacrament is the spirit of sacrifice.

Since, however, many of those who go to Communion are far from having this comprehensive, and yet only truly exact, idea of the Eucharist, also because it is permissible to each individual to emphasize more or less the reparative aspect of  Holy Communion, we can understand why our Lord should have recommended in a particular way the offering of Masses and the reception of Holy Communion in reparation for the insults offered to the Blessed Sacrament.

In accordance with this desire of our Lord an Association was founded in I854 -----and erected canonically at Paray in I865-----with the special object of "consoling our Lord by the frequent reception of Holy Communion, of turning away from us the scourge of His anger and His chastisements, and of making reparation and expiation in a certain measure for the continual blasphemies committed against the Divine Majesty and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar." These are Pius Xl's own words.

This offering of oneself in reparation is specially recommended at Mass and Communion. But it may profitably be renewed at other moments during the day. Our Lord had suggested to St. Margaret Mary that she should offer a prayer or an act of reparation thirty-three times during the day in honour of the thirty-three years of His life on earth. The practice is a praiseworthy one, as long as too much stress is not laid on the mathematical aspect of the devotion. Others will prefer to make an offering to God for the sake of reparation at the thought that at this very minute our Lord is offering Himself to the Father in a Mass which is now being celebrated. Given the number of priests in the world it may be calculated that about four consecrations take place every second; hence it is certain that at whatever moment we may make the oblation of ourselves, our Lord is offering Himself too. In any case is not our Lord in the constant act of offering Himself, since in our tabernacles He remains always in the state of perpetual victimhood?

It is significant that in the Memoirs of St. Margaret Mary we find this request of our Lord: "Every time that I tell you of the ill-treatment which I receive from this soul, I want you, after receiving Me in Holy Communion, to prostrate yourself at My feet, to make amends to My love, offering to My eternal Father the bloody sacrifice of the Cross for this intention, and offering your whole being to give homage to Mine, and to make reparation for the indignities that are put upon Me by this soul. Setting Me on the throne of your heart, you will adore Me prostrate at My feet. You will offer yourself to My eternal Father to appease His just anger, and to urge His mercy to forgive them." (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 147.)

More efficacious for reparation, because free from any defect whatever, are the acts of homage and reparation of our Lord Himself. It is true that we are called upon to fill up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ, but however generous we may be, our offering will never be more than a mere drop in the wine of the chalice. Our Lord, fortunately, supplies all our deficiencies. Let us, then, offer our drop of water, but still more let us offer the Precious Blood of the Divine Head. The offering of that Blood is the great act of reparation, and by reason of my Baptismal vocation whereby I am one with Christ, I can take my humble part in it.

To give God a moment of the day in reparation is an excellent thing. But what if one could give Him the entire day? "I don't like sleeping," said a little girl once to her mother; "I don't like going to bed; so much time given to sleeping is so much time lost to loving." And what she said of sleep may be said too of external occupations. As a matter of fact, as we have explained elsewhere, both our sleep and our external occupations, although they are not explicit acts of prayer, may be transformed by us into a state of prayer through our intention. So that the child is not quite right, when it is a matter of the love of God.

Nevertheless, supposing that we were able to make every moment of our day an explicit act of prayer, what a harvest there would be! But what is not possible for one individual may become possible where there is a group; and this is the principle of the "Guard of Honour." In a celebrated vision to St. Margaret Mary the Angels offered to make an alliance with her, undertaking to adore the Blessed Sacrament in her place while she was busy with her domestic occupations (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 108), and to make reparation "for all the daily acts of irreverence committed before the face of God."

The Saint thereupon desired that this idea should become widely known. In the year 1863 the practical formula was invented at the Visitation Convent at Bourg. Each member of the Guard of Honour chooses an hour of the day, undertaking during that time to think more than usual of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to offer to him at least one sacrifice and an act of love. No special practice of piety is prescribed; nothing more than the duty of the moment.

But sin abounds during the night as well as during the day. So some have adopted the pious custom of devoting an hour to prayer during the night from Thursday to Friday to commemorate the terrible night which Christ passed during His Agony. How can we think of the horrors of Gethsemane without wishing to offer to our Lord the homage of our adoration and reparation? Every devout soul must feel inclined to say with the young girl who was later to be Sister Claire of Jesus: "When you have meditated on the Passion of Christ how is it possible to lie down in bed, when you think that it is the hour in which our Lord suffered His Agony in the Garden! Can I think of Christ bowed under that weight of suffering and yet not seek with my tears, my prayers, my sacrifices and my love, to console my Divine Master and give Him a word of comfort?"

"The darkness of night seemed to open," so writes Huysmans of the Agony in the Garden, "and as in a frame of sombre shadows there appeared pictures lit up by a mysterious light. On a background that glowed with menacing radiance the centuries passed in procession, pushing before them sins of idolatry and incest, sacrileges and murders, all the ancient crimes that had been committed since the fall of Adam; and the cheers of wicked Angels greeted them as they passed. Jesus, overcome with grief, lowered His eyes. When He raised them again, these phantoms of past generations had disappeared; but there before Him now were the crimes of the Jews to whom He was preaching the Gospel, drawn up in menacing array. He saw Judas, He saw Caiphas, He saw Pilate . . . He saw Peter. He saw the brutes who would strike Him on the face, who would encircle His brow with the crown of thorns. Gaunt against the sinister sky rose the Cross, and groans were heard from the nether regions. He rose to His feet, and dizzy and tottering, reached out for a supporting arm. He was alone.

"He dragged Himself as far as the spot where He had left His disciples; and there they were asleep in the peaceful night. He aroused them. They looked at Him agape, filled with fright, wondering whether this man with the distraught gestures and strained eyes was indeed the same Jesus Whom they had seen transfigured before them on Mount Thabor, with radiant face and garment of snow. Our Lord could not but give them a pitying smile. He only reproached them with not having kept awake, and twice more He went back to suffer in his corner of the Garden.

"He knelt to pray, and this time it was no longer the past and the present, but still more terrible, the future that unfolded itself before His eyes; the centuries to come followed one after another, showing changing countries and changing towns; even the seas and the continents changed their form before His eyes; only men remained the same, though their costumes altered from age to age; they continued to steal and to kill, they persisted in crucifying their Saviour, to sate their greed for luxury and gain. Amidst the changing civilization of the ages, the Golden Calf stood there immovable, ruler of mankind. Then it was that, overcome with sorrow, Jesus sweated Blood and cried: 'Father, if it be possible let this chalice pass from Me.  . . . But Thy will be done.' "

Jesus Himself has asked for souls generous enough to share and thus console Him in His Agony: "Every Thursday night," He said to St. Margaret Mary, "I will make you share in the mortal sorrow that I suffered in the Garden of Olives, a sorrow which will give you an agony harder to bear even than death. And to keep Me company in the humble prayer which I then offered to the Father, you will prostrate yourself on your face, to appease the Divine justice, asking mercy for sinners." (Ed. Paray, t. II, p. 126.)

Compare this request with those sad words related in the Gospels: "Could you not watch one hour with Me?" (Mark xiv:38), and ask yourself whether you would not do well to adopt this beautiful devotion of the Holy Hour. Since it is not always possible or desirable for all to get up in the middle of the night, the Church permits that the Holy Hour should begin at any time after four, or even from two o'clock onwards during the shorter days of the year. Evidently, where it is possible, eleven o'clock at night is the hour indicated, because this is approximately the hour at which our Lord was in the Garden; this was the hour chosen by St. Margaret Mary; and moreover prayer at that time has an additional merit from the sacrifice of one's sleep. Plenty of pretexts may be found for refusing this act of devotion. A little generosity is needed. Why is it that a person who does not hesitate to sacrifice his or her night for some social function or to listen to the wireless, finds that it would be injurious to health to pray for an hour during the night once a week or once a month? Let us confess that we are weak; but let us not add hypocrisy to our weakness.

A very practical form of the Holy Hour is that invented by P ère Mateo; it is called "Night Watching in the Home." Seven persons, either in the same house or in different houses, undertake once a month to make an hour's adoration before the picture of the Sacred Heart, between ten o'clock in the evening and five in the morning. By December, 1928-----that is, within eighteen months from its inception-----this devotion had rallied 21,766 adherents, thus ensuring 2723 nights of adoration, or an average of 900 adorers every night, or 110 a minute. This movement has received the august approval of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, all the archbishops and bishops of Portugal, eleven bishops of France, and several other prelates of Spain, Belgium, Uruguay and Venezuela. 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
St. Basil the Great

Double (1954 Calendar): June 14

St. Basil the Great (329-79) was the founder of a monastic colony at Pontus in Asia Minor, for which he wrote his famous Rule, which ranks in importance with that of St. Benedict in the West. In 370 he was made Metropolitan of Caesarea, and by his brave fight against a heresy then at its height and supported by the Emperor, he saved the whole of Cappadocia for the Catholic Faith. Basil's wonderful care for the poor inspired others to imitate his charity. His doctrinal writings were as outstanding as was his administration of his diocese; and his sublime work on the Holy Spirit has never been surpassed in Catholic theology.  He was a friend of St. Gregory Nazianzen.

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

The Doctors who form the fourfold glory of the Greek Church complete their sacred number, on the cycle, this day. John Chrysostom was the first to greet us with his radiant light, during Christmastide; the glorious Pasch saw the rise of two resplendent luminaries, Athanasius and Gregory Nazianzen; Basil the Great, having checked his effulgent blaze till now, illumines the reign of the Holy Ghost. He well deserves so distinguished a place, by reason of his eminent doctrine and brave combats, which prepared the way for the triumph of the divine Paraclete over the blasphemies of the impious sect of Macedonius, who used against the Third Person of the Consubstantial Trinity, the very same arguments invented by Arius against the Divinity of the Word. The Council of Constantinople, putting the finishing stroke to that of Nicæa, formulated the faith of the Churches, in Him who proceedeth from the Father, no less than doth the Word Himself, Who is adored and glorified conjointly with the Father and the Son. Basil was not there on the day of victory; prematurely exhausted by austerities and labors, he had been sleeping the sleep of peace for quite two years when this great definition was promulgated. But it was his teaching that inspired the assembled council; his word remains as the luminous expression of tradition, concerning the Holy Spirit, who is himself the divine loadstone attracting all in the vast universe that aspire after holiness, the potent breeze uplifting souls, the perfection of all things.


O Lord, graciously hear the prayers we offer on the feast of Your blessed confessor bishop Basil. Forgive us all our sins through the merits and intercession of this saint who served You so well on earth. Through our Lord . . .
Friday, June 9, 2017
Sts. Primus and Felician

Simple (1954 Calendar): June 9

The aged Primus and Felician were Roman citizens and blood brothers who suffered martyrdom under Emperor Diocletian. By their death they entered into a more perfect union than that of human kinship, becoming for all eternity glorified members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

The following is taken from the writings of Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877:

Primus and Felicianus, two holy martyrs, were brothers and natives of Rome. They were renowned on account of their birth and wealth, but still more on account of the blameless life they led and their determination to remain constant in the true faith, though they knew the suffering which was in store for them as well from their pagan parents, as from other persecutors of the Christian faith. At that period the emperors Dioclesian and Maximian reigned, and the Christians were most cruelly persecuted. Many of them were cast into prison, while others were put: to death by the most barbarous torments. The two zealous brothers visited the imprisoned Christians frequently, and sacrificed all their possessions to comfort them, while they cheered and encouraged those that were led to execution, exhorting them to remain faithful to Christ. The idolatrous priests could not endure this, and incited the people against the two holy brothers, as against two sworn enemies of the gods, and accused them before the Emperor, demanding their execution.

Both were brought before the Emperor and called upon to renounce their faith: they, however, said fearlessly, that they would rather die, than obey the Emperor in this point. They were cast into a dungeon and heavily chained. But in the first night an angel appeared to them, who loosed their fetters and set them free. They immediately returned to their former kind deeds not willing to save their lives by flight, as many advised them to do. The Emperor, being informed of this, summoned them into his presence, and endeavored more than before, by promises and menaces to persuade them to abjure their faith, and at last sent them to the temple of Hercules to offer incense to this idol. Both brothers refused to obey, and the Emperor gave orders that after having been scourged, they should be taken to the Governor of Momentum, a village about 12 miles from Rome, and very hostile to the Christians. Before they were led thither, an angel again appeared and healed their wounds. No sooner had the two Christian heroes appeared before Promotus, the cruel Governor of the town, than he ordered them to be beaten with clubs until they should change their minds. This was a punishment ordained by law only for slaves and other low people, and the tyrant had it executed upon the two noble brothers in derision of their faith.

It was a most painful punishment as the clubs were scourges twisted together of many cords, with leaden balls fastened at the end. With these the condemned were whipped on the bare back and neck. The two holy brothers had to endure this martyrdom, and were more cruelly whipped than the greatest criminals. They, however, manifested no sign of pain, but encouraging each other, they united in praising God, humbly begging His assistance: "Strengthen us, O God!" cried they; "be with us O God! Our only hope, strengthen us, that all may recognize Thee as the only true God." The torture was prolonged until the executioners, tired out with whipping, were no longer able to torment the Saints. The Governor wondered at the constancy, or, as he said, the obstinacy of the two brothers, and to cause them sooner to obey him, he separated them and had them confined in different prisons.

A few days later, he had Felicianus alone brought before him, to whom he said: "Is it not a contemptible blindness that you should persist in ending your days in agony," (Felicianus was 80 years old) "when, by obeying the Emperor, you have the opportunity of closing your life honored and favored by him?" The Saint replied: "Is it not a much more contemptible blindness that you, a man of so much mind and importance, should worship a piece of wood as God, and thus cast yourself, after the few short days of life, into never-ending pains and torments, while you have the opportunity, by receiving the true faith, to make yourself eternally happy with the true God? "These fearless words enraged the Governor beyond endurance, and he ordered the Saint to be fastened to a pole by an iron nail, and there to be left hanging. The Saint, casting his eyes towards heaven, said: "I have placed my trust in God; I shall not fear the hand of man."

Three days the hero had to remain on the pole, after which he was taken back to prison. Meanwhile Promotus had Primus brought before him and said to him that at last the eyes of his brother Felicianus had been opened, and that he had sacrificed to Jupiter, for which reason the Emperor had raised him to the highest dignities, and that Primus might expect the same favors if he followed his brother's example. But Primus knew the constancy of his brother, as an angel had revealed it to him. Hence he reproved Promotus with earnest words. Enraged at this, the governor said: "Either you will immediately sacrifice to Jupiter, or I shall deal with you more cruelly than with all the others." "I sacrifice to the true God only," replied Primus, "and fear not your cruelties." Hardly had these words passed his lips, when the tyrant gave orders to scourge him with hard thongs, until his whole body was one great wound. After this they burned him for a long time with torches. Primus's countenance was bright and cheerful during this inhuman torture. To prevent this, by command of the tyrant, they poured melted lead into his mouth. How terrible must have been this suffering is easily to be conceived. Constantine the Great had ordered this kind of punishment for those who by impure language had seduced others to unchastity. "Whoever with impure speeches seduces any one to unchastity," says the law, " shall have his mouth closed with melted lead." The tyrants had already in earlier times used this punishment to torture the Christians.

St. Primus was sentenced to this suffering in order that he might no longer praise the true God. He, however, swallowed the lead without the least sign of pain, and then turning to Promotus, said: " Acknowledge at length, unhappy man, the omnipotence of my God, and be converted to Him that you may not go to eternal damnation." Promotus, furious and unwilling to hear more, ordered the brothers to to be cast to the wild beasts. The order was obeyed, but neither the fiercely roaring lion, nor the cruel bear, which they let loose upon them, harmed either of them, but crouching at their feet, thus evinced their reverence for the holy men. Many of the heathens, who witnessed this spectacle, were so deeply touched by the miracle, that they cried: " Great is the God of the Christians, and He alone is the true God!" Promotus, fearing an insurrection, had both the valiant confessors decapitated without loss of time; and thus they, both, after many heroic battles, obtained the crown of immortality in heaven, in the year of our Lord 287.

May we always be worthy to celebrate the feast of Your holy martyrs, Primus and Felician, O Lord, so that through their intercession we may be sheltered under Your gracious protection. Through our Lord . . .
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Fourteen Holy Helpers

What is the devotion known as the 14 Holy Helpers Devotion?

To modern Catholics who have seen much of their heritage forgotten and neglected - especially over the last 100 years - few likely have heard of the 14 Holy Helpers.  But the 14 Holy Helpers are a group of fourteen saints who are patrons against various diseases.  Devotion to the 14 Holy Helpers originated in the 14th century largely as a result of the Black Death (the bubonic plague).  The miracles attributed to these saints won for them the distinction as the 14 Holy Helpers. 

And even in our modern era, when we thankfully and by the grace of God have a wide number of treatments and cures for illnesses, we can invoke their patronage for the many souls who die each year in less developed parts of the world due to a number of treatable or incurable diseases. 

Who are the 14 Holy Helpers?

They are the following 14 saints.  You may follow the links for more information on specific saints.

St. Agathius
St. Barbara
St. Blaise
St. Catherine of Alexandria
St. Christopher
St. Cyriacus
St. Denis
St. Erasmus
St. Eustace
St. George
St. Giles
St. Margaret of Antioch
St. Pantaleon
St. Vitus

What are the 14 Holy Helpers Patron Saints Against?

Saint Christopher and Saint Giles were invoked against the plague itself. Saint Denis was prayed to for relief from headache, Saint Blaise for ills of the throat, Saint Elmo, for abdominal maladies, Saint Barbara for fever, and Saint Vitus against epilepsy. Saint Pantaleon was the patron of physicians, Saint Cyriacus invoked against temptation on the deathbed, and Saints Christopher, Barbara, and Catherine for protection against a sudden and unprovided-for death. Saint Giles was prayed to for a good confession, and Saint Eustace as healer of family troubles. Domestic animals were also attacked by the plague, and so Saints George, Elmo, Pantaleon, and Vitus were invoked for their protection. Saint Margaret of Antioch is the patron of safe childbirth. 

Source: Hammer, Bonaventure (1995). "The Fourteen Holy Helpers". Retrieved 6 November 2007.

Is there a Feast of the 14 Holy Helpers?

Indulgences were attached to devotions to the 14 Holy Helpers by Pope Nicholas V though these devotions no longer apply.  However, it is still encouraged and meritorious to pray to them for their intercession.  All of these saints have individual feastdays as part of the Traditional Catholic Calendar.  Unfortunately, four of them lost individual feastdays in the Novus Ordo Calendar changes of 1969.  

And furthermore, the Fourteen Holy Helpers are celebrated as a group on August 8th though this feastday was never a part of the General Roman Catholic Calendar but instead is celebrated only in certain places.

Novena to the 14 Holy Helpers:

For a Novena to the 14 Holy Helpers, please click here.

More Information:

For more information, please check out the book by Bonaventure Hammer entitled "The Fourteen Holy Helpers"
Litany of English Saints

Remember not. O Lord, our offenses, nor those of our parents: neither take thou vengeance of our sins.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Jesus, receive our prayers. Lord Jesus, receive our petitions.

God the Father, Creator of the world, Have Mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of mankind, Have Mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, Perfecter of the elect, Have Mercy on us.

Sacred Trinity, three Persons and one God, Have Mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for England. *

Holy Mary, Queen of Angels, who alone destroyest all heresies, *

Holy Mary, Virgin of virgins, whose eminent sanctity our Lord hath honoured with so many miracles, *

St. Michael, prince of the Church, *

St. Gabriel, glorious messenger of our Saviour's Incarnation, *

St. Raphael, faithful guide of those who have lost their way, *

Holy Angel, to whose pious custody this province is committed, *

All ye holy Angels and blessed Spirits of heaven, who celebrate with joy the conversion of sinners, *

St. John Baptist, precursor of the Messias, and great example of penance, *

All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets, friends of God, and advancers of His truth, *

St. Peter, prince of the Apostles, and supreme pastor of Christ's sheep, *

St. Paul, doctor of the Gentiles, who, of a persecutor, becamest a preacher, *

St. Andrew, first disciple of Christ, and constant lover of the cross, *

All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists, chief planners of the Christian faith, and zealous maintainers of Catholic unity, *

St. George, our principal patron, *

St. Alban, our first martyr, *

St. Thomas of Canterbury, who, as a faithful shepherd, laidst down thy life in defense of the Church, *

All ye holy Martyrs of this nation, who voluntarily lost your lives here to find them in a joyful eternity, *

St. Gregory, most vigilant Bishop of the Universal Church, whose pious zeal sent missioners from Rome for the conversion of our ancestors, *

St. Augustin, Apostle of this nation, by whom our forefathers were reclaimed from paganism and infidelity, *

St. Bede, most venerable Confessor, by whose religious life and learned writings the Catholic faith was eminently propagated amongst us, *

All ye holy Bishops and Confessors, by whose wisdom and sanctity this island was once a flourishing seminary of religion, *

St. Helen, most holy queen, and mother of the first Christian emperor, *

St. Ursula, most blessed martyr, who died in the a glorious defense of faith and chastity, *

St. Winefride, most admirable virgin, even in this unbelieving generation still miraculous, *

All ye holy Saints of this nation, who, amidst the innumerable joys of heaven, still retain a particular charity for the salvation of your country, *

All ye holy Saints of all places who, though divided here in several regions, were united in the same faith, and now enjoy one common felicity, *

Be merciful, Spare us, O Lord.

Be merciful, to us

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

From the dangers most justly threatening our sins, Deliver England, O Lord. **

From the spirit of pride, rebellion, and apostacy, **

From the spirit of hypocrisy, profaneness, and sacrilege, **

From the presumption of private opinion, and contempt of the authority of thy Church, **

From schism, heresy, and all blindness of heart, **

From gluttony, drunkenness, and the false liberty of an undisciplined life, **

We sinners, Beseech thee, hear us.

That it may please thee to hasten the conversion of this our miserable country, and reunite it to the ancient faith and communion of thy Church,
We beseech thee, hear us. ***

That it may please thee particularly to have mercy on our relations, friends, and benefactors, and open their eyes to see the beauty of thy truth, and embrace it, ***

That it may please thee to comfort and strengthen thy servants, who suffer for the Catholic faith, ***

That it may please thee not to permit the weakest of us by any temptation whatsoever, to fall away from thee and thy truth, ***

That it may please thee to assist with thy special grace those good pastors who venture their lives for their flock, ***

That it may please thee daily to augment in them the fire of thy love and the zeal of gaining souls, ***

That it may please thee to preserve the Catholics of this land from all sin and scandal, ***

That it may please thee so to adorn their lives with solid piety, that others, seeing their good works, may glorify thee our heavenly Father, ***

That it may please thee to enlighten the hearts of all schismatics with thy powerful grace, ***

That it may please thee to shew them the danger of their state, and the great importance of eternal salvation, ***

That it may please thee mercifully to look down from heaven on the tears of the afflicted, and the blood of so many martyrs, who have spent their lives, and suffered death, to convert us to thee, ***
Son of God, ***

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, whose judgments are righteous and counsels unsearchable; who visitest the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation, and yet at length rememberest mercy; forgive, we beseech thee, the sins of our forefathers, and turn away thy wrath from their posterity: deliver the ignorant from being seduced by false teachers, and the learned from being abused by their passions, and the whole nation from the spirit of contradiction, licentiousness, and discord; that instead of so many divisions and changes in religion, under which they labour, they may be again restored to that unity of mind, steadiness of faith, and tranquillity of conscience, which is no where to be sought but in the communion of thy Church, nor possible to be found but by the conduct of thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Round 18: Collectible Catholic Books for Sale

Here is the next installment in the books that I am selling.  Please contact me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in any of these titles.

All are hardcovers in good condition and sell for $18/each or two for $30.  All prices include shipping.

"History of the Catholic Church," James Hitchcock, 526 pp., 2012

"Saints of the Americas," M. Habig, OFM, 328 pp., 1974
"The Church, a Divine Mystery," Roger Hassevelt, 274 pp., 1954

"Novena, the Power of Prayer," Calamari and DiPasqua, 154 pp., 1999

"Forty Years After: Pius XI and the Social Order," 301 pp., 1947

 "Daily Life in the Time of Jesus," Henri Daniel-Rops, 496 pp., 1962

"Miracles," Jean Helle, 288 pp., 1952

"Principles of Natural Theology," George Joyce, SJ, 599 pp., 1951

"The Communion of Saints," Rev. Charles McGinnis, 382 pp., 1912

"Marriage Cases, a Handbook for Priests," Msgr. Adrian Dwyer, STL, 101 pp., 1964

"God and His Infinite Perfections, Rev. James Kennedy, 277 pp., 1934

"An Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament," 775 pp., 1981
Friday, June 2, 2017
Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

Simple (1954 Calendar): June 2

The following is taken from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

The glory of martyrdom illumines this day with a profusion rarely met with in the cycle; and already we seem to descry the rosy dawn of that brightest day of this month, on which Peter and Paul will consummate in their blood their own splendid confession. Italy and Gaul, Rome and Lyons concur in forming a legion of heroes in the service of heaven. For today Lyons, the illustrious daughter of Rome, is keeping the special festival of a whole phalanx of warriors, headed by the veteran chief, St Pothinus, disciple of St Polycarp, who, in the second century, levied the brave recruits of his battalion on the banks of the Rhone. But to the mother Church are due the first honours. Let us, then, hail Marcellinus, together with the numerous progeny begotten by his fruitful priesthood, and rendered worthy by the Holy Ghost to share in his triumph. Let us hail, likewise, the exorcist, Peter, leading to the sacred font a long line of pagans whom he won over to Christ by proving to them the weakness of the demons.

When Christianity appeared on earth, Satan was indeed, and visibly so, the Prince of this world. Unto him was every altar reared; to his empire were all laws and customs subservient. From the depths of their famous temples, the demon chiefs directed the political affairs of the cities that came to consult their oracles; under divers names, the frailest of the fallen angels found honour and influence, at the domestic hearth; others had posts assigned to them, in forests, on mountains, at fountains, or on sea, occupying, in opposition to God, this world that had been created by him for his Glory, but which Satan, through man’s complicity, had conquered. Four thousand years of abandonment on the part of Heaven, permitted the usurper to consolidate his conquest; and a well planned resistance was skillfully prepared, against the day wherein the lawful King should offer to re-enter on his rights.

The coming of the Word made Flesh, was the grand signal for the asserting of the divine claim. The prince of this world, personally vanquished by the Son of God, understood well enough that he must needs return to the depths of hell. But the countless powers of darkness constituted by him, would maintain the struggle, through the length of ages, and dispute their position inch by inch. Driven from towns by the abjurations of holy Church and the triumph of martyrs, the infernal legions would fain marshall their ranks in the wilderness; there under the leadership of an Anthony or a Pachomius, the soldiers of Christ must wage against them ceaseless and terrific battle. In the West, Benedict, the Patriarch of Monks, in his turn, meets with altars to the demons, yea, with demons themselves on the heights of Cassino, as late as the sixth century. Even in the seventh, they are found contending against St. Gall, for hold on the woods, lakes, and rocks of what we now call Switzerland; and at last they are heard uttering mournful complaint, because, driven as they have been from the haunts of men, even such desolate spots as these are denied them. Verily, in the divine mind, the vocation of a monk to the desert, has for its end, not alone flight of the world and its concerns, but likewise, the pursuit of demons into their last entrenchments.

We have dwelt thus upon the foregoing considerations, because their importance is extreme, and is equalled only by depth of systematic ignorance persisted in, on this subject. True Christians of course firmly believe, now as formerly, in the secret and wholly spiritual combat which the soul has to sustain against hell, in the privacy of one’s own conscience; but too many have no scruple in rejecting, as if belonging to the domain of imagination, whatever is related of those other combats maintained, by our fathers, against the demons, in an exterior and more public manner. The excuse for such Christians is no doubt, in the fact that they live in a land, where, centuries ago, this war in its external phases, was ended by the social victory of Christendom. But the Holy Ghost has declared that the old serpent, bound up for a thousand years, is at last to be again unchained for a while.1 If, perchance, we be nearing this fatal epoch, it is high time to look about us; ill prepared shall we be for the waging again of the olden battles, by such ignorance as ours, in which we are maintained by that habit of abandoning, to the conceited impertinence of the shallow science that rules the day, facts, (under the name of legend,) the best attested in the history of our ancestors. After all, what is History, even, since the revolt of Lucifer, but the picture of the war that is being waged between God and Satan? Now if, as we have said, Satan has, by divine permission, invaded the exterior world, as well as that of souls, must it not be needful, in order, (as our Lord expresses it) to cast him out, (John, xii. M. 2) that the struggle with him be breast to breast and foot to foot, inasmuch as it has assumed an exterior and visible character?

“The Word,” says Saint Justin, ” was made Flesh “for two ends: to save believers, and to drive away “demons.” (Apol. vi.)  So also, the expulsion of demons from the places they occupy in this material world, and specially the bodies of men, the noblest part thereof, would appear in the Gospel, to have been one of the chief characteristics of our Saviour’s power. Again, when on quitting the earth, He sent his Apostles to continue His work amidst the Nations, this is the very thing He singles out as a primary sign of the mission they are to fulfil. (Mk, 16:17) The world of that day made no mistake about it. Soon enough had the pagans to state the cessation of the ancient oracles, in every place; (Plutarch, De oraculor. Defectu) the cause of a phenomenon of such import to the ancient religion was evident to all: the very demons themselves were not backward in ascribing to the Christian, this their enforced silence. As regards this power of Christianity against hell, the Apologists of the second and third centuries, appeal, on the subject, to public testimony, without fear of a contradicting voice. “Before the eyes of everyone,” says Saint Justin to the Emperors, “the Christians drive “out demons in the Name of Jesus Christ, not “only in Rome, but in the whole universe.” (2 Apol. vi.) The gods of Olympus beheld themselves shamefully unmasked, in the presence of their confused adorers, and Tertullian might well challenge thus the magistrates of the Empire: “Let one of those men, who declare themselves to be under the power of the gods be brought before your tribunals: at the commanding word of the first comer amongst us, the spirit whereby they are possessed, will be constrained to confess what he is ; if he avow not himself a demon and no god, fearing to lie unto a Christian, at once shed the blood of this Christian blasphemer. But no; the terror they have of Christ is the reason why the mere touch, or even breathing of one of his servants, forces them to take to flight.” (Apol. 23)

So then, we see, Baptism sufficed to give unto man such power as this; and verily this was the real meaning of our Lord’s promise, when speaking of those who would believe in Him, and not alone of the heads of the Church, He said: In my name they shall cast out devils. (Mk 16:17)  At an early date, however, the Church organising the holy war, constituted among her sons one special Order having for its direct mission the pursuit of Satan, on every point of this visible world. The Exorcists were by this delegation, invested with a power that must needs accelerate the downfall of the prince of this world; and, what would be all the more odious and humiliating in this defeat, the Church raised no higher than to the rank of inferior clergy, an order so terrible to hell. Lucifer had aimed at being equal to the Most-High; (Is 14:12-15) hurled down from heaven, he at least flattered himself in his folly to be able to supplant God upon the earth: and lo! the charge of defeating him here, is confided not to angels, his equals by nature, but to men, yea, to the least and lowest of this race so easily tricked, that for long ages he had seen men prostrate before him! Lo ! the hand of flesh constrains him, spirit though he be, to come off his throne; at their word he must needs cast away his vain adornments, he must unmask himself; the water they bless, rekindles within him his eternal tortures; of the prince of this world and his pomps, naught remains but mere Satan, the ugly faced apostate, the condemned criminal wincing in the dust, at the feet of the sons of men, or fleeing like a dry leaf, at the breath of their mouth.

The archangel Michael recognizes in these sons of Adam, the worthy allies of the faithful angels he led forward to victory. But amid these continuators of the mighty battle begun on the heights of heaven,1 the Exorcist, Peter, comes before us to-day radiant with matchless splendour. The triumph of martyrdom has been added to his victories, won over Satan’s cohorts. None better than he, drove hell backwards; for, chasing the demons out of men’s bodies, he moreover made conquest of their souls. The Priest Marcellinus, his companion in martyrdom, as he had been in victory, is likewise his associate in glory. The Church wishes that these two names of theirs so redoubtable to the spirits of darkness, should shine in one same aureola here below as in heaven. Daily doth she render them the most solemn homage in her power by naming them both, on the dyptich of the Holy Sacrifice together with the Apostles and her first song. Such was the importance of the mission they fulfilled and the renown of their final combat, that their bodies, translated to the Via Latina, became the nucleus of an illustrious cemetery. The Christians of the age of peace, that came soon after their glorious confession, vied with one another in obtaining sepulture near these soldiers of Christ whose protection they craved; Constantine the Great, the vanquisher of Idolatry, deposited at their sacred feet, the remains of his mother, Saint Helena, who had herself become a terror to the demons by her discovering the True Cross. A celebrated inscription was composed in their honour, by Saint Damasus, who in childhood, had learned the details of their martyrdom, from the very executioner himself, afterwards converted; this inscription hard by their tomb, completed the monuments of that catacomb, wherein Christian art had multiplied its richest teachings.

To the memory of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, is joined in the Liturgy of to-day, the name of a holy Bishop and Martyr, formerly well known to the Faithful. If the Acts of his life that have reached us, are not free from all reproach in a critical point of view, the favours obtained by the intercession of this Saint Erasmus or Elmo, wafted his name over the whole of Christendom, as is attested by the numberless forms this name assumed, in various countries of the West during the Middle Ages. He holds a place in the group of Saints styled auxiliatores or Helpers, whose cultus is wide spread in Germany and Italy more particularly. Mariners look upon him as their patron, because of a certain miraculous voyage related in his life; one of the tortures to which he was subjected during his Martyrdom, has made him be invoked for the cholic. Nor should we forget to mention here, how great a veneration Saint Benedict, the Patriarch of Western Monks, had for Saint Erasmus; when he quitted the Campagna for his solitude on the banks of the Anio, he marked his principal station between Subiaco and Monte Cassino, by building a church and monastery, at Veroli, under the invocation of this holy Martyr; another was dedicated by him in Rome likewise, to St. Erasmus.

Let us now read the few lines devoted by the Church to the memory of our three Saints:
Peter, an Exorcist, was cast into prison at Rome, under the Emperor Diocletian, by the Judge Serenus, because he confessed the Christian faith. He there set free Paulina, the daughter of Artemius, the keeper of the prison, from an evil spirit which tormented her. Upon this, Artemis and his wife and all their house, with their neighbours who had run together to see the strange thing, would fain be attached unto the service of Jesus Christ. Peter therefore brought them to Marcellinus, the Priest, who baptised them all. When Serenus heard of it, he called Peter and Marcellinus before him, aud sharply rebuked them, adding to his bitter words, threats and terrors, unless they would deny Christ. Marcellinus answered him with Christian boldness, whereupon he caused him to be buffeted, separated him from Peter, and shut him up naked, in a prison strewn with broken glass, without either food or light. Peter also’he straitly confined. But when both of them were found but to increase in faith and courage, in their bonds, they were beheaded, unshaken in their testimony, and confessing Jesus Christ gloriously, by their blood.

Erasmus Bishop was, in Campania, under the empire of Diocletian and Maximian, beaten with clubs and whips loaded with lead, and afterwards plunged into resin, sulphur, melted lead, boiling pitch, wax also and oil. From all this, he came forth whole and sound; which wonder converted many to believe in Christ. He was remanded again to prison, and straitly bound in iron fetters. But from these he was wondrously delivered by an Angel. At last, being taken to Formi, Maximian caused him to be subjected to divers torments, and, in the end, being clad in a coat of red-hot brass, the power of God made him be more than conqueror in all these things also. Afterwards, having converted to the faith and confirmed many therein, he obtained the palm of a glorious martyrdom.
You three holy Martyrs did all confess Jesus Christ, in the midst of the most terrific storm ever raised by the demon against the Churoh. Though all three in different grades of the hierarchy, you were alike guides of the Christian people, drawing them by thousands, in your train, into the arena of martyrdom, and by still more numerous conversions, filling up the void made in earth’s chosen band, by the departure of your victorious companions to heaven. Wherefore, the Church, this day, joins her grateful homage, here below, with the silvery shouts of glad congratulation that ring through the Church triumphant. Be ye propitious, as of yore, in alleviating the ills that overwhelm mankind in this vale of tears. The excess of man’s misery, is that he seems to have forgotten how to call on such powerful protectors, in his hour of need. Revive your memory, in our midst, by new benefits to our race.

As thou, O Erasmus, must formerly protected by heaven, do thou now, in thy turn, succour those who are a prey to the tempest-tossed sea. In thy last hour of bitter anguish, thou didst suffer thine executioners to tear thy very bowels; lend then a kindly aid to such as call upon thy name when racked by pains which bear some resemblance, though but faint, to what thou didst endure for Christ.

Peter and Marcellinus, linked one to another both in toil and in glory, cast gentle eyes upon us: one glance of yours would make all hell to tremble,— would drive far from us its darksome cohorts. But how much is your aid needed in society at large,—in the whole visible world! The foe you did so mightily thrust backwards into the fiery pit, is once more master. Alas! have we come to the time, in which again taking up war against the Saints, it shall be granted him to overcome them? Scarce does he even hide himself, now-a-days. Not only does he lead the world by a thousand springs ostensibly put in his hands by Societies formerly Secret; but he may be seen trying to push his way into gatherings of all sorts, into the very bosom of homes, as a family guest, as a comrade in diversion or in business, with table turning and all those processes for divination such as Tertullian denounced in your early day. The expulsion of demons by Christianity had been so absolute that up to more recent times, such fatal practices had fallen into utter oblivion amongst us. If at first, in Christian families, the warning voice of the Pastors of God’s Church has prevailed over the incitements of an unhealthy curiosity, still a sect has since been formed, in which Satan is sole guide and oracle. The Spiritists, as they are called, in concert with free-masonry, are preparing the way for the final invasion of the exterior world, by infernal bands. Antichrist, with his usurped power and vain prestige, will be but the common product of political lodges and of this sect, wherein the task is proposed of bringing back, under a new form, the ancient mysteries of paganism. Valiant Soldiers of the Church, make us, we beseech you, worthy of our forefathers. If the Christian army must needs decrease in numbers, let faith all the more wax strong therein; let courage neither lack nor go astray; may its ranks be seen facing the foe, at that last hour in which the Lord Jesus will slay, with the breath of His Mouth, the man of sin, and plunge once again and forever, the whole of Satan’s crew, down into the lowest depths of the bottomless pit.

O Lord, grant that we may always have a reverential fear and love of Your holy name, for those who are firmly founded in Your love will ever be guided and governed by Your grace. Through our Lord . . .
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Feast of Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love

Today, May 31st, is a deeply Marian today.  Today is not only the Feast of the Queenship of Mary but also the Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces and the Feast of Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love.

The Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces is a "Mass in Some Places" as is the Feast of  Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love.   Propers for the Mass of Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love follow.

Mass Propers for the Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love


Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see thy Queen, whom the morning stars praise: at whose beauty the sun and moon wonder, and all the sons of God make a joyful melody. (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia). Ps. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. V. Glory be to the Father


O God, Who hast given us to honour the most blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of all Saints, and Mother of fair love: graciously grant that, by her safeguarding, we may love Thee in all things and above all things on earth, and enjoy the happy fellowship of Thy Saints in heaven. Through our Lord.


I have stretched out my branches as the turpentine tree: and my branches are of honour and grace. As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth: in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me: and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey: and mine inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me shall yet hunger: and they that drink me shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded: and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting


The Lord made her regent over all his kingdom, and he gave her the crown, that she should bring up her son for the kingdom. V. A crown of gold upon her head wherein is engraved holiness, an ornament of honour, a work of strength


Come thou, our Queen, come, O Lady, into thy garden. The smell of thy garments is above all aromatical spices. Alleluia


At that time: There stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother and His mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own


Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me. And to the unwise she said: Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you, alleluia.


We offer thee, O Lord, the sacrifice of praise, rejoicing in the glory of the Mother of Thy Son: trusting that, supported by her patronage, we may be relieved both of ills at hand, and of those to come. Through the same our Lord.


Most worthy Queen of the world, Mary ever a Virgin, intercede for our peace and salvation, thou who barest Christ the Lord, the Saviour of all (P.T. Alleluia).

Post Communion:

Having fed on heavenly delicacies, we humbly beseech Thee, Lord our God: that as Thou hast established a protection and patronage for us in the most blessed Mother of Thy Son, Thou mayest also bestow a crown of everlasting glory on those who celebrate her solemnities. Through the same our Lord
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
St. Francis of Assisi before the Sultan

In 1219, the sultan Malik al-Kamil received St. Francis of Assisi in Damietta and posed to him a question: “Your Lord teaches in the Gospels that you should not return evil for evil nor refuse your mantle to someone who wants to take your tunic. Therefore, you Christians should not invade our lands.”

To which the Blessed Francis replied: “I think you have not read the whole Gospel. Elsewhere, indeed, it is said: ‘If you eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.’ With that Jesus wanted to teach us that when a man has a relative, however beloved he must be, even if he was as dear as the apple of our eyes, if he tempted us to turn away from the faith and love of our God we should be resolved to separate, alienate and eradicate him from us. For all this, Christians act according to justice when they invade your lands and fight you, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and fight to take away from His religion as many as you can. However, if you want to know, confess and worship the Creator and Redeemer of the world, I will love you as myself.’ All those present were taken with admiration by his response

(Fonti Francescane, 3rd Section, Altre Testimonianze Francescane, N° 2691, as quoted in Crusade Magazine, May/June 2015, p. 9).
St. Felix I

Double (1954 Calendar): May 30

Pope Felix I, a Roman by birth, was pope from 269 to 274 A.D. In his love of the true doctrine of the Church, he courageously condemned the heretical bishop of Antioch and is said to have died a martyr under Aurelian. "The sacred Liturgy puts all these gems [the virtues of the saints] before us . . . that guided by them we may follow the saints into glory" (Pope Pius XII).

Quoting from the Church, Dom Gueranger includes this life of Pope Felix in his Liturgical Year:
Felix, a Roman by birth, and son of Constantius, governed the Church during the reign of the emperor Aurelian. He decreed that the Mass should be celebrated upon the shrines and tombs of the Martyrs. He held two ordinations in the month of December, and made nine Priests, five Deacons, and five Bishops for divers places. He was crowned with Martyrdom, and was buried on the Aurelian Way, in a Basilica which he himself had built and dedicated. He reigned two years, four months, and twenty-nine days.
And Dom Guernager continues in his own words:
Thou, O holy Pontiff, didst imitate thy Divine Master in his Death, for thou gavest thy life for thy sheep. Like him, too, thou art to rise from thy tomb, and thy happy soul shall be reunited to its body, which suffered death in testimony of the truth thou proclaimedst at Rome. Jesus is the first-born of the dead; thou followedst him in his Passion, thou shalt follow him in his Resurrection. Thy body was laid in those venerable vaults, which the piety of early Christians honored with the appellation of Cemeteries—a word which signifies a place wherein to sleep. Thou, O Felix, wilt awaken on that great day, whereon the Pasch is to receive its last and perfect fulfillment:—pray that we also may then share with thee in that happy Resurrection. Obtain for us that we may be faithful to the graces received in this year’s Easter; and prepare us for the visit of the Holy Ghost, who is soon to descend upon us, that he may give stability to the work that has been achieved in our souls by our merciful Savior.


O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Felix shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this Martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

Friday, May 26, 2017
St. Philip Neri

Double (1954 Calendar): May 26

Philip Neri (1515-95), a native of Florence, settled in Rome. He thought of offering himself for the foreign missions, but a Benedictine friend told him that his apostolate was in Rome. Philip gathered some companions into a group that later became the renowned Congregation of the Oratory. In 1551 he was ordained to the priesthood. Philip's Oratory soon constituted the center of religious life in the Eternal City, and its founder fully deserved the title by which he was called: "Second Apostle of Rome." This lovable saint attracted the trust and affection of people in every walk of life by his abounding joy in the Lord.

The following is Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

Joy is the leading feature of the Paschal Season—a supernatural joy which springs from our delight at seeing the glorious triumph of our Emmanuel, and from the happiness we feel at our own deliverance from the bonds of death. This interior joy was the characteristic of the Saint whom we honor today. His heart was ever full of a jubilant enthusiasm for what regards God; so that we could truly apply to him those words of Scripture: A secure mind is like a continual feast (Prov. 15: 15). One of his later disciples, the illustrious Father Faber, tells us in his beautiful treatise, Growth in Holiness, that cheerfulness is one of the chief means for advancing in Christian perfection. We will therefore welcome with gladness and veneration the benevolent and light-hearted St. Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome, and one of the greatest Saints produced by the Church in the 16th century.

Love of God—but a love of the most ardent kind, and one that communicated itself to all that came near him—was our Saint's characteristic virtue. All the Saints loved God; for the love of God is the first and greatest of the commandments: but St. Philip's whole life was, in an especial manner, the fulfillment of this divine precept. His entire existence seemed to be but one long transport of love for his Creator; and had it not been for a miracle of God's power and goodness, this burning love would have soon put an end to his mortal career. He was in his 29th year, when one day—it was within the Octave of Pentecost—he was seized with such a vehemence of divine charity that two of his ribs broke, thus making room for the action of the heart to respond freely to the intensity of the love of the soul. The fracture was never healed; it caused a protrusion which was distinctly observable; and owing to this miraculous enlargement of the region of the heart, St. Philip was enabled to live fifty years more, during which time he loved his God with a fervor and strength which would do honor to one already in Heaven.

This seraph in human flesh was a living answer to the insults heaped upon the Catholic Church by the so-called Reformation. Luther and Calvin had called Holy Church the harlot of Babylon; and yet She had, at that very time, such children as St. Teresa of Avila and St. Philip Neri of Rome, to offer to the admiration of mankind. But Protestantism cared little or nothing for piety or charity; its great object was throwing off the yoke of restraint. Under pretense of religious liberty, it persecuted them that adhered to the true Faith; it forced itself by violence where it could not enter by seduction; but it never aimed at or thought of leading men to love their God. The result was that wheresoever it imposed its errors, devotedness was at an end—we mean that devotedness which leads man to make sacrifices for God or for his neighbor. A very long period of time elapsed after the Reformation before Protestantism ever gave a thought to the infidels who abounded in various parts of the globe... but anything like the devotedness of Catholic institutions is an impossibility for Protestantism, were it only for this reason, that its principles are opposed to the Evangelical Counsels, which are the great sources of the spirit of sacrifice, and are prompted by a motive of the love of God.

Glory, then, to St. Philip Neri, one of the worthiest representatives of charity in the 16th century! It was owing to his zeal that Rome and Christendom at large were replenished with a new life by the frequentation of the Sacraments and by the exercises of Catholic piety. His word, his very look, used to excite people to devotion. His memory is still held in deep veneration, especially in Rome, where his Feast was kept with the greatest solemnity. He shares with Ss. Peter and Paul the honor of being Patron of the Holy City. Formerly, on his Feast, the Pope went, with great solemnity, to the Church of St. Mary in Vallicella, and paid the debt of gratitude which the Holy See owes to the Saint who accomplished such great things for the glory of our Holy Mother the Church.

St. Philip NeriSt. Philip had the gift of miracles; and though seeking to be forgotten and despised, he was continually surrounded by people who besought him to pray for them, either in their temporal or spiritual concerns. Death itself was obedient to his command, as in the case of the young prince Paul Massimo. The young prince, when breathing his last, desired that St. Philip should be sent for, in order that he might assist him to die well. The Saint was offering Mass at the time. As soon as the Holy Sacrifice was over, he repaired to the palace; but he was too late—he found the father, sister and the whole family in tears. The young prince had died after an illness of 65 days, which he had borne with most edifying patience. St. Philip fell upon his knees; and, after a fervent prayer, he put his hand on the head of the corpse, and called the prince by his name.

Thus awakened from the sleep of death, Paul opened his eyes, and looking at St. Philip, said to him, "My Father!" He then added these words: "I only wished to go to confession." The assistants left the room, and St. Philip remained alone with the prince. After a few moments the family were called back; and in their presence, Paul began to speak to St. Philip regarding his mother and sister who had been taken from him by death, and whom he loved with the most tender affection. During the conversation, the prince's face regained all it had lost by sickness. His animation was that of one in perfect health. The Saint then asked him if he would wish to die again. "Oh yes," answered the prince, "most willingly; for I should then see my mother and sister in Heaven." "Take then,” said St. Philip, "take thy departure for Heaven, and pray to the Lord for me." At these words, the young prince expired once more, and entered into the joys of eternal life, leaving his family to mourn his departure, and venerate a Saint such as Philip.

He was almost continually visited by Our Lord with raptures and ecstasies; he was gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and could read the secrets of the conscience. His virtues were such as to draw souls to him by an irresistible charm. The youth of Rome, rich and poor, used to flock to him. Some he warned against danger; others he saved, after they had fallen. The poor and sick were the object of his unceasing care. He seemed to be everywhere in the city by his works of zeal, which gave an impulse to piety that has never been forgotten.

St. Philip was convinced that one of the principal means for maintaining the Christian spirit is preaching the word of God: hence he was most anxious to provide the faithful with apostolic men, who would draw them to God by good and solid preaching. He established, under the name of The Oratory, an institute, the object of which is to encourage Christian piety among the people. By founding it, St. Philip aimed at securing the services, zeal, and talent of priests who are not called to the Religious life, but who, by uniting their labors together, would produce great good to the souls of men.

Thus did he afford to priests, whose vocation did not lead them to the Religious state, the great advantages of a common rule and mutual good example, which are such powerful aids both in the service of God and in the exercise of pastoral duties. But the holy Apostle was a man of too much faith not to have an esteem of the Religious life as a state of perfection. He never lost an opportunity of encouraging a vocation to that holy state. The Religious Orders were indebted to him for so many members, that his intimate friend and admirer, St. Ignatius of Loyola, used playfully to compare him to a bell, which calls others to the chapel (of the Religious life), yet never goes in itself!

The awful crisis of the 16th century, through which the Christian world had to pass, and which robbed the Catholic Church of so many provinces, was a source of keenest grief to St. Philip during the whole of his life. His heart bled at seeing so many thousands of souls fall into the abyss of error and heresy. He took the deepest interest in the efforts that were made to reclaim those that had been led astray by the pretended Reformation. He kept a watchful eye on the tactics wherewith Protestantism sought to maintain its ground. The Centuries of Magdeburg, for example, suggested to his zeal a counterbalance of truth. The Centuries was a series of historical essays, whereby the Reformers sought to prove that the Catholic Church had changed the ancient faith, and introduced superstitious practices in the place of those that were used in the early ages of Christianity. A work like this, with its falsified quotations, its misrepresentation and its frequent invention of facts, was destined to do great injury; and St. Philip resolved to meet it by a work of profound erudition—a true history, compiled from authentic sources.

One of the fathers of his Oratory, Caesar Baronius, was just the man for such an undertaking; and St. Philip ordered him to take the field against the enemy. The Ecclesiastical Annals were the fruit of this happy thought; and Baronius himself, at the beginning of Book VIII, acknowledges that St. Philip was the originator of the work. Centuries have passed away since then. It is easy for us, with the means which we now have, to detect certain imperfections in the Annals; at the same time, it is acknowledged on all sides that they form by far the truest and finest History of the Church of the first 1200 years—which is as far as the learned Cardinal went. Heresy felt the injury it must needs sustain by such a History. The sickly and untrustworthy erudition of the Centuriators could not stand before an honest statement of facts; and we may safely assert that the progress of Protestantism was checked by the Annals of Baronius, which showed that the Church was then as She had ever been—the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3: 15).

St. Philip's sanctity and Baronius' learning secured the victory. Numerous conversions soon followed, consoling the Church for the losses She had sustained. And if in more recent times many have returned to the ancient Faith, it is but fair to attribute the movement (especially the Oxford movement), in part at least, to the success of the historical method begun by the Annals.


O God, who didst exalt blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, with Thy Saints in glory, mercifully grant, that we who rejoice in his festival may profit by the example of his virtues. Through our Lord . . .

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