The Precious Blood A Lesson of Patience 

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Meditation on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

The Precious Blood A Lesson of Patience

If we watch the Son of God during those scenes in His Sacred Passion in which He shed His Blood for us, we notice, in one and all. His exceeding and incomparable patience. During the Agony in the Garden it was the sight of the brutal ingratitude of man that caused the sweat of blood to flow from His sacred limbs. How could He endure to suffer for such wretches? Yet meekly and patiently He endured their sacrileges, blasphemies, impurities, wanton hatred of God, which rose up before Him as He knelt there in Gethsemane.

At the Pillar again, what Divine patience! Not a look of anger, not a word of reproach. There He stands, the picture of uncomplaining endurance. What a lesson for me! How ready I am to complain, even when I receive some fancied slight or some trifling injury. How different am I from the Son of God! What a contrast is my conduct to His. O Jesus! teach me to endure without complaint my sufferings which are small indeed when compared with Thine!

See Him once more upon the Cross! Listen to the gibes and sneers cast at Him by the priests, their taunts of His inability to save Himself, Messiah though He was. How all this must have aggravated His physical agony! Yet His constant prayer was, “Father, forgive them!” O Jesus, grant me more of the patience and meekness Thou didst show while Thy Precious Blood was ebbing forth on the altar of the Cross!

Godfrey of Bouillon

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Godfrey of Bouillon

Duke of Lower Lorraine and first King of Jerusalem, son of Eustache II, Count of Boulogne, and of Ida, daughter of Godfrey the Bearded, Duke of Lower Lorraine; b. probably at Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1060; d. at Jerusalem, 18 July, 1100 (according to a thirteenth-century chronicler, he was born at Baisy, in Brabant; see Haigneré, Mémoires lus à la Sorbonne, Paris, 1868, 213). The history of his early years has been distorted by legend, according to which he slew with his own hand the anti-king Rodolphe at the battle of Moelsen (1080), and was first to enter Rome after it had been besieged by Henry IV (1084). What appears certain is that he was chosen to succeed his uncle Godfrey the Hunchback, Duke of Lower Lorraine, who was assassinated in 1076. But Henry IV took Lorraine, leaving to Godfrey only the marquessate of Antwerp. As a vassal of the German Empire Godfrey took sides with the army of Henry IV in the War of the Investitures and followed the emperor on his expedition to Italy against Gregory VII (1080-1084). In the interval he was compelled to return in order to defend his possessions which had been attacked by the Count of Namur, and about 1089 Henry IV restored to him the legacy of Godfrey the Hunchback by creating him Duke of Lower Lorraine. The new duke’s authority was extremely weak when opposed to the feudal power which had developed in the vicinity. At this time the whole north of France was aroused by the letter of Urban II, who besought the nobility of Flanders to go on the Crusade. Godfrey was among the first to take the cross, together with his two brothers, Eustache and Baldwin (1096). To procure resources he sold or pledged many of his estates. Many nobles at once arrayed themselves under his banner, and about 15 August, 1096, he departed at the head of 10,000 knights and 30,000 foot soldiers. His army was composed of Walloons and Flemings. “Born at the frontier of the two nations and himself speaking both languages”, he served as the link between them, and by his authority appeased the quarrels provoked by their national self-esteem (Otto of Freisingen, Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., XX, 250). Continue reading

St. Vincent de Paul

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St. Vincent de Paul

Saint Vincent de Paul (c. 1580-1660), founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) and co-founder of the Sisters of Charity, is an outstanding example of great love for the poor and unfortuanate, and the patron of charitable societies.

Vincent de Paul, a Frenchman, was born at Pouy, not far from Dax, in Gascony, and from his boyhood was remarkable for his exceeding charity towards the poor. From the care of his father’s flocks he was sent to study letters. He learned the humanities at Dax, and theology first at Toulouse, then at Saragossa. Having been ordained priest, and having taken a degree in theology, he fell into the hands of the Turks, and was led captive by them into Africa. But being sold into slavery, he won his owner (an apostate) back to Christ. By the help of the Mother of God, therefore, Vincent and his owner hurried away from the shores of the barbarians. Then Vincent undertook a journey to Rome, to visit the thresholds of the Apostles. Having returned to France he governed, in a most saintly manner, first, the parish of Clichy, and then that of Chatillon. He was appointed by the king as principal chaplain of the French galleys, and showed marvelous zeal in striving for the salvation of both the drivers and the rowers. The holy Francis de Sales appointed him superior of the nuns of the Visitation, whom he ruled for nearly forty years with so great prudence, that he amply justified the opinion of their most holy founder, who confessed that he knew no worthier priest than Vincent. Continue reading

The Precious Blood A Lesson of Sacrifice 

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Meditation on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

The Precious Blood A Lesson of Sacrifice

Why did the Eternal Father choose for His coequal Son that He should close His sojourn on earth by the cruel agony and unspeakable degradation of shedding for man the last drop of the Precious Blood? Would it not have sufficed to redeem us from sin, if He had appeared on earth for one instant clad in human form? Yes, but then man would never have learned the lesson of sacrifice. He would not have been moved to regard suffering as a necessary part of the ideal life. We thank Thee, O Lord, for this Thy commiseration for our blindness and our ignorance!

The lesson of sacrifice for the sake of others, is one taught us throughout our Lord’s entire life. Nothing for himself; no concession to His human nature for its own sake. No avoiding of pain or reproach on account of the suffering it entailed, but rather a joyful acceptance of all that might be to man a source of grace and a motive of virtue. May I rejoice, O Lord, to have the privilege of following Thee step by step along Thy path of suffering!

This road of suffering is, also, one that leads us to solid happiness in this world and eternal joy in the next. It is for our own interest to sacrifice ourselves. Who are so happy as they who shed their blood for Christ? For them no Purgatory, whatever be their past life, but an immediate entrance into the celestial Paradise. Such a sacrifice as this may not be asked of me, but do I make those sacrifices that I know would be pleasing to Him, Who sacrificed Himself wholly for me?

St. Leo IV

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St. Leo IV., Pope and Confessor

HE was son of a Roman nobleman, had been educated in the monastery of St. Martin without the walls, and was made by Sergius II. priest of the four crowned martyrs. He was chosen pope after the death of Sergius II. in 847, and governed the Church eight years, three months, and some days. The Saracens from Calabria had lately plundered St. Peter’s church on the Vatican, and were still hovering about Rome. Leo made it his first care to repair the ornamental part of this church, especially the Confession or burying-place of St. Peter with the altar which stood upon it. To prevent a second plundering of that holy place, he, with the approbation and liberal contributions of the emperor Lothaire, enclosed it and the whole Vatican hill with a wall, and built there a new rione or quarter of the city, which from him is called Leonina. He rebuilt or repaired the walls of the city, fortified with fifteen towers. Whilst he was putting Rome in a posture of defence, the Saracens marched towards Porto in order to plunder that town. The Neapolitans sent an army to the assistance of the Romans: the pope met these troops at Ostia, gave them his blessing, and all the soldiers received the holy communion at his hands. After the pope’s departure, a bloody battle ensued, and the Saracens were all slain, taken, or dispersed. The good pope considered the sins of the people as the chief source of public disasters; and being inflamed with a holy zeal he most vigorously exerted his authority for the reformation of manners and of the discipline of the Church. For this purpose he held at Rome a council of sixty-seven bishops; and among other instances, he deposed and excommunicated Anastasius, cardinal priest of St. Marcellus’s church, because he had neglected to reside in his parish. He received honourably Ethelwolph king of England, who, in 854, made a pilgrimage to Rome. 1 Continue reading