Saint John de Britto

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Saint John de Britto

Martyr
(1647-1693)

Don Pedro II of Portugal, when a child, had among his little pages a modest boy of rich and princely parents. The young John de Britto — for that was his name — had much to bear from his careless-living companions, to whom his holy life was a reproach. A severe illness made him turn for aid to Saint Francis Xavier, a Saint well loved by the Portuguese; and when he recovered, in answer to his prayers, his mother clothed him for a year in the tunic worn in those days by the Jesuit Fathers. From that time John’s heart burned to follow the example of the Apostle of India.

When he was fifteen years old, he entered on December 17, 1662, the Lisbon novitiate of the Society of Jesus, and eleven years later, despite the determined opposition of his family and the court, he left with twenty-seven Jesuit co-disciples for Madura. Blessed John’s mother, when she had learned that her son was going to India, used all her influence to prevent him from leaving his own country, and persuaded the Papal Nuncio to intervene. But the future martyr declared firmly: God, who called me from the world into religious life, now calls me from Portugal to India. Not to respond to my vocation as I ought, would be to provoke the justice of God. As long as I live, I shall never cease to desire passage to India. His ardent desire was fulfilled. Continue reading

Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio

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Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio

During the time of the Council of Trent Pope Paul IV issued his Apostolic Constitution Cum Ex Apostolic Officio of February 15, 1559. This 223rd Successor of Peter would die six months later on August 18th. His four year pontificate was highlighted by his promotion of moral reforms. This Papal Bull below also focused on the validity of a prelate or Pope in the event they were in heresy or apostasy. Because it deals with faith and morals and was issued ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) and therefore is considered not only infallible, but to be held in perpetuity.

By virtue of the Apostolic office which, despite our unworthiness, has been entrusted to Us by God, We are responsible for the general care of the flock of the Lord. Because of this, in order that the flock may be faithfully guarded and beneficially directed, We are bound to be diligently watchful after the manner of a vigilant Shepherd and to ensure most carefully that certain people who consider the study of the truth beneath them should be driven out of the sheepfold of Christ and no longer continue to disseminate error from positions of authority. We refer in particular to those who in this age, impelled by their sinfulness and supported by their cunning, are attacking with unusual learning and malice the discipline of the orthodox Faith, and who, moreover, by perverting the import of Holy Scripture, are striving to rend the unity of the Catholic Church and the seamless tunic of the Lord.
1.In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind [i.e. error in respect of the Faith] is so grave and so dangerous that the Roman Pontiff,who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fulness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith. Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted, We have been concerned lest false prophets or others, even if they have only secular jurisdiction, should wretchedly ensnare the souls of the simple, and drag with them into perdition, destruction and damnation countless peoples committed to their care and rule, either in spiritual or in temporal matters; and We have been concerned also lest it may befall Us to see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, in the holy place. In view of this, Our desire has been to fulfil our Pastoral duty, insofar as, with the help of God, We are able, so as to arrest the foxes who are occupying themselves in the destruction of the vineyard of the Lord and to keep the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be dumb watchdogs that cannot bark and lest We perish with the wicked husbandman and be compared with the hireling. Continue reading

Saints Faustinus and Jovita

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Saints Faustinus and Jovita

Martyrs
(† 122)

Faustinus and Jovita were brothers, nobly born, and were zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia in Lombardy, during the persecution of Adrian. Their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith.

Faustinus, a priest, and Jovita, a deacon, were preaching the Gospel fearlessly in the region when Julian, a pagan officer, apprehended them. They were commanded to adore the sun, but replied that they adored the living God who created the sun to give light to the world. The statue before which they were standing was brilliant and surrounded with golden rays. Saint Jovita, looking at it, cried out: Yes, we adore the God reigning in heaven, who created the sun. And you, vain statue, turn black, to the shame of those who adore you! At his word, it turned black. The Emperor commanded that it be cleaned, but the pagan priests had hardly begun to touch it when it fell into ashes.
The two brothers were sent to the amphitheater to be devoured by lions, but four of those came out and lay down at their feet. They were left without food in a dark jail cell, but Angels brought them strength and joy for new combats. The flames of a huge fire respected them, and a large number of spectators were converted at the sight. Finally sentenced to decapitation, they knelt down and received the death blow. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons and possesses their relics, and a very ancient church in that city bears their names.

Reflection. The spirit of Christ is ever a spirit of martyrdom. It is always the spirit of the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the greater share we inherit of His Spirit, and of the fruits of His death. To souls mortified in their senses and disengaged from earthly things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal life, and ardent desires of possessing Him in His glory. This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O. Cist., Ph.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Co.: New York, 1951-1955).

Ubi caritas

UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.

UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.