St. Francis of Paula

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St. Francis of Paula, Founder of the Order of Minims, Confessor

A.D. 1508.

THIS saint was born about the year 1416, at Paula, a small city near the Tyrrhenian sea, in Calabria, the midway from Naples to Reggio. His parents were very poor, but industrious, and happy in their condition, making the will and love of God the sole object of all their desires and endeavours. Their whole conduct was, as it were, one straight line directed to this point. Having lived together several years without issue, they earnestly begged of God, through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisium, a son who might faithfully and assiduously serve him, and become an instrument to glorify his name, to whose service they solemnly devoted him. A son some time after this was born, whom they considered as the fruit of their prayers, named him after their patron, St. Francis, and made it their chief care to inspire him with pious sentiments, and give him an education suitable to his holy destination. Francis, whilst yet a child, made abstinence, solitude, and prayer his delight. In the thirteenth year of his age, his father, whose name was James Martotille, placed him in the convent of Franciscan friars at St. Mark’s, an episcopal town of that province, where he learned to read, and laid the foundation of the austere life which he ever after led. He, from that time, denied himself all use of linen and flesh meat; and though he had not professed the rule of that Order, he seemed, even in that tender age, to surpass all the religious in a scrupulous observance of every thing prescribed by it. Having spent one year here, he performed, with his parents, a pilgrimage to Assisium, the Portiuncula, and Rome. When he was returned to Paula, with their consent, he retired to a lonesome solitude about half a mile from the town: and, to avoid the distraction of visits, he shortly after chose a more remote retreat in the corner of a rock upon the sea-coast, where he made himself a cave. He was scarcely fifteen years old, when he shut himself up in this hermitage, in 1432. He had no other bed than the rock itself, nor other food than the herbs which he gathered in the neighbouring wood, or what was sometimes brought him by his friends. Before he was quite twenty years old, two other devoutly inclined persons joined him, imitating his holy exercises. The neighbours built them three cells and a chapel, in which they sung the divine praises, and a certain priest from the parish church came, and said mass for them. This is reputed the first foundation of his religious Order, in 1436. Near seventeen years after, their number being much increased, with the approbation of the archbishop of Cosenza, a large church and monastery were built for them in the same place, towards the year 1454. So great was the devotion of the people, that the whole country joined, and all hands were set to this work; even noblemen would share in carrying burdens. During the erection of this building, our saint performed several miracles. Among others, a person deposed upon oath in the process of the saint’s canonization, that he himself was healed in an instant of a painful lameness in his thigh by the prayer of the servant of God.—When the house was completed, he applied himself to establish regularity and uniformity in his community, not abating in the least of his former severity with regard to himself. His bed was no longer indeed the rock, but it was a board or the bare floor, with a stone or a log of wood for his pillow, till, in his old age, he made use of a mat. He allowed himself no more sleep than was absolutely necessary to refresh weary nature, and to enable him to resume his devout exercises with greater vigour. He took but one repast a day, in the evening, and usually nothing but bread and water. Sometimes he passed two days without taking any food, especially before great festivals. 1 Continue reading

INSTRUCTION ON EASTER MONDAY

INSTRUCTION ON EASTER MONDAY

The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

In the Introit of this day’s Mass, the Church compares the opening of the entrance into heaven which has been effected by the death and Resurrection of Christ, with the entrance of the chosen people of Israel into the Promised Land, which was effected by Josue:

INTROIT The Lord hath brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey, alleluia: let then the law of the Lord be ever in your mouth, alleluia, alleluia. (Exod: XIII.) Give glory to the Lord, and call upon his name: publish his works among the Gentiles. (Ps. CIV.) Glory be to the Father, &c.

COLLECT O God, who by the Paschal solemnity, hast bestowed remedies on the world, continue, we beseech Thee, Thy heavenly blessings on Thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through.

LESSON (Acts, X. 37-43) In those days, Peter standing, up in the midst of the people said: You know the word which bath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that wire oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses pre-ordained by God: even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose again from the dead. And he com­manded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the Prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remis­sion of sins, who believe in him.

INSTRUCTION St. Peter concludes his sermon on the Resurrection with the declaration, that all who believe in Christ will through Him receive forgiveness of their sins. To obtain this remission a faith actuated by love is necessary, which will manifest itself in the exercise of good works. Endeavor to have this faith, if you wish to obtain the forgiveness of sin and eternal happiness, for without good works faith is dead, and forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation are promised only to those who possess an active faith. Continue reading

FEAST OF EASTER MONDAY

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FEAST OF EASTER MONDAY

by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

“To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with Me in My throne, as I also have overcome.”–Apoc. iii, 21.

On every feast of the Church is stamped the impress and character of the mystery of faith it is intended to commemorate, and of which we are vividly reminded by its annual occurrence. Therefore the festival of Easter–“the feast of feasts “–is a day of triumph, and the exultant strain of the “Alleluia” resounds throughout the Church. On Holy Saturday, the Preface salutes Christ as the glorified Redeemer, Who, by His resurrection, triumphed over death and hell.

All Christendom entones a gladsome Easter hymn in honor of the Conqueror Who vanquished death, and burst the trammels of the grave. The Saviour struggled against the enemies of our salvation and conquered; and so will you vanquish them, if you call upon Him. “Death, I will be thy death; hell, I will be thy bite.” So Christ assures us through the mouth of the prophet. This was fulfilled by the painful death on the cross, from which He arose, the Victor. The joyful Alleluia reminds us of this. It is the cry of jubilee of the Church triumphant in heaven; and tells us also that, if we wish to celebrate Easter with Christ and all the blessed in heaven, we must, while members of the militant Church, combat and conquer with her. What will particularly encourage us to combat as children of God is the thought of Christ, the Conqueror; and, my dearest brethren, all that intensifies the joy of victory beams forth in an infinitely more perfect manner in this brilliant triumph which Jesus gained over death and hell. Continue reading