Meditation on the Patronage of St. Joseph

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Meditation on the Patronage of St. Joseph
by Pierre Chaignon, 1907

1. Power of St. Joseph in Heaven.
2. Our Reliance upon His Love for us.
3. How We may Secure a Great Share in His Protection.

First Point.–Power of St. Joseph in heaven. We can form an idea of it from the teaching of the Church on the subject, and from the offices he filled on earth.

I. The liturgy of the Church is not merely her public and solemn prayer. It is also her popular and authentic teaching. What do we discover from the offices of the two principal feasts of St. Joseph, but especially that of his patronage? We find that the prevailing idea of the Church regarding St. Joseph is that unlimited power has been granted in heaven to the chaste husband of Mary, as it had been granted in Egypt to Joseph, the son of Jacob. In reading the office of this day, we imagine that we hear the Lord saying to us what Pharao said to the Egyptians: “Go to Joseph; I have deposited My authority in his hands; he is the medium of My graces, enjoys a like power of granting with Myself.” “He established him lord over his house and manager of all his possessions.” This is what the Church repeats exultingly adding: “Alleluia, alleluia!” Such is the judgment of the Church regarding the influence of this admirable saint. Let us consider the offices which he filled. Continue reading

St. Anselm

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St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Confessor

A.D. 1109.

IF the Norman conquerors stripped the English nation of its liberty, and many temporal advantages, it must be owned that by their valour they raised the reputation of its arms, and deprived their own country of its greatest men, both in church and state, with whom they adorned this kingdom: of which this great doctor, and his master Lanfranc, are instances. St. Anselm was born of noble parents, at Aoust, in Piedmont, about the year 1033. His pious mother took care to give him an early tincture of piety, and the impressions her instructions made upon him were as lasting as his life. At the age of fifteen, desirous of serving God in the monastic state, he petitioned an abbot to admit him into his house; but was refused out of apprehension of his father’s displeasure. Neglecting, during the course of his studies to cultivate the divine seed in his heart, he lost this inclination, and, his mother being dead, he fell into tepidity; and, without being sensible of the fatal tendency of vanity and pleasure, began to walk in the broad way of the world: so dangerous a thing is it to neglect the inspirations of grace! The saint, in his genuine meditations, expresses the deepest sentiments of compunction for these disorders, which his perfect spirit of penance exceedingly exaggerated to him, and which, like another David, he never ceased most bitterly to bewail to the end of his days. The ill usage he met with from his father, induced him, after his mother’s death, to leave his own country, where he had made a successful beginning in his studies: and, after a diligent application to them for three years in Burgundy (then a distinct government), and in France, invited by the great fame of Lanfranc, prior of Bec in Normandy, under the abbot Herluin, he went thither and became his scholar. 1 On his father’s death, Anselm advised with him about the state of life he was to embrace; as whether he should live upon his estate to employ its produce in alms, or should renounce it at once and embrace a monastic and eremitical life. Lanfranc, feeling an overbearing affection for so promising a disciple, durst not advise him in his vocation, fearing the bias of his own inclination; but he sent him to Maurillus, the holy archbishop of Rouen. By him Anselm, after he had laid open to him his interior, was determined to enter the monastic state at Bec, and accordingly became a member of that house, at the age of twenty-seven, in 1060, under the abbot Herluin. Three years after, Lanfranc was made abbot of St. Stephen’s, at Caen, and Anselm prior of Bec. 2 At this promotion several of the monks murmured on account of his youth; but, by patience and sweetness, he won the affections of them all, and by little condescensions at first so worked upon an irregular young monk, called Osbern, as to perfect his conversion, and make him one of the most fervent. He had indeed so great a knowledge of the hearts and passions of men, that he seemed to read their interior in their actions; by which he discovered the sources of virtues and vices, and knew how to adapt to each proper advice and instructions; which were rendered most powerful, by the mildness and charity with which he applied them. And in regard to the management and tutoring of youth, he looked upon excessive severity as highly pernicious. Eadmer has recorded a conversation he had on this subject with a neighbouring abbot, 3 who, by a conformity to our saint’s practice and advice in this regard, experienced that success in his labours which he had till then aspired to in vain, by harshness and severity. 1 Continue reading

Saint Soter and Saint Caius

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Saint Soter and Saint Caius

Popes, Martyrs
(†175 and †296)

Saint Soter was raised to the papacy upon the death of Saint Anicetus in 161. By the sweetness of his discourses he comforted all afflicted persons with the tenderness of a father, and assisted the indigent with liberal alms, especially those who suffered for the Faith. He liberally extended his charities, according to the custom of his predecessors, to remote churches. He aided in particular that of Corinth, to which he addressed an excellent letter. Saint Dionysius of Corinth in his letter of thanks to Saint Soter, adds that the Pontifical letter together with the letter of Saint Clement, Pope, was read for the edification of the faithful on Sundays, during their assemblies to celebrate the divine mysteries.

One of Saint Soter’s ordinances required all Christians except those in public penance to receive Communion on Holy Thursday. Saint Soter vigorously opposed the heresy of Montanus, and governed the Church up to the year 175. He was martyred on April 22, 175, under the emperor Marcus Aurelius, and buried on the Appian Way in the cemetery of Callixtus.

Pope Saint Caius, born in Dalmatia, was a relative of the emperor Diocletian. The cruel emperor did not for that reason spare him or his family during the bloody persecution of the years 283 to 296, during which the Christians of Rome were obliged to conceal themselves in caverns and cemeteries.

Saint Caius counseled a patrician named Chromatius to receive the tracked disciples of Christ in his country residence. He himself went to visit them on a Sunday, and said to the faithful assembled there that Our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing the fragility of human nature, established two degrees in the practice of Christianity, confession and martyrdom. Our Saviour did so, he said, so that those who do not believe they could stand up under torment, may nonetheless conserve the grace of the faith by their confession. Our Lord had indeed specified, When you are persecuted in one city, flee to another… Then he said, Those who wish to stay in the house of Chromatius, remain with Tiburtius, while those who prefer to return with me to the city, come. Several followed him back to Rome; among them are the martyrs of the same persecution, the brothers Saints Marcus and Marcellinus, and Saint Sebastian.

Saint Caius himself received the crown of martyrdom in the final year of the persecution, 296, and was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus, where his body was found in 1622, with an inscription identifying him as Vicar of Christ.

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); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 4

Baltimore Catechism: Part One – The Creed

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Baltimore Catechism
Revised Edition (1941)

Part One: The Creed
Lesson 2

GOD AND HIS PERFECTIONS

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth …”
8. What do we mean when we say that God is the Supreme Being?
When we say that God is the Supreme Being we mean that He is above all creatures, the self-existing and infinitely perfect Spirit.

I am the First, and I am the Last, and besides me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

9. What is a spirit?
A spirit is a being that has understanding and free will, but no body, and will never die.

To whom then have you likened God? Or what image will you make for Him? (Isaiah 40:18)

10. What do we mean when we say that God is self-existing?
When we say that God is self-existing we mean that He does not owe His existence to any other being.

I am who am. (Exodus 3:14) Continue reading