St. Peter Celestine

St. Peter Celestine, Pope and Confessor

A.D. 1296.

HUMILITY raised this saint above the world, and preserved his soul free from its poison, both amidst its flatteries and under its frowns. He was born in Apulia about the year 1221. His parents were very virtuous and charitable to the poor to the uttermost of their abilities. After his father’s death, his mother, though she had eleven other sons, seeing his extraordinary inclination to piety, provided him with a literary education. His progress gave his friends great expectations; but he always considered that he had only one affair in this world, and that an affair of infinite importance, the salvation of his soul: that no security can be too great where an eternity is at stake: moreover, that the way to life is strait, the account which we are to give of all our actions and thoughts most rigorous, the judge infinitely just, and the issue either sovereign happiness or sovereign misery. He therefore made the means, by which he might best secure to himself that bliss for which alone he was created, his constant study. An eremitical state is only the vocation of souls, which are already perfect in the exercises of penance and contemplation. Peter had made the practice of both familiar to him from his tender years; and by a long noviceship was qualified for such a state, to which he found himself strongly inclined. Therefore at twenty years of age he left the schools, and retired to a solitary mountain, where he made himself a little cell under ground, but so small that he could scarcely stand or lie down in it. Here he lived three years in great austerities, during which he was often assailed by violent temptations; but these he overcame by the help of such practices and austerities as the grace of God suggested to him. Notwithstanding the care he took to sequester himself from the world, he was discovered, and some time after compelled to enter into holy orders. He was ordained priest at Rome; but in 1246 returned into Abruzzo, and lived five years in a cave on mount Morroni near Sulmona. Continue reading

VIGIL OF PENTECOST 

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VIGIL OF PENTECOST

O King of glory, Lord of hosts, who didst this day ascend in triumph above all the heavens! leave us not orphans, but send upon us the Spirit of truth, promised by the Father, alleluia.

The dazzling splendour of tomorrow’s Solemnity forecasts its beauty on this day of its Vigil. The Faithful are preparing themselves by Fasting to celebrate the glorious mystery. But, the Mass of the Neophytes, which, formerly, was said during the night, is now anticipated, as on Easter Eve; so that by today’s Noon, we shall have already begun the praises of the Holy Ghost. The Office of Vespers, in the afternoon, will solemnly open the grand Festival. The reign of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, proclaimed by the Liturgy of this very day. Let us unite ourselves in spirit with the holy ones, who are awaiting the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise.

Whilst following the Mysteries of the past Seasons of the Liturgical Year, we have frequently been told of the action of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The lessons read to us, from both the Old and New Testament, have more than once excited our respectful attention towards this Divine Spirit, Who seemed to be shrouded in mystery, the time of His being made manifest not having yet arrived. The workings of God in His creatures do not come all at once; there is a succession in their coming, but come they certainly will. The sacred historian describes how the heavenly Father, acting through His Word, employed six days in arranging, into its several parts, this world which He had created; but he also tells us, though under the veil of a mysterious expression, that the Spirit moved over the waters, which the Son of God was about to divide from the earth.  Continue reading

THE CROWN OF TWELVE STARS 

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THE CROWN OF TWELVE STARS

We may be sure that never is Mary invoked in vain. An appeal to her is always rewarded and is far more efficacious than an appeal to any other saint. This was revealed to a Dominican saint by the Mother of God herself; he has left it in writing for our benefit:

1. “What Mary asks of God she invariably obtains. 

2. “God withholds His mercy from no one for whom Mary prays.

3. “The world would long since have been destroyed had not Mary upheld it by her intercession.

4. “The love of Mary for sinners is greater than that of any one human being for another.

5. “Such is the love of Mary for sinners that, did God permit, she would be willing to make atonement for each one by daily bearing all the sufferings of the world.

6. “The least service shown to Mary, were it merely the recital of the Angelic Salutation, is worth more than an act a thousandfold greater performed in honor of one of the other saints.

7. “A single Ave Maria is of more value than any temporal gift of body or soul, of life or death.

8. “As the firmament of heaven surpasses all the stars in magnitude, so does the loving-kindness of Mary surpass that of all the saints.

9. “As the sun exceeds in its beneficent action all the other orbs, so does the assistance Mary renders us exceed that of all the other saints.

10. “The veneration shown to Mary rejoices all the blessed.

11. “The veneration paid to the saints may be compared to silver; that which is paid to Mary may be compared to gold; that which is paid to Christ, to precious gems; while that which is paid to the Holy Trinity is like all the stars in splendor.

12. “Never does a day pass without some souls being rescued from purgatory by Mary.” These twelve privileges or graces are the crown of twelve stars which St. John saw encircling Our Lady’s head. He who ponders them well cannot fail to feel himself irresistibly drawn to the service and veneration of Mary. Who would not gladly say a Hail Mary in her honor when he hears that she herself declares this short prayer to be worth more than any gift of body or soul? Who would not rejoice to enroll himself in her service when he is told that what he does for her is of far greater value than what is done for any other saint? Let us serve her, then, with zeal and fervor, especially by hearing Mass, and offering to her the sacrifice of her dear Son. For every time Mass is said Jesus is born anew in a mystic manner, and Mary’s high dignity as His Mother is renewed.

St. Venantius

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St. Venantius, Martyr

Today’s Martyr carries us back to the persecutions under the Roman Emperors. It was at Camerino, in Italy, that he bore his testimony to the true Faith; and the devotion wherewith he is honoured by the people of those parts, (which are under the temporal Sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff,) has occasioned his Feast being kept throughout the Church. Let us, therefore, joyfully welcome this new champion, who fought so bravely for our Emmanuel. Let us congratulate him upon his having the privilege of suffering Martyrdom during the Paschal Season, all radiant as it is with the grand victory won by Life over Death.

The account given by the Liturgy, upon St. Venantius, is a tissue of miracles. The omnipotence of God seemed, on this and many other like occasions, to be resisting the cruelty of the executioners, in order to glorify the Martyr. It served also as a means for converting the bystanders, who, on witnessing these almost lavish miracles, were frequently heard to exclaim, that they too wished to be Christians, and embrace a Religion which was not only honoured by the superhuman patience of its Martyrs, but was so visibly protected and favored by heaven.  Continue reading