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

St. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons

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St. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons, Martyrs

A.D. 120.

TRAJAN’S persecution in some degree continued during the first year of Adrian’s reign, whence Sulpicius Severus places the fourth general persecution under this emperor. However, he put a stop to it about the year 124, moved probably both by the apologies of Quadratus and Aristides, and by a letter which Serenius Granianus, proconsul of Asia, had written to him in favour of the Christians. 1 Nay he had Christ in veneration, not as the Saviour of the world, but as a wonder or novelty, and kept his image together with that of Apollonius Tyanæus. This God was pleased to permit, that his afflicted Church might enjoy some respite. It was, however, again involved in the disgrace which the Jews (with whom the Pagans at these times in some degree confounded the Christians) drew upon themselves by their rebellion, which gave occasion to the last entire destruction of Jerusalem in 134. Then, as St. Paulinus informs us, 2 Adrian caused a statue of Jupiter to be erected on the place where Christ rose from the dead, and a marble Venus on the place of his crucifixion; and at Bethlehem, 3 a grotto consecrated in honour of Adonis or Thammuz, to whom he also dedicated the cave where Christ was born. This prince towards the end of his reign abandoned himself more than ever to acts of cruelty, and being awakened by a fit of superstition he again drew his sword against the innocent flock of Christ. He built a magnificent country palace at Tibur, now Tivoli, sixteen miles from Rome, upon the most agreeable banks of the river Anio, now called Teverone. Here he placed whatever could be procured most curious out of all the provinces. Having finished the building he intended to dedicate it by heathenish ceremonies which he began by offering sacrifices, in order to induce the idols to deliver their oracles. The demons answered: “The widow Symphorosa and her seven sons daily torment us by invoking their God; if they sacrifice, we promise to be favourable to your vows.” 1
This lady lived with her seven sons upon a plentiful estate which they enjoyed at Tivoli, and she liberally expended her treasures in assisting the poor, especially in relieving the Christians who suffered for the faith. She was widow of St. Getulius or Zoticus, who had been crowned with martyrdom with his brother Amantius. They were both tribunes of legions or colonels in the army, and are honoured among the martyrs on the 10th of June. Symphorosa had buried their bodies in her own farm, and sighing to see her sons and herself united with them in immortal bliss, she prepared herself to follow them by the most fervent exercise of all good works. 2
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St. Camillus of Lellis

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St. Camillus of Lellis

On the Festival of the Holy Apostles, St. Peter and St, Paul, in the year 1746, Benedict XIV., with great solemnity, canonized Camillus, the founder of the congregation of regular priests, who, besides the three usual vows, bound themselves especially to serve the sick. Camillus was born in 1550, in the diocese of Theatie, in the kingdom of Naples. His mother dreamed before he was born, that she had given birth to a boy, who wore upon his breast a cross, and who was followed by a great many other boys, who wore the same emblem. The signification of this dream was not recognized until St. Camillus had founded an order, whose members, in consequence of a decree of the Pope, wore a dark red cross on the right side of the breast. The first years of his life were spent piously under the eyes of his parents; but later he became so addicted to games of chance, that he not only lost all he possessed, but also visibly injured his health. Obliged by poverty, he hired himself as nurse in a hospital, but soon becoming tired of this, he joined the army. The life of a soldier pleased him still less, and he therefore took service in a Capuchin cloister, not knowing what other course to pursue.  Continue reading