Saint Felix of Cantalicio, Confessor.
ST. FELIX was born of poor but virtuous parents, at Cantalicio, near Citta Ducale in the Ecclesiastical State, in 1513. For his extraordinary piety he was from his infancy surnamed the saint. At the time when in his childhood he kept cattle, and when afterwards he followed tillage and husbandry work, he was careful to sanctify his labour by a perfect spirit of penance. He accompanied all his actions with devout prayer, so as even then to lead the life rather of a hermit than of a country labourer. He watched during part of the night in holy meditation, and to his painful life he added the austerity of rigorous abstinence and fasting. He contrived, without prejudice to his work, every day to hear mass, and he declined the ordinary amusements of those of his age. Oft in the fields, when he had drove his cattle into some solitary pasture, he would pray for several hours together at the foot of some tree before a cross which with his knife he had cut in the bark. At twelve years of age his father put him out to service, in quality first of shepherd and afterwards of husbandman, in the family of Mark Tully Pichi, a virtuous gentleman who lived at Citta Ducale. In his tender years, before the faculties of his mind were sufficiently opened to qualify him for deep reflection and long meditation, his prayer chiefly consisted of the Our Father, Hail Mary, Creed, Glory be to the Father, &c., especially of certain petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, which he seemed almost never to cease repeating in the fields with wonderful devotion. He was yet young, when he learned to habituate himself to the practice of holy meditation during his labour, and he soon attained to the perfection of heavenly contemplation, whereby the fire of divine affections is readily kindled in the heart by the least thought on God, as touchwood catches the flame; whereas holy meditation calls in the succour of reasoning drawn from the truths of faith, to excite ardent affections of virtue in the soul. It is a mistake to imagine that this exercise requires learning or sublime thoughts. Continue reading