CHASTITY

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CHASTITY

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”Matt. 5:8

No one knows the value of chastity better than God Himself. Now God says: “No price is worthy of a continent soul.” (Ecclus. 26:20). All that man prizes and esteems, riches, pleasures, honors, bear no comparison to a continent soul. St. Ephrem calls chastity “the life of the spirit.” St. Peter Damian styles it “the queen of virtues,” and St. Cyprian says by means of chastity we celebrate the most glorious triumphs. He who conquers the vice opposed to this virtue will easily triumph over the rest. On the contrary, he who permits himself to be ruled by incontinency falls an easy prey to the other vices such as hatred, injustice, etc. Chastity, says St. Ephrem, renders us in a certain sense like angels. This comparison is altogether justified, for the life of angels is far from being a life of carnal gratifications. Angels are pure by nature; chaste souls are pure by reason of virtue. “On account of the merit of this virtue,” says Cassian, “human beings are placed on a level with the angels.” “Of course there is a difference,” says St. Bernard, “between the chaste man and the angel, but it is not a difference of virtue; it is only one of happiness. If the chastity of the angels is more blessed, the chastity of man is more courageous.”

St. Basil tells us that “chastity makes man very similar to God Himself, who is a pure spirit.” On this account Our Lord chose a virgin for His Mother, a virgin for His foster father, St. Joseph, a virgin for His precursor, St. John the Baptist. St. Jerome says that Our Lord loved St. John the Apostle more than the rest on account of this virtue. To the virgin disciple He entrusted His Immaculate Mother, just as He now confides His Holy Church and His Sacred Presence in the Holy Eucharist to the care of the celibate priest. “O holy purity,” says St. Athanasius, “thou art the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, the life of angels and the crown of saints.” How great, therefore, is the value of chastity! But how frightful the war that the flesh wages to rob us of this precious pearl!

Our body is the most powerful weapon the devil possesses to make us his slaves. On this account it is seldom that a man comes forth victorious from this conflict. “The struggle for chastity,” says St. Augustine, “is the most violent of all; the battle is renewed every day, and victory is rare.” “How many unfortunate persons there are,” says St. Lawrence Justinian, “who having spent long years in solitude amid prayer, fasting and mortification, yielded at last to sensuality, gave up their holy life, and with the loss of chastity suffered the loss of God.” Continue reading

St. Angela Merici

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St. Angela Merici

Foundress of the Ursulines, born 21 March, 1474, at Desenzano, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy; died 27 January, 1540, at Brescia.

She was left an orphan at the age of ten and together with her elder sister came to the home of her uncle at the neighbouring town of Salo where they led an angelic life. When her sister met with a sudden death, without being able to receive the last sacraments, young Angela was much distressed. She became a tertiary of St. Francis and greatly increased her prayers and mortifications for the repose of her sister’s soul. In her anguish and pious simplicity she prayed God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sister. It is said that by a vision she was satisfied her sister was in the company of the saints in heaven.

When she was twenty years old, her uncle died, and she returned to her paternal home at Desenzano. Convinced that the great need of her times was a better instruction of young girls in the rudiments of the Christian religion, she converted her home into a school where at stated intervals she daily gathered all the little girls of Desenzano and taught them the elements of Christianity. It is related that one day, while in an ecstasy, she had a vision in which it was revealed to her that she was to found an association of virgins who were to devote their lives to the religious training of young girls. The school she had established at Desenzano soon bore abundant fruit, and she was invited to the neighbouring city, Brescia, to establish a similar school at that place. Angela gladly accepted the invitation.

In 1524, while making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she became suddenly blind when she was on the island of Crete, but continued her journey to the Holy Places and was cured on her return while praying before a crucifix at the same place where she was struck with blindness a few weeks before. When, in the jubilee year 1525, she had come to Rome to gain the indulgences, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her great holiness and her extraordinary success as a religious teacher of young girls, invited her to remain in Rome; but Angela, who shunned publicity, returned to Brescia. Finally, on the 25th of November, 1535, Angela chose twelve virgins and laid the foundation of the order of the Ursulines in a small house near the Church of St. Afra in Brescia. Having been five years superior of the newly-founded order, she died.

Her body lies buried in the Church of St. Afra at Brescia. She was beatified in 1768, by Clement XIII, and canonized in 1807, by Pius VII. Her feast is celebrated 31 May.

Sources

HEIMBUCHER, Orden und Kongregationen (Paderborn, 1896), 1511 sqq., SEEB’CK, Herrlichkeit der katholischen Kirche (Innsbruck, 1900); GUÉRIN, Les petite Bollandsstes (Paris), III, 326 sqq., Bullarii Romani Continuatio, VII, pt. I; her biography has been written in French by BAUTHORS (Abbeville, 1894) at Notre Dame d’Alet (1885), PASTEL, (Paris, 1878); in German by an Ursuline (Innsbruck, 1893), by an Ursuline (Paderborn, 1892), in Italian by GIRELLI (Brescia, 1871);by SALVATORI (Rome, 1807).

About this page

APA citation. Ott, M. (1907). St. Angela Merici. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Ott, Michael. “St. Angela Merici.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

 

Devotions to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for the Month of June

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Devotions to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for the Month of June

COMMUNITY NOVENA TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Recited daily in June

O Divine Jesus, during this Novena in honor of Thy Most Sacred Heart we commend unto Thee the petitions and intentions which have been placed upon the altar, that they may be granted as they are in accord with Thy Divine Will and for the good of souls. We further commend to Thy Sacred Heart our Bishop, Clergy, and Religious, all the lay members of our Community, all of our Fatima Cell members and Crusaders, and all of our benefactors and those for whom we are bound to pray. Inflame our hearts with the fire of Divine Love that we may grow daily in charity, piety, humility, love of God and one another. Send to us many pious, obedient, and devout vocations to assist us in our work for souls. Give to our Priests and Religious hearts patterned after Thine own. Make the lives of our families abound in holiness and piety. Protect and defend our Community and all the members of the Remnant Catholic Church against the attacks of our spiritual enemies, and confound the diabolical machinations of the legions of Hell. Console the sick, the dying, and those who are in anguish. Give to our youth a generous heart and a burning love of their holy Catholic Faith. Have mercy upon the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and grant to each of us the grace of final perseverance. Preserve us from all division, dissension and disunity and make us all to be of one heart, of one mind, and of one soul in Thee.
Sweet Heart of Jesus, we place our trust in Thee;
make us Thine own in time and in eternity. Amen. Continue reading

Octave of the Ascension

Octave of the Ascension

We have already seen how the Ascension of our Emmanuel won Him the empire over our understanding: it was the triumph of faith. The same mystery gave Him a second victory: the victory of love, which makes Him reign in our hearts. For eighteen hundred years, in whom have men believed, firmly and universally, except Jesus? In what have men agreed, except the dogmas of faith?What countless errors has this divine torch dispelled! What light has it given to the nations that received it! And in what darkness has it left those which rejected it after having once received it!

In like manner, no one has been loved as our Jesus has been, ever since the day of His Ascension ; no one is so loved now or ever will be, as He. But that He might thus win our love He had to leave us, just as He had to do in order to secure our faith. Let us return to our text, that we may get deeper into the beautiful mystery. ‘It is expedient for you that I go!’–(St. John, xvi. 7) Before the Ascension, the disciples were as inconstant in their love as they were in their faith. Jesus could not trust them. But no sooner had He left them, than they became warmly devoted to Him. Instead of complaining of their bereavement, they returned full of joy to Jerusalem. The thought of their master’s triumph made them forget their own loss, and they hastened, as He bade them, to the cenacle, where they were to be endued with power from on high. Watch these men during the subsequent years; examine what their conduct was from that time to the day of their death; count, if you can, their acts of devotedness in the arduous labour of preaching the Gospel; and say, if any other motive than love for their master could have enabled them to do what they did. With what cheerfulness did they drink His chalice!–(St. Matth. xx. 23) With what raptures did they hail His cross, when they saw it being prepared for themselves! Continue reading

MIRARI VOS: On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism

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MIRARI VOS

On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism

Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI promulgated on 15 August 1832.

To All Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic World.

Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

We think that you wonder why, from the time of Our assuming the pontificate, We have not yet sent a letter to you as is customary and as Our benevolence for you demanded. We wanted very much to address you by that voice by which We have been commanded, in the person of blessed Peter, to strengthen the brethren.1 You know what storms of evil and toil, at the beginning of Our pontificate, drove Us suddenly into the depths of the sea. If the right hand of God had not given Us strength, We would have drowned as the result of the terrible conspiracy of impious men. The mind recoils from renewing this by enumerating so many dangers; instead We bless the Father of consolation Who, having overthrown all enemies, snatched Us from the present danger. When He had calmed this violent storm, He gave Us relief from fear. At once We decided to advise you on healing the wounds of Israel; but the mountain of concerns We needed to address in order to restore public order delayed Us.

2. In the meantime We were again delayed because of the insolent and factious men who endeavored to raise the standard of treason. Eventually, We had to use Our God-given authority to restrain the great obstinacy of these men with the rod.2 Before We did, their unbridled rage seemed to grow from continued impunity and Our considerable indulgence. For these reasons Our duties have been heavy. Continue reading