St. Innocent I.

St. Innocent I., Pope and Confessor

HE was a native of Albano, near Rome; and upon the death of Pope Anastasius, in 402, was unanimously chosen to fill the pontifical chair. He ascended it by compulsion, and considering himself in it with trembling, he never ceased to beg of God the spirit of his holy wisdom and prudence, which he stood the more in need of, as the times in which he lived were more difficult. Alaric the Goth, with an army of barbarians, threatened to carry desolation over all Italy. The pope exhorted the faithful to receive the scourges of heaven with submission and humility, and undertook several journeys to negotiate a reconciliation between the emperor Honorius and Alaric, but in vain. The Goths received a great overthrow from the Roman army commanded by Stilico, in 403. But Alaric led them a second time to attempt the plunder of Rome; and because Honorius refused to make him general of the imperial army, he took that city on the 24th of August, 410, and abandoned it to the fury of his soldiers, excepting the church of SS. Peter and Paul, to which he granted the privilege of a sanctuary. Pope Innocent was at that time absent with the emperor at Ravenna. The year following, Alaric being dead, his brother-in-law and successor Atulphus again plundered Rome. 1
After the departure of the barbarians, the good pope hastened thither, and by his presence brought comfort and joy to that afflicted people. He taught them to draw an advantage from their sufferings by making a good use of them; and so much were the Heathens edified at the patience, resignation, and virtue with which the Christians suffered the loss of their goods and whatever was dear, without any murmuring or complaint, that they came in crowds desiring to be instructed in the faith and baptized. The pope laboured incessantly to form them a holy people, always occupied in good works. His letters, especially those to Exuperius, the most holy bishop of Toulouse, and Decentius, bishop of Gubbio, in answer to their several queries, contain many useful rules, and judicious decisions. In the former, he says, that communion or absolution is never to be denied to dying penitents, that we may not imitate the hardness of the Novatians. In that to Decentius he says, that only bishops, who have the sovereignty of the priesthood, can confer the Holy Ghost in confirmation, by anointing the foreheads of persons baptized; and that he cannot recite the words of the form for fear of discovering the mysteries or sacraments to the infidels. He uses the same precaution in speaking of the sacrifice; so inviolable was the secret with which, out of respect, the primitive Christians treated the sacraments. In the same epistle, this pope mentioning the extreme unction which is given to the sick, he says, it cannot be administered to penitents before their reconciliation, because it is a sacrament; and all sacraments are refused them in that state. This evinces that it was held to be no less properly a sacrament than the eucharist. He indeed allows the custom that then prevailed for the laity to use the holy oils out of devotion, but without the sacramental words, and not as a sacrament; for being consulted whether bishops could give that sacrament, which was usually administered by priests, he proves that bishops can do it, because priests can; consequently, he supposes as undoubted, that only priests, not laymen, can minister this holy sacrament. 2
When, in 416, the councils of Carthage and Milevum had condemned the Pelagian errors, and wrote to the pope against them, the synodal letters of both those councils having been drawn up by St. Austin, St. Innocent, in his answer to the bishops of the council of Milevum, says, that “all ecclesiastical matters throughout the world are, by divine right, to be referred to the apostolic see, that is, to St. Peter, the author of its name and honour.” He commends the bishops of this council for so doing: “Following,” says he, “the ancient rule, which you know with me has been always observed by the whole world.” 1 The confirmation given by Pope Innocent to these two African councils being brought to Africa, St. Austin said: 2 “The decisions of the two councils have been already sent to the apostolic see; the rescripts are also come from thence. The cause is now finished; would to God that the error may at last be at end.” St. Innocent closed his life with exerting his zeal in defence of divine grace, dying in 417, having been pope fifteen years. See his letters, and the councils, Ceillier, t. 10, p. 104, and Cuper the Bollandist, t. 6, Jul. p. 548. 3

Note 1. From this example it is manifest, that the African bishops referred greater causes, at least those of faith, to the holy see, and in them always allowed appeals to it; though at that time they carried on a contest with the Popes Innocent, Zosimus, and Celestine, against appeals being made in lesser causes of personal facts, which it is often difficult to carry on in remote courts, and which, if too easy and frequent, are a bar to the speedy execution of justice. Yet such appeals or revisions of causes are sometimes necessary to hinder crying injustices and oppressions. Whence the regulation of the manner of restraining appeals in smaller ecclesiastical causes is a point of discipline; but the general council of Sardica, which was an appendix of the council of Nice, declared, that appeals must be allowed from the whole world to the bishops of Rome: and in this discipline the Africans soon after acquiesced.
Note 2. St. Aug. Serm. 131, n. 10.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. July 28.

St. Victor

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St. Victor, Pope and Martyr

HE was a native of Africa, and succeeded St. Eleutherius in the pontificate, in the year 192, the nineteenth of Commodus. The practice of those virtues which had prepared him for that dignity rendered him a true successor of the apostles. He vigorously opposed the rising heresies of that age. Theodotus of Byzantium, a tanner, having apostatized from the faith to save his life in a late persecution, afterwards, to extenuate his guilt, pretended that he had denied only a man, not God; teaching that Christ was nothing more than a mere man, as the Socinians teach at this day; whereas the Arians allowed him to have been before the world, though himself a creature Theodotus, going to Rome, there drew many into his blasphemous error; for he was well versed in polite literature; but Victor checked his progress by excommunicating him, with Ebion, Artemon, and another Theodotus, who had taught the same blasphemy. 1 This other Theodotus, called Trapezita, or the banker, was author of the Melchisedecian heresy, pretending that Melchisedec was greater than Christ. 1
Montanus, a new convert in Mysia, near Phrygia, out of an unbounded desire of invading the first dignities of the church, and filled with rage to see himself disappointed, began to preach against the church; and having by pride and ambition given entrance to the devil, commenced false prophet, and sometimes losing his senses, began in an enthusiastic strain to utter extraordinary expressions. Prisca, or Priscilla, and Maximilla, two women of quality, but of debauched lives, left their husbands, and being filled with the same spirit, spoke like Montanus, void of sense, and after an extravagant and unusual manner, pretending they succeeded the prophets among the disciples of the apostles. Montanus placed himself above the apostles, saying that he had received the Paraclete, or the Holy Ghost promised by Christ, to perfect his law. He denied that the church had power to forgive the sins of idolatry, murder, and impurity, and hardly received any sinners on repentance. St. Paul had allowed second marriages; but Montanus forbade them as inconsistent with the perfect law of chastity; and he forbade Christians to flee in time of persecution. The Montanists were also called from their country, Cataphryges, and Pepuzeni, from Pepuzium, a little town in Phrygia, which was their capital, and which they called Jerusalem. 2 They boasted of their martyrs, as the Marcionites also did; which other heretics seldom pretend to, as St. Irenæus and Origen take notice; nor could these have any great number. Apollonius, a Catholic writer quoted by Eusebius, confounding the hypocrisy of the Montanists, reproached their pretended prophetesses with infamous debaucheries, and with receiving presents, saying: “Does a prophet colour his hair, paint his eye-brows, play at dice, or lend out money on usury? I will demonstrate that they are guilty of these things.” The Catholics met to examine their pretended new prophecies, and convicted them of falsehood, because the true prophets were not beside themselves when they spoke; also, the Montanists had lied in their predictions, and opposed the doctrine of the church. Asterius Urbanus, a learned priest, (for he calls St. Zoticus fellow-priest,) confounded them by these arguments, in a great conference held at Ancyra, about the year 188. Their prophecies and errors being condemned as impious, the followers of Montanus were driven out of the church, and excommunicated. It was reported for certain that Montanus and Maximilla, led away by the spirit that possessed them, afterwards hanged themselves. These particulars are related by Eusebius. 2

Tertullian who fell into this heresy about the time of the death of Pope Victor, says, 3 that this pope at first admitted to the communion of the church these pretended prophets. And it was easy to be deceived in a matter of fact concerning persons at such a distance, and who appeared under the garb of hypocrisy. But he had no sooner answered their letters, in which he acknowledged them brethren, but Praxeas coming from the East, brought him an ample account of their tenets and practice: and Victor immediately recalled his letters of communion, and condemned these innovators. This Praxeas was a Phrygian, and being puffed up because he had suffered imprisonment for the faith, began to sow a new heresy at Rome, maintaining but one person in God, and attributing crucifixion to the Father as well as the Son; whence his followers were called Patripassians. His errors being brought to light, he was also cut off from the communion of the church. 3
About the same time Tatian fell from the church. He was a Syrian, a Platonic philosopher, and a disciple of St. Justin, martyr, after whose death he taught some time at Rome. Afterwards, returning into Syria in 171, he there broached his errors, which he durst not advance at Rome. He borrowed several of them from Marcion, Valentinus, and Saturninus, teaching two principles, and that the Creator is the evil principle of God. He added several new errors, as that Adam was damned. He condemned marriage as no less criminal than adultery, whence his followers were called Encratitæ, or the continent. They were likewise called Hydroparastatæ, or Aquarii, because, in consecrating the Eucharist, they used only water, for they condemned all use of wine, and likewise the use of flesh-meat. 4 The ancients observe that Tatian’s fall was owing to pride, which often attends an opinion of knowledge; 5 and of this there cannot be a more dangerous symptom in a scholar than a fondness for novelty and singularity, especially if joined with obstinacy and opiniativeness. 4
St. Victor was watchful to cut off these scandals in their root, and everywhere to maintain the purity of the faith with unity. Upon this motive, he exerted his zeal in the dispute about the time of celebrating Easter. The churches of Lesser Asia kept it with the Jews on the fourteenth day of the first moon after the vernal equinox, on whatever day of the week it fell. The Roman church, and all the rest of the world, kept Easter always on the Sunday immediately following that fourteenth day. Pope Anicetus permitted these Asiatics to keep their own custom, even at Rome; but Pope Soter, his successor, obliged them to conform to the custom of places where they should be. Several councils held at Rome, in Palestine, in Pontus, in Gaul, at Corinth, and other places, unanimously determined the point according to the Roman custom. Yet Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, wrote strenuously in defence of the Asiatic custom, which he said was derived from St. Philip who died at Hierapolis, from St. John the Evangelist, St. Polycarp, bishop and martyr, Sagarus, bishop and martyr, who died at Laodicea, and others. Victor seeing the Asiatics fixed in their resolution, threatened to cut them off from the communion of the church; from the words of Eusebius 6 some moderns infer with Baronius, Coustant, and De Marca, that he excommunicated them in a letter, but immediately suspended or recalled the sentence: others with Thomassin, Natalis Alexander, and Graveson, think that he only threatened it; which opinion best agrees with the sequel. To reconcile the different passages of authors, F. John Philip Monti 7 thinks Pope Victor, upon receiving the refractory answer of Polycrates, drew up a sentence of excommunication, but never sent or published the same, being overcome by the advice of St. Irenæus. The schism which Blastus, a priest, had lately formed at Rome, upon the difference of this rite, for which he had been degraded by Pope Eleutherius, probably made St. Victor more severe in extirpating a practice which became daily more dangerous to the unity of the church; but prudence and charity recommended a toleration some time longer, which he was prevailed upon to grant, by a letter of St. Irenæus, who wrote to him on that subject in his own name, and in that of his brethren in Gaul. St. Victor died soon after this, in the year 201, the ninth of Severus, after he had sat ten years. He is styled a martyr by some writers of the fifth age, and in an ancient pontifical written in 530. Though Severus only published the edicts for his persecution in 202, several Christians had suffered in his reign before that time, as Tillemont remarks. 8 F. Pagi thinks St. Victor did not die by the sword, because in some Martyrologies he is called only confessor, though his dignity and zeal exposed him to continual persecutions, for which alone he might deserve the title of martyr. See Eusebius Hist. l. 5, c. 23; Orsi, Berti Diss. Hist. t. 2, p. 88.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. July 28.

SS. Nazarius and Celsus

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SS. Nazarius and Celsus, Martyrs

From two sermons delivered on their festival, the one by St. Ennodius, the other passes under the name of St. Ambrose, and was written soon after his time, perhaps by St. Gaudentius of Brescia; also from Paulinus the Deacon, in his life of St. Ambrose. See Tillemont. t. 2, and Pinius the Bollandist, t. 6, Julij, p. 503.

About the Year 68.

ST. NAZARIUS’S father was a heathen, and enjoyed a considerable post in the Roman army. His mother Perpetua was a zealous Christian, and was instructed by St. Peter, or his disciples, in the most perfect maxims of our holy faith. Nazarius embraced it with so much ardour that he copied in his life all the great virtues he saw in his teachers; and out of zeal for the salvation of others left Rome, his native city, and preached the faith in many places with a fervour and disinterestedness becoming a disciple of the apostles. Arriving at Milan he was there beheaded for the faith, together with Celsus, a youth whom he carried with him to assist him in his travels. These martyrs suffered soon after Nero had raised the first persecution. Their bodies were buried separately in a garden without the city, where they were discovered and taken up by St. Ambrose in 395. In the tomb of St. Nazarius a vial of the saint’s blood was found as fresh and red as if it had been spilt that day. The faithful stained handkerchiefs with some drops, and also formed a certain paste with it; a portion of which St. Ambrose sent to St. Gaudentius, bishop of Brescia. St. Ambrose conveyed the bodies of the two martyrs into the new church of the apostles, which he had just built. A woman was delivered of an evil spirit in their presence. St. Ambrose sent some of these relics of St. Paulinus of Nola, who received them with great respect, as a most valuable present, as he testifies. 1 1
The martyrs died as the outcasts of the world, but are crowned by God with immortal honour. The glory of the world is false and transitory, and an empty bubble or shadow; but that of virtue is true, solid, and permanent, even in the eyes of men; for, to use the comparison of St. Basil, 2 as the more we look upon the sun the more we admire it, and by reviewing it never find it less bright or less beautiful; so the memory of the martyrs which we celebrate, after so many years, is only more fresh in our minds, and will be more flourishing in all ages to come. 2

Note 1. St. Paulin. Carm. 24, and ep. 12. On the relics of St. Nazarius at Milan, see the life of St. Charles Borromeo, by Guissiano, in the new Latin edition, l. 5, c. 9, p. 435, and the notes of Oltrocci, ibid.
Note 2. S. Bas. hom. de S. Gordio.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. July 28.

St. Pantaleon

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St. Pantaleon, Martyr

Nicomedia, a city in Bithynia, was the birth-place of St. Pantaleon. His mother, Eubula, was a Christian, but Eustorgius, his father, a heathen. The former died before he was baptized, and the latter reared him in the darkness of idolatry, and instructed him carefully in the same. Pantaleon, whose appearance was prepossessing, and who, besides this, was gifted with great talents, studied medicine and acquired such knowledge, that he not only gained the esteem of the lower classes, but also stood in great favor with the Emperor Galerius Maximian. At that period there lived in the same city a pious and zealous priest, named Hermolaus, who, on account of the persecutions, secretly instructed the Christians, and encouraged them to remain faithful to Christ. Having sought an opportunity to become acquainted with Pantaleon, he conversed one day with him upon the art of healing certain diseases; and on this occasion spoke of the true God, adding that by calling on Jesus Christ, as the Lord of life and death, one could heal diseases much better than by human remedies; that even the dead could be restored to life, if it so pleased the Lord, and one called upon Him with due confidence. Hermolaus confirmed his words by relating several examples of miraculous cases and restoration to life, and exhorted Pantaleon most earnestly to become one of the number of those who believed in Christ, and who worshipped no other God in heaven or on earth. Pantaleon was deeply impressed by the words of the pious priest, and promised to consider carefully all he had heard.

One day, while he was occupied with the thought whether all was true that Hermolaus had told him, he found on his way a dead child, and near it a viper, which probably had killed the child. Remembering what he had heard of the omnipotence of the God of the Christians, he was filled with trust in Him, and said to the dead child: “I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, rise! “and to the viper: “And be thou punished for having killed this poor child!” At the same moment, the dead child arose to his feet, and the viper burst before his eyes. Amazed at this evident miracle, Pantaleon went forthwith to Hermolaus, related to him what had just occurred, and humbly begged for holy baptism, which he received after having been sufficiently instructed in the faith of Christ. Not satisfied with his own conversion, he endeavored also to bring his father to the knowledge of the true God, and took every opportunity to speak to him of the falsity of those idols which were so devoutly worshipped and on account of which the Christians, who refused to sacrifice to them, were so cruelly persecuted. God so ordered, that just at a time when he was thus conversing with his father, a blind man came to him, who bitterly complained that the physicians, instead of healing his eyes, had entirely deprived him of his sight, and asked him if he could help him. “Will you promise me to embrace the Christian faith if I restore your sight?” asked Pantaleon. “I will,” replied the blind man. Then Pantaleon, making the sign of the holy cross over him, said: “In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, open thine eyes!” And the man, opening his eyes, saw.

This miracle opened the inner eyes of Pantaleon’s father, those eyes with which we recognize God. Seeing that the words of his son were true, he said to him: “I must believe now that the God of the Christians is the only true God.” Inexpressibly happy, Pantaleon went, with his father and the man who had been blind, to the pious priest, who instructed and baptized both. Pantaleon’s father, soon after, died and left his great wealth to his son, who sold the greatest part of it and divided the money among the poor, that he might have more leisure to prepare himself for the struggle which he knew was awaiting him, being convinced that he would have to suffer greatly when his conversion came to the knowledge of the Emperor. Meanwhile, he gave all his care to the sick, healing many of them by merely making the sign of the cross over them, and thus converting them to the Christian faith.

The other physicians envied the Saint, on account of his many cures, and, fearing that he would gradually draw all the sick to himself, they resolved to put him out of the way. They, therefore, denounced him to the Emperor as a Christian who cured the sick by the usual magic of his sect. They particularly related how he had, not long before, restored sight to a blind man. The Emperor called this man into his presence, and asked him how, and by whom his sight had been restored. The man told the simple truth, that Pantaleon, by calling upon Christ, had immediately given him back his sight, adding that he had recognized, by this fact, that the God of the Christians was the only true God, and hence had resolved to worship Him only. The Emperor became so incensed at these words, that he ordered this fearless confessor of Christ to be beheaded without loss of time. He then had Pantaleon brought, and asked him if it was true that he was a Christian. Pantaleon, without hesitation, confessed his faith, and represented the falsity of the heathen gods so clearly, that neither the Emperor nor any of those present could bring an argument against him. At the conclusion of his speech, he said that he was ready to prove the truth of his God, and the vanity of the heathen idols. “Let them bring,” said he, “a sick person, of whose recovery there is no hope. Then call all the idolatrous priests, in order that they may pray to their gods, while I will ask the aid of my God; and then we shall see whether your gods are able to restore the sick man to health. I know that my God has the power.”

They accepted this proposition, and brought an incurable paralytic man. The priests began to call on all their gods, one after another, as in ancient times the priests of Baal had done in the presence of King Achab and the holy prophet Elias. But the sick man’s health did not improve. After the idolaters had for a long time vainly endeavored to receive help from their gods, the Christian physician stepped forward, and, after saying a short prayer, he made the sign of the cross over the sick man, and said with a loud voice: ” In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, rise, restored to health.” And at the same time the paralyzed man arose and cried: “There is no other God but the God of the Christians! ” This miracle soon became known all over the city, and induced many heathens to join the faithful. The Emperor, however, provoked beyond measure by the idolatrous priests against Pantaleon, commanded that he should be first tortured and afterwards beheaded. Hermolaus, who was not less faithful to Christ than Pantaleon, was beheaded at the same time. Both received the crown of martyrdom in the 305 th year of the Christian era.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

You saw in the life of St. Pantaleon how a child brought his own father to the knowledge of his error, then to the true faith and a pious life, hence to everlasting happiness. Oh! how beautiful an example! Many children are the cause of great sin, and perhaps of the damnation of their parents, because they give them, by their disobedience and bad conduct, occasion of cursing, blasphemy, anger and other sins. How great will be their responsibility when they appear before the judgment-seat of God! If you have been one of these children, or are still one of them, repent of your fault and pray earnestly for your parents, if they are dead. Should they, however, still live, treat them with due love, honor and obedience, that you may, in some measure, atone for your past omissions. Pray often to the Almighty that He may give grace to them and to you to live in such a manner, that you may all gain everlasting life. Should you have an opportunity to be useful to your parents in regard to their spiritual welfare, without trespassing on the respect due to them, omit not so to do ; they have well deserved it of you.

INSTRUCTION ON THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

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INSTRUCTION ON THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

The Introit the Church invites us to give praise to God in the following words:

INTROIT Oh, clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy. For the Lord is most high, he is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. (Ps. XLVI.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, whose providence is unerring in what it ordains, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us all things which will profit us. Thro’.

EPISTLE (ROM. VI., 19-23.) Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your, flesh: for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them, is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

EXPLANATION St. Paul here admonishes the Romans who had been converted to Christianity, but were still sensual and weak, that they ought to be much more zealous in serving God and mastering their passions. He demands of them that they should at least strive, now as hard to save their souls as they once did to destroy them. This certainly is but right, for many a man would become just and holy if he would do as much for heaven, as he does for sin and hell. But to know how wholesome it is to consecrate themselves to justice and sanctity, he wishes them to consider what advantage they derived from sin. Nothing is gained from it but shame, confusion, sorrow, and death, but by a pious life, God’s grace and eternal life. – Often consider this, Christian soul, and do not defile yourself by sins, which profit nothing, but?bring shame, grief, and the retributive wrath of God.

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

GOSPEL (Matt. VII. 15-21.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves: by their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Who are the false Prophets?

Those seducers who under an appearance of virtue and honesty lure innocent, simple souls from the right path, and lead them to vice and shame; who by sweet words, such as: “God , is full of love, and will not be severe on sin, He does not require so very much of us, He knows we are weak, and if a person sins, he can be converted,” seek to steal from souls all modesty and fear, of God. Guard against such hypocrites, for they have the poison of vipers on their tongues. By the false prophets are also understood those who propagate error, who by superficial words fade the true faith, who speak always of love and liberty, and who under the pretence of making people free and happy bring many a soul to doubt and error, depriving it of true faith and peace of heart.

How can we know the false prophets?

By their works; for evil, corrupted men can produce only bad fruit. If we look into their life we will find that at heart they are immoral hypocrites who observe external propriety only that they may the more easily spread their poison. The false teachers and messengers of error may be known by their lives, but especially by their intentions, Which are to subvert all divine order, and to put the unrestrained lust of the flesh and tyranny in its place.

Who else are understood by the false prophets?

Those who under pretence of making men happy and rich, induce the credulous to make use of superstition, of wicked arts, deceit, and injustice; especially those who under he deceiving appearance of liberty and equality, independence and public good, incite them to open or secret revolt against civil and ecclesiastical authority.

Be not deceived by these so-called public benefactors who look always to their own advantage, but trust in God, support yourself honestly, live like a Christian, and you will find true liberty and happiness here and hereafter.

Why does Christ say: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire?”

He warns us that faith without good works is not sufficient for salvation; and he therefore adds; Not every one that saith: Lord, Lord (who outwardly professes himself my servant, but is not really such) shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who, (by the fulfilment of the duties of his state of life and by the practice `of good works), does the will of my Father, merits heaven. Strive then, Christian soul, to fulfil God’s will in all things, perform your daily duties with a good intention, and you will certainly obtain the kingdom of heaven.

INSTRUCTION ON GOOD WORKS

What are good works?

All the actions of man which are performed according to the will of God, while in the state of grace, for the love of God.

Which are the principal good works?

Prayer, fasting, and alms deeds. These are especially inculcated in holy Scripture. (Tob. XIII. 8.) By prayer is here understood all religious services; by fasting all mortification of soul and body; by alms?deeds all works of charity.

How many kinds of charitable works are there?

Two kinds: spiritual and corporal.

Which are the spiratual works of mercy?

Those that are performed for the good of the soul: to admonish sinners; to teach the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to console the afflicted; to suffer injustice patiently; to forgive all injuries, and to pray for the living and the dead.

Which are the corporal works?

Those which are performed for the good of the body: to feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to visit and ransom the captives; to harbor the harborless; to visit the sick; and to bury the dead.

Can we be saved without good works?

No, for Christ expressly, says: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. The servant in the gospel who did not even waste the talent received, but only hid it in the ground, was therefore cast into outer darkness. How greatly do those err who hope to reach heaven, simply because they do no evil! Of this great mistake St. Chrysostom plainly says: “If you had a servant who was in truth no robber, no glutton or drunkard, but who sat at home idle, neglecting everything for which you had employed him, would you not pay him with the whip and send him off? Is it not bad enough to neglect that which duty demands?” Such a servant is the Christian who, doing neither good nor evil, makes himself thereby unfit for heaven which is the reward of work performed, and if no work has been done, no reward is to be expected.

SUPPLICATION O Lord, guard me from false prophets, heretics, and seducers, and grant me the grace, that according to St. Paul’s instructions I may become fruitful in all good works. Inflame my heart, that I may adorn my , faith with them, thus do the will of the Heavenly Father, and render myself worthy of heaven.