Saint Jerome, born in Dalmatia in 329, was sent to school in Rome. His boyhood was not free from faults; his thirst for knowledge was excessive, and his love of books, a passion. He had studied under the best masters, visited foreign cities, and devoted himself to the pursuit of learning. But Christ had need of his strong will and active intellect for the service of His Church. He told him in a supernatural experience he never forgot that he was not a Christian, but a Ciceronian: Your heart is where your treasure is, said the Lord to him — that is, in the eloquent writings of antique times. Saint Jerome obeyed the divine call, making a vow never again to read profane works, and another of celibacy. In Rome he had already assisted a number of holy women to organize houses of retirement where they consecrated themselves to God by vow. Calumnies, arising from jealousy, made a certain headway against the scholar whose competence was beginning to attract honors.
Saint Michael, the Guardian Angel of the Blessed Sacrament
Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance, 1913
“Michael,” or “Who is like to God?” Such was the cry of the great archangel when he smote the rebel Lucifer in the conflict of the heavenly hosts, and from that hour he has been known as “Michael,” the captain of the armies of God, the type of of divine fortitude, the champion of every faithful soul in strife with the powers of evil. Thus he appears in Holy Scripture as the guardian of the children of Israel, their comfort and protector in times of sorrow or conflict. He it is who prepares for their return from the Persian captivity, who leads the valiant Machabees to victory, and who rescues the body of Moses from the envious grasp of the Evil One. And since Christ’s coming the Church has ever venerated St. Michael as her special patron and protector. She styles him “the chief of the angelic hosts set over paradise, whom the citizens of heaven delight to honor; the messenger of God to the souls of the just.” She invokes him by name in her confession of sin, summons him to the side of her children in the agony of death, and chooses him as their escort from the chastening flames of purgatory to the realms of holy light. Lastly, when Antichrist shall have set up his kingdom on earth, it is Michael who will unfurl once more the standard of the cross, sound the last trump, and binding together the false prophet and the beast hurl them for all eternity into the burning pool.–Bowden.
MI-CA-EL, or Who is like unto God? was the cry of the great Archangel when he smote the rebel Lucifer in the conflict of the heavenly hosts. From that hour he has been known as Michael, Captain of the armies of God, the archetype of divine fortitude, the champion of every faithful soul in strife with the powers of evil. What is more, we see him in Holy Scripture as the special guardian of the children of Israel, their comfort and protector in times of sorrow or conflict. It is he who prepares their return from the Persian captivity, when the prophet Daniel prays for that favor (Daniel 10:12-13); who leads the valiant Maccabees to victory in battle, after the prayer of Judas Maccabeus (I Mac. 7:41-44).
Ever since its foundation by Jesus Christ, the Church has venerated Saint Michael as her special patron and protector. She invokes him by name in her Confiteor, when accusing her faults; she summons him to the side of her children in the agony of death, and chooses him as their escort from the chastening flames of purgatory to the realms of holy light. Lastly, when Antichrist shall have set up his kingdom on earth, it is Michael who will unfurl once more the standard of the Cross. This we know from a prophecy of Scripture which states clearly that in those days the great prince Michael will rise up to protect the children of God. (Daniel 12:1-4)
During the plague in Rome in the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great saw Saint Michael in a vision sheathing his flaming sword to show that he would put an end to the scourge which was ravaging the city. In 608 a church was erected in thanksgiving to Saint Michael for the help he gave.
Reflection: Saint Bernard wrote: Whenever any grievous temptation or vehement sorrow oppresses you, invoke your Guardian, your Leader. Cry out to him and say, Lord, save us, lest we perish!
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Wenceslas, born towards the end of the ninth century, was the son of a Christian Duke of Bohemia, but his mother was a harsh and cruel pagan. His holy grandmother, Ludmilla, seeing the danger to the future king, asked to bring him up. Wenceslas was educated by her good offices in the true faith, and under her tutelage acquired an exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. At the death of his father, however, he was still a minor, and his mother assumed the government and passed a series of persecuting laws. In the interests of the Faith, Wenceslas, encouraged by his grandmother, claimed and obtained through the support of the people, a large portion of the country as his own kingdom. Soon afterwards his grandmother was martyred, out of hatred of her faith and services to her country, while making her thanksgiving after Holy Communion.
Saints Cosmas and Damian were brothers, born in Arabia in the third century, of noble and virtuous parents. Saint Gregory of Tours wrote that they were twins. They studied the sciences in Syria, and became eminent for their skill in medicine. Being Christians and filled with the charity which characterizes our holy religion, they practiced their profession with great application and wonderful success, but never accepted any fee. They were loved and respected by the people for their good offices and their zeal for the Christian faith, which they took every opportunity to propagate.