Saint Aloysius Gonzaga’s Devotion to the Sacred Heart

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The Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Fr. John Croiset, S. J.
Originally published in1691;
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1959 
TAN Books and Publishers

Part Two:
Means of Acquiring this Devotion

Chapter 4

– Sixth Means –

The sixth means, which we propose and which God has already indicated by favors granted, as very suitable to obtain a tender love for Our Lord Jesus Christ, is devotion to St. Aloysius Gonzaga. This Saint, who was of noble family, was remarkable for the innocence and sublime perfection of his life. Continue reading

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

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Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

The angelical youth, Aloysius, was the son of a Margrave, and was born at Castiglione, in Italy, in the year 1568. As his mother, Martha, was in great danger of losing her life in childbirth, he was baptized before he was entirely born and thus fitted for heaven before earth had possessed him. After his mother, however, had made a vow to devote herself with her child at Loretto to the Blessed Virgin, she brought Aloysius happily into the world. No sooner had he begun to speak and walk, than his noble mother instilled into him those religious sentiments with which her whole heart was filled. He had hardly reached the age of five years, when he was frequently found kneeling in a corner and devoutly praying. It was at this tender age that he went to Casale, where, by the wish of his father, Ferdinand, he was present at a large mustering of soldiers. He there stealthily took some powder out of the pocket of a soldier, and fired off a cannon, which very nearly cost him his life, as he might easily have been crushed by the recoiling wheels. At that time, he learned also, from associating with the soldiers, certain profane expressions which he repeated without comprehending their meaning. When his tutor heard these words and forbade him ever to use them again, they never more passed his lips. These two faults were the greatest he ever committed, and in the innocence of his heart, he never ceased to weep over them. At seven years of age, he turned his heart entirely from the world and gave it to God. He called this year the period of his conversion, and said afterwards that he then began to love God above everything, as every human creature ought to do after having attained the use of reason. Continue reading

St. Silverius

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St. Silverius, Pope and Martyr

A.D. 538.

SILVERIUS was son of Pope Hormisdas, who had been engaged in wedlock before he entered the ministry. Upon the death of St. Agapetus, after a vacancy of forty-seven days, Silverius, being then subdeacon, was chosen pope, and ordained on the 8th of June, 536, Theodatus the Goth being king of Italy. Theodoric had bequeathed that kingdom to his grandson Athalaric, under the tuition of his mother Amalasunta, a most wise and learned princess. Athalaric died in 534, after a reign of eight years: when Amalasunta called Theodatus, a nephew of her father Theodoric by a sister, to the throne; but the ungrateful king, jealous of his power, caused her to be confined in an island in the lake of Bolsena, and there strangled in a bath before the end of the same year, 534. The shocking barbarity of this action encouraged the emperor Justinian to attempt the reduction of Italy. Belisarius, his general, had been successful in all his wars against rebels at home, the Persians in the East, and Gelimer the Vandal in Africa, whom he had brought prisoner to Constantinople in 534; by which victory he extinguished the puissant kingdom of the Vandals, and reunited Africa to the empire, after it had been separated above one hundred years. By the emperor’s order in 535, being then consul, he marched with his victorious army against Italy. He that year made himself master of Sicily, and passing thence into Italy in 536, took Naples. Upon which the Goths deposed Theodatus, and raised Vitiges, an experienced officer, to the throne. The senate and people of Rome, at the persuasion of Pope Silverius, opened the city to the imperialists, who entered by the Asinarian gate, whilst the Gothic garrison retired by the Flaminian towards Ravenna, where Vitiges had shut himself up. 1  Continue reading

St. Juliana Falconieri

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St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin

THE ILLUSTRIOUS family of Falconieri in Italy received great honour from the sanctity of this holy virgin. Her father, Charissimus Falconieri, and his pious lady, Reguardata, were both advanced in years, and seemed to have lost all hopes of issue, when in 1270 they were wonderfully blessed with the birth of our saint. Devoting themselves afterwards solely to the exercises of religion, they built and founded at their own expense the stately church of the Annunciation of our Lady in Florence, which for riches and the elegance of the structure, may at this day be ranked among the wonders of the world. B. Alexius Falconieri, the only brother of Charissimus, and uncle of our saint, was with St. Philip Beniti, one of the seven first propagators and pillars of the Order of Servites, or persons devoted to the service of God under the special patronage of the Virgin Mary. Juliana in her infancy seemed almost to anticipate the ordinary course of nature in the use of reason, by her early piety; and the first words she learned to pronounce were the sacred names, Jesu, Maria. Fervent prayer and mortification chiefly took up her attention at an age which seems usually scarcely capable of any thing serious. Such was her angelical modesty, that she never durst lift up her eyes to look any man in the face; and so great was her horror of sin that the very name of it made her almost fall into a swoon. 1 Continue reading

SS. Gervasius and Protasius

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SS. Gervasius and Protasius, Martyrs

ST. AMBROSE calls these saints the protomartyrs of Milan. They seem to have suffered in the first persecution under Nero, or at latest under Domitian, and are said to have been the sons of SS. Vitalis and Valeria, 1 both martyrs, the first at Ravenna, the second at Milan. This latter city was the place which SS. Gervasius and Protasius rendered illustrious bytheir glorious martyrdom and miracles. St. Ambrose assures us, that the divine grace prepared them a long time for their crown by the good example which they gave, and by the constancy with which they withstood the corruption of the world. He adds they were beheaded for the faith. 2 They are said to have been twin brothers. 1
The faithful at Milan, in the fourth age, had lost the remembrance of these saints. Yet the martyrs had not ceased to assist that church in its necessities; and the discovery of their relics rescued it from the utmost danger. The Empress Justina, widow of Valentinian I. and mother of Valentinian the Younger, who then reigned, and resided at Milan, was a violent abettor of Arianism, and used her utmost endeavours to expel St. Ambrose. The Arians did not hesitate to have recourse to the most horrible villanies and forgeries to compass that point. In so critical a conjuncture, our martyrs declared themselves the visible protectors of that distressed church. St. Austin, both in his twenty-second book Of the City of God, 3 and in his Confessions, 4 says, that God revealed to St. Ambrose by a vision in a dream, the place where their relics lay. Paulinus, in his life of St. Ambrose, says, this was done by an apparition of the martyrs themselves. The bishop was going to dedicate a new church, the same which was afterwards called the Ambrosian basilic, and now St. Ambrose the Great. The people desired him to do it with the same solemnity as he had already consecrated another church in the quarter near the gate that led to Rome, in honour of the holy apostles, in which he had laid a portion of their relics. He was at a loss to find relics for this second church. The bodies of Saints Gervasius and Protasius lay then unknown before the rails which enclosed the tomb of SS. Nabor and Felix. St. Ambrose caused this place to be dug up, and there found the bodies of two very big men, with their bones entire, and in their natural position, but the heads separated from their bodies, with a large quantity of blood, and all the marks which could be desired to ascertain the relics. 5 2
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