Tuesday, 30 May 2023

30 MAY – SAINT FELIX I (Pope and Martyr)

Felix, a Roman by birth, and son of Constantius, governed the Church during the reign of the emperor Aurelian. He decreed that the Mass should be celebrated upon the shrines and tombs of the martyrs. He held two ordinations in the month of December and made 9 priests, 5 deacons and 5 bishops. He was crowned with martyrdom, and was buried on the Via Aurelia in a Basilica which he himself had built and dedicated. He ruled 2 years, 4 months and 29 days.

Dom Prosper Guéranger:
The holy Popes of the primitive ages of the Church abound during these last days of our Paschal Season. Today we have Felix I, a martyr of the persecution under Aurelian in the third century. His Acts have been lost, with the exception of this one detail: that he proclaimed the dogma of the Incarnation with admirable precision in a Letter addressed to the Church of Alexandria, a passage of which was read, with much applause, at the two Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. We also learn from a law he passed for these troubled times of the Church, that this holy Pontiff was zealous in procuring for the martyrs the honour that is due to them. He decreed that the Holy Sacrifice should be offered up on their tombs. The Church has kept up a remnant of this law by requiring that all altars, whether fixed or portable, must have amongst the relics that are placed in them a portion of some belonging to the martyrs.
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You, O holy Pontiff, imitated your Divine Master in His death, for you gave your life for your sheep. Like Him, too, you are to rise from your tomb and your happy soul will be reunited to its body which suffered death in testimony of the truth you proclaimed at Rome. Jesus is the first-born of the dead (Apocalypse i. 5). You followed Him in His Passion, you will follow Him in His Resurrection. Your body was laid in those venerable vaults which the piety of early Christians honoured with the appellation of Cemeteries, a word which signifies a place in which to sleep. You, O Felix, will awaken on that great day on which the Pasch is to receive its last and perfect fulfilment: pray that we also may then share with you in that happy Resurrection. Obtain for us that we may be faithful to the graces received in this year’s Easter, and prepare us for the visit of the Holy Ghost who is soon to descend upon us, that he may give stability to the work that has been achieved in our souls by our merciful Saviour.
Also on this day according to the ROMAN MARTYOLOGY:

At Torres in Sardinia, the holy martyrs Gabinus and Crispulus.

At Antioch, the Saints Sycus and Palatinus who endured many torments for the name of Christ.

At Ravenna, St. Exuperantius, bishop and confessor.

At Pavia, St. Anastasius, bishop.

At Caesarea in Cappadocia, the Saints Basil and his wife Emmelia, parents of St. Basil the Great, who lived in exile in the fastnesses of Pontus during the reign of Galerius Maximian, and after the persecution rested in peace, leaving their children the heirs of their virtues.

And in other places, many other holy martyrs, confessors and virgins.

Thanks be to God.


Dom Prosper Guéranger:
Yesterday we were admiring the work of the Holy Ghost by which He drew mankind to the Faith and Name of Jesus, to whom “all power was given in Heaven and on Earth” (Matthew xxviii. 18). The instruments used for this conquest were the Apostles and their immediate successors. The Tongue of Fire was victorious, and the Prince of this world was defeated. Let us continue our reflections and see the further workings of the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Son of God, who had sent Him into the world.
Our Emmanuel came down from Heaven that He might effect the union He had desired from all eternity. He began it by uniting our human nature to His own divine Person, but this personal union did not satisfy His love. He mercifully deigned to invite the whole human race to a spiritual union with Himself by giving her to become His Church, His own dearest “One” (Canticles vi. 8), as He calls her — His “glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish” (Ephesians v. 27). But how could mankind, deformed as it was by sin, be worthy of such an honour? His love would make it worthy. He tells us that this Church is His Spouse (Matthew ix. 15; xxv 6; Mark ii. 19; Luke v. 34; John iii. 29), and thus chosen, He beautified her in the laver of His own Precious Blood and gave her, in dowry, the infinite merits He had acquired.
Thus prepared, her union with Him was to he of the closest. Jesus and his Church are one body. He is the Head, she is the aggregate of the Members united together under this one Head. Such is the teaching of the Apostle: “Christ is the Head of the Church: We are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (Ephesians v. 23, 30). This Body is to be formed of all who will in each successive age be faithful to the call of divine grace and enrol themselves as children of the Church. The world we inhabit is to be preserved till the last elect required to complete the mystic body of Jesus will be added to the Church Triumphant: then, all will be consummated. The divine Mystery of the Incarnation will have achieved its whole work.
But, as in the Incarnate Word there was the invisible Soul and the visible Body, so also the Church was to have a Soul and a Body: a Soul whose hidden beauty no eye but God’s can fully see (at least during her earthly sojourn) and a Body which is to be visible to men — an ever-living proof of God’s power, and of His love for the human race. Up to the Day of Pentecost, the just who had been united under Jesus, their head, had belonged only to the soul of the Church, for the body was not then in existence. The heavenly Father had adopted them as His children. The Son of God had accepted them as His members, and the Holy Ghost (who is now about to work exteriorly), had interiorly wrought their election and sanctification. The new order of things is to begin in Mary’s person. As we have already explained, the Church in its entirety, that is both soul and body, resided first in Her. It was but fitting that she who was as truly the Mother of the Son of God according to His Human Nature, as the heavenly Father was His Father according to the Divine Nature, should be superior to all other members of the Church, and this not only in the high degree of grace, but also in the precedence of time.
When our Saviour gave His Church an existence outside the loved sanctuary of His Mother’s Heart, He with His own hands set the Foundation Stone (Peter the Rock). He raised up the Pillars, and we have seen how He spent the forty days before His Ascension in organising this Church, which was then so small, but which was afterwards to cover the whole Earth. He told His Apostles that He would be “with them all days even to the consummation of the world” (Matthew xxviii. 20). It was the same as telling them that even after His Ascension into Heaven, His Church was to continue on Earth, even to the end of time.
He left the plan, thus begun by Himself, to be perfected by the Holy Ghost. It was necessary that this Holy Spirit should come down from Heaven in order to strengthen those whom Jesus had chosen as His Apostles. He was to be their Paraclete, their Comforter, in the absence of their Master. He was to be the Power from on high, who was to serve them as armour in their future combats. He was to remind them of all the words spoken to them by Christ. He was to give fruitfulness by His own action to the Sacraments which Jesus had instituted, and over which the Apostles had power, because of the character impressed upon them by this Holy Spirit. It is on this account that Jesus said to His Apostles: “It is expedient to you that I go. For if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you” (John xvi. 7). We have seen this Divine Spirit on the Day of Pentecost producing His effects on the Apostles and Disciples. Let us now see His action in the creation, maintenance and perfecting of this Church, which Jesus has promised to assist, by His mysterious presence, even to the consummation of the world.
The first operation of the Holy Ghost in the Church is the election of its members. This right of election is so especially His prerogative that, as we learn from the Scriptures, it was by the Holy Ghost (Acts i. 2) that Jesus chose the Apostles, who were to be the pillars of His Church. We have seen how this Holy Spirit began His Mission on the Day of Pentecost by the election of three thousand Jews. A few days after, five thousand were added to the number, being converted by the preaching of Peter and John (Acts iii. And iv. 4) The Gentiles also, were called to the Church, and the Holy Ghost having led Peter to Cornelius the Centurion, descends upon this Roman and his household, thus declaring them to be elected as candidates for holy Baptism.
The Liturgy put this history before us in the Mass of yesterday. We seem able to keep pace with these first workings of the Holy Spirit, but the sequel is all impetuosity —divine rapidity of action —irresistible conquest. He sends forth His Messengers: “their sound goes forth into all the Earth and their words to the ends of the world” (Psalms xviii. 5). He goes before them. He goes with them. He works the victory while they speak. We come to the commencement of the third century, and we find a Christian writer (Tertullian) addressing mhe Magistrates of the Roman Empire in these words: “ We are but of yesterday, and we abound everywhere — in your cities, in your towns, in your camps, in the palace, the senate, the forum.” Nothing can withstand the Spirit of God, and in less than three hundred years from the day of His first manifestation, He calls the very Emperors of Rome to be members of the Church.
Thus does the Spouse of Jesus advance in her beauty and strength. He looks on her from His throne in Heaven and tenderly loves her. In the early part of the fourth century the Church — the work of the Holy Ghost — exceeds the limits of the Roman Empire. Here and there, within this vast Empire, there are places where paganism is still rife, but they all know what the Church is, and the very hatred they bear her is a proof that they are aware of her progress.
But let us not suppose that the Mission of the Holy Ghost is limited to the founding the Church on the ruins of the great pagan empire. No, the Spouse of Jesus is to be immortal. She is to exist in every place and age. She is to be superior, both by the extent of her dominions and the number of her subjects, to every other human power. The Divine Spirit could not, therefore, suspend His Mission. The Roman Empire has merited by her crimes to be swept away by the inundation of barbarous nations: it is the preparation of a new triumph for the Spirit. He comes and works, invisibly and silently, amidst this huge mass: He has His elect there, and by millions. He has renewed the face of the pagan world. He renews the face of the world now that the Barbarians rule it. He chooses His co-operators, and right faithful are they. He creates new Apostles, and He selects them from all classes, for He is Master to do as he wills. Queens such as Clotilda, Bertha, Theodelind or Hedwiges are ready to do His biddings: they deck the Spouse of Jesus with their royal hands, and she comes forth to the world once more, younger and lovelier than ever.
There are, indeed, immense tracts of country in Europe not yet in the Church. It was necessary first to give stability to the work in those that had previously been Christian, and had been well-near submerged beneath the deluge of the invasion. But at the close of the sixth century the Holy Spirit visits Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and Sclavonia. He sends them Apostles such as Augustine, Boniface, Anscharius, Adalbert, Cyril, Methodius, Otho. By the labours of missionaries like these the Spouse is compensated for the losses she has sustained in the East where schism and heresy have encroached on her primitive inheritance. That Holy Spirit, who is God together with the Father and the Son, and has been sent by Them to defend the honour of the Spouse, is ever faithful to His trust.
Thus, when the so-called Reformation was preparing for Europe the great apostasy of the sixth century, the Paraclete was extending the glories of the Church in other Continents. The East Indies became the conquest of the Most Faithful Nation, and in the West a New World was discovered by and made subject to the Catholic Kingdom. The Divine Spirit, who is ever jealous to maintain the honour and entirety of the deposit entrusted to Him by the Incarnate Word, then raised up new Apostles to go and carry the Name of Jesus to these immense tracts of country which were to be added to the kingdom of His Spouse. Saint Francis Xavier was sent to the East Indies. His brethren, together with the Sons of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis of Assisi, laboured most perseveringly in preaching the Gospel to the people of the West Indies.
If, later on again, our Europe be misled by false theories and break with the Church. If this beloved Spouse of Jesus be betrayed and pillaged, calumniated and deprived of her rights by those very nations which she had protected for so many ages, as the most loving of Mothers — fear not: the Holy Ghost will add to her glories in some other way.
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BE you blessed, then, Holy Spirit, who thus watches over the dear Spouse of Jesus! Thanks to your ceaseless and untiring action, she has never once failed. In every age you have raised up Apostles to enrich her by their conquests, your grace has been uninterruptedly inviting men to give themselves to her. In every nation and period you yourself have chosen the members of her happy and countless family. She is our Mother and we are her Children. She is the Spouse of our Divine Master to whom we hope to be united through her, so that by working for the glory of the Son of God who sent you, Holy Spirit, you have deigned to work for us poor sinful creatures. We offer you our feeble tribute of thanks for all these your benefits to us.
Our Emmanuel has revealed to us that you are to abide with us to the end of the world , and we now understand how necessary is your presence. It is you preside over the formation of the Spouse, that maintains her, that renders her victorious over her enemies, that earns her from one country to another when a people becomes unworthy to possess her, that avenges her when she is insulted, and all this you will continue to do to the end of time.
But this noble Spouse of our God is not to remain forever an exile from her Lord. As Mary was left for several years on the Earth in order that she might labour for the glory of her Son and was then taken up to heaven, there to reign eternally with Him, so likewise the Church is to remain Militant here below as long as God sees her to be needed for completing the number of His Elect. But the time will come, of which it is written: “The Marriage of the Lamb is come, and his Wife has prepared herself. And it is granted to her that she should clothe herself with fine linen, glittering and white; for the fine linen are the justifications of the Saints (Apocalypse xix. 7, 8), that is, the virtues of the Saints she has formed. In those days, the Spouse, ever comely and worthy of her Jesus, will grow no more, nay, she will decrease on Earth in proportion as her Triumphant glory is perfect in Heaven. The Revolt, spoken of by St. Paul (2 Thessalonians ii. 3), will show itself. Men will abandon her, side with the Prince of this world, who is to be let loose for a little while (Apocalypse xx. 3) and serve the Beast, to whom it will be given to make war with the Saints, yes, and to overcome them (Apocalypse xii. 17). The Spouse herself will not be degenerate during those her last days on earth, for you Holy Spirit, will still be with her, supporting her. But as soon as the last of the Elect will have been born, the Spirit and the Bride will say “Come!” (Apocalypse xii. 17). Then will Jesus appear on the clouds of Heaven. The Mission of the Spirit will be accomplished, and the Spouse leaning on her Beloved (Canticles viii. 5) will ascend from this ungrateful barren Earth to Heaven, where the eternal Nuptials with the Lamb await her.
Epistle – Acts viii. 14–17
In those days when the Apostles who were in Jerusalem had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John. Who when they were come, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For He was not as yet come upon any of them, but they were only baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Thanks be to God.

Dom Prosper Gueranger:
The inhabitants of Samaria had received the word of God through the preaching of Philip the Deacon. They had received, at his hands, the Sacrament of Baptism, which made them Christians. This reminds us of the dialogue between Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well, and of the three days that He spent in the city. Their faith is rewarded: Baptism has made them children of God and members of Christ their Redeemer. But they must also receive the Holy Ghost in the Sacrament that gives perfection to the Christian character. The Deacon Philip has not power to confer it on them: Peter and John who are invested with Episcopal authority visit them and complete their happiness. This event makes us think of the grace bestowed on us by the Holy Ghost when He strengthened our souls by the Sacrament of Confirmation. Let us thank Him for this favour which brought us into closer union with Himself, and gave us the courage needed for confessing our Faith before heretics or tyrants.
Gospel – John x.1–10
At that time Jesus said to the Pharisee: “Amen, amen, I say to you: he that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that enters in by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he has let out his own sheep, he goes before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.” This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. Jesus therefore said to them again: “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. I am the door. By me if any man enter in, he will be saved; and he will go in, and go out, and will find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.”
Praise be to you, O Christ.

Dom Prosper Gueranger:
The Church's motive for putting this passage of the Gospel before the Neophytes of Pentecost was to put them on their guard against a danger which might probably occur in after years. At present they are the favoured Sheep of the Good Shepherd Jesus, represented by men to whom He Himself has given the charge to feed His Lambs. These men have received their mission from Peter, and he who is with Peter, is with Jesus. But it has not infrequently happened that false Shepherds have got into the fold. Our Saviour calls them thieves and robbers. He tells us that He Himself is the door through which they must pass who can claim the right to feed His sheep. Every Shepherd, if he would avoid the imputation of being a robber, must have received his mission from Jesus, and this mission cannot be given save by him whom Jesus has appointed to be His Vicar and Representative, until He Himself returns.
The Holy Ghost has poured forth His divine gifts on these new Christians, but the virtues that are in them cannot be meritorious of eternal life unless they continue to be members of the true Church. If, instead of following the lawful Pastor, they were to be so unhappy as to go after false Pastors, all these virtues would become barren. They should, therefore, flee, as they would from a stranger, from any guide who has not received his mission from the Master, who alone can lead them to the pastures of Life. During the past centuries, schismatical Pastors have risen up from time to time: the Faithful were bound to shun them: we, who are living now, should take seriously to heart the admonition here given us by our Redeemer. The Church He has founded, and which He guides by his Holy Spirit, is Apostolic. The mission of those Pastors alone is lawful who are sent by Apostolic authority, and whereas Peter lives in his Successors, the Successor of Peter is the source from which alone can come pastoral power. He who is with Peter is with Christ.


Ferdinand was born in about 1201 to King Alfonso IX of León and his second wife Queen Berenguela of Castile, at the Monastery of Valparaíso (Peleas de Arriba, now the Province of Zamora). He showed so much prudence in his youth that his mother resigned her kingdom in his favour. Ferdinand had all the virtues becoming to a king: magnanimity, clemency, justice and zeal for Catholic faith and worship, which he ardently defended and propagated. Ferdinand forbade heretics to settle in his kingdom and he built, endowed and dedicated churches in Cordova, Jaen, Seville and other cities rescued from the Moors. He restored the Cathedrals of Toledo, Burgos and other cities. He also he levied powerful armies in the kingdom of Castile and Leon and each year engaged in battles with the Saracens.

Ferdinand secured victory by the prayers he offered up to God. He used to chastise his body with disciplines and a rough hair-shirt, with the intention of rendering God propitious. By so doing he gained extraordinary victories over the mighty armies of the Moors, and, after taking possession of Jaen, Cordova and Murcia, and making a tributary of the kingdom of Granada, he restored many cities to the Christian religion and to Spain. He led his victorious standard before Seville, the capital of Baeza, being, as it is related, urged thereto by Saint Isidore, who had formerly been bishop of that city, and who appeared to him in a vision. Ferdinand was miraculously aided during that siege: the Muslims had stretched an iron chain across the Guadalquiver to block up the passage but there arose a violent wind, and one of the royal ships was, by the king's order, sent against the chain, which broke with so much violence that it was carried far beyond, and bore down a bridge of boats. The Moors lost all hope and the city surrendered. Ferdinand attributed all these victories to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose image he always had in his camp, and honoured it with much devotion.

Having taken Seville, Ferdinand’s first thoughts were directed to religion. He immediately caused the mosque of the Saracens to be purified and dedicated as a Christian church, having provided it with an archiepiscopal See, richly endowed, as also with a well-appointed college of Canons and dignitaries. He built several other churches and monasteries in Seville. While engaged in these holy works, he was preparing to pass over to Africa to crush the Muslim empire but before he could do so he died. When death approached he fastened a cord round his neck, prostrated on the ground, and, shedding abundant tears, adored the Blessed Sacrament which was brought to him as Viaticum. Having received it in admirable dispositions of reverence, humility and faith, he slept in the Lord in 1252. His body, which remained incorrupt for many centuries is buried in the Cathedral Church of Seville.

Dom Prosper Gueranger:
During the Season consecrated to the mystery of our Emmanuel’s birth we saw standing near His crib the Blessed Emperor Charlemagne. Crowned with the imperial diadem, and with a sword in his hand, he seemed to be watching over the babe whose first worshippers were shepherds. And now, near the glorious sepulchre, which was first visited by Magdalene and her companions, we perceive a King — Ferdinand the Victorious —wearing a crown and keeping guard with his valiant sword —the terror of the Saracen.
Catholic Spain is personified in her Ferdinand. His mother Berengera was sister to Blanche the mother of Saint Louis of France. In order to form “the Catholic Kingdom,” there was needed one of our Lord’s Apostles — Saint James the Great; there was needed a formidable trial —the Saracen invasion which deluged the Peninsula; there was needed a chivalrous resistance, which lasted eight hundred years, and by which Spain regained her glory and her freedom. Saint Ferdinand is the worthy representative of the brave heroes who drove out the Moors from their fatherland and made her what she is: but he had the virtues of a saint, as well as the courage of a soldier.
His life was one of exploits, and each was a victory. Cordova, the city of the Caliphs, was conquered by this warrior Saint. At once, its Alhambra ceased to be a palace of Mahometan effeminacy and crime. Its splendid Mosque was consecrated to the Divine Service, and afterwards became the Cathedral of the city. The followers of Mahomet had robbed the Church of Saint James at Compostella of its bells, and had them brought in triumph to Cordova. Ferdinand ordered them to be carried there again, on the backs of the Moors.
After a siege of 16 months, Seville also fell into Ferdinand’s hands. Its fortifications consisted of a double wall, with 166 towers. The Christian army was weak in numbers. The Saracens fought with incredible courage, and had the advantages of position and tact on their part, but the Crescent was to be eclipsed by the Cross. Ferdinand gave the Saracens a month to evacuate the city and territory. Three hundred thousand withdrew to Xeres, and a hundred thousand passed over into Africa. The brave Moorish General, when taking his last look at the city, wept and said to his officers: “None but a Saint could, with such a small force, have made himself master of so strong and well-manned a place.”
We will not enumerate the other victories gained by our Saint. The Moors foresaw that the result would be their total expulsion from the Peninsula. But this was not all that Ferdinand aimed at: he even intended to invade Africa, and thus crush the Muslim power forever. The noble project was prevented by his death, which took place in the fifty-third year of his age.
He always looked on himself as the humble instrument of God’s designs, and zealously laboured to accomplish them. Though most austere towards himself, he was a father in his compassion for his people, and was one day heard to say: “I am more afraid of the curse of one poor woman, than of all the Saracen armies together.” He richly endowed the churches which he built in Spain. His devotion to the Holy Mother of God was most tender, and he used to call her his Lady: in return, Mary procured him victory in all his battles, and kept away all pestilence and famine from the country during his entire reign, which, as the contemporary chroniclers observe, was an evident miracle, considering the circumstances of the age and period. The whole life of our Saint was a series of happiness and success, whereas, the life of that other admirable King, Saint Louis of France, was one of almost uninterrupted misfortune, as though God would give to the world, in these two Saints a model of courage in adversity, and an example of humility in prosperity. They form unitedly a complete picture of what human life is, regenerated as it has now been by our Jesus, in whom we adore both the humiliations of the Cross and the glories of the Resurrection. What happy times were those, when God chose kings by which to teach mankind such sublime lessons!
One feels curious to know how such a man, such a King as Ferdinand, would take death when it came upon him. When it came, he was in his fifty-fourth year. The time approached for his receiving the Holy Viaticum. As soon as the priest entered the room with the Blessed Sacrament, the holy King got out of bed, prostrated himself in adoration and, humbly putting a cord round his neck, received the Sacred Host. This done, and feeling that he was on the verge of eternity, he ordered his attendants to remove from him every sign of royalty, and called his sons round his bed. Addressing himself to the eldest, who was Alphonsus the Good, he entrusted him with the care of his brothers, and reminded him of the duties he owed to his subjects and soldiers. He then added these words: “My son, you see what armies, and possessions, and subjects, you have, more than any other Christian king: make a proper use of these advantages, and, having the power, be and do good. You are now master of the country which the Moors took in times past from King Rodriguez. If you keep the kingdom in the state in which I now leave it to you, you will be as I have been, a good king, which you will not be, if you allow any portion of it to be lost.”
As his end drew near, the dying King was favoured with an apparition from Heaven. He thanked God for granting him that consolation, and then asked for the blessed candle. But before taking it in his hand, he raised up his eyes to Heaven and said: “You, O Lord, have given me the kingdom which I should not otherwise have had. You have given me more honour and power than I deserved: receive my thanks! I give you back this kingdom, which I have increased as far as I was able. I also commend my soul into your hands!" He then asked pardon of the by-standers, begging them to overlook any offence that he might have committed against them. The whole court was present and, with tears, asked the Saint to forgive them. The holy King then took the blessed candle into his hands, and raising it up towards heaven, said: “Lord Jesus Christ! My Redeemer! Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I return to the earth. Lord, receive my soul! and, through the merits of your most holy Passion, deign to admit it among those of your servants!” Having said this, he gave back the candle and asked the bishops and priests who were present to recite the Litanies, which being ended, he bade them sing the Te Deum. When the Hymn was finished, he bowed down his head, closed his eyes, and calmly expired.
Thus died those men whose glorious works were the result of their Faith, and who looked on themselves as only sent into this world that they might serve Christ and labour to propagate His kingdom. It was they that gave Europe its highest glory: they made the Gospel its first law, and based its Constitution on the Canons of the Church. It is now governed by a very different standard. It is paying dearly for the change, and is being drifted rapidly to dissolution and ruin.
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BY delivering your people from the yoke of the Infidel, you, O Ferdinand, imitated our Risen Jesus who rescued us from death and restored us to the life we had lost. Your conquests were not like those of this world’s conquerors, who have no other aim than the satisfying their own and their peoples’ pride. Your ambition was to deliver your people from an oppression which had weighed heavily on them for long ages. Your object was to save them from the danger of apostasy, which they incurred by being under the Moorish yoke. Champion of Christ! It was for His dear sake you laid siege to the Saracen cities. His banner was yours, and your first anxiety was to spread His kingdom. He, in return, blessed you in all your your battles, and made you ever victorious.
Your mission, Ferdinand, was to form for our God a nation which has been honoured by holy Church above all others with the glorious name of the “Catholic Kingdom.” Happy Spain which by her perseverance and courage broke the Mussulman yoke, that still weighs down the other countries which it made its prey! Happy Spain which repelled the invasion of Protestantism and by this preserved the Faith, which both saves souls and constitutes a nation’s strongest power! Pray for your country, O saintly King! False doctrines and treacherous influences are now rife within her, and many of her children have been led astray. Never permit her to injure, by cowardly compromise, that holy Faith which has been her grandest glory and safeguard. Frustrate the secret plots which are working to undermine her Catholicity. Keep up within her her old hatred of heresy, and maintain her in the rank she holds among Catholic nations. Unity in faith and worship may still save her from the abyss into which so many other countries have fallen. O holy King! Save once more the land that God entrusted to your keeping, and which you restored to Him with such humble gratitude when you were about to change your earthly for a heavenly crown. You are still her beloved protector. Hasten then to her aid!

Monday, 29 May 2023


Caterina de' Pazzi was born into a noble family in 1566. At the age of 16 she entered the Carmelite Convent of Our Lady of the Angels in Florence and took the name Maria Magdalena. There she became a model of every virtue. Such was her purity that she ignored everything opposed to it. She received a command from God (which she fulfilled) of fasting on bread and water for five years, except on Sundays on which she might partake of a Lenten diet.
She mortified her body by a hair-shirt, discipline, cold, abstinence, watching, want and every kind of suffering. Such was the ardour of divine love that burned within her that, not being able to bear the heat, she was obliged to temper it by applying cold water to her breast. She was frequently in a state of rapture, and the wonderful ecstasies she had were almost daily. In these states she was permitted to penetrate into heavenly mysteries, and was favoured by God with extraordinary graces. Thus strengthened, she had to endure a long combat with the princes of darkness, and aridity and desolation of spirit, abandonment by all creatures, and various temptations: God so willed it that she might become a model of invincible patience and profound humility.

She was remarkable for her charity towards others. She would often sit up all night, doing the work of the Sisters or in waiting on the sick whose sores she sometimes healed by sucking their wounds. She wept bitterly over the perdition of infidels and sinners, and offered to suffer every sort of torment so that they might be saved.

Several years before her death she heroically besought Jesus to take from her the heavenly delights with which He favoured her, and was frequently heard saying, “To suffer, not to die.” Worn out by a long and painful illness, she died on the twenty-fifth of May in 1607 at the age of 41. Many miracles having been wrought by her merits, both before and after death, she was beatified by Pope Urban VIII and was canonised in 1669 by Pope Clement IX.

Dom Prosper Gueranger:

Our Paschal Calendar gives us three illustrious virgins of the beautiful Italy. We have already kept the feast of the valiant Catherine of Siena. In a few days we will be honouring the memory of Angela de Merici, surrounded by her school-children. Today it is the fair lily of Florence, Magdalene de Pazzi, who embalms the whole Church with the fragrance of her name and intercession. She was the loving imitatrix of our Crucified Jesus. Was it not just that she should have some share in the joy of His Resurrection?
Magdalene de Pazzi was one of the brightest ornaments of the Order of Carmel, by her angelic purity, and by the ardour of her love for God. Like Saint Philip Neri, she was one of the grandest manifestations of the Divine Charity that is found in the true Church. Magdalene in her peaceful cloister, and Philip in his active labours for the salvation of souls — both made it their ambition to satisfy that desire expressed by our Jesus when He said: “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled” (Luke xii. 49).The life of this Spouse of Christ was one continued miracle. Her ecstasies and raptures were almost of every-day occurrence. The lights given to her regarding the mysteries were extraordinary, and in order to prepare her for those sublime communications, God would have her go through the severest trials of the spiritual life. She triumphed over them all and, her love having found its nourishment in them, she could not be happy without suffering, for nothing else seemed to satisfy the longings of the love that burned within her. At the same time, her heart was filled to overflowing with charity for her neighbour: she would have saved all mankind, and her charity to all, even for their temporal well-being, was something heroic. God blessed Florence on her account, and as to the city itself, she so endeared herself to its people by her admirable virtues that devotion to her, even to this day, which is more than [three] hundred years since her death, is as fervent as ever it was.
One of the most striking proofs of the divine origin and holiness of the Church is to be found in such privileged souls as Magdalene de Pazzi, on whom we see the mysteries of our salvation acting with such direct influence. “God so loved the world, as to give it His Only Begotten Son” (John iii. 16), and this Son of God deigns to love some of His creatures with such special affection, and to lavish on them such extraordinary favours, that all men may have some idea of the love with which His Sacred Heart is inflamed for this world, which He redeemed at the price of His Blood. Happy those Christians that appreciate and relish these instances of Jesus’ special love! Happy they that can give Him thanks for bestowing such gifts on some of our fellow-creatures! They have the true light, whereas they that have an unpleasant feeling at hearing of such things, and are angry at the thought that there can be an intimacy between God and any soul of which they are not worthy — this class of people prove that there is a great deal of darkness mixed up with their faith.
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Your life here below, O Magdalene, resembled that of an Angel who was sent by God to assume our weak and fallen nature, and be subject to its laws. Your soul was ceaselessly aspiring to a life which was all heavenly, and your Jesus was ever giving you that thirst of love which can only be quenched at the waters of life everlasting. A heavenly light revealed to you such admirable mysteries, such treasures of truth and beauty, that your heart —unequal to the sweetness thus given to it by the Holy Ghost, sought relief in sacrifice and suffering. It seemed to you, as though there was but one way of making God a return for His favours — the annihilation of self. Seraphic lover of our God, how are we to imitate you? What is our love, when we compare it to yours? And yet, we can imitate you. The year of the Church’s Liturgy was your very life. Each of its Seasons did its work in you, and brought you new light and love. The divine Babe of Bethlehem, the bleeding Victim of the Cross, the glorious Conqueror of Death, the Holy Ghost radiant with His seven gifts — each of these great realities enraptured you and your soul, renewed by the annual succession of the mysteries, was transformed into Him who, that He might win our hearts, gives these sublime celebrations to His Church. Your love of souls was great during your sojourn here. It is more ardent now that you are in possession of the Sovereign Good. Obtain for us, Magdalene, light to see the riches which enraptured you, and love to love the treasures which enamoured you. O riches! Treasures! Is it possible that they are ours too?
Also on this day according to the ROMAN MARTYROLOGY:

At Rome, on the Via Aurelia, the birthday of St. Restitutus, martyr.

At Iconium, a town of Isauria, in the time of the emperor Aurelian, the martyrdom of the Saints Conon and his son, a child twelve years of age, who were laid on a grate over burning coals sprinkled with oil, were racked and exposed to the fire and finally, having their hands crushed with a mallet, they breathed their last.

The same day, in the time of the emperor Honorius, the birthday of the holy martyrs Sisinius, Martyrius and Alexander who were persecuted by the Gentiles of Anaunia and obtained the crown of martyrdom, as is related by Paulinus in the Life of St. Ambrose.

At Caesarea Philippi, the holy martyrs Theodosia, mother of the martyr St. Procopius, and twelve other noble matrons, who ended their life by decapitation in the persecution of Diocletian.

In Umbria, the passion of fifteen hundred and twenty-five holy martyrs.

At Treves, blessed Maximus, bishop and confessor, who received with honour the patriarch St. Athanasius banished by the Arian persecutors.

At Verona, St. Maximus, bishop.

At Arcanum, in Campania, St. Eleutherius, confessor.

And in other places, many other holy martyrs, confessors and virgins.

Thanks be to God.


Dom Prosper Guéranger:
Yesterday the Holy Ghost took possession of the world: His commencement of the mission given Him by the Father and the Son was such as to indicate His power over the human heart, and prepare us for His future triumphs. The days of this solemn Octave are a fitting occasion for our respectfully considering the progress of his workings in the Church and the souls of men.
Jesus, our Emmanuel, is the King of the whole Earth” His Father gave Him all nations for His inheritance (Psalms ii. 8). He Himself tells us that all power is given to Him in Heaven and in Earth (Matthew xxviii. 18). But He ascended into Heaven before establishing His kingdom here below. The very Israelites — to whom He preached His Gospel, and under whose eyes He wrought such stupendous miracles in attestation of His being the Messiah — have refused to acknowledge Him, and ceased to be His people (Daniel ix. 26). A few have been faithful, and others will follow their example, but the mass of the people of Israel have impiously resolved not to have this man to reign over them (Luke xix. 14). As to the Gentiles, what likelihood is there of their accepting the Son of Mary for their Master? They know nothing whatever of Him, His teachings or His mission. They have lost all their primitive religious traditions. Materialism reigns supreme in every country, whether civilised or barbarian, and every creature is made an object for adoration. The very first principles of morality have been corrupted. The insignificant minority, who proudly call themselves “philosophers” have the strangest theories: “they became vain in their thoughts,” as Saint Paul says of them, “and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans i. 21). Races, once distinct, have been gradually fused into each other by conquest. Revolution after revolution has habituated mankind to respect no power but that of might. The colossal Roman Empire with despotic Caesars at its head crushes the whole Earth beneath its sway. And this is the time chosen by the heavenly Father for sending His Son into the world! Jesus is to reign over men, and His reign must be accepted: but, there seems to be little chance of there being any welcome given to a King who claims to rule the mind and heart of His subjects!
During these long sad ages, another master has presented himself to the nations, and they have enthusiastically hailed him as their king. It is Satan. So firmly, indeed, has he established his rule, that our Lord calls him, “the Prince of this world” (John xii. 31). He must be cast out (John xii. 31), that is, he must be driven from the temples men have built to him, from society, from the soul, from literature, from art, from political life — all of which are under his sway. There will be resistance from the world he has corrupted: nay, he himself, “the strong armed one” (Luke xi. 21), will resist, and so powerfully, that no mere created power will ever make him yield. So, then, everything is against the Kingdom of Christ, and nothing is favourable. And yet, if we are to believe certain modern writers, the world was in a fit state for a total and complete reformation! Impious and absurd assertion! Are we to deny the evidence of facts? Or must we admit that error and vice are the best preparation for truth and virtue? Man may know that he is in a state of wretchedness, and yet not know that his wretchedness comes from sin, still less be resolved to become, at once and at every sacrifice, a hero in virtue!
No: in order that Jesus might reign over a world such as ours was, there was need of a miracle, nay of a miracle, as Bossuet observes, comparable to that of creation, by which God draws being out of nothingness. Now, it was the Holy Ghost who worked this miracle. He willed that we who have never seen the Lord Jesus should be as certain of His being our Messiah and God, as though we had witnessed His wonderful works and heard His divine teachings. For this end He achieved the master-miracle of the conversion of the world in which God “chose the weak things of the world, that He might confound the strong — the things that are not, that He might bring to nought the things that are” (1 Corinthians i. 27, 28). By this stupendous fact, which was evident to men as the noonday sun, the Holy Ghost made His presence known and felt by the world.
Let us consider the means He took for establishing the Kingdom of Jesus on the Earth. And first, let us return to the Cenacle. Look at these men now “endued with power from on high” (Luke xxiv. 49). What were they a while ago? Men without influence, poor, ignorant, and, as we all know, easily intimidated. But now the Holy Ghost has changed them into other men: they have an eloquence which it is hard to resist. They are heedless of every threat or peril. They are soon to stand before the world, yes, and conquer it with a victory such as no monarch ever won or fancied. The fact is too evident for the blindest incredulity to deny: the world has been transformed, and transformed by these poor Jews of the Cenacle. They received the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, and He has done through them the work He came to do.
He gave them three things on that day: the power to preach the word, which was signified by the Tongues that sat upon them; the ardour of love, expressed by the Fire; and the gift of miracles, which they exercised that very morning. The word is the sword with which they are armed. Love is the source of their dauntless courage. Miracles win man’s attention to their teachings. These are the means usedfor driving Satan from the world, and for establishing the Kingdom of Jesus. And these means are all provided by the Holy Ghost. But He does not confine his action to this. It is not enough for men to hear the word, and admire the courage, and witness the miracles, of the Apostles. Neither is it sufficient that they should see the force of truth and the beauty of virtue, or acknowledge the disgrace and sinfulness of their own manner of life. In order to a conversion of heart — to confess that the Jesus, who is preached to them, is God — to love Him, be baptised, promise fidelity to Him, even to martyrdom if required — for all this there is need of the grace of the Holy Ghost. He alone can “take away the stony heart,” as the Prophet expresses it, “and give a heart of flesh” (Ezechiel xxxvi. 26) filled with supernatural faith and love. Hence, He will accompany His ministers wherever they preach the Gospel. The visible working is theirs, the invisible is His: man’s salvation is to be the result of the two united. They must be applied to each individual, and each individual must freely yield his assent to the exterior preaching of the apostle, and to the interior action of the Holy Spirit. Truly, the undertaking is one of extreme difficulty — to bring mankind to receive Jesus as its Lord and King: but after three centuries of contest, the Cross of our Redeemer will be the standard round which the whole civilised world will be rallied. It was just, that the Holy Spirit and the Apostles should first turn to the Israelites. They were the people to whom “were committed the words of God” (Romans iii. 2), and the Messiah was born of their race. Jesus had said that He was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the house of Israel (Matthew xv. 24). Peter, His Vicar, inherited the glory of being the Apostle of the Jews (Galatians ii. 7), although it was also by his ministry that the Gentiles in the person of Cornelius the Centurion were first admitted into the Church. And again, it was by Him, at the Council of Jerusalem, that the baptised Gentiles were declared emancipated from the Jewish Law. We repeat it — the first preaching of the Christian Law was an honour due to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: hence, our first Pentecost is a Jewish one, and the first to celebrate it are Jews. It is upon the people of Israel that the Holy Spirit first pours forth His divine Gifts.
As soon as the Solemnity was over, these men, who have received the faith and are now truly children of Abraham by holy Baptism, return to the several provinces of the Gentile world from where they came. They return bearing in their hearts that Jesus whom they have acknowledged to be the Messiah, their God and their Saviour. Let us honour these first-fruits of holy Church, these trophies of the Paraclete Spirit, these messengers of the good tidings. They will soon be followed by the Disciples of the Cenacle who, after using every means that zeal could devise, for the conversion of the proud and ungrateful Jerusalem, but to no effect will turn to the Gentiles. So that, of the Jewish nation, a very small minority has acknowledged the Son of David as the heir of the Father of the Family. The body of the people has rebelled against Him, and is running headlong to destruction. By what name are we to call their crime? The Protomartyr, Saint Stephen, speaking to these unworthy children of Abraham, says: “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Ghost!” (Acts vii. 51) Resistance, then, to the Spirit of God is their crime, and the Apostles, finding the favoured people determined to refuse the truth, turn to them that are “sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke i. 79). These are the Gentiles, and upon them the Apostles are henceforward to lavish the torrents of grace which Jesus has merited for mankind by His Sacrifice on the Cross.
These messengers of the word of life carry the treasure to pagan lands. Every opposition in man’s power is made against them, but they triumph over all. The Holy Spirit gives efficacy to His own indwelling within them. He acts Himself on the souls of their hearers, and rapid is the spread of Faith in Jesus. A Christian colony is soon formed at Antioch, then at Rome, and then at Alexandria. The tongue of fire runs through the world, beyond even the furthest limits of the Roman Empire, which, as the Prophets had foretold, was to serve as an instrument to the establishing the Kingdom of Christ. India, China, Ethiopia, and a hundred other distant countries hear the word of the heralds of the Gospel of Peace.
But they have another testimony, besides their word, to give to Jesus, their King: they owe Him the testimony of their blood, and they give it. The fire that was enkindled within them on the Day of Pentecost consumes them in the holocaust of martyrdom. And yet, observe the power and fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit! To these first Apostles He raises up successors in whom he continues His influence and work. So will it be to the end of time, for Jesus is to be acknowledged as Lord and Saviour by all generations, and the Holy Ghost has been sent into the world in order to effect this.
The Prince of this world, “the old Serpent” (Apocalypse xii. 9) makes use of the most violent means for staying the conquests of these messengers of the Holy Spirit. He has had Peter crucified, and Paul beheaded: he spared not one of the glorious chieftains. They are gone, and yet his defeat is terrible to his pride. The mystery of Pentecost has created a new people. The seed sown by the Apostle has produced an immense harvest. Nero’s persecution has swept away the Jewish leaders of the Christian host, but they had done their grand work, they had established the Church among the Gentiles: we sang their triumph in our yesterday’s Introit: “The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole earth! Alleluia! (Wisdom i. 7)
Towards the close of the first century Domitian finds Christians even in the imperial family: he makes them martyrs. Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius — all are jealous of the growing power of Jesus of Nazareth. They persecute His flock, and yet they see it multiply. Their master, the Prince of this world, gives them political influence and philosophy, but the Holy Ghost brings both to nought, and the Truth spreads through the universe. Other Emperors — such as Severus, Decius, Callus, Valerian and Maximian — with the sterner course of cruelty unrefined by sophistry, order a universal massacre of the Christians, for the Empire was filled with them. And when this too failed, Satan brings all his power to bear in the last Persecution which is decreed by Diocletian and his fellow-Caesars. It is to be the extermination of the Christian name. It deluges the Empire with the blood of martyrs, but the victory is for the Church, and her enemies die, despairing and baffled.
How magnificent, Holy Spirit! is your triumph! How divine is this Kingdom of Jesus which you thus found in spite of human folly and malice, or of Satan’s power, strong as it then was upon the earth! You infuse into millions of souls the love of a religion which demands the most heroic sacrifices from its followers. You answer the specious objections of man’s reason by the eloquence of miracles: and hearts that once were slaves to concupiscence and pride, are inflamed by you with such a love of Jesus that they cheerfully suffer every torture, yes and death itself, for His dear sake!
Then it was, that was fulfilled the promise made by our Saviour to His Disciples: “When they will deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak, for it will be given to you in that hour what to speak; for it is not you that speaks, but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you” (Matthew x. 19, 20). We have a proof of it in the Acts of the Martyrs where we read their simple and sublime answers when questioned by their persecutors, and this frequently in the midst of the most excruciating torments. It is the word of the Spirit, combating and conquering the world. The by-standers would frequently exclaim, “Great is the God of the Christians!” At times the executioners, excited by the heavenly eloquence of the victims they where torturing, cried out that they too would be Disciples of such a God. We are told by authors who lived in those times that the arena of martyrdom was the forum of Faith, and that the blood and testimony of the martyrs was the seed of Christians.
For three centuries did these prodigies of the Holy Spirit continue, and then the victory was complete. Jesus was acknowledged as the King and Saviour of the world, as the Teacher and Redeemer of mankind. Satan was driven from the kingdom he had usurped, and idolatry was either abolished by the Faith in the one true God, or they that still kept it up were looked upon as ignorant and depraved beings. Now, this victory which was gained first over the Roman Empire, and, since then over so many other infidel nations is the work of the Holy Ghost. The miraculous manner of its being accomplished, is one of the chief arguments on which our faith rests. We have not seen or heard Jesus, and yet we confess Him to be our God because of the evident testimony given of Him by the Spirit whom He sent to us. May all creatures, then, give glory, thanks and love to this Holy Paraclete who has thus put us in possession of the salvation brought us by our Emmanuel!
Epistle – Acts x. 42–48
In those days, Peter opening his mouth, said: “Brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To Him all the prophets give testimony, that through His name all receive remission of sins, who believe in Him.” While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And the faithful of the circumcision who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. Then Peter answered: “Can any man forbid water, that these men should not be baptised, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Dom Prosper Gueranger:

This passage from the Acts of the Apostles, read on such a day as this, and in such a place, is most appropriate. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, is speaking to some Jews who have been converted to the Christian Faith. Several Gentiles, who are present are touched with grace on hearing Peter preaching, and they profess themselves believers in Jesus, the Son of God: the moment is come for the Apostle to throw the Church open to the Gentile world. Knowing that the Jewish converts would be tempted to jealousy, he appeals to the Prophets. What say these Prophets? That all without distinction, who will believe in Jesus, will receive forgiveness of their sins in His Name. While Peter is thus arguing with his audience, the Holy Ghost removes every objection by falling, as He did on the day of Pentecost, on these humble and believing Gentiles. As soon as the Jewish converts perceive the miracle they are astonished and exclaim: “What! is the grace of the Holy Ghost poured out on the Gentiles also!” Peter replies: “Who dares to refuse Baptism to these men, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” and without waiting for an answer, he gives the order, as Head of the Church, that Baptism be immediately conferred upon these privileged Catechumens.
We have our lesson to learn from this Epistle: we must fervently thank our Heavenly Father for His having vouchsafed to call our ancestors to the true Faith, and make us also partakers of the graces of the Holy Ghost.
Gospel – John iii. 16–21
At that time Jesus said to Nicodemus: “God so loved the world as to give His Only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him. He that believes in Him is not judged. But he that does not believe, is already judged: because he believes not in the name of the Only Begotten Son of God. And this is the judgement: that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, and comes not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that does truth, comes to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.”
Praise be to you, O Christ.

Dom Prosper Gueranger:

The Holy Ghost creates Faith within our souls, and by Faith we obtain life everlasting. For Faith is not the Intellect’s assent to a proposition logically demonstrated, but a virtue which proceeds from the Will vivified by grace. Nowadays Faith is rare. Pride of Intellect is at its height, and docility to the Church’s teachings is far from being general. A man calls himself a Christian and a Catholic, and yet he has his own views upon certain subjects, which he would very reluctantly give up: were they to be condemned by the only authority on earth which has power to guide us in what we are to hold or reject in matters pertaining to Faith. He reads dangerous, sometimes even bad, books, without thinking of inquiring if the laws of the Church forbid such books. His religious instruction has been of a very meagre kind, and he seems to wish it to remain so, for he takes no pains to come to a solid and perfect knowledge of his religion. The result is that his mind is filled with the fashionable prejudices of the world he lives in and, on more than one point, he may depend upon his having imbibed heretical notions. He is looked upon as a Catholic. He satisfies the exterior obligations of his religion, either because of his early training, or because the rest of his family do so, or because he feels more satisfied to do than to omit them: and yet, how sad it is to say it! He is not a Catholic, for his Faith is gone.
Faith is the first link that unites us to God, for, as the Apostle says, “he that comes to God, must believe” (Hebrews xi. 6). It brings us to God, and keeps us there. Our Saviour here tells us that he who believes is not judged: and the reason is that he whose Faith is what our Gospel implies it to be, does not only assent to a doctrine, but he embraces it with his whole heart and mind. He believes it, because he wishes to love what he believes. Faith works, and is perfected by Charity, but itself is a fore-taste of Charity. Therefore does our Lord promise salvation to him that believes. This Faith meets with obstacles because of our fallen nature. As we have just been told, Light comes into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light. In this our age, darkness is prevalent. Even false lights are seen to rise up, and they mislead thousands. We repeat it: Faith — that Faith which brings us to God and saves us from His judgements — is now rare.
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DIVINE Spirit! Deliver us from the darkness of the times in which our lot has been cast. Humble the pride of our minds. Save us from that false Religious Liberty, which is one of the idols of our generation, but which keeps men from the true Faith. We wish to love, and possess, and keep up within us, the glorious Light: we wish to merit, by the docility and child-like simplicity of our Faith, to enjoy the full cloudless vision of this divine Light in heaven.


Dom Prosper Guéranger

The History of Time after Pentecost

The Solemnity of Pentecost and its Octave are over, and the progress of the Liturgical Year introduces us into a new period, which is altogether different from those we have hitherto spent. From the very beginning of Advent, which is the prelude to the Christmas festival, right up to the anniversary of the descent of the Holy Ghost, we have witnessed the entire series of the Mysteries of our Redemption; all have been unfolded to us. The sequel of Seasons and Feasts made up a sublime drama, which absorbed our very existence; we have but just come from the final celebration, which was the consummation of the whole. And yet, we have got through but one half of the year. This does not imply that the period we have still to live is devoid of its own special mysteries: but, instead of keeping up our attention by the ceaseless interest of one plan hurrying on its completion, the sacred Liturgy is about to put before us an almost unbroken succession of varied episodes, of which some are brilliant with glory, and others exquisite in loveliness, but each one of them bringing its special tribute towards either the development of the dogmas of faith, or the furtherance of the Christian life. That year’s Cycle will thus be filled up; it will disappear; a new one will take its place, bringing before us the same divine facts, and pouring forth the same graces on Christ’s mystical body.

This section of the Liturgical Year, which comprises a little more or a little less than six months, according as Easter is early or late, has always had the character it holds at present. But, although it only admits detached solemnities and Feasts, the influence of the moveable portion of the Cycle is still observable. It may have as many as twenty-eight, or as few as twenty-three weeks. This variation depends not only upon the Easter Feast, which may occur on any of the days between the 22nd of March and 25th of April, inclusively; but, also, on the date of the first Sunday of Advent, the opening of a new ecclesiastical year, and which is always the Sunday nearest the Kalends of December. In the Roman Liturgy, the Sundays of this series go under the name of Sundays after Pentecost. That title is the most suitable that could have been given, and is found in the oldest Sacramentaries and Antiphonaries: but it was not universally adopted by even all those Churches which followed the Roman Rite; in progress of time, however, that title was the general one. To mention some of the previous early names :—in the Comes of Alcuin, which takes us back to the 8th Century, we find the first section of these Sundays called Sundays after Pentecost; the second is named Weeks after the Feast of the Apostles (post Natale Apostolorum); the third goes under the title of Weeks after Saint Laurence (post Sancti Laurentii); the fourth has the appellation of Weeks of the Seventh Month (September); and, lastly, the fifth is termed Weeks after Saint Michael (post Sancti Angeli), and lasts till Advent. As late as the 16th Century, many Missals of the Western Churches gave us these several sections of the Time after Pentecost, but some of the titles varied according to the special Saints honoured in the respective dioceses, and which were taken as the date-marks of this period of the Year. The Roman Missal, published by order of Saint Pius the Fifth, has gradually been adopted in all our Latin Churches, and has restored the ancient denomination to the Ecclesiastical Season we have just entered upon; so that the only name under which it is now known amongst us is, The Time after Pentecost (post Pentecosten.)

The Mystery of Time after Pentecost

That we may thoroughly understand the meaning and influence of the Season of the Liturgical Year upon which we have now entered, it is requisite for us to grasp the entire sequel of mysteries, which holy Church has celebrated in our presence and company; we have witnessed her Services, and we have shared in them. The celebration of those mysteries was not an empty pageant, acted for the sake of being looked at. Each one of them brought with it a special grace, which produced in our souls the reality signified by the Rites of the Liturgy. At Christmas, Christ was born within us; at Passiontide, He passed on and into us His sufferings and atonements; at Easter, He communicated to us his glorious, His untrammelled life; in His Ascension, He drew us after Him, and this even to heaven’s summit; in a word, as the Apostle expresses all this working, “Christ was formed in us” (Galatians iv. 19).

But, in order to give solidity and permanence to the image of Christ formed within us, it was necessary that the Holy Ghost should come, that so He might increase our light, and enkindle a fire within us that should never be quenched. This divine Paraclete came down from heaven; He gave Himself to us; He wishes to take up His abode within us, and take our life of regeneration entirely into His own hands. Now, it is during the period called, by the Liturgy, The time after Pentecost, that there is signified and expressed this regenerated life, which is to be spent on the model of Christ's, and under the direction of His Spirit.

Two objects here offer themselves to our consideration: the Church and the Christian soul. As to holy Church, the Bride of Christ, filled as she is with the Paraclete Spirit, who has poured Himself forth upon her, and, from that time forward, is her animating principle—she is advancing onwards in her militant career, and will do so till the second Coming of her heavenly Spouse. She has within her the gifts of Truth and Holiness. Endowed with Infallibility of Faith and Authority to govern, she feeds Christ’s flock, sometimes enjoying liberty and peace, sometimes going through persecutions and trials. Her divine Spouse abides with her, by His grace and the efficacy of His promises, even to the end of time; she is in possession of all the favours He has bestowed upon her; and the Holy Ghost dwells with her, and in her, for ever. All this is expressed by this present portion of the Liturgical Year. It is one wherein we shall not meet with any of those great events which prepared, and consummated the divine work; but, on the other hand, it is a season when holy Church reaps the fruits of that holiness and doctrine, which those ineffable mysteries have already produced, and will continue to produce, during the course of ages. It is during this same season, that we shall meet with the preparation for, and, in due time, the fulfilment of, those final events which will transform our Mother’s militant life on earth into the triumphant one in heaven. As far, then, as regards holy Church, this is the meaning of the portion of the Cycle we are commencing.

As to the faithful soul, whose life is but a compendium of that of the Church, her progress, during the period which is opened to her after the Pentecostal feasts, should be in keeping with that of our common Mother. The soul should live and act according to that Jesus, who has united Himself with her by the mysteries she has gone through; she should be governed by the Holy Spirit, whom she has received. The sublime episodes, peculiar to this second portion of the year, will give her an increase of light and life. She will put unity into these rays, which, though scattered in various directions, emanate from one common centre: and, advancing from brightness to brightness (2 Corinthians iii. 18) she will aspire to being consummated in Him whom she now knows so well, and whom death will enable her to possess as her own. Should it not be the will of God, however, to take her as yet to Himself, she will begin a fresh year, and live over again those mysteries which she has already enjoyed in the foregoing first halves of the Liturgical Cycle, after which, she will find herself, once more, in the season that is under the direction of the Holy Ghost; till at last, her God will summon her from this world, on the day and at the hour which He has appointed from all eternity.

Between the Church, then, and the Soul, during the time intervening from the descent of the divine Paraclete to the consummation, there is this difference—that the Church goes through it but once, whereas the Christian soul repeats it each year. With this exception, the analogy is perfect. It is our duty, therefore, to thank God for His providing thus for our weakness, by means of the sacred Liturgy, whereby He successively renews within us those helps, which enable us to attain the glorious end of our creation. Holy Church has so arranged the order for reading the Books of Scripture during the present period, as to express the work then accomplished, both in the Church herself, and in the Christian soul. For the interval between Pentecost and the commencement of August, she gives us the Four Books of Kings. They are a prophetic epitome of the Church’s history. They describe how the kingdom of Israel was founded by David, who is the type of Christ victorious over his enemies, and by Solomon, the king of peace, who builds a temple in honour of Jehovah. During the centuries comprised in the history given in those Books, there is a perpetual struggle between good and evil. There are great and saintly kings, such as Asa, Ezechias, and Josias; there are wicked ones, like Hanasses. A schism breaks out in Samaria; infidel nations league together against the City of God. The holy people, continually turning a deaf ear to the Prophets, give themselves up to the worship of false gods, and to the vices of the heathen; till, at length, the justice of God destroys both Temple and City of the faithless Jerusalem: it is an image of the destruction of this world, when Faith shall be so rare, as that the Son of Man, at His second Coming, shall scarce find a vestige of it remaining.

During the month of August, we read the Sapiential Books—so called, because they contain the teachings of Divine Wisdom. This Wisdom is the Word of God, who is manifested unto men through the teachings of the Church, which, because of the assistance of the Holy Ghost permanently abiding within her, is infallible in the truth. Supernatural truth produces holiness, which cannot exist, nor produce fruit, where truth is not. In order to express the union there is between these two, the Church reads to us, during the month of September, the Books called Hagiographic; these are, Tobias, Judith, Esther, and Job, and they show Wisdom in action.

At the end of the world, the Church will have to go through combats of unusual fierceness. To keep us on the watch, she reads to us, during the month of October, the Book of Machabees; for there we have described to us the noble-heartedness of those defenders of the Law of God, and for which they gloriously die; it will be the same at the last days, when power will be given to the Beast, to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them (Apocalypse xiii. 7).

The month of November gives us the reading of the Prophets: the judgments of God impending upon a world which He is compelled to punish by destruction, are there announced to us. First of all, we have the terrible Ezechiel; then Daniel, who sees empire succeeding empire, till the end of all time; and, finally, the Minor Prophets, who for the most part, foretell the divine chastisements, though the latest among them proclaim, at the same time, the near approach of the Son of God.

Such is the Mystery of this portion of the Liturgical Cycle, which is called The Time after Pentecost. It includes also the use of green vestments; for that colour expresses the hope of the Bride, who knows that she has been intrusted, by her Spouse, to the Holy Ghost, and that He will lead her safe to the end of her pilgrimage. Saint John says all this in those few words of his Apocalypse: The Spirit and the Bride say: Come! (Apocalypse xxii. 17).

The Practice of Time after Pentecost

The object which holy Church has in view by her Liturgical Year is the leading the Christian soul to union with Christ, and this by the Holy Ghost. This object is the one which God Himself has in giving us His own Son, to be our Mediator, our Teacher, and Redeemer, and in sending us the Holy Ghost to abide among us. It is to this end that is directed all that aggregate of Rites and Prayers which we have hitherto explained: they are not a mere commemoration of the mysteries achieved for our salvation by the divine goodness, but they bring with them the graces corresponding to each of those mysteries, that thus we may come, as the Apostle expresses it, to the age of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians iv. 13).

As we have elsewhere explained, our sharing in the mysteries of Christ, which are celebrated in the Liturgical Year, produces in the Christian what is called in Mystic Theology, the Illuminative Life, in which the soul gains continually more and more of the light of the Incarnate Word, who, by His examples and teachings, renovates each one of her faculties, and imparts to her the habit of seeing all things from God’s point of view. This is a preparation which disposes her for union with God, not merely in an imperfect manner, and one that is more or less inconstant, but in an intimate and permanent way, which is called the Unitive Life. The production of this Life is the special work of the Holy Ghost, who has been sent into this world that He may maintain each one of our souls in the possession of Christ, and may bring to perfection the love whereby the creature is united with its God.

In this state, in this Unitive Life, the soul is made to relish, and assimilate into herself, all that substantial and nourishing food which is presented to her so abundantly during the Time after Pentecost. The mysteries of the Trinity and of the Blessed Sacrament, the mercy and power of the Heart of Jesus, the glories of Mary and her influence upon the Church and souls—all these are manifested to the soul with more clearness than ever, and produce within her effects not previously experienced. In the Feasts of the Saints, which are so varied and so grand during this portion of the year, she feels more and more intimately the bond which unites her to them in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. The eternal happiness of Heaven, which is to follow the trials of this mortal life, is revealed to her by the Feast of all Saints; she gains clearer notions of that mysterious bliss, which consists in light and love. Having become more closely united to Holy Church, which is the Bride of her dear Lord, she follows her in all the stages of her earthly existence, she takes a share in her sufferings, she exults in her triumphs; she sees, and yet is not daunted at seeing, this world tending to its decline, for she knows that the Lord is nigh at hand. As to what regards herself, she is not dismayed at feeling that her exterior life is slowly giving way, and that the wall which stands between her and the changeless sight and possession of the sovereign Good is gradually falling to decay; for, it is not in this world that she lives, and her heart has long been where her treasure is (Matthew vi. 21).

Thus enlightened, thus attracted, thus established by the incorporation into herself of the mysteries, wherewith the sacred Liturgy has nourished her, as also by the gifts poured into her by the Holy Ghost, the soul yields herself up, and without any effort, to the impulse of the divine Mover. Virtue has become all the more easy to her, as she aspires, it would almost seem, naturally, to what is most perfect; sacrifices, which used, formerly, to terrify, now delight her; she makes use of this world, as though she used it not (1 Corinthians vii.31) for all true realities, as far as she is concerned, exist beyond this world; in a word, she longs all the more ardently after the eternal possession of the object she loves, as she has been realising even in this life, what the Apostle describes, where he speaks of a creature’s being one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians vi. 17) by being united to Him in heart. Such is the result ordinarily produced in the soul by the sweet and healthy influence of the sacred Liturgy. But if it seem to us, that, although we have followed it in its several seasons, we have not, as yet, reached the state of detachment and expectation just described, and that the life of Christ has not, so far, absorbed our own individual life into itself—let us be on our guard against discouragement on that account. The Cycle of the Liturgy, with its rays of light and grace for the soul, is not a phenomenon that occurs only once in the heavens of holy Church; it returns each Year.

Such is the merciful design of that God, who hath so loved the world, as to give it His Only Begotten Son (John iii. 16); of that God, who came not to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him (John iii. 17). Such, we say, is the Design of God; and holy Church is but carrying out that design by putting within our reach the most powerful of all means for leading man to his God, and uniting him to his sovereign Good; she thus testifies the earnestness of her maternal solicitude. The Christian who has not been led to the term we have been describing by the first half of the Cycle, will still meet, in this second, with important aids for the expansion of his faith and the growth of his love. The Holy Ghost, who reigns, in a special manner, over this portion of the Year, will not fail to influence his mind and heart; and, when a fresh Cycle commences, the work thus begun by grace has a new chance for receiving that completeness, which had been retarded by the weakness of human nature.

Sunday, 28 May 2023


Augustine was a monk of the Monastery of Saint Andrew in Rome where also he discharged the office of Prior with much piety and prudence. He was taken from that Monastery by Saint Gregory the Great and sent by him, with about forty monks of the same Monastery, into Britain. Thus would Gregory carry out by his disciples the conversion of that country to Christ, a project which he at first resolved to effect himself. They had not advanced far on their journey when they got frightened at the difficulty of such an enterprise, but Gregory encouraged them by letters which he sent to Augustine whom he appointed as their Abbot, and gave him letters of introduction to the kings of the Franks, and to the bishops of Gaul. Whereupon Augustine and his monks pursued their journey with haste. He visited the tomb of Saint Martin at Tours. Having reached the town of Pont-de-Cé not far from Angers, he was badly treated by its inhabitants and was compelled to spend the night in the open air. Having struck the ground with his staff, a fountain miraculously sprang up and on that spot a church was afterwards built and called after his name.

Having procured interpreters from the Franks, he proceeded to England and landed at the isle of Thanet. He entered the country carrying, as a standard, a silver cross and a painting representing our Saviour. Thus did he present himself before Ethelbert, the king of Kent, who readily provided the heralds of the Gospel with a dwelling in the city of Canterbury, and gave them leave to preach in his kingdom. There was, close at hand, an oratory which had been built in honour of Saint Martin when the Romans had possession of Britain. It was in this oratory that his queen Bertha (who was a Christian, as being of the nation of the Franks) was wont to pray. Augustine, therefore, entered into Canterbury with solemn religious ceremony, amid the chanting of psalms and litanies. He took up his abode, for some time, near to the said oratory and there, together with his monks, led an apostolic life. Such manner of living, conjointly with the heavenly doctrine that was preached and confirmed by many miracles, so reconciled the islanders that many of them were induced to embrace the Christian Faith. The king himself was also converted, and Augustine baptised him and a very great number of his people.

On one Christmas Day, he baptised upwards of 10,000 English in a river at York. And it is related that those among them who were suffering any malady received bodily health, as well as their spiritual regeneration. Meanwhile, the man of God Augustine received a command from Gregory to go and receive Episcopal ordination in Gaul, at the hands of Virgilius, the Bishop of Arles. On his return he established his See at Canterbury in the Church of our Saviour which he had built, and he kept there some of the monks to be his fellow-labourers. He also built in the suburbs the Monastery of Saint Peter which was afterwards called “Saint Augustine’s.” When Gregory heard of the conversion of the Angli which was told to him by the two monks Laurence and Peter whom Augustine had sent to Rome, he wrote letters of congratulation to Augustine. He gave him power to arrange all that concerned the Church in England and to wear the Pallium. In the same letters he admonished him to be on his guard against priding himself on the miracles which God enabled him to work for the salvation of souls, but which pride would turn to the injury of him that worked them.

Having thus put in order the affairs of the Church in England, Augustine held a Council with the Bishops and Doctors of the ancient Britons who had long been at variance with the Roman Church in the keeping of Easter, and other rites. And in order to refute, by miracles, these men whom the Apostolic See had often authoritatively admonished, but to no purpose, Augustine, in proof of the truth of his assertions, restored sight to a blind man in their presence. But on their refusing to yield even after witnessing the miracle, Augustine, with prophetic warning, told them of the punishment that awaited them. At length, after having laboured so long for Christ and appointed Laurence as his successor, he took his departure for Heaven on the seventh of the Calends of June (May 26th) and was buried in the Monastery of Saint Peter which became the burying place of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and of several kings. The Churches of England honoured him with great devotion. They decreed that each year, his feast should be kept as a day of rest, and that his Name should be inserted in the Litany of the Saints immediately after that of Saint Gregory, together with whom Augustine has ever been honoured by the English as their Apostle and the propagator of the Benedictine Order in their country.

Dom Prosper Guéranger:
Four hundred years had scarcely elapsed since the glorious death of Eleutherius when a second Apostle of Britain ascended from this world, and on this same day to the abode of eternal bliss. We cannot but be struck at this circumstance of our two Apostles’ names appearing thus together on the Calendar: it shows us that God has His own special reasons in fixing the day for the death of each one among us. We have more than once noticed these providential coincidences which form one of the chief characteristics of the Liturgical Cycle. What a beautiful sight is this which is brought before us today, of this first Archbishop of Canterbury who, after honouring on this day the saintly memory of the holy Pontiff from whom England first received the Gospel, himself ascended into Heaven and shared with Eleutherius the eternity of Heaven’s joy! Who would not acknowledge in this a pledge of the predilection with which Heaven has favoured this country which, after centuries of fidelity to the Truth, has now, for [five] hundred years, been an enemy to her own truest glory!
The work begun by Eleutherius had been almost entirely destroyed by the invasion of the Saxons and Angli so that a new mission, a new preaching of the Gospel, had become a necessity. It was Rome that again supplied the want. Saint Gregory the Great was the originator of the great design. Had it been permitted him, he would have taken upon himself the fatigues of this Apostolate to our country. He was deeply impressed with the idea that he was to be the spiritual Father of those poor islanders, some of whom he had seen exposed in the market-place of Rome that they might be sold as slaves. Not being allowed to undertake the work himself, he looked around him for men whom he might send as Apostles to our island. He found them in the Benedictine monastery where he himself had spent several years of his life. There started from Rome forty monks, with Augustine at their head, and they entered England under the standard of the Cross. Thus the new race, that then peopled the island received the Faith as the Britains had previously done from the hands of a Pope, and monks were their teachers in the science of salvation. The word of Augustine and his companions fructified in this privileged soil. It, of course, took him some time before he could provide the whole nation with instruction, but neither Rome nor the Benedictines abandoned the work thus begun. The few remnants that were still left of the ancient British Christianity joined the new converts and England merited to be called, for long ages, the “Island of Saints.”
The history of Saint Augustine’s apostolate in England is of a thrilling interest. The landing of the Roman missionaries and their marching through the country to the chant of the Litany, the willing and almost kind welcome given them by king Ethelbert, the influence exercised by his queen Bertha (who was French and Catholic) in the establishment of the Faith among the Saxons, the baptism of ten thousand neophytes on Christmas Day and in the bed of a river, the foundation of the metropolitan See of Canterbury, one of the most illustrious Churches of Christendom by the holiness and noble doings of its Archbishops: yes, all these admirable episodes of England’s conversion are eloquent proofs of God’s predilection of our dear land. Augustine’s peaceful and gentle character, together with his love of contemplation amid his arduous missionary labours, gives an additional charm to this magnificent page of the Church’s history. But, who can help feeling sad at the thought that a country favoured, as ours has been, with such graces, should have apostatised from the Faith? Have repaid with hatred that Rome which made her Christian? And have persecuted, with unheard-of cruelties, the Benedictine Order to which she owed so much of her glory?
* * * * *
O Jesus, our Risen Lord! You are the Life of Nations, as you are the Life of our souls. You bid them know and love and serve you, for they have been given to you for your inheritance, and at your own appointed time each of them is made your possession (Psalm ii. 8). Our own dear country was one of the earliest to be called and, when on your Cross, you looked with mercy on this far island of the West. In the second Age of your Church you sent to her the heralds of your Gospel, and again in the Sixth, Augustine, your Apostle, commissioned by Gregory, your Vicar, came to teach the way of Truth to the new pagan race that had made itself the owner of this highly favoured land. How glorious, dear Jesus, was your reign in our fatherland! You gave her Bishops, Doctors, Kings, Monks and Virgins whose virtues and works made the whole world speak of her as the “Island of Saints,” and it is to Augustine, your disciple and herald, that you would have us attribute the chief part of the honour of so grand a conquest. Long indeed was your reign over this people whose faith was lauded throughout the whole world. But, alas, an evil hour came and England rebelled against you. She would not have you to reign over her (Luke xix. 14). By her influence she led other nations astray. She hated you in your Vicar. She repudiated the greater part of the truths you have revealed to men. She put out the light of Faith and substituted in its place the principle of Private Judgement which made her the slave of countless false doctrines. In the mad rage of her heresy, she trampled beneath her feet and burned the relics of the Saints who were her grandest glory. She annihilated the Monastic Order to which she owed her knowledge of the Christian Faith. She was drunk with the blood of the Martyrs. She encouraged apostasy and punished adhesion to the ancient Faith as the greatest of crimes.
She, by a just judgement of God, has become a worshipper of material prosperity. Her wealth, her fleet, and her colonies —these are her idols and she would awe the rest of the world by the power they give her. But the Lord will, in His own time, overthrow this Colossus of power and riches and as it was in times past when the mightiest of kingdoms was destroyed by a stone which struck it on its feet of clay (Daniel ii. 35), wo will people be amazed when the time of retribution comes to find how easily the greatest of modern nations was conquered and humbled. England no longer forms a part of your kingdom, O Jesus! She separated herself from it by breaking the bond that had held her so long in union with your Church. You have patiently waited for her return, yet she returns not. Her prosperity is a scandal to the weak, so that her own best and most devoted children feel that her chastisement will be one of the severest that your Justice can inflict. Meanwhile, your mercy, O Jesus, is winning over thousands of her people to the Truth, and their love of it seems fervent in proportion to their having been so long deprived of its beautiful light. You have created a new people in her very midst, and each year the number is increasing. Cease not your merciful workings that thus these faithful ones may once more draw down upon our country the blessing she forfeited when she rebelled against your Church.
Your mission, then, O holy Apostle Augustine, is not yet over. The number of the Elect is not filled up and our Lord is gleaning some of these from amid the tares that cover the land of your loving labours. May your intercession obtain for her children those graces which enlighten the mind and convert the heart. May it remove their prejudices and give them to see that the Spouse of Jesus is but One, as He Himself calls her (Canticles vi. 8), that the Faith of Gregory and Augustine are still the Faith of the Catholic Church at this day, and that [five] hundred years’ possession could never give heresy any claim to a country which was led astray by seduction and violence, and which has retained so many traces of its ancient and deep-rooted Catholicity.
Also on this day according to the ROMAN MARTYROLOGY:

At Rome, the holy martyrs Simitrius, priest, and twenty two others, who suffered under Antoninus Pius.

At Athens, during the persecution of Hadrian, the birthday of blessed Quadratus, a disciple of the Apostles, who collected through his zealous exertions the faithful dispersed by terror, and presented to the emperor an excellent apology of the Christian religion, worthy of an apostle.

At Vienne, St. Zachary, bishop and martyr, who suffered under Trajan.

In Africa, St. Quadratus, martyr, on whose festival St. Augustine preached a sermon.

At Todi, the birthday of the holy martyrs Felicissimus, Heraclius and Paulinus.

In the territory of Auxerre, the passion of St. Priscus, martyr, with a great multitude of Christians.

And in other places, many other holy martyrs, confessors and virgins.

Thanks be to God.