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Tag Archives: holy virtues

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 23

John was born in the diocese of Cracow in the town of Kenty, from which he took his surname Cantius. His parents Stanislaus and Anna were holy and respectable people. From his infancy, his sweetness of disposition and innocence gave hope of the greatest virtue.

HE BECAME A PRIEST 

After becoming a priest, he increased his ardour for Christian perfection. For some years he administered the parish of Ilkusi with great efficiency. Whatever time was left from his studies he devoted partly to the salvation of his neighbour, especially preaching sermons on sacred subjects, and partly by prayer.

ON FOOT, HE MADE FOUR VISITS TO ROME

He made four visits to Rome, travelling on foot and carrying his own luggage, both to show honour to the Apostolic See and, as he used to say, to save himself from the punishments of Purgatory through the indulgences obtainable there daily.

HE ABSTAINED ENTIRELY FROM MEAT

He guarded his virginal purity most vigilantly, and for about thirty-five years before his death abstained entirely from flesh-meat. On Christmas Eve [1473], his soul took flight to heaven. Pope Clement III added him to the list of the saints, and he is honoured as one of the foremost patrons of Poland and Lithuania.

PRAYER:

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that by following the example of blessed John, your Confessor, we may advance in a knowledge of holiness and, by showing pity for others, obtain your forgiveness through his merits. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold titles added]

 

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ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR

ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR

ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: JUNE 21

Aloysius, the son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione della Stivere, was baptised so quickly, since he was in danger of death, that he seemed to be born to heaven almost before he was born on earth.

HE MADE A VOW OF PERPETUAL VIRGINITY 

He kept this first state of grace so faithfully that it was believed that he was confirmed in it. At Florence, when he was nine years old, he made a vow of perpetual virginity before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, upon whom he always looked as a parent.

AN ANGEL IN THE FLESH

By a special grace of God, he kept this vow untried by any conflict either of mind or body, so he might be truly called a man without flesh or an angel in the flesh. Having transferred to his brother the right to his ancestral rank, he joined the Society of Jesus at Rome.

HE JOINED THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

Even in the novitiate he began to be considered a master of all virtues. His love for God was so ardent that it gradually weakened his body. Including his neighbours also in his marvellous love, while he was eagerly serving them in the public hospitals, he caught a contagious disease. So, slowly consumed by it, on the eleventh day before the Calends of July [1591], having already begun his twenty-fourth year of age, he departed to heaven. Benedict XIII entered him among the saints and commended him as a model of innocence and chastity, and at the same time as the special patron of students.

PRAYER:

O God, bestower of heavenly gifts, who in the angelic youth Aloysius joined wondrous innocence of life to an equally wondrous love of penance; grant, by his merits and prayers, that we who have not followed him in his innocence may imitate him in his penance. Through our Lord…

– From: And Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

 

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“ST JOSEPH TOOK GREAT CARE TO KEEP HIS VIRTUES CONCEALED UNDER THE SHADOW OF HOLY HUMILITY”

“‘What a magnificent Saint St Joseph is!’ affirms the pious Bishop of Geneva. Not only is he a patriarch, but also the coryphaeus of all the patriarchs; he does not simply form part of the confessors of the faith, but has something extra, since his sanctity embraces the dignity of the bishops, the generosity of the martyrs and that of all other Saints.

HOLY SIMPLICITY, HOLY VIRGINITY

It is with good reason that St Joseph is compared to the palm, the king of trees, and which symbolises virginity, humility, and that of courageous tenacity; three virtues in which St Joseph is particularly distinguished. Many sustain that amongst all the Saints, St Joseph excelled in these three virtues.

In His divine providence, God established from all eternity that a Virgin would conceive a Son, Who would be both God and man; and yet She would have a husband. But for what reason, ask the holy doctors, did He ordain two things which are so incompatible: to remain a virgin and yet at the same time to be married? Most of the Fathers explain that it was to avoid Our Lady being calumniated by the Jews, who would, in fact, have calumniated Her and started to investigate Her story. Then divine Providence, in order to safeguard the purity and virginity of Mary, entrusted Her to the care of a chaste man, so that, in the shadow of the holy espousals, She would conceive and give birth to the sweet fruit of life, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The union between Mary and the glorious St Joseph was, so to say, divine. Thanks to it, the good of the eternal goods, that is Our Lord, belonged to St Joseph, just as, according to grace and not according to nature, He belonged to Mary. In fact Christ received His flesh from the womb of the most Holy Virgin by the workings of the Holy Spirit, whilst grace rendered St Joseph a participant in all the goods of his beloved Spouse. That explains his constant progress in all the virtues… How great were his dignity and his virtues, which likewise remained hidden under the veil of total poverty and simplicity.

LIVING IN A MORE HIDDEN WAY THROUGH HUMILITY

And yet let us think how great must have been the dignity of St Joseph: he had to take care of Our Lord, indeed he was His putative Father, apart from being the spouse of His Most Holy Mother. We cannot doubt that the Angels came in astonishment – one choir after the other – to contemplate, enraptured, the humility of St Joseph whilst he guarded that adorable Child in the poor workshop, where he laboured, in order to nourish the Son and the Mother Who had been entrusted to him.

St Joseph took great care to keep his virtues concealed under the shadow of holy humility, but above all he hid the precious pearl of his virginity. He accepted to get married, because no one would know this, and under the sacred veil of matrimony he would be able to live in a more hidden way.

HOLY OBEDIENCE

This teaches us that for those who are virgins or who want to live a chaste life, this is not enough if one is not humble and does not guard his virtues within the precious casket of humility. Otherwise one risks ending up as did the foolish virgins, who, lacking humility and merciful charity, were turned away from the wedding of the Bridegroom and constrained to go to the wedding of this world.

On every occasion St Joseph was entirely submissive to the divine will. Who could doubt this? Pay attention: the Angel turns him and turns him again. He tells him to go to Egypt and Joseph goes; he orders him to return and he returns.

God wanted him to remain always poor; one of the heaviest trials to bear. But Joseph knew how to accept poverty with love and not for a certain amount of time, since he was poor for the whole of his life.

HOLY POVERTY

But what was his poverty? It was obscure and exposed to the uncertainty of the next day; his poverty was truly considerable. Voluntary poverty of which religious make profession, is bearable because it does not prohibit the use of what is necessary; only that which is superfluous is forbidden. But the poverty of St Joseph, of Jesus and of Mary was not like this. Though it was voluntary and loved, it was also obscure and painful.

We will be truly fortunate if we could enjoy the intercession of St Joseph. Certainly neither the Virgin Mary nor the glorious Son would refuse him anything. It will be enough to have faith in him and he will obtain for us the grace to grow efficaciously in all the virtues, but especially in those which characterised he himself: purity of body and spirit, a most amiable humility, constancy and persevering courage.”
– St Francis de Sales (published in “De Vita Contemplativa”, March 2013; capital headings added)

 

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