Vol 13 Issue 10 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
March 7, 2020 ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas, opn!
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Second Sunday in Lent
3. Saint John of God
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
This year March brings us both Lent with the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Saint Joseph. In a twist of Divine Providence, the portrayal of Saint Joseph in the Gospels is one of suffering and therefore does not detract from our consideration of penance during Lent. Saint Joseph is introduced:
1. As struggling with the reality that his betrothed is found with child not his and uncertain how to proceed because he was not a cruel man.
2. Having to travel with Mary, who is with child, to Bethlehem for the census, then
3. Not being able to find a room in Bethlehem for Mary, who is about to give birth, and seeing this child born in the meanest of conditions.
4. Hearing from Simeon that his people will reject his foster Son and the heart of his wife will be pierced with sorrow.
5. Forced to flee Judea for Egypt because Herod is seeking the death of his foster-child.
6. Passes through Judea in fear that the successor to Herod may still be seeking the death of his foster child, and having to live hidden in Nazareth.
7. Not being able to find his foster Son for three days after fulfilling his religious obligation of observing the Passover.
The greatest grace for us is not our heavenly Father taking away suffering in our lives, but accepting the suffering. Saint Joseph did not run away from the suffering, abandon his wife because of the seemingly unbearable hardships, disown his foster Son for the misery He caused, but patiently bore the lot the heavenly Father assigned him. Too many men today abandon their families because they have convinced themselves that family life should make them happy in the sense of a sensual pleasure and as soon as they realize that this illusion is smoke and mirrors they try to find the pleasure outside of their family. Too many women forget that Mary, in choosing to be a mother, chose to suffer for all her children and did not abandon us despite our ingratitude and putting her Son to death. Too many children forget the Father assigned Christ to suffer in order to redeem mankind and when their parents ask them to suffer by giving up their self-will refuse and rebel. We must not deceive ourselves, but accept life as it is: an act of love. This is why the Church reads, at the beginning of Lent, Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians: Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away. (1 Cor. 13:4ff)
We cannot think that because we suffer (and we don’t want to), God is punishing us. Rather, God loves us and is purifying our love. We therefore do not wish to disassociate the sufferings of Christ from our own sufferings as though Christ has to suffer but we don’t. We all suffer and why Saint Paul can remind us: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church (Col.1:24); and, again, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us: so also by Christ doth our comfort abound (2 Cor. 1:5). This is confirmed by Saint Peter: But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)
As always, enjoy the readings provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Christ Prepares the Apostles for the Sacrament of His Body and Blood
John takes a complete chapter (Chapter 6) to introduce the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The multiplication of the loaves is, as well, recorded by all the Evangelists. The Council of Trent, though, mentions Chapter 6 of John being fulfilled in the institution of the Holy Eucharist:
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand.
And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.
And when evening was come, his disciples went down to the sea. And when they had gone up into a ship, they went over the sea to Capharnaum; and it was now dark, and Jesus was not come unto them. And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew. When they had rowed therefore about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking upon the sea, and drawing nigh to the ship, and they were afraid. But he saith to them: It is I; be not afraid.
They were willing therefore to take him into the ship; and presently the ship was at the land to which they were going. The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one, and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples, but that his disciples were gone away alone. But other ships came in from Tiberias; nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks. When therefore the multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping, and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
Jesus answered them, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed. They said therefore unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered, and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent. They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work?
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread. And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.
But I said unto you, that you also have seen me, and you believe not. All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out. Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day. And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day.
The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me.
“Draw him”: Not by compulsion, nor by laying the free will under any necessity, but by the strong and sweet motions of his heavenly grace.
Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.
Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.
And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil? Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray him, whereas he was one of the twelve.
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
MATTHEW xvii. 1-9
At that time Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.
EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA
V. 5. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed . . .
JEROME: They who had thought to erect an earthly covering above them, made from branches, or tents, were now covered beneath the shelter of a bright cloud. So we have: And as he was speaking . . . CHRYSOSTOM: When the Lord threatens, He comes in the darkness of a cloud, as on Sinai (Ex. xix). But here, since He wished not to chastise but to teach, a bright cloud appears.
ORIGEN: The bright cloud overshadowing the just men is the Paternal Power, or may it not be the Holy Spirit? I venture to say that our Saviour is also a bright cloud, which overshadows the Gospel and the Law and the Prophets; as they understand who see His light in the Gospel and in the Law and in the Prophets. JEROME: Because Peter had questioned Him foolishly, he did not deserve an answer from the Lord. But the Father answers for the Son, that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled: He that hath sent me, hath given testimony of me (Jn. v. 37).
CHRYSOSTOM: Neither Elias nor Moses spoke, but the Father who is greater than all speaks from out the cloud: that the Disciples may believe that this voice was from God. For God has always appeared in a cloud; as was written: Clouds and darkness are round about him (Ps. xcvi. 2); and this is what was said: And lo, a voice out of the cloud.
JEROME: The voice of the Father is heard speaking from heaven, giving testimony to the Son, and, his error now corrected, teaching Peter the truth; and indeed through Peter the other Apostles. So it continues, saying: This is my beloved Son. For Him let you build a tabernacle. Him you must obey. He is My Son; these My servants. And with you they also must prepare in the depths of their hearts a dwelling for the Lord. CHRYSOSTOM: Fear not then, Peter. If God is Mighty, Mighty also is His Son. If Beloved, fear not; for no one forsakes him he loves. Nor do you love Him as the Father loves. Nor does He love Him solely because He begot Him, but also because He is One in Will with Him. For there follows: In whom I am well pleased; as if to say: In Whom is My rest and My delight. For all things of the Father He fulfils with care, and One is His Will with the Father’s. So if He wills the Cross do not gainsay Him.
HILARY: The voice from the cloud then proclaims: That this is the Son, this is the Beloved, this is the One in Whom He is well pleased, this also is the One we must hear; declaring to us: Hear ye him; for He is a Worthy Teacher of such precepts, Who has confirmed by this example (the living presence of Moses sharing His glory though departed from this life) the glory of the heavenly kingdom after the loss of this world, after carrying the Cross, and after the death of the body.
REMIGIUS: Therefore He says: Hear ye him, as though saying: Let the shadows of the Law and the Prophetic figures now depart; follow ye the shining Light of the Gospel. Or He says: Hear ye him, to show that He it was Whom Moses had foretold when he said: The Lord thy God will raise up to thee a PROPHET of thy nation and of thy brethren like unto me: him thou shalt hear. So the Lord has testimonies from all sides: from heaven the Voice of the Father, Elias from Paradise, Moses from hell, from among men the Apostles, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil. ii. 10).
ORIGEN: The Voice out of the cloud speaks either to Moses and Elias, who have long desired to see the Son of God, and hear Him; or It speaks to the Disciples. GLOSS: We must note that the mystery of the second rebirth, that namely which will take place in the resurrection, when the body will be raised again, rightly agrees with the mystery of the first, which takes place in Baptism, where the soul is restored to life. For in the Baptism of Christ the operation of the whole Trinity is revealed to us: for there was the Son Incarnate, the Holy Spirit under the form of a dove, and the Father made known by His Voice. And so in the Transfiguration, which mystically signifies the second re-birth, the whole Trinity appears: the Father in the Voice, the Son in man, the Holy Spirit in a cloud. If it be asked why the Holy Spirit was first shown through a dove, but here by a cloud, the answer is that He indicates His gifts through fitting forms. He bestows innocence in Baptism, symbolized by the bird of purity; He will give glory and refreshment in the resurrection: refreshment is symbolized by the cloud; the glory of the rising bodies by the brightness of the cloud.
V. 6. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were afraid . . .
JEROME: They were afraid for three reasons; either because they knew they had erred in the past, or because the bright cloud had covered them, or because they heard the Voice of God the Father speaking. For human frailty cannot endure the sight of such great glory, and so trembling in body and soul falls to the earth. For to the degree a man seeks the higher things, to the same degree he falls back to lower things, should he be unmindful of his own nature (mensura).
REMIGIUS: That the holy Apostles fall on their faces shows their sanctity: because the holy are described as falling upon their faces, the wicked as falling backwards. CHRYSOSTOM: But at the Baptism of Christ the same voice was heard, yet none from the crowd present suffered any such effect; how then was it that the Disciples upon the mountain fell upon their faces? Because the solitude and the height and the silence were very great, and the transfiguration filled them with awe, and the light was bright and shining, and there was a cloud round about them. Because of all this they were overcome with fear and wonder.
V. 7. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them; Arise.
JEROME: Since they were lying prone on the earth, unable to rise, He spoke gently to them, and touched them, and at His touch fear left them, and their trembling limbs again became strong. And this is what is here related: And Jesus came and touched them. And those he had healed by the touch of His Hand He healed also by His command. For there then follows: And he said to them, Arise, and fear not. He first casts out fear, that He may then give them His teaching.
V. 8. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus.
This was a deliberate sequence of events. For had Moses and Elias remained with the Lord, it would have appeared uncertain to whom the Voice of the Father had given testimony. For when the cloud had passed they saw Jesus standing there, and that Moses and Elias had disappeared. For after the shadow of the Law and of the Prophets had disappeared (which had covered the Apostles as with a garment) both the one and the other are found in the Gospel. Then there follows:
V. 9. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them.
Because of the greatness of the event He did not wish it to be spread among the people: lest it should not be believed, and lest after such a vision of glory, the Cross that was to follow might prove a stone of stumbling to the minds of simple people. REMIGIUS: Or lest the people, should they come to learn of the greatness of His dignity, interfere with the divine ordering of His Passion, by opposing the Chief Priests, and thus the redemption of the human race should be delayed. HILARY: He imposed silence on them as to what they had seen, until when, filled with the Holy Ghost, they should be witnesses of the things of the spirit.
St. John of God, Confessor
1. St. John was born of poor parents, in Portugal, March 8, 1495. When he was about eight years old, a Spanish priest visited his home and told about his travels and about the wonderful things in Madrid. Seized by an irresistible wanderlust, the boy secretly left home with the priest. His mother died of grief soon after; his father became a Franciscan. Deserted by the priest, John wandered aimlessly, finding employment, first as a shepherd, then as a soldier in various wars, later in the service of a banished Spanish nobleman in Africa, again as a peddler of religious literature and articles, and, finally, as a book merchant in Granada.
In this city he happened to hear a sermon of John of Avila, in 1539; and he was so deeply impressed that he gave away all his religious goods and wandered through the streets of Granada, repeating over and over, the words: “Woe to me! Grace and mercy!” People took him to be insane and committed him to an institution. Then, John of Avila talked to him and set him aright. Soon, he was permitted to serve the sick among the inmates; this gave him the notion of devoting his life to the care of the sick; and he did so with tireless, tender love.
John was not disturbed by the many slanderous rumors circulated about him; he answered them with patience and silence. Before long he had gained help and understanding from both ecclesiastical and civil authorities. On March 8, 1550, his fifty-fifth birthday, he died, worn out by his labors for the beloved sick. John had not intended to found an order and had given his helpers no rules or statutes. It was not until twenty years after his death that these men formed a society, pronounced vows, and bound themselves to the care of the sick without charge. Thus arose in 1586 with papal approbation, the Order of Merciful Brethren (Brothers of Mercy of St. John of God). St. John was named patron of hospitals, of the sick, and of nurses, by both Leo XIII and Pius XI.
2. “God who didst cause the blessed John, afire with love of Thee, to pass through flames unscathed . . .” (Collect). Having, with God’s grace, passed through the difficult early stages of his career as a nurse, John was able to acquire a house for his dear sick. Then he roamed the streets in search of patients, some of whom would otherwise have died of exposure. In his “Hospital of Mercy,” he gave them the most devoted attention. In addition to physical care he also concerned himself with the healing of souls; he listened to his patients’ stories of woe; he comforted them; then he urged them to cleanse their consciences.
In the evenings he would shoulder his sack and carry a basket on his arm, going from door to door with the greeting: “Do good, brethren, for your own sakes.” John also looked after needy sick in their homes, especially widows, girls who were in danger, and poor people ashamed to go to the hospital. Whatever time was left after his charitable activities, he devoted to prayer and contemplation. Once, when his hospital caught fire, the Saint rescued his patients without the least harm to himself. He was usually shabbily dressed because he was always giving his better garments to the poor. Finally, the bishop clothed him in a habit, which he was not allowed to give away, and named him John of God. What a change God’s grace had wrought in this former vagabond! In a moment, it had completely changed him and filled him with the fire of love for God and his neighbor. Wonderful is God in His saints!
“Master, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Our Lord’s answer to this question of the lawyers is familiar to all Christians: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind. This is the greatest of the commandments, and the first. And the second, its like, is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments, all the law and the prophets depend” (Gospel). St. John not only fulfilled the Great Commandment of love of God and love of neighbor, but he did so in a heroic degree. Christian love of neighbor sees not only the creature of flesh and blood or certain attractive traits; it sees Christ, according to the sentence of the future Judge: “When you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). Courtesy and human sympathy toward the sick, the poor, and the suffering are good; but these are not yet Christian charity, for this must grow out of supernatural faith, which sees in one’s neighbor a child of God, a member of Christ, yes, Christ Himself. Christian love is infinitely more excellent than pure natural esteem; it loves for the love of God, of Christ.
St. John’s charity was eminently Christian, a love that was strong and active, a love that embraced every human being, even the most repulsively diseased, the most depraved—anyone who needed love and assistance. With good reason did the bishop call this man John of God, for his merciful, sympathetic, self-sacrificing love was surely from God; it was a work of God’s grace, not of human nature. We congratulate the Saint on the rare gift that was given him. We ask him to obtain for us, too, from God, genuine, true, supernatural, self-sacrificing love of neighbor.
3. In the Collect, we pray God “that the fire of Thy love may burn away our sins.” Considering the shining example set before us in St. John today, we beg and desire that we, like him, may be inflamed with the fire of divine love. What would we have, if the love of God were not alive in us? “I may speak with every tongue that men and angels use . . . I may have powers of prophecy, no secret hidden from me, no knowledge too deep for me; I may have utter faith, so that I can move mountains; yet, if I lack charity, I count for nothing” (I Cor. 13:1-2). Love is everything-pure, holy love of God and neighbor.
St. John of God, obtain for us an ardent, active love of our brothers in Christ!
Collect: God who didst cause the blessed John, afire with love of Thee, to pass through flames unscathed, and by his means didst enrich Thy Church with a new offspring, let his merits plead with Thee; grant that the fire of Thy love may burn away our sins and heal us for all eternity. Amen.
AND OUR CHILDREN
Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons
By Mary Reed Newland (1956)
ST. PATRICK’S TESTIMONY
THE FEAST of St. Patrick as popularly celebrated is badly in need of surgery. In an attempt to rid the occasion of indignities and restore to this saint some of his due, we have had recourse to the Confession of St. Patrick, an inspiring read-aloud story for this night. It has been called by Oliver St. John Gogarty, in his I Follow St. Patrick, “the oldest and perhaps the most important document in British history.”
More accurately called a testimony than a confession, it is too long to reproduce in full here (although actually not a very long document); so we have used the most exciting and interesting parts. Discussed as it is read, it will help give the family a right understanding of the greatness of this saint, his humility, his trials, his boyhood and manhood, and will discover for them, in this long-ago writing by St. Patrick, doctrines we are teaching our children today.
Here Begin the Books of St. Patrick the Bishop
1. I, Patrick, sinner, am the most illiterate and inconsiderable of all the faithful, and am despised in the hearts of many.
I had for father Calpurnius, a deacon, one of the sons of Potitus, a presbyter, who belonged to the village of Bannavem Taberniae; for he owned a small farm hard by, where I was made captive.
At the time I was about sixteen years old. I had no knowledge of the True God, and I was led to Ireland in captivity with many thousand others, according to our deserts, because we departed from God and did not keep his commandments, and we were not obedient to our priests, who were wont to admonish us for our salvation. And the Lord poured upon us the fury of his anger, and scattered us among many gentile nations, even unto the ends of the earth, where now my littleness may be seen among stranger folk. [It is supposed that in describing his own sins he has been a bit hard on himself; that perhaps he was, first, an unenlightened Christian as compared to, later, a tremendously inspired one.]
2. And there the Lord opened the understanding of my unbelief, so that though late, I might summon my faults to mind and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, and pitied my ignorance and youth, and kept watch over me before I knew him or had attained discernment or could distinguish good from evil, and fortified me and comforted me as a father his son. [There follows a long passage, very touching, wherein he acknowledges and apologizes for his lack of learning. It was an embarrassment he never shook off, although he was hardly what we would call uneducated. His early education had ended at fifteen; later at around twenty-two, when he decided he wanted to be a priest, there arose his unalterable sense of inferiority when he compared his scholarship to those who had been students most of their young lives.]
12 . . . . This I do know with full certainty, that before I was afflicted [in capture and slavery] I was like a stone which lies in the deep mire; and he that is mighty came, and in his mercy lifted me up, and set me on the top of the wall. . . .
16. Now after I came to Ireland, daily I pastured flocks, and constantly during the day I prayed. More and more there grew the Love of God and the Fear of Hirn, and my Faith increased, and my Spirit was stirred up, so that in a single day I uttered as many as a hundred prayers, and nearly as many in the night so that I stayed even in the woods and the mountain. Before dawnlight I used to be roused to prayer, in snow, in frost, in rain. And I felt no harm, nor was there any slothfulness in me (as I now see), because then the spirit in me was fervent.
17. And there verily one night I heard in my sleep a voice saying to me, “You fast to good purpose, soon to go to your fatherland.” And again after a very little time I heard the Answer speaking to me, “See, your ship is ready.” And it was not near, but was far off about 200 miles. And I had never been there, nor had I knowledge of any person there.
And thereon shortly afterwards I took myself to flight and left the man with whom I had been for six years; and I came in the strength of God who prospered my way for good, and I encountered nothing alarming until I came to that ship.
18. And on the very day I came, the ship sailed from its anchorage. And I declared that I had to sail away with them. And the shipmaster was displeased and replied harshly with anger. “On no account seek to go with us.”
When I heard this, I departed from them to go to the hut where I was lodging; and on the way I began to pray. And before I had completed my prayer, I heard one of them. He was shouting loudly after me, “Come quickly, these men are calling you.”
19. And after three days we reached land, and for twenty-eight days we traveled through a desert; and food failed them and hunger overcame them. And one day the shipmaster began to say to me, “How is this, you Christian? You say your God is great and almighty. Why then can’t you pray for us? We’re in danger of starvation. Hardly are we like to see a human being again.”
Then I spoke plainly to them.
“Turn in faith and with all your heart to the Lord my God, to whom nothing is impossible, so that he may send you food today for your journey, until you can eat no more, for everywhere he has plenty.”
And by God’s help, so it came to pass. Lo, a herd of swine appeared on the track before our eyes; and they killed many of them and spent two nights there, and were well refreshed, and their dogs were fed full, for many of them had fainted and were left half dead by the way.
And after this they offered the fullest thanks to God, and I became an object of honor in their eyes, and from that day on they had food in plenty. They even found wild honey and gave me a piece of it. But one of them said, “This is offered in sacrifice” [apparently pagan].
Thanks be to God, I tasted none of it.
23. Again . . . I was in Britain with my kin, who welcomed me as a son and in good faith besought me that now at least, after the great tribulations which I had endured, I would not ever again go away from them.
And there verily I saw in the night visions a man whose name was Victoricus, coming as it were from Ireland with countless letters. He gave one of them to me, and I read the beginning of the letter, which was entitled, “The Voice of the Irish;” and while I was reading out the beginning of the letter, I thought that at that very moment I heard the voice of those that lived beside the Wood of Focluth, which is near the western sea. And thus they cried out, as if from one mouth, “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk among us yet again.”
And I was deeply broken in heart, and could read no further, and so I awoke . . . .
27 . . . . After thirty years had passed they found [he is speaking of his elders in religion] as an occasion against me a matter which I had confessed before I became a deacon. In my anxiety, with sorrowing heart, I disclosed to my closest friend what I had done in my youth on one day, no, in one hour, because I had not then triumphed. I cannot tell, God knows, if I was then fifteen years old, and I did not believe in the living God—nor had I believed from my infancy; I remained in death [sin] and unbelief until I was thoroughly chastened and humbled in truth by hunger and nakedness, and that daily.
29. Accordingly, on that day when I was rejected by the aforesaid persons whom I have described, during the night I saw in the night visions. There was a writing without honor against my face [their accusations of him]. And meanwhile I heard the Divine Answer speaking to me, “We have seen with wrath the face of So-and-so. (I suppress the name.) He did not say, “You have seen with wrath,” but “We have seen with wrath,” as if in that matter he linked himself with me.
As he said, “He that touches you is as he that touches the apple of my eye.” [And as He said: “Whatsoever you do to these, the least of My brethren, you do it to Me.”]
35. A long task it is to narrate in detail the whole of my labour, or even parts of it. I shall briefly tell in what manner the most gracious God often delivered me from slavery and from the Twelve Perils by which my soul was beset, besides many plots and things which I am not able to express in words—lest I should tire out my readers. [Bless him!]
37. Many were the gifts proffered to me with wailing and with tears [by those who wished him not to go back to Ireland]. And I displeased them and also, against my wish, some of my elders. But through God’s guidance, in no way did I acquiesce or surrender to them. Not my grace was it, but God who conquered in me and resisted them all, so that I came to the Irish heathen to preach the Gospel and to endure insults from the unbelieving . . . and to meet many persecutions, even unto bonds: and so that I should give up my free condition for the profit of others.
38. Because I am greatly a debtor to God, who afforded me such great grace that through me many people should be regenerated to God and afterwards confirmed, and that clergy should everywhere be ordained for them—for a people newly come to belief, whom the Lord took from the ends of the earth, as he promised of old through his prophets: “. . . I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou should be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”
39 . . . . And there I wish to wait for the promise of him who never disappoints.
40. For that reason then we ought to fish well and diligently, as the Lord forewarns and teaches saying, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men . . . “
Therefore it was urgently necessary that we should spread our nets to take a great multitude and a throng for God, and that everywhere there should be clergy to baptize and exhort the poverty-stricken and needy folk, as the Lord in the Gospel warns and teaches, saying:
“Go ye therefore now and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
41. Whence Ireland, which never had the knowledge of God, but up to the present always adored idols and abominations—how has there lately been prepared a people of the Lord and the name given to them of Children of God? The sons of the Scots and the daughters of their chieftains are seen to become the monks and virgins of Christ.
42. But once especial there was one blessed lady of Scottie birth, noble of line, very lovely, and of full age, whom I myself baptized; and after a few days she came to me for a certain purpose. She disclosed to us that she had received from God a private admonition, and it warned her to become a Virgin of Christ and live closer to God.
Thanks be to God, on the sixth day after, most worthily and zealously she snatched at that vocation, as all the Virgins of Christ do in like manner; not with the consent of their fathers; no, they endure persecution and lying reproaches from their kindred, and yet their numbers increase all the more and we cannot tell how many of our race are thus reborn there, besides widows and the continent.
But the women who are held in slavery are in the worst toils. They constantly endure even unto terrors and threats. But the Lord gave grace to many of my handmaidens; for, although they are forbidden, they resolutely follow the example of the others. [St. Brigid was a slave for a while.]
(To be continued)
Father Krier will be in Pahrump March 12. He will be in Albuquerque March 13 and Eureka March 26.
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