May. 20, 2019

May 20, 2019: ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA, CONFESSOR

Rank: Simple.

Thou comest to us, O Bernardin, in the midst of the Paschal glory of the Name of Jesus. This Name, for which thou didst so lovingly and zealously labour, gives thee to share in its immortal victory. Now, therefore, pour forth upon us, even more abundantly than when thou wast here on earth, the treasures of love, admiration and hope, of which this divine Name is the source, and cleanse the eyes of our soul, that we may, one day, be enabled to join thee in contemplating its beauty and magnificence.

 

Prayer (Collect).

O Lord Jesus, who didst pour forth into the heart of blessed Bernadine, thy Confessor, a more than ordinary love of thy most holy name; mercifully grant us, by his virtues and prayers, the spirit of thy love. Who livest and reignest God, World without end. Amen.

 

In that Season of the Liturgical Year, when we were loving and praying around the Crib of the Infant Jesus, one of its days was devoted to our celebrating the glory and sweetness of his Name. Holy Church was full of joy in pronouncing the dear Name chosen, from all eternity, by her heavenly Spouse; and mankind found consolation in the thought, that the great God, who might so justly have bid us call him the Just and the Avenger, willed us henceforth to call him the Saviour. The devout Bernardin of Sienna, whose feast we keep to-day, stood then before us, holding in his hands this ever blessed Name, surrounded with rays. He urged the whole earth to venerate, with love and confidence, the sacred Name which expresses the whole economy of our salvation. The Church, ever attentive to what is for the good of her Children, adopted the beautiful device. She encouraged them to receive it from the Saint, as a shield that would protect them against the darts of the evil spirit, and as an additional means for reminding us of the exceeding charity wherewith God has loved this world of ours. And finally, when the loveliness of the Holy Name of Jesus had won all Christian hearts, she instituted, in its honour, one of the most beautiful solemnities of Christmastide.

Bernardin, the worthy son of St. Francis of Assisi, returns to us on this twentieth day of May, and the sweet flower of the Holy Name is, of course, in his hand. But it is not now the prophetic appellation of the new-born Babe; it is not the endearing Name, respectfully and lovingly whispered by the Virgin-Mother over the Crib;—it is the Name, whose sound has gone through the whole creation, it is the trophy of the grandest of victories, it is the fulfilment of all that was prophesied. The Name of Jesus was a promise to mankind of a Saviour; Jesus has saved mankind, by dying and rising again; he is now Jesus in the full sense of the word. Go where you will, and you hear this Name,—the Name that has united men into the one great family of the Church.

The chief priests of the Synagogue strove to stifle the Name of Jesus, for it was even then winning men's hearts. They forbade the Apostles to teach in this Name; and it was on this occasion that Peter uttered the words, which embody the whole energy of the Church: We ought to obey God, rather than men (Acts, v. 28, 29). The Synagogue might as well have tried to stay the course of the sun. So too, when the mighty power of the Roman Empire set itself against the triumphant progress of this Name, and would annul the decree that every knee should bow at its sound (Philipp, ii. 10),—there was not merely a failure, but, at the end of three centuries, the Name of Jesus was heard and loved in every city and hamlet of the Empire.

Armed with this sacred motto, Bernardin traversed the towns of Italy, which, at that period, (the 15th century,) were at enmity with each other, and, not unfrequently, were torn with domestic strifes. The Name of Jesus, which he carried in his hand, became as a rainbow of reconciliation; and wheresoever he set it up, there every knee bowed down, every vindictive heart was appeased, and sinners hastened to the sacrament of pardon. The three letters (I H S), which represent this Name, became familiar to the Faithful; they were every where to be seen, carved, or engraven, or painted; and the Catholic world thus gained a new form, whereby to express its adoration and love of its Saviour.

Bernardin was a preacher, whose eloquence was of heaven's inspiring. He was also a distinguished master in the science of sacred things, as is proved by the Writings he has left us. We regret not being able, from want of space, to give our readers his words on the greatness of the Paschal mystery; but we cannot withhold from them what he says regarding Jesus’ appearing to his Blessed Mother, after the Resurrection. They will be rejoiced at finding unity of doctrine, on this interesting subject, existing between the Franciscan School, represented by St. Bernardin, and the School of St. Dominic, whose testimony we have already given, on the Feast of St. Vincent Ferrer.

“From the fact of there being no mention made in the Gospel of the visit wherewith Christ consoled his Mother, after his Resurrection, we are not to conclude, that this most merciful Jesus,—the source of all grace and consolation, who was so anxious to gladden his Disciples by his presence,—forgot his Mother, who he knew had drunk so deeply of the bitterness of his Passion. But it has pleased divine Providence that the Gospel should be silent on this subject; and this for three reasons.

“In the first place, because of the firmness of Mary's Faith. The confidence which the Virgin-Mother had of her Son's rising again, had never faltered, not even by the slightest doubt. This we can readily believe, if we reflect on the special grace wherewith she was filled, she the Mother of the Man-God, the Queen of Angels, and the Mistress of the world. To a truly enlightened mind, the silence of the Scripture, on this subject, says more than any affirmation could have done. We have learned to know something of Mary by the visit she received from the Angel, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her. We met her again at the foot of the Cross, where she, the Mother of Sorrows, stood nigh her dying Son. If then the Apostle could say: As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation (II Cor, i. 7).—what share must not the Virgin-Mother have had in the joys of the Resurrection? We should hold it as a certain truth, that her most sweet Jesus, after his Resurrection, consoled her first of all. The holy Roman Church would seem to express this, by celebrating at Saint Mary Major's the Station of Easter Sunday. Moreover, if, from the silence of the Evangelists, you would conclude that our Risen Lord did not appear to her first,—you must go farther, and say that he did not appear to her at all, inasmuch as these same Evangelists, when relating the several apparitions, do not mention a single one as made to her. Now, such a conclusion as this would savour of impiety.

“In the second place, the silence of the Gospel is explained by the incredulity of men. The object of the Holy Spirit, when dictating the Gospels, was to describe such Apparations as would remove all doubt, from carnal-minded men, with regard to the Resurrection of Christ. The fact of Mary's being his Mother would have weakened her testimony, at least in their eyes. For this reason, she was not brought forward as a witness, though, most assuredly, there never was or will be any creature, (the humanity of her Son alone excepted,) whose assertion better deserved the confidence of every truly pious soul. But the text of the Gospel was not to adduce any testimonies, save such as might be offered to the whole world. As to Jesus' Apparition to his Mother, the Holy Ghost has left it to be believed by those that are enlightened by his light.

“In the third place, this silence is explained by the sublime nature of the Apparition itself. The Gospel says nothing regarding the Mother of Christ, after the Resurrection; and the reason is, that her interviews with her Son were so sublime and ineffable, that no words could have described them. There are two sorts of visions: one is merely corporal, and feeble in proportion; the other is mainly in the soul, and is granted only to such as have been transformed. Say, if you will, that Magdalene was the first to have the merely corporal vision, provided that you admit that the Blessed Virgin saw, previously to Magdalene, and in a far sublimer way, her Risen Jesus, that she recognised him, and enjoyed his sweet embraces in her soul, more even than in her body.” (Sermo. lii.)

 

Let us now read the Life of our Saint, as given, though too briefly, in the Lessons of to-day's Office.

Bernardin Albizeschi, whose parents were of a noble family of Sienna, gave evident marks of sanctity from his earliest years. He was well brought up by his pious parents. When studying the first rudiments of grammar, he despised the favourite pastimes of children, and applied himself to works of piety, especially fasting, prayer, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin. His charity to the poor was extraordinary. In order the better to practise these virtues, he, later on, entered the Confraternity, which gave to the Church so many saintly men, and was attached to the hospital of our Lady of Scala, in Sienna. It was there that, whilst leading a most mortified life himself, he, with incredible charity, took care of the sick, during the time when a terrible pestilence was raging in the city. Amongst his other virtues, he was preeminent for chastity, although he had many dangers to encounter, owing to the beauty of his person. Such was the respect he inspired, that no one, however lost to shame, ever dared to say an improper word in his presence.

After a serious illness of four months, which he bore with the greatest patience, he began to think of entering the religious life. As a preparation for such a step, he hired, in the farthest outskirts of the city, a little hut, in which he hid himself, leading a most austere life, and assiduously beseeching God to make known to him the path he was to follow. A divine inspiration led him to prefer to all other Orders, that of St. Francis. Accordingly, he entered, and soon began to excel in humility, patience, and the other virtues of a Religious man. The Guardian of the Convent perceiving this, and having previously known that Bernardin was well versed in the sacred sciences, he imposed the duty of preaching upon him. The Saint most humbly accepted the office, though he was aware that the weakness and hoarseness of his voice unfitted him for it: but he sought God's help, and was miraculously freed from these impediments.

Italy was, at that time, overrun with vice and crime; and, in consequence of deadly factions, all laws, both divine and human, were disregarded. It was then that Bernardin went through the towns and villages, preaching the Name of Jesus, which was ever on his lips and heart. Such was the effect of his words and example, that piety and morals were, in great measure, restored. Several important cities, that had witnessed his zeal, petitioned the Pope to allow them to have Bernardin for their Bishop; but the Saint's humility was not to be overcome, and he rejected every offer. At length, after going through countless labours in God's service, after many and great miracles, after writing several pious and learned books, he died a happy death, at the age of sixty-six, in a town of the Abruzzi, called Aquila. New miracles were daily being wrought through his intercession; and, at length, in the sixth year after his death, he was canonised by Pope Nicholas V.

 

Apostle of peace! Italy, whose factions were so often quelled by thee, may well number thee among her protectors. Behold her now a prey to the enemies of Jesus, rebellious against the Church of God, and abandoned to her fate. Oh! forget not, that she is thy native land, that she was obedient to thy preaching, and that thy memory was long most dear to her. Intercede in her favour; deliver her from her oppressors; and show, that when earthly armies fail, the hosts of heaven can always save both cities and countries.

Illustrious son of the great Patriarch of Assisi! the seraphic Order venerates thee as one of its main supports. Thou didst re-animate it to its primitive observance; continue, now from heaven, to [recommence and] protect the work thou commencedst here on earth. The Order of St. Francis is one of the grandest consolations of holy Mother Church; make this Order for ever flourish, protect it in its trials, give it increase in proportion to the necessities of the Faithful; for thou art the second Father of this venerable family, and thy prayers are powerful with the Redeemer, whose glorious Name thou confessedst upon earth.

 

Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.

 

St. Bernardine of Siena, pray for us.

 

May. 19, 2019

May 19, 2019: COMMEMORATION OF ST. PETER CELESTINE, POPE AND CONFESSOR

Thou obtainedst, Celestine, the object of thy ambition. Thou wast permitted to descend from the Apostolic Throne, and return to the quiet of that hidden life, which, for so many years, had been thy delight. Enjoy, to thy heart's content, the holy charm of being unknown to the world, and the treasures of contemplation in the secret of the face of God. But this life of obscurity must have an end; and then, the Cross,—the Cross, which thou hast loved above all earthly possessions,—will rise up in brightness before thy Cell door, and summon thee to share in the Paschal Triumph of Him, who came down from heaven to teach us this great truth,—that he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

 

Prayer (Collect).

O God, who didst raise blessed Celestin to the dignity of chief Bishop, which thou taughtedst him to quit for a more humble and private state: mercifully grant, that, by his example, we may despise the things of this world, and happily obtain the blessings promised to the humble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in unity of the Holy Ghost, God, World without end. Amen.

 

Our Paschal Season, which has already given us the admirable Doctor, St. Leo, brings before us, to-day, the humble Peter Celestine,—Sovereign Pontiff, like Leo, but who was no sooner throned on the Apostolic See, than he left it and returned to solitude. Among the long list of sainted men, who compose the venerable series of Roman Pontiffs, our Lord would have one, in whose person was to be represented the virtue of humility;—that honour was conferred on Peter Celestine. He was dragged from the quiet of his solitude, compelled to ascend the throne of St. Peter, and made to hold, in his trembling hand, the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. The holy Hermit, whose eyes had been ever fixed on his own weakness, had then to provide for the necessities of the whole Church. In his humility, he judged himself to be unequal to so heavy a responsibility. He resigned the Tiara, and begged to be permitted to return to his dear hermitage. His Divine Master, Christ, had, in like manner, concealed his glory, first, in a thirty years of hidden life, and then, later on, under the cloud of his Passion and Sepulchre. The sunshine of the Pasch came; the gloom was dispersed, and the Conqueror of Death arose in all his splendour. He would have his Servants share in his triumph and glory; but their share is to be greater or less, according to the measure in which they have, here on earth, imitated his humility. Who, then, could describe the glory which Peter Celestine receives in heaven, as a recompense for his profound humility, which made him more eager to be unknown, than the most ambitious of men could be for honour and fame? He was great on the Pontifical Throne, and still greater in his solitude; but his greatness, now that he is in heaven, surpasses all human thought.

 

Holy Church speaks his praise in these few lines; their simplicity admirably harmonises with the Hermit Pope, whose life they narrate.

Peter (who, from the name he took as Pope, was called Celestine,) was born at Isernia, in the Abruzzi, of respectable and Catholic parents. When quite a boy, he retired into solitude, that he might be out of the reach of the world's vanities. There he nourished his soul with holy contemplations, bringing his body into subjection, and wearing an iron chain next to his skin. He founded, under the Rule of St. Benedict, the Congregation, which was afterwards called the Congregation of Celestines. The Roman Church having been, for a long time, widowed of its Pastor, Celestine was chosen, unknown to himself, to occupy the Chair of Peter, and was therefore compelled to quit his solitude, for he was a lamp that was set upon a candlestick, and could not be hid. All men were filled with joy, as well as with surprise, at this unexpected choice. But thus exalted to the Pontificate, and finding that the multiplicity of cares rendered it almost impossible for him to continue his wonted contemplations, he resigned, of his own accord, the onerous honours of the Papal throne. He therefore resumed his former mode of life, and slept in the Lord by a precious death, which was rendered still more glorious by the apparition of an exceedingly bright cross, which hovered over the door of his cell. He was celebrated for many miracles, both before and after his death; which being authentically proved, he was canonised, eleven years after his departure from this world, by Pope Clement the Fifth.

Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.

 

May 19, 2019: St. Pudentiana, Virgin.

 

Pope St. Peter Celestine, pray for us.

 

May. 19, 2019

May 19, 2019: COMMEMORATION OF ST. PUDENTIANA, VIRGIN

 

Come, O Spouse of Christ, receive the crown, which the Lord hath prepared for thee for ever.

 

Prayer (Collect).

Give ear to us, O God, our Saviour, that as we celebrate with joy the solemnity of blessed Pudentiana, thy Virgin, so we may improve in the affection of piety. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in unity of the Holy Ghost, God, World without end. Amen.

 

This same nineteenth of May has another glory attached to it;—it is the day on which died the noble virgin Pudentiana. That name carries us back to the very first Age of the Christian Church. She was a daughter of a wealthy Roman, called Pudens, who was a kinsman of the Pudens spoken of by St. Paul, in his second Epistle to Timothy (II Tim, iv. 21). She and her sister Praxedes had the honour of being numbered among the earliest members of the Church, and both of them consecrated their virginity to Jesus Christ. Upon their father's death, the two sisters distributed their fortune to the poor, and devoted their whole time to good works. It was the eve of the Persecution under Antoninus. Pudentiana, though scarcely sixteen years of age, was ripe for heaven, and winged her flight to her Divine Spouse, when the storm was at its height. Her sister survived her many years: we shall commemorate her saintly memory on the 21st of July.

Pudentiana's house, which, in her grandfather's time, had been honoured by St. Peter's presence, was made over, by the holy virgin herself, to Pope Pius the First, and the divine mysteries were celebrated in it. It is now one of the most venerable Churches of Rome, and is the Station for the Tuesday of the third week of Lent.

Pudentiana is a tender floweret offered to our Risen Jesus by the Roman Church. Time has diminished naught of the fair lily's fragrance; and pure as her very name, her memory will live in the hearts of the Christian people, even to the end of the world.

 

The eulogy passed upon her by the holy Liturgy is but a commemoration; and yet it says so much, and will say it each year, as long as time itself shall last.

The virgin Pudentiana was daughter of the Roman (Senator) Pudens. Having lost her parents, and being most exemplary in her practice of the Christian Religion, she sold, with her sister Praxedes' consent, her possessions, gave the money to the poor, and devoted herself to fasting and prayer. It was through her influence, that her whole household, which consisted of ninety-six persons, was baptised by Pope Pius. In consequence of the decree issued by the emperor Antoninus, which forbade the Christians to offer sacrifice publicly, Pope Pius celebrated the holy mysteries in Pudentiana's house, and the Christians assembled there to assist at the celebration. She received them with much charity, and provided them with all the necessaries of life. She died in the practice of these Christian and pious duties, and, on the fourteenth of the Calends of June (May 19), was buried in her father's tomb, in the Priscilla Cemetery, which is on the Salarian Road.

Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.

 

May 19, 2019: St. Peter Celestine, Pope and Confessor.

 

St. Pudentiana, pray for us.

 

May. 18, 2019

May 18, 2019: ST. VENANTIUS, MARTYR

Rank: Double

This saint fought even unto death for the law of his God, and feared not the words of the wicked; for he was founded on a firm rock.

 

Prayer (Collect).

O God, who hast consecrated this day by the triumph of blessed Venantius thy Martyr; mercifully hear the prayers of thy people: and grant that we, who honour his virtues, may imitate the constancy of his faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in unity of the Holy Ghost, God, World without end. Amen.

 

To-day's Martyr carries us back to the persecutions under the Roman Emperors. It was at Camerino, in Italy, that he bore his testimony to the true Faith; and the devotion wherewith he is honoured by the people of those parts, (which are under the temporal Sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff,) has occasioned his Feast being kept throughout the Church. Let us, therefore, joyfully welcome this new champion, who fought so bravely for our Emmanuel. Let us congratulate him upon his having the privilege of suffering Martyrdom during the Paschal Season, all radiant as it is with the grand victory won by Life over Death.

The account given by the Liturgy, upon St. Venantius, is a tissue of miracles. The omnipotence of God seemed, on this and many other like occasions, to be resisting the cruelty of the executioners, in order to glorify the Martyr. It served also as a means for converting the by-standers, who, on witnessing these almost lavish miracles, were frequently heard to exclaim, that they too wished to be Christians, and embrace a Religion which was not only honoured by the superhuman patience of its Martyrs, but was so visibly protected and favoured by heaven.

 

Venantius, who was born at Camerino, was but fifteen years of age when he was accused of being a Christian, and arraigned before Antiochus, the Governor of the City, under the reign of the Emperor Decius. He presented himself to the Governor at the City Gate, where, after being long and uselessly coaxed and threatened, he was scourged, and condemned to be chained. But he was miraculously unfettered by an Angel, and was then burned with torches, and was hung, with his head downwards, over a fire, that he might be suffocated by the smoke. One of the officials, by name Anastasius, having noticed the courage wherewith he suffered his torments, and having also seen an Angel walking, in a white robe, above the smoke, and again liberating Venantius,—he believed in Christ, and, together with his family, was baptised by the priest Porphyrius, with whom he afterwards merited to receive the palm of martyrdom.

Venantius was again brought before the Governor; and being solicited, though to no purpose, to give up his Faith, he was thrown into prison. A herald, named Attalus, was sent thither, to tell him that he also had once been a Christian, but had renounced the profession on discovering that it was false, and that Christians were duped into giving up the good things of the present by the vain hope of what was to follow in the next life. But the high-minded soldier of Christ, knowing well the snares of our crafty enemy the devil, utterly spurned his minister from his presence. Whereupon, he was again led before the Governor, and all his teeth were beaten out, and his jaws broken; after which, he was thrown into a dung-pit. But, being delivered by an Angel, thence also, he again stood before the judge, who, whilst Venantius was addressing him, fell from the judgment-seat, and died exclaiming: “The God of Venantius is the true one! Destroy our gods!”

When this was made known to the Governor, he immediately ordered Venantius to be exposed to the lions: but those animals, forgetting their own savage nature, threw themselves at his feet. The Saint, meanwhile, instructed the people in the Christian Faith, and was therefore removed and again thrown into prison. On the following day, Porphyrius told the Governor, that he had had a vision during the night, and that he saw that those who were bathed with water, by Venantius, were brilliant with a splendid light, but that the Governor was covered with a thick darkness. This so irritated the Governor, that he immediately ordered Porphyrius to be beheaded, and Venantius to be dragged, until evening, along places covered with thorns and thistles. He was left there half dead; but he again presented himself, in the morning, to the Governor, who at once condemned him to be cast headlong from a rock. Again, however, he was miraculously preserved in his fall, and was once more dragged, for a mile, over rough places. Seeing that the soldiers were tormented with thirst, Venantius made the sign of the Cross, and water flowed from a rock, which was in a neighbouring dell; on which rock, Venantius left the impress of his knees, as maybe still seen in the Church which is dedicated to him. Many were moved, by that miracle, to believe in Christ, and were all beheaded, together with Venantius, on that very spot, by the Governor's orders. So awful were the lightnings and earthquakes which followed the execution, that the Governor took to flight. But he was not able to escape divine justice; and, a few days after, met with a most humiliating death. Meanwhile, the Christians gave honourable burial to the bodies of all these Martyrs, and they are now reposing in the Church, which is dedicated to Venantius in the town of Canierino.

Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.

 

St. Venantius, pray for us.

 

May. 17, 2019

May 17, 2019: ST. PASCHAL BAYLON, CONFESSOR

Rank: Double

 

Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he shall come and knock at the gate, shall find watching.

The Lord loved him and hath adorned him. He hath clothed him with a robe of glory.

 

 

Prayer (Collect).

O God, who hast adorned blessed Paschal, thy Confessor, with a wonderful love, towards the sacred mysteries of thy body and blood; mercifully grant that the spiritual nourishment he received from this heavenly banquet, we also may be found worthy to participate. Who livest and reignest, God, World without end. Amen.

 

The Seraph of Assisi was sure to depute some of his children to pay their court to his Risen Master. The one he sends to-day, is the humblest and most unknown of men; another will follow, three days hence, powerful in word and work, and holding a palm in his hands, as a most devoted preacher of the Gospel. Paschal BayIon was a simple peasant. He was a shepherd-boy; and it was in tending his flock, that he found the Lord Jesus. He had a great love for contemplation. Forests and fields spoke to him of their great Creator; and, in order that he might be the more closely united with him, he resolved to seek him in the highest paths of perfection. He was ambitious to imitate the humble, poor and suffering Life of the Man-God; the Franciscan Cloister offered him all this, and he flew to it. On that blessed soil, he grew to be one of heaven's choicest plants, and the whole earth has now heard the name of the humble Lay-Brother of a little convent in Spain. Holy Church brings him before us to-day, and shows him enraptured in the contemplation of his Jesus' Resurrection. He had trod the path of humiliation and the cross; it was but just, that he should share in his Master's Triumph. It was of him, and of such as he, that this Divine Saviour spoke, when he said: Ye are they that have continued with me in my temptations; and I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a Kingdom; that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my Kingdom, and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (St. Luke, xxii. 28, 29, 30).

 

The account given by the Liturgy of the angelic life of this illustrious son of St. Francis, is as follows.

Paschal Baylon was born of poor and pious parents, at Torre-Hermosa, a small town of the Diocese of Seguenza, in Aragon. Even from his infancy, he gave many signs of future sanctity. Being endowed with a good disposition, and having a great love for the contemplation of heavenly things, he passed the years of boyhood and youth in tending flocks. He loved this kind of life more than any other, because it seemed to him best for fostering humility and preserving innocence. He was temperate in his food, and assiduous in prayer. He had such influence over his acquaintance and companions, and was so dear to them, that he used to settle their disputes, correct their faults, instruct their ignorance, and keep them out of idleness. He was honoured and loved by them as their father and master; and even then, was often called the Blessed Paschal.

Thus did this flower of the valley bloom in the world,—that desert and parched land but once planted in the house of the Lord, he shed, everywhere around him, a wondrous odour of sanctity. Having embraced the severest sort of life, by entering the Order of the Discalced Friars Minor of strict observance, Paschal rejoiced as a giant to run his way. Devoting himself wholly to the service of his God, his one thought, both day and night, was how he could further imitate his Divine Master. His brethren, even they that were most advanced, soon began to look upon him as a model of seraphic perfection. As for him, he put himself in the grade of the Lay-Brothers. Looking on himself as the offscouring of all, he, with humility and patience, cheerfully took on himself the most tiring and menial work of the house, which work he used to say belonged to him by a special right. He mortified and brought into subjection his flesh, which, at times, would strive to rebel against the spirit. As to his spirit, he, by assiduous self-denial, maintained its fervour, and daily stretched himself forward to the things that were more perfect.

He had consecrated himself, from his earliest years, to the Blessed Virgin; he honoured her, as his Mother, by daily devotions, and prayed to her with filial confidence. It would be difficult to describe the ardour of his devotion to the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. Even after his death, this devotion seemed to linger in his body; for when laid in his coffin, his eyes were seen to open and shut twice during the elevation of the sacred Host, to the astonishment of all that were present. He publicly and openly professed before heretics his faith in the dogma of the Real Presence, and had much to suffer on that account. His very life was frequently attempted; but, by a special providence of God, he was rescued from the hands of the wicked men who sought to kill him. Frequently, when at prayer, he was in ecstasy, and swooned away with the sweetness of love. It was on these occasions that he was supposed to receive that heavenly wisdom, whereby he, though uneducated and illiterate, was enabled to give answers upon the profoundest mysteries of Faith, and even write several books. Finally, being rich in merit, he happily took his flight to heaven, at the hour which he had foretold, in the year of our Lord 1592, on the sixteenth of the Calends of June (May 17), and on the Feast of Pentecost, (the same on which he was born,) being in his fifty-second year. These and other virtues having procured him great reputation, and being celebrated for miracles both before and after his death, he was beatified by Pope Paul the Fifth, and canonised by Alexander the Eighth.

Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.

 

St. Paschal Baylon, pray for us.