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All Saints Day

A beautiful meditation from Fr. Francis Xavier Weinger on the Feast of All Saints.

Happy All Saints Day to all!


The Catholic Church, which, every day in the year, places some Saints before our eyes to honor and imitate, represents them all to us today; hence today’s festival is called: The Feast of All Saints. The origin of it was as follows : There was, at Rome, a magnificent temple, which had been built before Christ, by Marcus Agrippa, and was called the Pantheon or Temple of all the gods, because they were all worshiped therein. This idolatrous temple had not been torn down like many others, but Pope Boniface IV consecrated it according to Catholic usage, to the Virgin Mother and all the Saints. To the greater edification of the people, he had many relics of holy Martyrs placed in it with due magnificence, whence this Church received the name of the Church of the holy Martyrs.

In after years, it was ordered by Pope Gregory IV that, not only the festival of the holy Martyrs, but also that of all other Saints, should be celebrated in the above mentioned Church and in all Christendom. The reasons for instituting this festival were the following: First, it cannot be doubted that the number of Saints who reign with Christ in heaven is very large. “I saw so large a number,” says St. John, ” that nobody could count them.” To speak only of those who became martyrs for Christ’s sake, they, according to authentic historians, already in the first centuries of the Church, numbered 17 millions. Who can count the other Saints, as well of the Clergy as the laity, who served God faithfully and died in His grace? The number of the Saints is very great, but most of them are unknown to us. We know the names of the holy Apostles, of many apostolic men, many founders of religious orders, many popes, bishops, religious, hermits, virgins, widows, married people, nobles, princes, kings and emperors; but there is a number far exceeding these, whose very names are unknown to us. And as it is but just that we, who are yet in the Church Militant and are united by the bond of charity with the Saints, should honor them duly, as they are honored as true servants and friends by the Almighty Himself, the holy Church has appointed this day for honoring them all together, as it is not possible to consecrate a separate day to each of them.

The second reason is contained in the prayer which the Church on this day recites in Holy Mass: “That on account of the great number of our intercessors, God may bestow on us, more abundantly, the desired gifts of His liberality.” No Catholic doubts that the Saints in heaven, because they enjoy the favor of the Almighty, can obtain for us by their intercession many graces, of which we are not worthy, on account of our sins. For, it is known that, while they were still living on earth, they not only averted much evil from mankind by their intercession, but also drew down many benefits upon them. That we may therefore obtain more surely all that we need or that is useful for our salvation, the holy Church has ordered that we shall today call upon all the Saints as our intercessors, trusting implicitly that the Most High will not disregard the entreaties of so many of His friends.

The third reason is as follows: The Church according to St. Bernard, represents to us so many Saints, in every station in life, to encourage us so that we may not only venerate them, but also imitate their virtues; and that as we call them blessed, so we too should strive after that salvation which they have already attained. Hence, also, the Gospel of the Eight Beatitudes is read today; as in it the road is pointed out and explained, by which the Saints have reached heaven; a road which we too must walk, if we wish to join them in heaven. We will now explain, in few words, three other points, namely; what we ought especially to meditate upon, to learn and to do, on this day. In regard to the first of these points, we ought to meditate on the happiness of the Saints in heaven, and on the way they walked, or the means they employed to attain their blessedness. This blessedness, to say much in few words, is so great, that it can neither be described nor comprehended. “We can obtain it,” says St. Augustine, “but cannot esteem it too highly. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and it has not entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those that love Him,” that is, for the Saints in heaven.

The happiness of the least Saint in heaven is inexpressibly greater than the most perfect happiness on earth. We esteem those on earth happy, who are not persecuted, nor poor, nor sick, nor despised; but who are distinguished by their high rank, and are honored by all; who enjoy health, and possess a superfluity of riches and pleasures. And yet, how few ever attain such temporal happiness, and when they have attained it, how uncertain they are in its possession! But the happiness of the Saints is true, real happiness; for, nothing is wanted to make it most perfect. They are free from everything that could in the least sadden them; they possess all that can make them glad, all that they can desire, nay, much more than they can desire. They are surrounded by joys, they swim in happiness. Therefore it is written: ” Enter into the joys of the Lord!” The happiness of the Saints is a secure happiness; for they have nothing to fear. No one can disturb their joy; no one can lessen it; no one can take it away from them. But what increases the bliss of the Saints most is the thought that it shall last eternally.

The Saints are in glory, and for evermore. They are filled with joys for evermore, for all eternity. They possess all honor and wealth, and all without end, without interruption. Oh! how great a bliss! But how have the Saints attained it? By the use of those means which God has left in His Church, by true faith; by holy baptism; by observing the Commandments, by avoiding sin, by practicing good works, by patience in crosses and sufferings. They walked in the path which Christ shows us in His holy Gospel, the path of innocence, or the path of penance. They served God faithfully and constantly while they were on earth; they earnestly worked for the salvation of their souls; they either committed no sin, or did true penance. When God sent them poverty, sickness, or other adversity, they bore it with Christian patience. In this manner, they attained to such great and eternal felicity. From all this you will doubtless be able to draw the lessons which today’s festival offers. I will here give them to you in still shorter form.

Learn, firstly, how true to His promise God is and how richly He recompenses His servants. He leaves not the least good unrewarded, and the recompense He gives is great and eternal. For short labor and suffering, He gives great and everlasting joys. Who would not willingly serve so liberal a Master? Who would not gladly labor and suffer for Him? Who, that longs so ardently for the possession of mere temporal happiness, can hesitate to aim, with all the powers of his mind, at the eternal bliss prepared for the servants of the Most High? Should not every one be animated by the thought of eternal felicity, faithfully and zealously to serve the Lord?

Learn, secondly, that we can gain Heaven in any station of life; for in any station, we can make use of those means which God has given us to work out our salvation. In Heaven there are Saints of all ranks and conditions; emperors and empresses; kings and queens; princes and princesses; nobles and plebeians; learned men and unlettered men; poor and rich; officers and soldiers; magistrates, artisans and peasants; man-servants and maid-servants; unmarried and married persons; widowers and widows; youths, maidens and children. Many Saints lived in the same station in which you live; from it, they went to heaven; and so may you. You have only to live in your station as they did and use the means for your salvation as they used them.

Learn, thirdly, that you will have only yourself to blame, if you do not go to heaven to join the Saints; for, God asks no more from you than from them, and gives you the same means for salvation that He gave to them. The Saints were like you, human beings; like you, they lived in dangers and temptations; like you, they suffered and struggled; and yet they served God and went to heaven. Are you unable to do what they did? You are certainly able, if you have but a true and earnest desire to succeed. If you have it not, the fault is entirely your own. The example of so many Saints, who lived in your station, will convict you of falsehood, if you say that your station prevents you from gaining life everlasting.

All that now remains is to consider what must be done to celebrate today’s festival worthily. A few words will teach you this. If you desire to attain the end and aim of this feast, endeavor according to the instructions of holy Church to honor the Saints of the Almighty and invoke them as powerful intercessors at His throne. They are true servants and friends of God, and they are honored by Him. Their intercession is all-powerful with the Almighty. While still on earth, they obtained for others great gifts from God; why then should they not be able to do so now that they are in heaven? To say that the Saints know nothing of us or of our prayers, is a sign of ignorance, and is against Holy Writ; for, we are assured therein that the Saints are equal to the Angels, and we can not doubt that these have knowledge of us and of our prayers. The Gospel tells us that they rejoice when a sinner does penance; and St. John says that they offer our prayers to God. Hence, call on the Saints with confidence, that, through the merits of Christ, they would obtain for you the grace to live so that you may one day join them. But above all, endeavor to imitate the virtues of the Saints, as this is the best way to honor them. Each Saint calls from Heaven to us, in the words that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: ” Be my followers,” imitate my example. This is especially the call of those Saints, who lived in your station.

If you would enjoy their society in heaven, you must live as they lived on earth. To live as those lived who are in hell, and yet to hope to go, after this life, where they are whom we venerate as Saints, is senseless. Live as the Saints lived, and you will go to heaven as they did. Walk in their footsteps. No one ever obtained life everlasting without the true faith. No one was saved by faith alone. The Saints labored and suffered for heaven. You too must labor and suffer; heaven is worth it.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

I. Besides those points already mentioned and explained, learn what thanks you owe to the Almighty, that in His mercy He has placed you in that Church which counts so many Saints. Those who are not Catholics cannot name a single Saint who lived, died and became a Saint in their church; whilst, in our Catholic Church we have a very great number of Saints. Only in the Catholic Church can you become or be called a Saint and blessed. Being one of her children, you possess the same means which the Saints had and by which they gained their glorious title. That you live in the pale of this Church you owe to God, by whose grace you were admitted into it; and you can never be sufficiently grateful.

How many thousands are deprived of this happiness! The pious Noah was certainly favored beyond countless others, when he was admitted with all his family into the Ark, in which alone he could escape the flood. God has given you a still greater grace, by admitting you, before countless others, into His true Church, which the Holy Fathers compare to the Ark of Noah, because in it alone can we escape damnation and go to everlasting life. Hence, give humble thanks to the Almighty for this inestimable grace bestowed upon you, and beseech Him to admit into this Ark, for His greater glory, all those who are still outside its sheltering and saving bosom.

II. By the especial grace of God you are a member of that Church in which so many Saints lived; but you are not therefore blessed, or assured of your salvation. Many lived in this Church who are now in hell. If you wish to be saved in it, you must live as they did who worked out their salvation in its pale. Not one of them entered heaven except by innocence or penance. If you have preserved your innocence, thank God and guard it carefully. But if your innocence is lost, do penance. The Saints gained eternal life by avoiding sin, by practicing good works, and by patiently bearing their cross. If you wish to partake of their glory in heaven, you must follow them on earth. Avoid all sin; be diligent in doing good, and patient in bearing whatever you have to suffer. No one is now in heaven who died in mortal sin. If you desire to gain heaven, be careful that you die not in mortal sin; and to guard yourself against dying in it, take care not to become guilty of it. And if, either through malice or through weakness, you should fall into mortal sin, delay not to do penance. These few words contain all that you have to do, if you desire to save your soul in the Catholic Church as so many thousands have done before you. Follow them. ” Secure the intercession of the Saints by imitating their virtues,”says St. Leo; ” for if you join them in virtue, you will one day join them in glory.”

In conclusion, my dear Reader, remember that today’s festival is especially disliked by the non-Catholics. The principal reason, as far as we can see, is, that from their youth, they imbibe false ideas of our faith. They are told that Catholics worship the Saints as Gods; and thus rob God of the honor due to Him alone; they leave Him and turn to the dead Saints; they invoke them, and neglect Christ, the only Mediator, as if they were to be saved through the merits of the Saints. These and other similar falsehoods are instilled into them,in early youth, by their teachers and preachers, and afterwards placed before them as truth in books. All non-Catholics ought, however, to know that the above mentioned and other similar charges are unjustifiable and palpable lies.

The substance of what our faith teaches in regard to honoring the Saints I have already given elsewhere. It is briefly this: We do not worship the Saints as gods, but honor them as the friends and servants of God, who Himself honors them. We venerate them for the sake of God, and all the honor we show them is done to God. He, the Creator, is honored in His Saints; hence, we do not rob the Lord of honor due to Him. We do not forsake God, but we seek to gain admittance to Him through His Saints. Neither do we invoke dead Saints; for, the Saints live with Christ in eternal glory. We do not set aside Christ, our Mediator; for we know well that He died for us and redeemed us. We do not desire to be saved through the merits of the Saints, but through the merits of Christ, as the prayers of our Church clearly prove. We only invoke the Saints in order that they may pray for us and obtain for us, through the merits of Christ, what we ask. Our Catechism, our books and sermons give evidence that this is what the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught. Woe to those who, against their knowledge and conscience, inform the credulous that this is not so! Woe also to those who, through their own fault, believe such palpable falsehoods!

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Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin

The parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Louis and Zelie Martin, were both proclaimed Saints today. This is the first time in the history of the Church that a married couple was raised to the altar together.

Here is a link to read about the holy life of this couple, who raised many saints, one of whom is the greatest saint of modern times, St. Therese:

http://www.littleflower.org/therese/life-story/her-parents/

Louis and Zelie Martin

The Watchmaker – Louis Martin

Louis Martin (1823 – 1894) was a watchmaker by trade, and quite a successful one. He also skillfully managed his wife’s lace business. But, as with so many men, Louis’ life had not turned out at all the way he had planned.

Born into a family of soldiers, Louis spent his early years at various French military posts. He absorbed the sense of order and discipline that army life engenders. His temperament, deeply influenced by the peculiar French connection between the mystical and the military, tended toward things of the spirit.

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At twenty-two, young Louis sought to enter religious life at the monastery of the Augustinian Canons of the Great St. Bernard Hospice in the Alps. The blend of courage and charity the monks and their famous dogs manifested in rescuing travelers in Alpine snows appealed powerfully to Louis Martin. Unfortunately, the Abbot insisted the young candidate learn Latin. Louis, whose bravery would have carried him to the heights of the Alps in search of a lost pilgrim, got himself lost among the peaks and valleys of Latin syntax and grammar. His most determined efforts failed. He became ill and dispirited, and abandoned his hopes for the monastic life.

Eventually, Louis settled down in Alencon, a small city in France, and pursued his watchmaking trade. He loved Alencon. It was a quiet place and he was a quiet man. It even had a lovely trout stream nearby, offering him the opportunity to pursue his favorite recreation.

The Lace Maker –  Zelie Guerin

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Most famous of Alencon’s thirteen thousand inhabitants were its lace makers. French people greatly admired the skill and talent required to produce the exquisite lace known throughout the nation as Point d’ Alencon.

Zelie Guerin (1831 – 1877) was one of Alencon’s more talented lace makers. Born into a military family, Zelie described her childhood and youth as “dismal.” Her mother and father showed her little affection. As a young lady, she sought unsuccessfully to enter the religious order of the sisters of the Hotel-Dieu. Zelie then learned the Alencon lace-making technique and soon mastered this painstaking craft. Richly talented, creative, eager, and endowed with common sense, she started her own business and became quite successful. Notable as these achievements were, Zelie was yet to reveal the depths of the strength, faith, and courage she possessed.

The Martins

Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin eventually met in Alencon, and on July 13, 1858, Louis, 34, and Zelie, 26, married and began their remarkable voyage through life. Within the next fifteen years, Zelie bore nine children, seven girls and two boys. “We lived only for them,” Zelie wrote; “they were all our happiness.”

The Martins’ delight in their children turned to shock and sorrow as tragedy relentlessly and mercilessly stalked their little ones. Within three years, Zelie’s two baby boys, a five year old girl, and a six-and-a-half week old infant girl all died.

Zelie was left numb with sadness. “I haven’t a penny’s worth of courage,” she lamented. But her faith sustained her through these terrible ordeals. In a letter to her sister-in-law who had lost an infant son, Zelie remembered: “When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I felt sorrow through and through….People said to me, ‘It would have been better never to have had them.’ I couldn’t stand such language. My children were not lost forever; life is short and full of miseries, and we shall find our little ones again up above.”

The Martins’ last child was born January 2, 1873. She was weak and frail, and doctors feared for the infant’s life. The family, so used to death, was preparing for yet another blow. Zelie wrote of her three month old girl: “I have no hope of saving her. The poor little thing suffers horribly….It breaks your heart to see her.” But the baby girl proved to be much tougher than anyone realized. She survived the illness. A year later she was a “big baby, browned by the sun.” “The baby,” Zelie noted, “is full of life, giggles a lot, and is sheer joy to everyone.” Death seemed to grant a reprieve to the Martin household. Although suffering had left its mark on mother and father, it was not the scar of bitterness. Louis and Zelie had already found relief and support in their faith.

The series of tragedies had intensified the love of Louis and Zelie Martin for each other. They poured out their affection on their five surviving daughters; Marie, 12, Pauline, 11, Leonie 9, Celine, 3, and their new-born. Louis and Zelie named their new-born; Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin. A century later people would know her as St. Therese, and call her the “Little Flower.”


Let us pray to Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin to intercede for the Church and the family ravaged by the devil.
~Damsel of the Faith

True and False Virtue

The great St. John Vianney on true and false virtue:

“By their fruits you shall know them.” —Matt. vii, 16.

SYNOPSIS.—Good and bad Christians known by their works. A false and superficial virtue will manifest its true nature.

I. A Christian should not be contented with the performance of good works; he should be careful how to perform them.
II. It is not enough to be virtuous in the eyes of the world; we must be so in our hearts.

I. Good works must proceed from the heart. St. Gregory. Our actions should be only the medium to express our intention. Our works must be perfect, unselfish. Hypocrisy. Jeroboam. The poor widow’s mite. Perseverance.

II. Have you the true virtue? Conclusion.

Jesus Christ could not have given us a plainer or surer mark whereby we might know the difference between good and bad Christians than by telling us we should know them, not by their words, but by their works. “A good tree,” He says, “can not bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Yes, dear brethren, those who possess only a false piety, a hypocritical or only a superficial virtue, will, in spite of all the precautions they may take, be unable to prevent the true condition of their heart from sometimes manifesting itself outwardly, either in words or deeds. Nothing, my dear brethren, is so prevalent as this pretended virtue, or, in other words, this hypocrisy.

So as to give you the right idea of the unhappy state of those poor souls who will, perhaps, be damned, although doing good, just because they do not good the right way, I will show you:

I. A good Christian should not be contented to perform good works; he should know how to perform them properly.
II. It is not enough to be virtuous in the eyes of the world; we must be so in our hearts.

I. Now, if you ask me, dear brethren, how can we know whether a virtue is real, and whether it will lead us to heaven, the answer is: that in order to make an action pleasing to God, the following conditions must be fulfilled: First, the action should be sincere and perfect; second, it should be humble and without selfishness; third, it should be steadfast and enduring: If these conditions are found in everything you do, then you may be sure that you are working for heaven.

(1) We have said that an action must be sincere; it is not sufficient that it shows itself only outwardly. It must come from our hearts, and love of God must be its prime cause and its beginning, for St. Gregory tells us that everything which God requires of us should be founded on the love which we owe Him. The action, therefore, should be nothing more than a sort of medium to express our intention. Words and actions that do not come from the sincerity of the heart are no more than hypocrisy in the eyes of God.

We say, further, our virtue should be perfect. That means, it is not sufficient for us to practice only those certain virtues to which we may be naturally inclined, but we should embrace them all; that is to say, all virtues the practice of which is possible for our state. St. Paul says that we should prepare a superabundant provision of all kinds of good works for our salvation.

(2) We said, also, that our virtue should be humble and free from selfishness. Jesus Christ tells us that we should never perform our actions in order that we may be praised by men. If we desire a heavenly reward, then we must hide the good which God works in us as much as possible, for fear that the devil of pride may rob us of the merit of those good works. But, perhaps, you will say, the good that we do, we do really for God, and the world has no benefit of it. My friend, I am not so sure about it. There are many who deceive themselves on this point. It might be easy to prove to you that your religion is largely on the outside only, and not founded in the soul. Tell me, would you not, rather than not, have people know that you observe all fast days? If you give money to the poor, or to the Church, would you not like to have this known by your neighbor? Does not that feeling make hypocrites of us?

The saints did exactly the contrary. And why did they? They knew their religion, and they sought to humble themselves to obtain the mercy of God. What poor Christians are those, whose religion is one of mood, of habit, and nothing else! You will, perhaps, think that these are rather strong words. Yes, without doubt, they are rather strong, but they are the strict truth. It must be my endeavor to produce in you a horror of the sin of hypocrisy. How many people, alas, although they do good works, will be lost because they do not know their religion thoroughly! Many people say a great many prayers, and even go frequently to the Sacraments; but they still keep their bad habits, and die in them, because they strive, at one and the same time, to be friends of God and friends of sin. Look at that man, who appears to be a good Christian. Just give him to understand, even if you have the right to do so, that he has wronged some one; point out his faults to him, or any wrong which he has been guilty of in his heart, and he will fly into a rage at once, and hate the sight of you. Hatred and ill-will spring up in his head. Look at another one. You can not have much of an opinion of his piety, for he answers you haughtily, and will not make up with those that have offended him.

The following example will show us how severely God punishes false virtue, which is so great a sin: We read in Holy Scripture that King Jeroboam sent his wife to meet the prophet Ahias, in order to ask advice about the sickness of his son, and he made her to disguise herself in the garb of a poor and pious person. He had recourse to this artifice because he feared that, if his people knew that he asked advice of the prophets of the true God, they would come to the conclusion that he had very little confidence in their idols. But he could not deceive God. When this woman entered the abode of the prophet, the latter cried out, before even having seen her: “Wife of Jeroboam, why dost thou seek to appear other than thou art? Approach, hypocrite. I have bad news to give you from the Lord our God. Bad news, indeed. Listen: The Lord hath commanded me to tell thee that he will send down all kinds of misfortune upon the house of Jeroboam; he will annihilate it, even unto the animals; those of his house that die in the fields will be devoured by dogs. Depart now, wife of Jeroboam. Go and acquaint thy husband with this. And at the moment when thou settest thy foot within the city, thy son shall die.” Everything occurred just as the prophet had foretold; not one of Jeroboam’s house escaped the vengeance of the Lord. You see, then, dear brethren, how God punishes this cursed sin of hypocrisy.

Moreover, I must tell you that it is not the size and greatness of deeds which give them merit, but the pure intention with which they are undertaken. The Gospel gives us a beautiful example of this. The Evangelist St. Mark relates that Jesus Christ, on entering the temple one day, beheld how the people cast money into the receptacle for offering, and He saw that many that were rich cast in much. Then He saw how a poor widow approached the receptacle humbly, and cast in two mites. Thereupon, Jesus Christ, calling His disciples, said to them: “Behold, many persons have cast considerable alms into the almsbox and see there also a poor widow who has only cast in two mites. What do you think of this difference? To judge by appearances, you think, perhaps, that the gifts of the rich have more merit; but I tell you that this widow has cast in more than all of them; for the rich cast in of their abundance, but she of her want hath cast in all she had. Most of the rich sought glory before men, and to be thought better than they were, while this widow hath given to please God alone.” A beautiful example, dear brethren, which teaches us with what pure intentions and with what humility we should perform all our actions, if we desire to be rewarded for them. Certainly, God does not forbid us to perform our works before men, but He desires that they should be done for His sake alone, and not for the sake of the glory of the world.

(3) We have said, the third necessary condition for true virtue is perseverance. We must not be satisfied to do good for a certain length of time, such as to pray for a while, to mortify ourselves at times, to renounce our self-will, to bear with the weaknesses of others, to combat the temptations of the devil, to bear patiently contempt and calumnies, to watch over the movements of our hearts. No, dear brethren, we must persevere until death if we wish to be saved. St. Paul says that we must be firm and steadfast in the service of God, and that we should work at the salvation of our souls every day of our lives, knowing well that our labor will not be rewarded unless we persevere until the end. He says: “Neither riches nor poverty, neither health nor sickness, should induce us to neglect the salvation of our soul, and to separate ourselves from God: for we know that God will only crown that virtue which perseveres until death.”

We see this in a remarkable manner in the Apocalypse in the person of a Bishop, who led such a holy life that God Himself lavished praises upon him: “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear evil men; and thou hast tried them who say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars; and thou hast patience, and hast borne for my name, and hast not failed. But this I have against thee: that thou hast become negligent in the practise of these virtues. Be mindful, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and do penance as thou didst before, or else I shall reject thee, and punish thee.” Tell me, dear brethren, should not we be seized with fear when we hear how God menaced even a Bishop who had been negligent? Alas, what has become of us ever since our conversion! Instead of making progress daily, what tepidity, what indifference, is ours! No, God can not bear this perpetual inconstancy with which we turn from virtue to vice, and from vice to virtue again. Tell me, dear brethren, is this not your manner of living, too? Is your life anything else but an intermingling of sins and virtues? Do you not confess your sins, and the following day commit the same faults again? Or, maybe, even on the same day? How many there are who, for a certain length of time, seem to love God with all their strength, and then again forsake Him! What is it that you find so hard and difficult in the service of God that you are so soon discouraged, and return again to the world? And yet, at the moment when God allowed you to know your condition, you sighed, and you perceived how much you had deceived yourself! The reason of this misfortune is because Satan is angry at having lost you, and he works till he gets you back again, and hopes to hold you forever. How many faithless persons are there who have forsaken their religion, and yet they bear the name of Christians!

II.  Now, you will ask, how can we know if we have virtue in our hearts, that virtue which remains ever true to itself? Now, listen, dear brethren, and you will perceive whether you have that virtue on account of which God will receive you into heaven. A person who is truly virtuous does not waver in the least; he is like a rock beaten by the storm in the midst of the sea. Whether you are blamed, or calumniated, or mocked at, or regarded as a hypocrite, or treated as a prude, none of these things should be capable of robbing you of your peace of soul. You should be just as well disposed toward your enemies as if they had spoken well of you. You should not fail to show them kindness, although they have spoken badly of you. You should say your prayers, go to Confession and Holy Communion, and attend Holy Mass, with disregard of anything the world may say. Our virtue, also, to be true should be steadfast. That is to say, we must be just as resigned to the will of God and zealous under crosses and ill-fortune, as at the time when nothing disagreeable comes in our way. This is how the saints acted. Look at the great multitude of the martyrs who endured everything that the frenzy of a tyrant could think of, and who, far from neglecting God, were, on the contrary, drawn closer to Him. Neither torments nor persecutions inflicted upon them caused them to waver.

Let us, then, conclude, dear brethren, by remembering that our virtue must have its source in the heart, in order to be fruitful and pleasing to God. We must hide our good works. We should also be well on our guard so as to neglect nothing in the service of God; on the contrary, we should grow and increase in the knowledge and love of God. In this way the saints assured themselves of eternal bliss, the blessing which I wish you all. Amen.

Feast of All Saints

Today, remember your patron Saints by honoring them and asking for their intercession.

Te Deum Laudamus!  The following are some various quotes from the Saints about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

“The Mass is the sun of Christianity, the soul of faith, the centre of the Catholic religion, the condensation of all that is good and beautiful in the Church of Christ. The Mass is the miracle of miracles, the wonder of wonders. The Mass is the sun of holy religion, which dissipates the cloud and restores serenity to the heavens. For my part I am persuaded that if it were not for the holy Mass the world would have long since tottered from its foundation, crushed beneath the enormous weight of its many accumulated iniquities. At every moment of the day and night, during the year round, this Infinite Victim is immolated on several altars in some part of the world for the salvation of mankind,and hence the pious practice of uniting ourselves and our actions with Jesus upon the altar.”   ~St. Leonard of Port Maurice

When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that Sacrifice praying, and all the people purpled by that precious Blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven?”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“It is most becoming that there be in the Church only one appropriate manner of reciting the Psalms and only one rite for the celebration of Mass.”   ~Pope St. Pius V

“The Mass is the most beautiful thing in the Church.”   ~St. Alphonsus Liguori

“The priest secretly pronounces some of the words as a token that regarding Christ’s Passion the disciples acknowledged Him only in secret.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“Nothing so becomes a church as silence and good order. Noise belongs to theatres, and baths, and public processions, and market-places: but where doctrines, and such doctrines, are the subject of teaching, there should be stillness, and quiet, and calm reflection, and a haven of much repose.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“In the life to come, our mind will see the true God himself, and our outer worship will need no symbols but will consist in praise of God from heart and mind. At present, however, God’s truth can only express itself to us in symbols we can sense.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“The washing of the hands is done in the celebration of Mass out of reverence for this sacrament; and this for two reasons: first, because we are not wont to handle precious objects except the hands be washed; hence it seems indecent for anyone to approach so great a sacrament with hands that are, even literally, unclean. Secondly, on account of its signification, because, as Dionysius says (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia iii), the washing of the extremities of the limbs denotes cleansing from even the smallest sins, according to John 13:10: ‘He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet.'”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“Five times does the priest turn round towards the people [in the traditional Mass], to denote that our Lord manifested Himself five times on the day of His Resurrection, as stated above in the treatise on Christ’s Resurrection (Q55,A3,OBJ 3). But the priest greets the people seven times, namely, five times, by turning round to the people, and twice without turning round, namely, when he says, ‘The Lord be with you’ before the Preface, and again when he says, ‘May the peace of the Lord be ever with you’: and this is to denote the sevenfold grace of the Holy Ghost. But a bishop, when he celebrates on festival days, in his first greeting says, ‘Peace be to you,’ which was our Lord’s greeting after Resurrection, Whose person the bishop chiefly represents.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“The actions performed by the priest in Mass are not ridiculous gestures, since they are done so as to represent something else. The priest in extending his arms signifies the outstretching of Christ’s arms upon the cross. He also lifts up his hands as he prays, to point out that his prayer is directed to God for the people, according to Lamentations 3:41: ‘Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens’: and Exodus 17:11: ‘And when Moses lifted up his hands Israel overcame.’ That at times he joins his hands, and bows down, praying earnestly and humbly, denotes the humility and obedience of Christ, out of which He suffered. He closes his fingers, i.e. the thumb and first finger, after the consecration, because, with them, he had touched the consecrated body of Christ; so that if any particle cling to the fingers, it may not be scattered: and this belongs to the reverence for this sacrament.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“The Mass has just the same value as Calvary.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“The Eucharist is the perfect sacrament of our Lord’s Passion, as containing Christ crucified.”   ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“When you hear Mass, do you come in the same frame of mind as the Blessed Virgin at Calvary? Because it is the same God, and the same Sacrifice.”   ~St. John Vianney

Since the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one Body. And just as he is one Body and not many though offered everywhere, so too there is one Sacrifice.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“…death has not destroyed this Body which was pierced with nails and scourged…this is the Body which was once covered with blood, pierced by a lance, from which issued saving fountains upon the world, one of blood and the other of water…This Body He gave to us to keep and eat, as a mark of His intense love.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“This Sacrifice [of the Mass], no matter who offers it, be Peter or Paul, is always the same as that which Christ gave His disciples and which priests now offer: The offering of today is in no way inferior to that which Christ offered, because it is not men who sanctify the offering of today; it is the same Christ who sanctified His own. For just as the words which God spoke are the very same as those which the priest now speaks, so too the oblation is the very same.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“The Victim [Christ] alone saves the soul from eternal ruin, the sacrificing of which presents to us in a mystical way the death of the Only-begotten, who – though He is now risen from the dead and dies no more, and death will no longer have dominion over Him, for He lives immortally and incorruptibly in Himself – is immolated for us again in this mystery of the sacred oblation. For His body is eaten there, His flesh is distributed among the people unto salvation, His blood is poured out, no longer in the hands of the faithless but in the mouth of the faithful. Let us take thought, therefore, of what this sacrifice means for us, which is a constant re-presentation of the suffering of the Only begotten Son, for the sake of our forgiveness.”   ~Pope St. Gregory I the Great

“Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we all are communicants! Christ, slain for us, is the Sacrificial Victim who is placed thereon!”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“Even God Himself could do nothing holier, better, or greater than the Mass.”   ~St. Alphonsus Liguori

“There is no prayer or good work so great, so pleasing to God, so useful to us as the Mass.”   ~St. Lawrence Justianian

“The happiness of the World comes from the Sacrifice of the Mass.”   ~St. Odo of Cluny

“It would be easier for the earth to exist without the sun rather than without the Holy Mass.”   ~St. Pio of Pietrelcina

“The whole sanctuary and the space before the altar is filled with the heavenly Powers come to honor Him who is present upon the altar.”   ~St. John Chrysostom

“No human tongue can describe the immense favors and blessing which we receive from the Mass. The sinner obtains pardon, the good man becomes more holy, our faults are corrected and our vices uprooted by hearing Holy Mass.”   ~St. Lawrence Justianian

“O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the little form of bread! Look, brothers, at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves, as well, that you may be exalted by Him. Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally.”   ~St. Francis of Assisi

“For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death.”   ~St. Gertrude the Great

“It is most true that he who attends holy Mass shall be freed from many evils and from many dangers, both seen and unseen.”   ~St. Gregory

Without doubt, the Lord grants all favors which are asked of Him in Mass, provided they be fitting for us; and, which is a matter of great wonder, ofttimes He also grants that also which is not demanded of Him, if we, on our part, put no obstacle in the way.”  ~St. Jerome

The principal excellence of the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass consists in being essentially, and in the very highest degree, identical with that which was offered on the Cross of Calvary: with this sole difference that the sacrifice on the Cross was bloody, and made once for all, and did on that one occasion satisfy fully for all the sins of the world; while the sacrifice of the altar is an unbloody sacrifice, which can be repeated an infinite number of times, and was instituted in order to apply in detail that universal ransom which Jesus paid for us on Calvary.”   ~St. Leonard of Port Maurice

“O blessed Mass, by which we come to have the Son of God placed not within our arms but within our hearts, Nor is there a doubt but that with Him, and Him alone, we shall be able to satisfy the debt of gratitude which we have contracted with God.”   ~St. Leonard of Port Maurice

“If only an angel would stand at our side and render himself visible, when we are burning incense at the altar, when we are celebrating the sacrifice! For you may not doubt that angels are present, when Christ is there, when Christ is being sacrificed.”   ~St. Ambrose

“When you hear Mass, do you come in the same frame of mind as the Blessed Virgin at Calvary? Because it is the same God, and the same Sacrifice.”   ~St. John Vianney