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From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THE kingdom which the apostles are commissioned to establish upon earth is a reign of peace. Such was the promise pledged by heaven to earth, on that glorious night wherein Emmanuel was given to us. And on that other night which witnessed our Lord’s last farewell at the Supper, did not the Man-God base the New Testament upon the double legacy which he bequeathed to his Church, of his sacred Body and Blood, and of this peace announced of yore by Bethlehem’s angels?[1] A peace unknown till then here below; a peace all his own, because, as he said, it proceeds from him, but still is not himself; this gift substantial and divine is no other than the Holy Ghost in Person! Like to some sacred leaven, this peace has been spread amongst us during this time of Pentecost. Men and nations alike have felt the secret influence. Man, at strife with heaven and divided against himself, was indeed justly punished for his insubordination to God by the ascendancy of the senses in his revolted flesh; but he now sees harmony once again established in his own being, and his appeased God treating as a son the obstinate rebel of former days. The sons of the Most High are to form a new people, stretching their confines unto earth’s furthest bounds. Seated in the beauty of peace, to use the Prophet’s expression,[2] this blessed race shall see all nations flocking to its midst, and shall draw down, here below, the goodwill of heaven.

Whereas formerly nations were constantly at strife and wreaking vengeance in many a bloody combat that knew no end but the extermination of the vanquished, once baptized, they recognize each other as sisters, according to the filiation of the Father who is in heaven. Faithful subjects of the one pacific King, they yield themselves up to the Holy Ghost that he may soften their manners; and if war, the result of sin, must needs sometimes come, wofully reminding man of the consequences of the fall, this inevitable scourge will henceforth have at least some law besides that of might. The right of all nations, that Christian right which pagan antiquity rejected, the faith of treaties, the arbitration of the Vicar of Christ, supreme controller of the consciences of kings, these, and only these, can eliminate occasions of bloody discord. Thus there were to be ages in which the ‘peace of God,’ or the ‘truce of God,’ or a thousand such loving artifices of the common mother, would prevail to restrict the number of years and of days wherein the sword might be allowed to remain unsheathed against human life; were these limits outstepped, the transgressor's blade would be snapped in twain by the power of the spiritual sword, more dreaded, in those days, than warrior's steel. Such is the power of the Gospel that, even in these present days of universal decadence, the fiercest adversary respects a disarmed foe; so that after a battle victors and vanquished, meeting like brothers, lavish the same cares both corporal and spiritual on the wounded of either camp. Such is the persistent energy of the supernatural leaven which has been working progressive transformation in mankind for eighteen hundred years, and is even still acting upon those who would fain deny its power!

He whom we are honouring to-day is one of the most glorious instruments of this marvellous conduct of divine Providence. Heaven-born peace mingles her placid ray with the brilliant aureole that wreaths his brow. A noble son of Catholic Spain, he knew how to prepare the future glory of his country, as well as any mailed hero that laid Moor prostrate in the dust. Just as the eight hundred years' crusade that drove the crescent from Iberian soil was closing, and the several kingdoms of this magnanimous land were blending together under one sceptre, this lowly hermit of St Augustine was laying within hearts the foundation of that powerful unity which would inaugurate the glory of Spain's sixteenth century. When he first appeared, rivalries engendered too easily by a false point of honour in a nation armed to the teeth sullied the fair land of Spain with the blood of her sons, slain by Christian hands. As he now stands before us receiving the Church's homage, we behold discord at his feet, overthrown and vanquished by his defenceless hand.

Let us read his life as related in the liturgy.

Joannem, Sahaguni in Hispania nobili genere natum, parentes cum diu prole caruissent, piis operibus et orationibus a Deo impetrarunt. Ab ineunte ætate egregium futuræ sanctitatis specimen dedit: nam e loco superiore ad cæteros pueros crebro verba faciebat, quibus eos ad virtutem et Dei cultum hortabatur, eorumque dissidia componebat. In patria monachis sancti Facundi ordinis sancti Benedicti, primis litterarum rudimentis imbuendus traditur. Dum iis operam daret, curavit pater ut parochus ecclesiam administraret: quod munus juvenis nullis rationibus adduci potuit ut retineret. Inter familiares episcopi Burgensis adscriptus, ob spectatam ipsius probitatem intimus ei fuit, ab eoque presbyter et canonicus factus, multis benefìciis auctus est. Sed, relicta aula episcopi, ut Deo quietius serviret, omnibus ecclesiæ proventibus abdicatis, se cuidam sacello addixit, ubi Sacrum quotidie faciebat, ac de rebus divinis magna cum auditorum ædificatione frequenter concionabatur.

At Joannes, tum concionibus, tum privatis colloquiis civium animos demulcens, ad tranquillitatem urbem reduxit. Virum principem graviter offendit, quod illius in subditos sævitiam increpasset. Qua de causa equites duos inmisit, qui eum in itinere confoderent: jamque ad ipsum propinquaverant, cum, stupore divinitus immisso, simul cum equis immobilessteterunt, donec ad pedes sancti viri provoluti, sceleris veniam precarentur. Ipse quoque princeps, repentino terrore perculsus, jam de salute desperaverat, cum, revocato Joanne, facti pœnitens, incolumitati redditus est. Factiosi etiam homines, cum eum fustibus peterent, brachiis diriguere, nec ante redditæ vires quam delicti veniam precarentur. Christum Dominum, dum Sacrum faceret, præsentem contueri, atque ex ipso divinitatis fonte cœlestia mysteria haurire solitus. Abdita cordis inspicere, ac futura raro eventu præsagire frequens illi fuit, fratrisque filiam septennem mortuam excitavit. Denique, mortis die prænuntiato, et Ecclesiæ sacramentis devotissime susceptis, extremum diem clausit, multo ante et post obitum miraculis gloriosus. Quibus rite probatis, Alexander Octavus Sanctorum numero eum adscripsit.

Postea studiorum causa Salmanticam profectus, in celebre collegium divi Bartholomæi cooptatus, sacerdotis munus ita exercuit, ut simul optatis studiis incumberet, et in sacris etiam concionibus assidue versaretur. Cum vero in gravissimum morbum incidisset, arctioris disciplinæ voto se obstrinxit, quod ut redderet, cum prius cuidam pauperi pene nudo ex duabus, quas tantum habebat vestes, meliorem dedisset, ad cœnobium sancti Augustini severiori disciplina tum maxime florens se contulit: in quo admissus, obedientia, animi demissione, vigiliis ac oratione provectiores anteibat. Triclinii cura cum ipsi demandata esset, vini doliolum, ipso attingente, omnibus monachis per annum abunde suffecit. Exacto tyrocinii anno, præfecti jussu munus concionandi suscepit. Salmanticæ id temporis adeo cruentis factionibus divina humanaque omnia permixta erant, ut singulis propemodum horis cædes fierent, et omnium ordinum ac præsertim nobilium sanguine non viæ solum et fora, sed templa etiam redundarent.
John was born at Sahagun in Spain, of a noble race; his parents after long childlessness obtained him from God by prayers and good works. From his earliest years he gave clear signs of his future holiness of life: for he used to climb up upon a high place, to preach to the other little boys, and to exhort them to be good and to be attentive to the public service of God, and he made it his work to reconcile their quarrels. In his native place, he was given in charge to the monks of the Order of Saint Benedict of San Facundo to be taught the first elements of learning. While he was thus engaged, his father obtained for him the benefice of a parish, but no inducements could persuade him to keep this preferment. He became one of the household of the bishop of Burgos, and that prelate seeing his uprightness took him into his counsels, ordained him priest, and made him a canon, heaping many benefices upon him. However, that he might serve God the more quietly, he left the bishop’s palace, resigned all his Church income, and betook himself to a certain chapel where he celebrated the holy Mass every day, and oftentimes preached concerning the things of God with great profit to all that heard him.

He went later on to Salamanca to study, and there being taken into the celebrated college of St Bartholomew, performed his priestly office in such sort, that he was at once constant to study, the present object of his desire, and assiduous in the duty of preaching. Here he had a severe illness, and vowed to embrace a sterner way of living; in fulfilment of which vow, having given to a half-naked beggar the better of the only two garments he possessed, he withdrew to a monastery of Saint Augustine then flourishing in full observance of severe discipline. Being admitted therein, he surpassed the most advanced in obedience, in lowliness of mind, in vigils, and in prayer. The care of the refectory being confided to him, one barrel of wine, handled by him, abundantly sufficed the whole community for an entire year. After his year of noviceship, he undertook once more, by obedience, the duty of preaching. At that time, owing to bloody feuds, all things human and divine at Salamanca were in such utter confusion, that murders were committed almost every hour, and not only the streets and squares, but even the very churches flowed with the blood of all classes, especially of the nobility.

It was John who, by public preaching and private conversations, softened the hearts of the citizens, so that the town was restored to peace. One of the nobles, whom he had grievously offended by rebuking him for his cruelty towards his vassals, sent two knights to murder him on the road. They had already come nigh to him, when God struck them with such terror, that they were rendered immovable, and their horses likewise; until at length prostrating themselves before the feet of the saint, they implored his forgiveness for their crime. The said lord, likewise smitten with a sudden dread, despaired of his salvation, till he had sent for John, who, finding him repentant of his deed, restored him to health. Some factious men also, who assailed him with clubs, found their arms stiffen, nor would their strength return till they had asked his pardon for their wickedness. While celebrating Mass, he was wont to behold the Lord Jesus Christ then present, and to quaff from the fountain-head of the Divinity heavenly mysteries. Oftentimes also he could see into the secrets of men’s hearts, and foretell things to come, that were quite unlooked for. He raised from the dead his brother’s daughter, a child seven years old. He foretold the day of his death; and having prepared himself, by receiving most devoutly the Sacraments of the Church, he passed away. He was glorified by miracles both before and after his death. These being duly proved, Alexander VIII numbered him among the saints.

O blessed Saint, well hast thou earned the privilege of appearing in the heavens of holy Church during these weeks that are radiant with the light of Pentecost. Long ago did Isaias thus portray the loveliness of earth, on the morrow of the coming down of the Paraclete: ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bring good tidings, and that preach peace: of them that preach salvation; that say to Sion: Thy God shall reign!’[3] What the prophet thus admired was the sight of the apostles taking possession of the word, in God's name. But in what did thine own mission differ from theirs thus enthusiastically pictured by the inspired pencil? The same Holy Ghost animated thy ways and theirs; the same pacific King beheld his sceptre by thy hand made yet more steadfast in its sway over a noble nation of his vast empire. Peace, the one object of all thy labours here below, is now thine eternal recompense in heaven, where thou reignest with him. Thou dost now experience the truth of thy Master's word, when he said of such as resemble thee by working to establish peace at least within the territory of their own hearts: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God!’[4] Yea, rest then, dear Saint, in thy Father's inheritance, into which thou hast entered; rest in the beatific repose of the Holy Trinity that inundates thy soul, and may we here, afar off on this chilly earth below, feel something of that genial peacefulness!

Vouchsafe to lavish upon thine own land of Spain the same succour which in thy lifetime was so precious to her. No longer does she hold that pre-eminence in Christendom which became hers just after thy glorious death. Would that thou couldst now persuade her that never can her greatness be recovered by lending an ear to the deceptive whisperings of false liberty! But that which could in bygone days render her so strong and powerful can do so again if she draw down upon her the benedictions of him by whom alone kings reign.[5] Devotedness to Christ, that was her glory; devotedness to truth, that was her treasure! Revealed truth is alone that whereby men enter into true liberty: Truth will make you free.[6] Truth alone is able to bind in unity indissoluble the many minds and wills that make up a nation; powerful is that bond, for it secures strength to a country beyond her frontiers and peace to her within. Apostle of peace, remind thine own people, and teach the same to all, that absolute fidelity to the Church's doctrines is the sole ground whereon Christians may seek and find concord.


[1] St John xiv 27.
[2] Is. xxxii 18.
[3] Is. lii 7.
[4] St Matt v. 9.
[5] Prov. viii 15.
[6] St John viii 32.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The fragrance of Christmas is suddenly wafted around us, while we are in the midst of Pentecost! Leo III, as he speeds his flight from earth, sheds upon us the perfumed memory of that day, whereon the Infant God was pleased to manifest, by his means, the plenitude of His principality over all nations. Christmas Day of the year 800 witnessed the proclamation of the Holy Empire. The obscurity and poverty which had, eight centuries previously, ushered in the Birth of the Son of God, had for its object the drawing of men’s hearts; but this feebleness, so full of tenderness and condescension, was far from expressing the fullness of the mystery of the Word made Flesh. The Church tells us so, every year, as this blessed night of love comes round: ‘A Child is bom to us, and upon His shoulder is the sign of principality; His name shall be called the Wonderful, the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace.’[1] Peace, this day, once more shines upon the cycle: the peace of Christ, indisputably Victor and King! More even in one respect than our St. John of to-day, does Leo III deserve the united gratitude of the faithful. Here he stands like a new Sylvester, in presence of a new Constantine; by him alone is the complete victory of the Word Incarnate absolutely revealed.

Christ had successively triumphed over the false gods, over Byzantine Caesarism, and over barbarian hordes. A new society had sprung up, governed by princes who confessed that they held their crowns of the Man-God alone. To the old Roman empire founded on might, to Cæsarism, crushing the world with the iron teeth of its domination,[2] rather than binding it together, was to succeed that confederation of baptized nations, which was to be called Christendom. But whence the unity needed for so vast a body? Who the chief amongst such a multitude of princes equal in birth and in rights? On what basis can the primacy of such a chieftain stand? Who may summon him? who point out the chosen of the Lord and anoint him with so potent an anointing, that his right to the first place in the councils of kings shall be undisputed by the strongest amongst them? The Holy Ghost, brooding over the chaos of peoples, as in the beginning over the dark waters,[3] had long been elaborating this new creation, which must declare the glory of our Emmanuel:[4] the new empire thus prepared would, as it were of itself, spring forth unto light, out of circumstances preordained strongly and sweetly,[5] by eternal Wisdom.

Up to this period, the uncontested primacy of the spiritual power had stood majestic and alone, amidst Christian kingdoms. Though weakest of them all, ever did Peter’s successor behold earth prostrate at his feet; the city of the Cæsars had become his; Rome, by his voice, commanded all nations. Nevertheless, his authority, unarmed and defenceless, would have need at times to repel such assaults of violence as had already more than once imperilled the sacred patrimony which secured the independence of Christ’s Vicar. For the spiritual power, when once able to appear in sublime magnificence, became itself the object of sacrilegious ambition, the coveted prey of blackest perfidy. Leo III himself had lately experienced this in his own sacred person. A powerful lord, in conjunction with certain unworthy clerics, banded together by one common greed for gain, had beguiled the Pontiff into an ambush; his body had been mutilated, his eyes and tongue tom out, and his life preserved only by miracle; more wondrous still, his sight and speech had been afterwards restored by divine intervention. All Rome, witnessing this prodigy, was loud in heartfelt thanksgiving. God had indeed delivered His anointed; but the assassins had remained, nevertheless, masters of the city until the victorious troops of the Frankish king brought back the illustrious victim and reinstated him in his palace. Still this noble triumph was of itself no guarantee against future peril; for it had been preceded by other such victories, likewise due to the ever ready arm of the eldest daughter of the Roman Church. When her protecting sword was again withdrawn, leaving the work of restoration scarcely accomplished, new plots within or outside of Rome would soon be again set in motion for the usurpation of either the spiritual or temporal power of the Papacy. From the coast of the Bosphorus, too, the depraved successors of Constantine only applauded such intrigues, even keeping conspirators and traitors in secret pay.

Such a state of things could no longer continue. The sovereign Pontiff must necessarily look around, to find some security less precarious for the great interests confided to his keeping; the peace of the whole Christian world, the peace of souls as well as of nations, demanded that the highest authority upon earth should not be left at the mercy of ceaseless cabals. It was by no means sufficient that, at the hour of peril, the Vicar of Jesus Christ should be able to depend upon the fidelity of one nation, or of one prince. Some permanent institution was needed, not only to repair, but to ward off, every blow aimed by violence or by perfidy against Rome. Christian society was, by this time, advanced enough to furnish materials for the carrying out of such a noble conception. Already indeed, Pepin le Bref, by abandoning his Italian conquests into the hands of the apostolic See, had unreservedly constituted the temporal sovereignty of the Roman Pontiffs. But, though the use of the sword in self defence belongs to the Popes by right, just as much as to any king in his own states, yet, even when absolutely unable to act otherwise, personal use of armed force must ever be distasteful to the successor of him whom the Man-God appointed, here below, as the Vicar of His love.[6] On the other hand, he well knows that he must maintain those sacred rights for which he has to answer to both God and man. Monarch as he is, Peter’s successor would be at liberty to choose from amongst the kings of the west (all of whom gloried in being his sons) one prince to whom he might confide the office of protector and defender of holy Church. Head as he is of the whole spiritual army of the elect, porter of heaven’s gates, depositary of grace and of infallible truth, he could invite the said prince to the honour of his alliance. Sublime indeed would such an alliance be, the legitimacy whereof bears the palm over that of all treaties ever concluded between potentates. Such an alliance, inasmuch as it is intended to guarantee the rights of the King of kings in the person of His representative, would entail certain obligations, it is true, on the recipient; but, at the same time, it would single him out to lofty privileges. Intrinsically vain and powerless are nobility of race, vastness of territory, glory of arms, and brilliancy of genius, to exalt a prince above his peers; such a greatness merely springs from earth, and outstrips not man’s limits. But the ally of Pontiffs would possess a dignity touching upon the heavenly; for such are the sacred interests whereof he would assume the filial guardianship. Without in the least encroaching on the domain of other kings, his compeers in other respects, or derogating from their independence, he must hold it his right, as accredited protector of his mother the Church, to carry the sword whithersoever the spiritual authority is aggrieved or requires his concurrence, in the accomplishment of the divine mission of teaching and saving souls. In this sense, his power must be universal, because the mission of holy Church is universal. So real this power, so distinct from every other, that to express it a new diadem must needs be added to the regal crown already his by inheritance; and a fresh anointing, different from the usual royal unction, must manifest in his person superiority over all other kings, chieftainship of the Holy Empire, of the Roman empire renewed, ennobled, and limitless as the earthly dominion assigned to Jesus Christ by the eternal Father.

Verily this magnificent conception unveils before us the boundless empire of the Word Incarnate, in all its wondrous plenitude! He alone possesses fully, by right of birth, by right of conquest, the universality of nations;[7] He alone can delegate, for and by His Church, such power to kings. Who then may tell the splendour of that Christmas festival, whereon Charlemagne the greatest of princes, prostrate before the Infant God, beheld his anterior glories eclipsed by the pomp of that unexpected title, whereby he was officially appointed lieutenant of the divine Child couched in the humble crib! Beside the tomb of the first of Popes, of him that was crucified by the orders of a Caesar, Leo III, in the plenitude of his sole authority, reconstituted the empire; in Peter’s name, on Peter’s tomb, he linked once more the broken chain of the Caesars. Henceforth, before the eyes of all nations, the Pope and the emperor (to use the language of the papal bulls) will appear as two luminaries directing earth’s movements; the Pope, as the faithful image of the Sun of justice; the emperor, as deriving his light from the radiance cast on him by the supreme Pontiff.

Too often, indeed, will parricides stand up in revolt, and turn against the Church the sword that should be brandished only in her defence. But even these will serve only to demonstrate more clearly that the Papacy is verily the one source of empire. True, the day may come when German tyrants, rejected as unworthy by the Roman Pontiffs, will lay violent hands on the eternal city, creating antipopes, with a view to the aggrandizement of their own power. But by the very fact of carrying their insolence so far as to get themselves crowned champions of St. Peter by these pseudo-vicars of Christ, on the very tomb of the prince of the apostles, they will prove that society in those days could acknowledge no title to greatness, save such as either came, or seemed to come, from the apostolic See. The abuses and crimes, everywhere to be met with on history’s page, must not allow us Christians to forget that the value of an epoch or of an institution must, as regards God and His Church, be measured only by the progress derived thence by truth. Even though the Church suffer from the violence of rightful or of intruded emperors, she nevertheless rejoices much to see her Spouse glorified by the faith of nations, still recognizing how, through Christ, all power resides in her alone. Children of the Church, let us judge of the Holy Empire, as the Church, our mother, judges of it: it was the highest expression ever given to the influence and power of the Popes. To this glorification of Christ in His Vicar did Christendom owe its thousand years of existence.

Space fails us, or gladly would we here describe in detail the gorgeous liturgical function used during the middle-ages, in the ordination of an emperor. The Ordo Romanus, wherein these rites are handed down to us, is full of the richest teachings clearly revealing the whole thought of the Church. The future lieutenant of Christ, kissing the feet of the Vicar of the Man-God, first made his profession in due form: he ‘guaranteed, promised, and swore fidelity to God and blessed Peter pledging himself on the holy Gospels, for the rest of his life to protect and defend, according to his skill and ability, without fraud or ill intent, the Roman Church and her ruler in all necessities or interests affecting the same.’ Then followed the solemn examination of the faith and morals of the elect, almost word for word the same as that marked in the Pontifical at the consecration of a bishop. Not until the Church had thus taken sureties regarding him who was to become in her eyes, as it were, an extern bishop, was she content to proceed to the imperial ordination. While the apostolic suzerain, the Pope, was being vested in pontifical attire for the celebration of the sacred Mysteries, two cardinals clad the emperor elect in amice and alb; then they presented him to the Pontiff, who made him a clerk, and conceded to him, for the ceremony of his coronation, the use of the tunic, dalmatic, and cope, together with the pontifical shoes and the mitre. The anointing of the prince was reserved to the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, the official consecrator of popes and emperors. But the Vicar of Jesus Christ himself gave to the new emperor the infrangible seal of his faith, namely the ring; the sword, representing that of the Lord of armies, the most potent One, chanted in the Psalm;[8] the globe and sceptre, images of the universal empire and of the inflexible justice of the King of kings; lastly, the crown, a sign of the glory reserved in endless ages as a reward for his fidelity, by this same Lord Jesus Christ, whose figure he had just been made. The giving of these august symbols took place during the holy Sacrifice. At the Offertory, the emperor laid aside the cope and the ensigns of his new dignity; then, clad simply in the dalmatic, he approached the altar and there fulfilled, at the Pontiff’s side, the office of subdeacon, the servitor, as it were, of holy Church and the official representative of the Christian people. Later on, even the stole was given him: as recently as 1530, Charles V on the day of his coronation, assisted Clement VII in quality of deacon, presenting to the Pope the paten and the Host, and offering the chalice together with him.

The Christmas day of the year 800, witnessed not indeed the display of all this sacred pageantry; for these splendid rites reached full development only in course of centuries. Up to the last moment, Leo III had kept wholly secret the grand project conceived in his heart. But none the less solemn was this marvellous historic fact, when Rome, at the sight of the golden crown placed by the Pontiff’s hand on the row of the new Caesar, re-echoed the cry: To Charles, the most pious, the ever august, the monarch crowned by God, to the great and pacific emperor of the Romans, life and victory!’ This creation of an empire by the sole power and will of the supreme Pontiff, on such a day, and for the sole service of the interests of our Emmanuel, verily puts the finishing stroke to that which the birth of the Son of God was meant to achieve. As year by year this august Christmas festival returns, let us remember Leo the Third’s work,[9] and so enter more and more fully into the touching antiphons of that day: The King of peace, whom the whole earth desireth to see, hath shown His greatness. He is magnified above all the kings of the earth.’

The account of this holy Pope’s life we here borrow from the ‘Proper of the city of Rome.’

Leo hujus nominis tertius, Romanus ex patre Assuppio, a pueritia in Vestiario Patriarchii Lateranensis, in omnem ecclesiasticam ac divinam disciplinam educatus, ex monacho sancti Benedicti presbyter cardinalis, ac demum Pontifex maximus, incredibili omnium consensione, ipso die obitus Adriani creatus est, anno septingentesimo nonagesimo quinto seditque in sancta Petri sede annos viginti, menses quinque, dies decem et septem.

Talem se in pontificatu exhibuit, qualem se ante assumptionem præbuerat; piissimum scilicet, mitissimum, singulari in Deum religione, erga proximum charitate, prudentia in rebus gerendis, pauperum ægrorumque parentem, Ecclesiæ defensorem, divini cultus promotorem,utpote qui maxima quæque pro Christo et Ecclesia sedulo præstitit et patienter toleravit.

Cum ab impiis, erutis oculis et confossus vulneribus, semivivus relictus fuisset, postridie per insigne miraculum, sanus inventus est, iisdemque parricidis vitam suis precibus obtinuit. Carolo magno Francorum regi Romanum imperium detulit. Peregrinis amplissimum xenodochium exstruxit; patrimonium, aliosque fundos pauperibus adscripsit. Basilicas Urbis, præsertim Lateranensem (in cujus Patriarchio triclinium magnum super omnia triclinia fundavit), et sacras ædes, tot ac tantis divitiis cumulavit, ut fidem omnem superare videatur. Vitam demum religiosissimam pio fine coronavit, pridie idus Junii anno Domini octingentesimo decimo sexto, et sepultus est in Vaticano.

Leo, the third of that name, was a Roman bom, having Asuppius for his father. He was brought up from infancy in the dependencies of the patriarchal Church of Lateran, and formed to all divine and ecclesiastical sciences. Becoming a monk of St. Benedict, then Cardinal Priest, he was at last, with common consent, created sovereign Pontiff, on the very day of the death of Adrian, in the year seven hundred and ninety-five. He occupied the venerable chair of St. Peter twenty years, five months, and seventeen days.

He was in the pontifical state, just what he was before his elevation, full of benignity and of sweetness, singularly devoted to God’s holy worship, charitable to his neighbour, prudent in affairs. He was the father of the poor and of the sick, the defender of the Church, the promoter of divine worship. His zeal undertook the greatest things for Jesus Christ and the Church, patiently bearing all trials for their cause.

Being left half dead by certain impious men, his eyes plucked out and himself all covered with wounds, he was found by a remarkable miracle, perfectly cured, the next day; by his intervention the life of these parricides was spared. He conferred the Roman empire upon Charlemagne king of the Franks. He built a large hospital for pilgrims, and consecrated all his patrimony and other goods to the benefit of the poor. It is hardly credible to what a degree he lavished precious riches on the basilicas of Rome, especially that of Lateran, in the palace of which he built the celebrated triclinium that surpasses all others. At last he crowned his most holy life with a most pious death, on the day preceding the Ides of June, in the year of our Lord, eight hundred and sixteen; he was buried in the Vatican.

Commissioned by the Lion of Juda to complete His own victory, thou, O Leo, didst constitute His kingdom, and proclaim His empire. Apostles had preached, martyrs had shed their blood, confessors had toiled and suffered, to win that great day whereon thou didst crown the labour of eight centuries; by thee, the Man-God could then rule supreme over the social edifice, not only as Pontiff in the person of His vicar, but as Lord-paramount and King in the person of His lieutenant, the armed defender of holy Church, the civil head of all Christendom. Thy work lasted as long as the eternal Father permitted the glory of His Son to shine in full splendour over the world. After a thousand years, when the divine light be came too strong for their weakened and diseased eyes, men turned away from holy Church and renounced her mighty works. They replaced God by self; the power of Christ, by the sovereignty of the people; institutions sprung from centuries of toil, by the instability of ephemeral chartas; bygone union, by the isolation of nationalities; and within each of these, anarchy. In this dark age, every utopia of man’s wild brain is called light, and every step towards nonentity is called progress! Thus the Holy Empire is no more; like Christendom itself, it can henceforth be but a name in history: and history too must soon cease to be, for the world is verging on the final term of its destinies.

Great for ever shall thy glory be, in endless ages, O thou by whom eternal Wisdom hath manifested the grandeur of His wondrous ways. A docile instrument in the hand of the Holy Ghost for the glorification of our Emmanuel, thy firmness was equalled only by thy gentleness; and this humble sweetness of thine attracted the eyes of the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth.[10]Praying like Him, under the stroke of treason, for thy murderers, thou hadst to pass through thy day of humiliation, through a day of crushing anguish and of death-agony; but therefore was it given thee to distribute the spoils of the strong;[11] and then, for centuries, the will of the Lord to be prosperous in thy hand,[12] according to the plan which thou didst trace.

Even in these unhappy times, so unworthy of thee, vouchsafe to bless our earth. Strengthen those whom universal apostasy has as yet left unshaken. Make them by faith cling loyally to Christ; hold them ever aloof from liberalism, that fatal error whereby, men would fain remain Christians whilst actually refusing to acknowledge Christ’s kingship over all creation. What an insult to the eternal Father is such a wild notion as this; what a misconception of the mystery of the Incarnation! O holy Pontiff, make it to be clearly understood that safety is not to be sought at the hands of lying compromise with rebels; that the time is nigh, when God’s kingdom will assert itself, when the upheaving of nations against the Lord and against His Christ will be mocked by Him who dwelleth in the heavens.[13] On that day, none may contest the origin of all power. On that day of wrathful vengeance, happy he who hath kept the oath of allegiance sworn to his King in Baptism![14] Like the prophet of Patmos, the faithful will easily recognize that King, when the heavens opening out a way before His feet, He shall come to crush the nations; for all the crowns of the whole earth shall rest upon His head, and He shall bear written upon the vesture of His human Nature: King of kings and Lord of lords.[15]


[1] The Office of Matins, Christmas day.
[2] Dan. ii. 40.
[3] Gen. i. 2; Apoc. xvii. 15.
[4] Ps. xviii. 2.
[5] Wisd. viii. 1.
[6] Ambr. in Luc. x.
[7] Ps. ii. 8.
[8] Ps. xliv. 4.
[9] See ‘Christmas’ Vol. I. where mention is made of this historic event in its proper place.
[10] Is. xvi. 1.
[11] Ibid. liii. 12.
[12] Ibid. 10.
[13] Ps. ii.
[14] Ibid. lxii. 12.
[15] Apox. xix

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

BESIDE John of Sahagun, the apostle of peace, are grouped four warriors of our Lord's army. Thus peace and war go this day hand in hand, and form but one in the kingdom of the Son of God. The threefold peace preached by Christ—namely, man’s peace with his God, with himself, and with his brethren and fellowcitizens in the holy city—is to be won only at the cost of combat with Satan, the flesh, and the world, which is the ‘accursed city.’ Together with the Church, let us blend in one united homage our praises of the glorious confessor of these later ages, and of the stern veterans of persecuting times.

Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor et Nazarius, romani milites, nobiles genere et virtute illustres, Christiana religione suscepta, cum Christum Dei Filium, Diocletiano imperatore, prædicarent, ab Aurelio præfecto Urbis comprehensi, et ut diis sacra facerent admoniti, ejus jussa contemnentes, missi sunt in carcerem. Quibus orantibus, cum subito clarissima lux oborta omnium oculis qui ibidem essent carcerem collustrasset, illo cœlesti splendore commotus Marcellus custodiæ præpositus, multique alii Christo Domino crediderunt. Verum postea e carcere emissi, ab imperatore Maximiano, cum, ejus etiam neglecto imperio, unum Christum Deum et Dominum in ore haberent, scorpionibus cruciati iterum conjiciuntur in vincula: unde septimo die educti, et ante pedes imperatoris constituti, perstiterunt in irrisione inanium deorum, Jesum Christum Deum constantissime confitentes. Quamobrem damnati, securi feriuntur. Quorum corpora feris objecta, nec ab illis tacta, a christianis honorifìce sepulta sunt.
Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius were Roman soldiers of illustrious birth and valour. Having embraced the Christian religion, and being found publishing that Christ is the Son of God, they were arrested by Aurelius, prefect of Rome, under Diocletian. As they despised his orders to sacrifice to the gods, they were committed to prison. While they were at prayer there, a brilliant light broke forth before the eyes of all present and shone in all the prison. Marcellus, the gaoler, and many others were moved by this heavenly glory to believe in the Lord Christ. Having gone forth from the prison, they were afterwards thrown in again, by the emperor Maximian, who caused them, first of all, to be beaten with scorpions, for having, despite his orders, continued to have ever in their mouth that there is but one Christ, one God, one Lord, and so they were laden with chains. Thence, on the seventh day, they were brought out, and set before the emperor, and there still persisting in mocking at the vain idols, and declaring Jesus Christ to be God, they were condemned to death and beheaded. Their bodies were given to wild beasts to be devoured, but as these refused to touch them, the Christians took them and buried them honourably.

From you we learn, O soldiers of Jesus Christ, the nature of that peace which he came to bring upon earth to men of goodwill. Its reward is no other than God himself, who, by it and together with it, communicates himself to such as are worthy. Its invigorating sweetness overpowers every sensitive feeling, even that of tortures such as Christians, after your example, must be ready to undergo in order to preserve intact this priceless treasure. Amidst torments and beneath the deathstroke, this peace upheld you, keeping your mind and heart free, fixed on heaven alone:[1] this same peace now forms for ever your eternal beatitude, in the presence of the undivided Trinity. Whatsoever be the varied condition of our life here below, lead us, O holy martyrs, by the path of this perfect peace, fraught as it necessarily is with valour and love, unto the repose of endless bliss.


[1] Phil. iv 7.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

REJOICE thee, happy Padua, rich in thy priceless treasure![1] Anthony, in bequeathing thee his body, has done more for thy glory than the heroes who founded thee on so favoured a site, or the doctors who have illustrated thy famous university!

The days of Charlemagne were past and gone: yet the work of Leo III still lived on, despite a thousand difficulties. The enemy, now at large, had sown cockle in the field of the divine householder; heresy was springing up here and there, whilst vice was growing apace in every direction. In many an heroic combat, the Popes, aided by the monastic Order, had succeeded in casting disorder out of the sanctuary itself: still the people, too long scandalized by venal pastors, were fast slipping away from the Church. Who could rally them once more? Who wrest from Satan a reconquest of the world? At this trying moment the Spirit of Pentecost, ever living, ever present in holy Church, raised up the sons of St Dominic and of St Francis. The brave soldiers of this new militia, organized to meet fresh necessities, threw themselves into the field, pursuing heresy into its most secret lurking-holes, and thundering against vice in every shape and wheresoever found. In town or in country, they were everywhere to be seen confounding false teachers by the strong argument of miracle as well as of doctrine; mixing with the people, whom the sight of their heroic detachment easily won over to repentance. Crowds flocked to be enrolled in the Third Orders instituted by these two holy founders, to afford a secure refuge for the Christian life in the midst of the world.

The best known and most popular of all the sons of St Francis is Anthony, whom we are celebrating this day. His life was short; at the age of thirty-five he took his flight to heaven. But a span so limited allowed, nevertheless, of a considerable portion of time being directed by our Lord to preparing this chosen servant for his destined ministry. The all-important thing in God's esteem, where there is question of fitting apostolic men to become instruments of salvation to a greater number of souls, is not the length of time which they may devote to exterior works, but rather the degree of personal sanctification attained by them, and the thoroughness of their self-abandonment to the ways of divine Providence. As to Antony, it may almost be said that, up to the last day of his life, eternal Wisdom seemed to take pleasure in disconcerting all his thoughts and plans. Out of his twenty years of religious life, he passed ten amongst the Canons Regular, whither the divine call had invited him at the age of fifteen, in the full bloom of his innocence; and there, wholly captivated by the splendour of the liturgy, occupied in the sweet study of the Holy Scriptures and of the fathers, blissfully lost in the silence of the cloister, his seraphic soul was ever being wafted to sublime heights, where (so it seemed) he was always to remain, held and hidden in the secret of God's face. Suddenly, behold! the divine Spirit urges him to seek the martyr's crown: and presently he is seen emerging from his beloved monastery, and following the Friars Minor to distant shores, where already some of their number had won the glorious palm. Not this, however, but the martyrdom of love, was to be his. Falling sick and reduced to impotence before his zeal could effect anything on the African soil, he was recalled by obedience to Spain, but was cast by a tempest on the Italian coast.

It happened that St Francis was just then convoking his entire family, for the third time, in general chapter. Anthony, unknown, lost in this vast assembly, beheld at its close each of the friars in turn receive his appointed destination, whereas to him not a thought was given. What a sight! The scion of the illustrious family de Bouillon and of the kings of the Asturias completely overlooked in the throng of holy poverty’s sons! At the moment of departure the Father Minister of the Bologna province, remarking the isolated condition of the young religious whom no one had received in charge, admitted him, out of charity, into his company. Accordingly, having reached the hermitage of Monte Paolo, Anthony was deputed to help in the kitchen and in sweeping the house, being supposed quite unfitted for anything else. Meanwhile, the Augustinian Canons, on the contrary, were bitterly lamenting the loss of one whose remarkable learning and sanctity, far more even than his nobility, had, up to this, been the glory of their Order.

The hour at last came, chosen by Providence, to manifest Anthony to the world; and immediately, as was said of Christ himself, the whole world went after him.[2] Around the pulpits where this humble friar preached there were wrought endless prodigies in the order of nature and of grace. At Rome he earned the surname of ‘ark of the covenant'; in France, that of 'hammer of heretics.' It would be impossible for us here to follow him throughout his luminous course; suffice it to say that France, as well as Italy, owes much to his zealous ministry.

St Francis had yearned to be himself the bearer of the gospel of peace throughout the fair realm of France, then sorely ravaged by heresy; but in his stead, he sent thither Anthony, his well-beloved son, and, as it were, his living portrait. What St Dominic had been in the first crusade against the Albigenses, Anthony was in the second. At Toulouse was wrought that wondrous miracle of the famished mule turning aside from the proffered grain in order to prostrate in homage before the sacred Host. From the province of Berry, his burning word was heard thundering in various distant provinces; whilst heaven lavished delicious favours on his soul, ever childlike amidst the marvellous victories achieved by him, and the intoxicating applause of an admiring crowd. Under the very eyes of his host, at a lonely house in Limousin, the Infant Jesus came to him radiant in beauty; and throwing himself into his arms, covered him with sweetest caresses, pressing the humble friar to lavish the like on him. One feast of the Assumption Anthony was sad, because a phrase then to be found in the Office seemed to throw a shade of discredit on the fact of Mary’s body being assumed into heaven together with her soul. Presently, the Mother of God herself came to console her devoted servant, in his lowly cell, assuring him of the truth of the doctrine of her glorious Assumption; and so left him, ravished with the sweet charms of her countenance and the melodious sound of her voice. Suddenly, as he was preaching at Montpellier, in a church of that city thronged with people, Anthony remembered that he had been appointed to chant the Alleluia at the conventual Mass in his own convent, and he had quite forgotten to get his place supplied. Deeply pained at this involuntary omission, he bent his head upon his breast: whilst standing thus motionless and silent in the pulpit, as though asleep, his brethren saw him enter their choir, sing his verse, and depart; at once his audience beheld him recover his animation, and continue his sermon with the same eloquence as before. In this same town of Montpellier another well-known incident occurred. When engaged in teaching a course of theology to his brethren, his commentary on the Psalms disappeared; but the thief was presently constrained, even by the fiend himself, to bring back the volume, the loss whereof had caused our saint so much regret. Such is commonly thought to be the origin of the popular devotion, whereby a special power of recovering lost things is ascribed to St Anthony. However this may be, it is certain that, from the very outset, this devotion rests on the testimony of startling miracles of this kind; and in our own day constantly repeated favours of a similar nature still confirm the same.

The following is the abridgement of this beautiful life, as given in the liturgy.

Antonius, Ulyssipone in Lusitania honestis ortus parentibus, et ab iis pie educatus, adolescens institutum Canonicorum Regularium suscepit. Sed cum corpora beatorum quinque martyrum Fratrum Minorum Conimbriam transferrentur, qui paulo ante apud Marrochium pro Christi fide passi erant, martyrii desiderio incensus, ad Franciscanum Ordinem transivit. Mox eodem ardore impulsus, ad Saracenos ire perrexit: sed, adversa valetudine afflictus, et redire coactus, cum navis ad Hispaniæ littora tenderet, ventorum vi in Siciliam delatus est.

Assisium e Sicilia ad capitulum generale venit: inde in eremum montis Pauli in Æmilia secessit, ubi divinis contemplationibus, jejuniis et vigiliis diu vacavit. Postea sacris Ordinibus initiatus et ad prædicandum Evangelium missus, dicendi sapientia et copia tantum profecit, tantamque sui admirationem commovit, ut eum summus Pontifex, aliquando concionantem audiens, arcum testamenti appellarit. In primis vero hæreses summa vi profligavit, ideoque perpetuus hæreticorum malleus est vocatus.

Primus ex suo Ordine, ob doctrinæ præstantiam, Bononiæ et alibisacras litteras est interpretatus. Fratrumque suorum studiis præfuit. Multis vero peragratis provinciis, anno ante obitum Patavium venit, ubi illustria sanctitatis suae monumenta reliquit. Denique, magnis laboribus pro gloria Dei perfunctus, meritis et miraculis clarus, obdormivit in Domino Idibus Junii, anno salutis millesimo ducentesimo trigesimo primo. Quem Gregorius Nonus Pontifex Maximus sanctorum confessorum numero adscripsit.
Anthony was born at Lisbon, in Portugal, of noble parents, who brought him up in the love of God. While he was still a youth, he joined the institute of the Canons Regular. But when the bodies of the five holy martyred Friars Minor, who had just suffered in Morocco for Christ’s sake, were brought to Coimbra, the desire to be himself a martyr enkindled his soul, and he therefore passed over to the Franciscan Order. Presently, still urged by the same yearning, he had wellnigh reached the land of the Saracens, when, falling sick on the road, he was enforced to turn back; but the ship, bound for Spain, was drifted towards Sicily.

From Sicily he came to Assisi, to attend the General Chapter of his Order, and thence withdrew himself to the Hermitage of Monte Paolo near Bologna, where he gave himself up for a long while to contemplation of the things of God, to fastings and to watchings. Being afterwards ordained priest and sent to preach the Gospel, his wisdom and eloquence drew on him such marked admiration of men, that the Sovereign Pontiff once, on hearing him preach, called him the ark of the covenant. Chiefly against heresies did he put forth the whole force of his vigour, whence he gained the name of perpetual hammer of heretics.

He was the first of his Order who, on account of his excellent gift of teaching, publicly lectured at Bologna on the interpretation of Holy Scripture, and directed the studies of his brethren. Then, having travelled through many provinces, he came, one year before his death, to Padua, where he left some remarkable monuments of the sanctity of his life. At length, having undergone much toil for the glory of God, full of merits and conspicuous for miracles, he fell asleep in the Lord upon the Ides of June in the year of salvation one thousand two hundred and thirtyone. The Sovereign Pontiff Gregory IX enrolled his name among those of holy confessors.

Want of space obliges us to be very meagre in the number we give of liturgical pieces; but we cannot omit here the miraculous Responsory, as it is called, the composition whereof is attributed to St Bonaventure. It continues still to justify its name, in favour of those who recite it in the hour of need. In the Franciscan breviary it is the eighth responsory of the office of St Antony of Padua. At a very early date, this, together with the nine Tuesdays in our Saint's honour, became a very popular devotion and was fraught with immense fruits of grace.

The Miraculous Responsory

Si quæris miracula, Mors, error, calamitas, Daemon, lepra fugiunt, Ægri surgunt sani.
* Cedunt mare, vincula; Membra, resque perditas Petunt et accipunt Juvenes et cani.
℣. Pereunt pericula, Cessat et necessitas; Narrent hi qui sentiunt, Dicant Paduani.
* Cedunt mare. Gloria Patri.
* Cedunt mare.

℣. Ora pro nobis, beate Antoni.
℟. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus.

Ecclesiam tuam, Deus, beati Antonii confessoris tui commemoratio votiva lætificet: ut spiritualibus semper muniatur auxiliis, et gaudiis perfrui mereatur æternis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.
If ye seek miracles, lo! death, error, calamities, the demon and the leprosy, flee all away; the sick also arise healed.
* Sea and chains give way; young and old alike ask and receive again the use of members, as well as things lost.
℣. Dangers vanish; necessity ceases; let those who have experienced such things relate these facts; let the Paduans repeat:
* Sea, &c. Glory, &c.
* Sea, &c.

℣. Pray for us, O blessed Anthony.
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray.

May the votive solemnity of blessed Anthony, thy Confessor, give joy to thy Church, O God; that it may be ever defended by spiritual assistance, and deserve to possess eternal joys. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

O glorious Anthony, the simplicity of thine innocent soul made thee a docile instrument in the hand of the Spirit of love. The Seraphic Doctor, St Bonaventure, hymning thy praises, takes for his first theme thy childlike spirit, and for his second thy wisdom which flowed therefrom. Wise indeed wast thou, O Anthony, for, from thy tenderest years, thou wast in earnest pursuit of divine Wisdom; and wishing to have her alone for thy portion, thou didst hasten to shelter thy love in some cloister, to hide thee in the secret of God’s face, the better to enjoy her chaste delights. Silence and obscurity in her sweet company was thine heart's one ambition; and even here below her hands were pleased to adorn thee with incomparable splendour. She walked before thee; and blithely didst thou follow, for her own sake alone, without suspecting how all other good things were to become thine in her company.[3] Happy a childlike spirit such as thine, to which are ever reserved the more lavish favours of eternal Wisdom!

'But,' exclaims thy sainted panegyrist, 'who is really a child nowadays? Humble littleness is no more; therefore love is no more. Naught is to be seen now but valleys bulging into hills, and hills swelling into mountains. What saith Holy Writ? “When they were lifted up, thou hast cast them down.”[4] To such towering vaunters, God saith again: "Behold I have made thee a small child ”; but exceedingly contemptible among the nations[5] such infancy is. Wherefore will ye keep to this childishness, O men, making your days an endless series of inconstancy, boisterous and vain effort at garnering wretched chaff? Other is that infancy which is declared to be the greatest in the land of true greatness.[6] Such was thine, O Anthony! and thereby wast thou wholly yielded up to Wisdom's sacred influence.’[7] In return for thy loving submission to God our Father in heaven, the populace obeyed thee, and fiercest tyrants trembled at thy voice.[8] Heresy alone dared once to disobey thee, dared to refuse to hearken to thy word: thereupon, the very fishes of the sea took up thy defence; for they came swimming in shoals, before the eyes of the whole city, to listen to thy preaching which heretics had scorned. Alas! error, having long ago recovered from the vigorous blows dealt by thee, is yet more emboldened in these days, claiming even sole right to speak. The offspring of Manes, whom, under the name of Albigenses, thou didst so successfully combat, would now, under the new appellation of freemasonry, have all France at its beck; thy native Portugal beholds the same monster stalking in broad daylight almost up to the very altar; and the whole world is being intoxicated by its poison. O thou who dost daily fly to the aid of thy devoted clients in their private necessities, thou whose power is the same in heaven as heretofore upon earth, succour the Church, aid God's people, have pity upon society, now more universally and deeply menaced than ever. O thou ark of the covenant, bring back our generation, so terribly devoid of love and faith, to the serious study of sacred letters, wherein is so energizing a power. O thou hammer of heretics, strike once more such blows as will make hell tremble and the heavenly powers thrill with joy.


[1] Ant. to Benedictus for the feast in the Franciscan Breviary.
[2] St John xii 19.
[3] Wisd. vii.
[4] 2 Ps. lxxii 18.
[5] Abdias 2.
[6] St Matt. xviii 4.
[7] Bonav. Sermo I de S Antonio Patav.
[8] Wisd. viii 14, 15.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THE Doctors who form the fourfold glory of the Greek Church complete their sacred number in the cycle to day. John Chrysostom was the first to greet us with his radiant light during Christmastide; the glorious Pasch saw the rise of two resplendent luminaries, Athanasius and Gregory Nazianzen; Basil the Great, having checked his effulgent blaze till now, illumines the reign of the Holy Ghost. He well deserves so distinguished a place, by reason of his eminent doctrine and brave combats, which prepared the way for the triumph of the divine Paraclete over the blasphemies of the impious sect of Macedonius, who used against the third Person of the consubstantial Trinity the very same arguments invented by Arius against the divinity of the Word. The Council of Constantinople, putting the finishing stroke to that of Nicæa, formulated the faith of the Churches, in him who proceedeth from the Father, no less than doth the Word himself, who is adored and glorified conjointly with the Father and the Son.[1] Basil was not there on the day of victory; prematurely exhausted by austerities and labours, he had been sleeping the sleep of peace for quite two years, when this great definition was promulgated. But it was his teaching that inspired the assembled council; his word remains as the luminous expression of tradition concerning the Holy Spirit, who is himself the divine loadstone attracting all in the vast universe that aspire after holiness, the potent breeze uplifting souls, the perfection of all things. Just as we hearkened to Gregory Nazianzen on his feast day, speaking magnificent truths concerning the great Paschal mystery, let us listen now to his illustrious friend, explaining that of the present season—sanctification effected in souls.

The union of the Holy Ghost and the soul is effected by estrangement from the passions, which having crept in had separated her from God. Whoso, therefore, would disengage himself from the deformity that proceedeth from vice, and return to that beauteousness which he holds of his Creator; whoso would restore within himself the primitive features of that royal and divine original, such a one doth verily draw nigh unto the Paraclete. But then also, even as the sun coming in contact with an unsullied eye illumines it, so the Paraclete reveals to such a one the image of him that cannot be seen; and in the blissful contemplation of this image, he perceiveth the ineffable beauty of the Principle, the Model of all. In this ascension of hearts, whereof the first tottering steps as well as the growing consummation are equally his work, the Holy Spirit rendereth them spiritual who are quit of all stain, by reason of that participation of himself into which he initiates them. Bodies that are limpid and translucent, pierced by a brilliant ray, become resplendent and shed light all around them; thus also souls bearing the Holy Spirit within them are all luminous with him, and becoming themselves spiritualized, shed grace all around. Hence the superior understanding possessed by the elect, and their converse with heaven; hence all fair gifts; hence thine own resemblance to thy God; hence, O truth sublime! thou thyself art a god.[2] Wherefore it is that, properly and in very truth, by the illumination of the Holy Ghost we contemplate the splendour of God’s glory; yea, it is by the character of resemblance which he has imprinted in our soul that we are raised up even unto the loftiness of him whose full similitude he, the divine Seal, beareth with himself.[3] He, the Spirit of wisdom, revealeth unto us (not as it were outside but within himself) Christ, the Wisdom of God. The path of contemplation leads from the Holy Ghost, by the Son, unto the Father; concurrently, the goodness, holiness, and royal dignity of the elect come from the Father by the Son to the Holy Ghost,[4] whose temples they are; and he filleth them with his own glory, illuminating their brow with a radiance like to that of Moses at the sight of God.[5] Thus likewise did he, in the case of our Lord’s humanity; thus doth he unto the Seraphim who cannot cry their triple Sanctus, save in him; so also unto all the choirs of angels, whose concerts he regulates, whose songs he vibrates.[6] But the carnal man, who hath never exercised his soul in contemplation, but holdeth her captive in the mud and mire of the senses, cannot lift his eyes unto Light supernal; the Holy Spirit belongs not to him.[7]

The action of the Paraclete surpasses the power of any creature; therefore, in thus drawing attention to the operation of the spirit of love, St Basil is anxious to bring his adversaries to confess, of their own accord, the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, who can fail to recognize, in this burning exposition of doctrine, not merely the invincible theologian vindicating dogma, but, furthermore, the experienced guide of souls, the sublime ascetic, deputed by God to bring down within reach of all men such marvels of holiness as an Anthony or a Pachomius brought forth in the desert?

Even as the bee, humming amidst the flowers, avoids the thorn, and knows how to eschew empoisoned sap, so Basil in his youthful days had hovered amidst the schools of Athens and of Constantinople without sucking in aught of their poison. According to the advice he himself gave to youth at a later date in a celebrated discourse,[8] his quick intelligence, unsullied by passions (too often found even in the most gifted), had succeeded in stealing from rhetoricians and poets all that could adorn as well as develop his mind, and discipline it for the struggle of life. The world smiled on the young orator, whose pure diction and persuasive eloquence recalled the palmy days of Greek literature; but the noblest gifts of glory earth could offer were far beneath the lofty ambition wherewith his soul was fired in reading the Holy Scriptures. Life's struggle, in his eyes, seemed a combat for truth alone. In himself, first of all, must divine Truth be victorious, by the defeat of nature and by the Holy Ghost's triumphant creation of the new man. Therefore, heedless to know, before God's own time, whether he might not be used in winning souls to God; never once suspecting how soon multitudes would indeed come pressing to receive the law of life from his lips, he turned his back upon all things, and fled to the wilds of Pontus, there to be forgotten of men in his pursuit after holiness. Nor did the misery of those times cause him to fall into the error, so common nowadays, of wishing to devote himself to others before having first regulated his own soul. Such is not the true way of setting charity in order; such is not the conduct of the saints. It is thyself God wants of thee before all things else; when thou hast become his, in the full measure he intends, he himself will know how to bestow thee upon others, unless perchance he prefer, for thy greater advantage, to keep thee all to himself. But in any case, he is no lover of all that hurry to become useful; he does not bless these would-be utilitarians who are all eagerness to push themselves into the service of his Providence. Anthony of Padua showed us this truth yesterday; and here we have it given to us a second time. Mark it well: that which really tends to the extension of our Lord's glory is not the amount of time given to the works, but the holiness of the worker.

According to a custom frequent in that century, owing to the fear entertained of exposing the grace of Baptism to woful shipwreck, Basil remained a simple catechumen until his youth had wellnigh matured to manhood. Of the years that followed his baptism, thirteen were spent in the monastic life and nine in the episcopate. At the age of fifty he died; but his work, carried on under the impulse of the Holy Ghost, far from dying with him, appeared more fruitful, and went on thus increasing during the course of succeeding ages.

While living the life of a humble monk on the banks of the Iris, whither his mother and sister had preceded him, his whole being was intent on the 'saving of his soul’[9] from the judgement of God,[10] and on 'running generously in the way that leads to the eternal recompense.’[11] Later on others having begged him to form them also 'unto the warfare of Christ the King,’[12]according to the simplicity of faith and the Scriptures,[13] our saint would not have them embrace the life of solitaries, such isolation being not without danger for the many; but he preferred for them one that would join to the blissful contemplation of the solitary the rampart and completeness of community life, wherein charity and humility[14] are exercised under the conduct of a head, who, in his turn, deems himself but the servitor of all.[15] Moreover he would admit none into his monasteries without serious and prolonged trial, followed by a solemn engagement to persevere in this new life.[16]

At the remembrance of what he had admired amongst the solitaries of Egypt and Syria, Basil compared himself and his disciples to children who would strive in a puny way to mimic strong men; or unto beginners sticking at the first difficulties of the rudiments and scarce yet fairly started on the path of true piety.[17] Yet the day would come when the ancient giants of the wilderness, and the hoary legislators of the desert, would see their heroic customs and their monastic codes cede the place of honour to the familiar conferences, to the unprepared answers given by Basil to his monks in solution of their proposed difficulties, and to form them to the practice of the divine counsels. Ere long the whole of the East ranged itself under his rule; whilst in the West St Benedict called him his father.[18] His order, like a fruitful nursery of holy monks and virgins, bishops, doctors, and martyrs, has furnished heaven with saints. For a long time it served as a bulwark of the faith to Byzantium; and even of recent days it has beheld, despite the schism, its faithful children sparing not to render, under the savage persecution of the Tsar of Russia, their testimony of blood and suffering to holy mother Church.

Worthily also have they herein paid a personal testimony, as it were, to their intrepid father; for Basil too was the grandson of martyrs, the son and the brother of saints. Would that we might be allowed to devote a page to the praises of his illustrious grandmother Macrina the elder; who seems to have miraculously escaped from the hands of her executioners and from a seven years' exile in the wild forests, on purpose to be instrumental in infusing into Basil's young heart that faith firm and pure, which she had herself received from St Gregory Thaumaturgus. Suffice it to say that, towards the close of his life, the great Basil, doctor of the Church and patriarch of monks, was proud to appeal to Macrina's name as a guarantee for the orthodoxy of his faith, when this was called in question.[19]

Basil’s lifetime was cast in one of those periods exceptionally disastrous to the Church, when shipwrecks of faith are common, because darkness prevails to such an extent as to cast its shades even over the children of light;[20] a period, in fact, when, as St Jerome expresses it, ‘the astonished world waked up, to bewail itself Arian.’[21] Bishops were faltering in essentials of true belief and in questions of loyalty to the successor of Peter; so that the bewildered flock scarce knew whose voice to follow; for many of their pastors, some through perfidy and some through weakness, had subscribed at Rimini to the condemnation of the faith of Nicæa. Basil himself was assuredly not one of those ‘blind watchmen: dumb dogs not able to bark.’[22] When but a simple lector, he had not hesitated to sound the horn of alarm, by openly separating himself from his bishop, who had been caught in the meshes of the Arians; and now himself a bishop, he boldly showed that he was not such indeed. For when entreated for peace' sake to make some compromise with the Arians, vain was every supplication, every menace of confiscation, exile, or death. He used no measured terms in treating with the prefect Modestus, the tool of Valens; and when this vaunting official complained that none had ever dared to address him with such liberty, Basil intrepidly replied: ‘Perhaps thou never yet hadst to deal with a bishop!’

Basil, whose great soul was incapable of suspecting duplicity in another, was entrapped by the guile of a false monk, a hypocritical bishop, one Eustathius of Sebaste, who, by apparent austerity of life and other counterfeits, long captivated the friendship of Basil. This unconscious error was permitted by God for the increase of his servant’s holiness; for it was destined to fill his declining days with utmost bitterness, and to draw down upon him the keenest trial possible to one of his mould—namely, that several, in consequence, began to doubt of his own sincerity of faith.

Basil appealed from the tongue of calumny to the judgement of his brother bishops;[23] but yet he recoiled not from likewise justifying himself before the simple faithful.[24] For he knew that the richest treasure of a church is the pastor’s own surety of faith and his personal plenitude of doctrine. Athanasius, who had led the battles of the first half of that century and had conquered Arius, was no more; he had gone to join, in the well-merited repose of eternity, his brave companions, Eusebius of Vercelli and Hilary of Poitiers. In the midst of the confusion that Valens’ persecution was then reproducing in the East, even holy men knew not how to weather the storm. Many such were to be seen adopting first the extreme measure of utter witdrawal, through mistaken excess of prudence; and then rushing into equally false steps of indiscreet zeal. Basil alone was of a build proportioned to the tempest. His noble heart, bruised in its most delicate feelings, had drunk the chalice to the dregs; but, strong in him who prayed the prayer of agony in Gethsemani, the trial crushed him not. With wearied soul and with a body wellnigh exhausted by the jading effects of chronic infirmities, already in fact a dying man,[25] he nevertheless nerved himself up against death, and bravely faced the surging waves. From this ‘ship in distress,' as he termed the Eastern Church, ‘dashing against every rock amid the dense fog,’[26] his pressing cry of appeal reached the ears of the Western Church seated in peace in her unfailing light[27]—reached Rome, whence alone help could come, yet whose wise slowness, on one occasion, made him almost lose heart. While awaiting the intervention of Peter's successor, Basil prudently repressed anything like untimely zeal, and, for the present, required of weak souls merely what was indispensable in matters of faith;[28] just as under other circumstances, and with equal prudence, he had severely reproved his own brother, St Gregory of Nyssa, for suffering himself to be betrayed by simplicity into inconsiderate measures, motived indeed by love of peace.[29]

Peace is just what Basil desired as much as anybody:[30] but the peace for which he would give his life could be only that true peace left to the Church by our Lord.[31] What he so vigorously exacted on the grounds of faith proceeded solely from his very love of peace.[32] And therefore, as he himself tells us, he absolutely refused to enter into communion with those narrow-minded men who dread nothing so much as a clear, precise expression of dogma; in his eyes their captious formulas and ungraspable shiftings were but the action of hypocrites, in whose company he would scorn to approach God's altar.[33] As to those merely misled,

Let the faith of our fathers be proposed to them with all tenderness and charity; if they will assent thereunto, let us receive them into our midst; in other cases, let us dwell with ourselves alone, regardless of numbers; and let us keep aloof from equivocating souls, who are not possessed of that simplicity without guile, indispensably required in the early days of the Gospel from all who would approach to the faith. The believers, so it is written, had but one heart and one soul.[34] Let those, therefore, who would reproach us for not desiring pacification, mark well who are the real authors of the disturbance, and so not point the question of reconciliation on our side any more.[35]

In another place he thus continues:

To every specious argument that would seem to counsel silence on our part, we oppose this other—namely, that charity counts as nothing either her own proper interests or the difficulties of the times. Even though no man is willing to follow our example, what then? Are we ourselves, just for that, to let duty alone? In the fiery furnace the children of the Babylonish captivity chanted their canticle to the Lord, without making any reckoning of the multitude who set truth aside: they were quite sufficient for one another, merely three as they were![36]

He thus wrote to his monks, likewise pursued and vexed by a government that would not own itself a persecutor:

There are many honest men who, though they admit that you are being treated without a shadow of justice, still will not grant that the sufferings you are enduring can quite deserve to be called confessing the faith; ah! it is by no means necessary to be a pagan in order to make martyrs! The enemies we have nowadays detest us no less than did the idolaters; if they would deceive the crowd as to the motive of their hatred, it is merely because they hope thereby to rob you of the glory that surrounded confessors in bygone days. Be convinced of it; before the face of the just Judge, your confession is every whit as real. So take heart! under every stroke renew yourselves in love; let your zeal gain strength every day, knowing that in you are to be preserved the last remains of godliness which the Lord, at his return, may find upon the earth. Trouble not yourselves about treacheries, nor whence they come: was it not the princes among God’s priests, the scribes and the ancients among his own, that plotted the snares wherein our divine Master suffered himself to be caught? Heed not what the crowd may think, for a breath is sufficient to sway the crowd to and fro, like the rippling wave. Even though only one were to be saved, as in the case of Lot out of Sodom, it would not be lawful for him to deviate from the path of rectitude, merely because he finds that he is the only one that is right. No; he must stand alone, unmoved, holding fast his hope in Jesus Christ.[37]

Basil himself, from his bed of sickness, set an example to all. But what was the anguish of his soul when he realized how scant a correspondence his efforts received among the leading men in his own diocese! He sadly wondered at seeing how their ambition was in no wise quenched by the lamentable state of the Churches; how they still could listen to nothing but their own puny jealous susceptibilities, when the vessel was actually foundering; and could contend for the command of the ship, when she was already sinking.[38] Others there were, even among the better sort, who would hold aloof, hoping to be forgotten in their silent inertia;[39] quite ignoring that, when general interests are at stake, egotistic estrangement from the scene of struggle can never save an individual, nor absolve him from the crime of treason.[40] It is curious to hear our Saint himself relating the following story to his friend Eusebius of Samosata, the future martyr: how once Basil’s death was noised abroad, and consequently all the bishops hurried at once to Caesarea to choose a successor. ‘But,’ Basil continues, 'as it pleased God that they should find me alive, I took this opportunity to speak to them weighty words. Yet vainly; for while in my presence, they feared me and promised everything; but scarce had they turned their backs, than they were just the same again.’[41] In the meantime persecution was pursuing its course, and, sooner or later, the moment came for each in turn to choose between downright heresy and banishment. Many, unfortunately, consummated their apostasy; others, opening their eyes at last, took the road to exile, where they were able to meditate at leisure upon the advantages of keeping quiet and of keeping out of the struggle; or better still, where they could repair their past weakness, by the heroism wherewith they would henceforth suffer for the faith.

Basil’s virtue held even his persecutors at bay; and God preserved him in such wondrous ways, that at last he was almost the only one remaining at the head of his Church, although he had really exposed himself far more than anyone else to the brunt of every attack and to every peril. He profited hereby to the benefit of his favoured flock, upon whom he lavished the boon of highest teaching and wisest administration. This he did with such marvellous success, that so much could scarcely have been attainable by another bishop in times of peace, when exclusive attention could be devoted to those employments. Cæsarea responded splendidly to his pastoral care. His word excited such avidity amongst all classes, that the populace would hang upon his lips, and await his arrival the livelong day, in the ever more and more closely thronged edifice.[42] We learn this from his remarks. For instance, once, when his insatiable audience would allow him no repose in spite of his extreme fatigue, he tenderly compares himself to a worn-out mother who gives her babe the breast, not so much to feed it as to stay its cries.[43] The mutual understanding of pastor and flock in these meetings is quite delightful! If the great orator by inadvertence left some verse of Scripture unexplained, his sons, by discreet signs and half-suppressed mutterings, would recall his attention to the passage of the text, which they would not allow him to pass over in silence.[44] On such occasions Basil would make charming excuses for his mistake, and then rectify it in such a way as to show that he was proud of his flock! When he was explaining, for example, the magnificence of the great ocean, amongst other wonders of the works of the six days, he suddenly paused, and casting a glance of ineffable pleasure over the vast crowd closely pressing around his episcopal chair, he thus continued: ‘If the sea is beauteous, and in God’s sight worthy of goodly praise, how far more beautiful is this immense assembly, whereof better than the waves that swell and roll and die away against the coast, the mingled voices of men, women, and children bear unto God our swelling prayer. O thou tranquil ocean, peaceful in thy mighty deep, because evil winds of heresy are impotent to rouse thy waves!’[45]

Happy people, thus formed by Basil to the understanding of the Scriptures, especially of the Psalms, whereof he inspired the faithful with so great love, that it was quite the custom for all to repair at night to the house of God, there in the solemn accents of alternate psalmody to pour out their souls in one united homage.[46] Prayer in common was one of those fruits of his ministry which Basil, like a true monk, valued the most; the importance he attached to it has made him one of the principal fathers of the Greek liturgy. ‘Talk not to me,’ he cries out, ‘ of private homes, of private assemblies. Adore the Lord in his holy court, saith the psalmist; the adoration here called for is that which is paid not outside the Church, but in the court, the one only court of the Lord.’[47]

Time and space would fail us, were we to attempt to follow our saint through all the details of this grand family life which he lived so thoroughly with his whole people, and which formed his one consolation in the midst of his otherwise stormy career. It would behove us to show how he made himself all to all, in gladness and in sorrow, with a simplicity which is so admirably blended in him with lofty greatness; how he would reply to the humblest consultations, just as though he had nothing more urgent on hand than to satisfy the demands of the least among his sons; how he would cry out against every touch of injustice offered to one of his flock, and cease not till full compensation was made; and finally, how, with the aid of his faithful of Caesarea, rising up as one man to defend their bishop, he would oppose himself as a strong rampart to protect virgins and widows against the brutal oppression of men in power. Though himself poor and stripped of all things since the day when, about to enter the monastic state, he had distributed the whole of his rich paternal inheritance among the poor, he nevertheless found the secret of how to raise, in his episcopal city, an immense establishment, destined as an assured refuge for pilgrims and the poor, an asylum ever open and admirably organized to meet the requirements of every kind of suffering and the needs of all ages; or rather, a new city, built beside the great Caesarea, and named by the gratitude of the people after its sainted founder. Ever ready for any combat, Basil intrepidly maintained his rights as exarch, which he possessed by reason of his See, over the eleven provinces composing the vast administrative division known to the Romans by the generic name of the diocese of Pontus. Indefatigable in his zeal for the sacred canons, he both defended his clergy against all attempts aimed at their immunities, and reformed such abuses as had crept in during times less troubled than his own. Even in the very vortex of the storm, he knew how to bring back ecclesiastical discipline to the perfection of its best days.

At last the time came when the main interests of the faith, the perils of which seemed, up to this, to have suspended in his worn-out body the law of all flesh, now no longer demanded his presence so absolutely as before. On August 9, 378, the arrow of the Goth exercised justice on Valens; soon afterwards, Gratian's edict recalled the exiled confessors, and Theodosius appeared in the East. On January 1, 379, Basil, at last set free, slept in the Lord.

The Greek Church celebrates the memory of this great bishop on the day of his death, conjointly with the Circumcision of the Word made Flesh; and a second time, on the 30th of the same month of January, she unites him with two other doctors—namely, Saints Gregory Nazianzen and John Chrysostom—bringing all the magnificence of her gorgeous liturgy to give splendour to this grand solemnity of January 30, illumined as it is by a ‘triple sun, beaming glory concordantly to the Holy Trinity.’[48] The Latin Church has chosen for her celebration of St Basil the day of his ordination, June 14.

The following is the notice she gives of his holy life:

Basilius nobilis Cappadox, Athenis una cum Gregorio Nazianzeno ejus amicissimo, sæcularibus litteris, deinde in monasterio sacris mirabiliter eruditis, eum brevi cursum fecit ad omnem doctrinæ et morum excellentiam, ut inde Magni cognomen invenerit. Is ad prædicandum Jesu Christi Evangelium in Pontum accersitus eam provinciam a Christianis institutis aberrantem, ad viam salutis revocavit: mox ab Eusebio Cæsareæepiscopo ad erudiendam earn civitatem adjutor adhibetur: in cujus locum postea successit. Is Filium Patri consubstantialem esse in primis defendit, ac Valentem imperatorem sibi iratum, miraculis adeo flexit, ut incumbentem ad voluntatem ejiciendi ipsum in exsilium, a sententia discedere coegerit.

Nam et Valentis sella, in qua facturus decretum de ejiciendo e civitate Basilio, sedere volebat, confracta est: et tribus ab eo calamis adhibitis ad scribendam exsilii legem, nullus eorum reddidit atramentum: et cum nihilominus in proposito scribendi impium decretum persisteret, ipsius dextera, dissolutis nervis, tota contremuit. His commotus Valens chartam utraque manu conscidit. Ea autem nocte, quæ ad deliberandum Basilio data est, Valentis uxor intimis est cruciata doloribus, et unicus filius in gravem morbum incidit. Quibus ille perterritus, iniquitatem suam recognoscens, Basilium accersit: quo præsente, puer cœpit convalescere: verum, vocatis a Valente ad visendum puerum hæreticis, paulo post moritur.

Abstinentia et continentia fuit admirabilis: una tunica contentus erat, in jejunio servando diligentissimus, in oratione assiduus, in qua sæpe totam noctem consumebat. Virginitatem perpetuo coluit. Monasteriis exstructis, ita monachorum institutum temperavit, ut solitariæ atque actuosæ vitæ utilitates præclare simul conjungeret. Multa erudite scripsit, ac nemo, teste Gregorio Nazianzeno, sacræ Scripturæ libros verius aut uberius explicavit. Obiit Kalendis Januarii, cum, tantum spiritu vivens, præter ossa et pellem, nulla præterca corporis parte constare videretur.
Basil, a noble Cappadocian, studied profane letters at Athens in company with Gregory Nazianzen, to whom he was united in a warm and tender friendship. He afterwards studied sacred science in a monastery, where he quickly attained an eminent degree of excellence in doctrine and life, whereby he gained to himself the surname of the Great. He was called to Pontus to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and brought back into the way of salvation that country which before had been wandering astray from the rules of Christian discipline. He was afterwards made coadjutor to Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, for the instructing of that city, and afterwards became his successor in the See. One of his greatest labours was to maintain that the Son is consubstantial with the Father; and when the emperor Valens, moved to wrath against him, was minded to send him into exile, he was so vanquished by the miracles Basil worked, that he was forced to forego his intention.

For the chair upon which Valens sat down in order to sign the decree of Basil's ejectment from the city broke under him; and of the three pens which he took up one after the other, to sign the edict of banishment, none would take the ink; and when, nevertheless, he persisted in his intent to write the impious order, the muscles of his right hand became relaxed, and it trembled violently. Valens was so frightened by these signs, that he tore the fatal document in two. During the night which was allowed to Basil to make up his mind, the wife of Valens was seized with excruciating intestinal pains, and his only son was taken seriously ill. These things alarmed Valens so much, that he acknowledged his wickedness, and sent for Basil, during whose visit the child began to get better. However, when Valens sent for some heretics to see it, it presently died.

The abstinence and continence of Basil were truly wonderful. He was content to wear nothing but a single garment. In observance of fasting he was most earnest, and so instant in prayer, that he oftentimes passed the whole night therein. His virginity he kept always unsullied. He built monasteries wherein he so adapted the institution of monasticism, that he exquisitely united for the monks the advantages of solitude and of action. He was the author of many learned writings, and, according to the testimony of Gregory Nazianzen, no one has ever composed more faithful and unctuous explanations of the Books of Holy Scripture. He died upon the Kalends of January; and as he had lived but by the spirit, there seemed to have remained naught to him of the body, save the skin and the bones.

To give thus a list of thine admirable works is in itself to sing thy praises, O mighty Pontiff! Would that nowadays thou hadst imitators; for history teaches us that saints of a build like thine are those who cause an epoch to be really great and who save society. No matter how tried, how abandoned even, a people may apparently be, if only blessed with a ruler docile in all things, docile unto heroism, to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost ever abiding in holy Church, this people will assuredly weather the storm and conquer at last; whereas, if the salt lose its savour,[49] society necessarily falls away, without the need of any Julian or of any Valens to bring about its ruin. O Basil, do thou then obtain for our waning society leaders such as thou wert; may the astonishment of Modestus be justly renewed in these days; let prefects, Valens' successors, meet at the head of every church a bishop in the full sense of the term as used by thee; then will their astonishment be for us a signal of victory; for a bishop is never vanquished, even should he be exiled or put to death!

Whilst keeping up the pastors of the Church to the high standard of the state of perfection in which the sacred unction supposes them to be, lead the flock, likewise, to higher paths of sanctity, such as Christianity gives scope for. Not to monks alone is that word spoken: The kingdom of God is within you.[50] Thou hast taught us that the kingdom of heaven,[51] that beatitude which can be ours already, is the contemplation, accessible to us here below, of eternal realities, not indeed by clear and direct vision, but in that mirror whereof the apostle speaks. How foolish is it to cultivate and feed in man naught but the senses that crave for the material alone, and to refuse to the spirit its own proper food and action! Does not the spirit urge of its own nature towards intellectual regions for which it is created? If its flight be slow and heavy, the reason is that the senses, by prevailing, impede its ascent. Teach us, therefore, to furnish it more and more with increased faith and love, whereby it may become light and agile as the hart, to leap unto loftiest heights. Tell in our age, as thou didst formerly in thine, that forgotten truth—namely, how earnestness in maintaining an upright faith is no less necessary for this end than rectitude of life. Alas! how far have thy sons, for the greater part, forgotten that every true monk as well as every true Christian detests heresy, and all that savours thereof![52] Wherefore, dear saint, bless all the more particularly those few whom such a continuity of trials has, as yet, failed to shake in their constancy; multiply conversions; hasten the happy day when the East, casting off the yoke of schism and Islam, may resume her former glorious place in the one fold of the one Shepherd.

O doctor of the Holy Ghost, O defender of the Word, consubstantial with the Father, grant that we, now prostrate at thy feet, may ever live to the glory of the Holy Trinity. These are the words of thine own admirable formulary, ‘To be baptized in the Trinity, to hold one's belief according to one’s Baptism, to glorify God according to our faith’—such was the essential basis, set down by thee, for what a monk should be;1 but is it not equally essential to a Christian? Would that all might thoroughly understand this! Vouchsafe, dear saint, to bless us all.


[1] Symb. Constantinop.
[2] Basil. Lib. de Sp. Sancto ix.
[3] Ibid. xxvi.
[4] Basil. Lib. de Sp. Sancto xviii.
[5] Ibid. xxi.
[6] Ibid. xvi.
[7] Ibid. xxii.
[8] De legend. libris gentil.
[9] Sermo ascetic.
[10] Proœm. de judicio Dei.
[11] Prævia instit. ascetica.
[12] Ibid.
[13] De fide; Moralia.
[14] Reg. brev. tractatæ, 160 etc., 114 etc.
[15] Reg. fus. tract. 30.
[16] Ibid. 10; Epist. 23, al. 383; 199, al. 2, can. xviii, xix.
[17] Epist. 207, al. 63.
[18] S. P. Bened. Reg., cap. lxxiii.
[19] Epist. 204, al. 75; 223, al. 79.
[20] 1 Thess. v 5.
[21] Hieron. Dial. cont. Lucif.
[22] Isa. lvi 10.
[23] Epist. 203, al. 77.
[24] Ibid. 204, al. 75, etc.
[25] Epist. 136, al. 257.
[26] Lib. de Sp. S. xxx.
[27] Epist. 91, al. 324; 92, al. 69, etc.
[28] Ibid. 113, al. 203.
[29] Ibid. 58, al. 44.
[30] Ibid. 259., al. 184.
[31] Ibid. 128, al. 365.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Ibid.
[34] Acts iv 32.
[35] Epist. 128, al. 265.
[36] Lib. de Sp. S. xxx.
[37] Epist. 257, al. 303.
[38] Epist. 141, al. 262.
[39] Lib. de Sp. S. xxx.
[40] Ibid. 136, al. 257.
[41] Epist. 141, al. 262.
[42] Homil. in Ps. cxiv.
[43] In Ps. lix.
[44] Hom, viii in Hexæmeron.
[45] In Hexæm.
[46] Epist. 207, al. 63.
[47] In Ps. xxviii.
[48] Acolothia triplicis festi.
[49] St Matt. v 13.
[50] St Luke xvii 21.
[51] Basil Epist. 8, al. 111.
[52] Sermo de ascetic, discipl. Quomodo mouachum ornari oporteat.