An Examination of the Soul’s Condition~St.Francis de Sales

 

9a1dcc53830b15998f4260cd86437b5a

 

1. What is the aspect of your heart with respect to mortal sin? Are you firmly resolved never to commit it, let come what may? And have you kept that resolution from the time you first made it? Therein lies the foundation of the spiritual life.

2. What is your position with respect to the Commandments of God? Are they acceptable, light and easy to you? He who has a good digestion and healthy appetite likes good food, and turns away from that which is bad.

3. How do you stand as regards venial sins? No one can help committing some such occasionally; but are there none to which you have any special tendency, or worse still, any actual liking and clinging?

4. With respect to spiritual exercises—do you like and value them? or do they weary and vex you? To which do you feel most or least disposed, hearing or reading God’s Word, meditating upon it, calling upon God, Confession, preparing for Communion and communicating, controlling your inclinations, etc.? What of all these is most repugnant to you? And if you find that your heart is not disposed to any of these things, examine into the cause, find out whence the disinclination comes.

5. With respect to God Himself—does your heart delight in thinking of God, does it crave after the sweetness thereof? “I remembered Thine everlasting judgments, O Lord, and received comfort,” says David. Do you feel a certain readiness to love Him, and a definite inclination to enjoy His Love? Do you take pleasure in dwelling upon the Immensity, the Goodness, the Tenderness of God? When you are immersed in the occupations and vanities of this world, does the thought of God come across you as a welcome thing? do you accept it gladly, and yield yourself up to it, and your heart turn with a sort of yearning to Him? There are souls that do so.

6. If a wife has been long separated from her husband, so soon as she sees him returning, and hears his voice, however cumbered she may be with business, or forcibly hindered by the pressure of circumstances, her heart knows no restraint, but turns at once from all else to think upon him she loves. So it is with souls which really love God, however engrossed they may be; when the thought of Him is brought before them, they forget all else for joy at feeling. His Dear Presence nigh, and this is a very good sign.

7. With respect to Jesus Christ as God and Man—how does your heart draw to Him? Honey bees seek their delight in their honey, but wasps hover over stinking carrion. Even so pious souls draw all their joy from Jesus Christ, and love Him with an exceeding sweet Love, but those who are careless find their pleasure in worldly vanities.

8. With respect to Our Lady, the Saints, and your Guardian Angel—do you love them well? Do you rejoice in the sense of their guardianship? Do you take pleasure in their lives, their pictures, their memories?

9. As to your tongue—how do you speak of God? Do you take pleasure in speaking His Praise, and singing His Glory in psalms and hymns?

10. As to actions—have you God’s visible glory at heart, and do you delight in doing whatever you can to honour Him? Those who love God will love to adorn and beautify His House. Are you conscious of having ever given up anything you liked, or of renouncing anything for God’s Sake? for it is a good sign when we deprive ourselves of something we care for on behalf of those we love. What have you ever given up for the Love of God?

St.Anthony preaches to the fish 


From “The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi,” 1476 

Christ, the blessed one, was pleased to show forth the great sanctity of his most faithful servant St Anthony, and how men ought devoutly to listen to his preaching, be means of creatures without reason. On one occasion, amongst others, he made use of fish to reprove the folly of faithless heretics: even as we read in the Old Testament that in ancient times he reproved the ignorance of Balaam by the mouth of an ass. 

St Anthony being at one time at Rimini, where there were a great number of heretics, and wishing to lead them by the light of faith into the way of truth, preached to them for several days, and reasoned with them on the faith of Christ and on the Holy Scriptures. They not only resisted his words, but were hardened and obstinate, refusing to listen to him. 

At last St Anthony, inspired by God, went down to the sea-shore, where the river runs into the sea, and having placed himself on a bank between the river and the sea, he began to speak to the fishes as if the Lord had sent him to preach to them, and said: “Listen to the word of God, O ye fishes of the sea and of the river, seeing that the faithless heretics refuse to do so.” 

No sooner had he spoken these words than suddenly so great a multitude of fishes, both small and great, approached the bank on which he stood, that never before had so many been seen in the sea or the river. All kept their heads out of the water, and seemed to be looking attentively on St Anthony’s face; all were ranged in perfect order and most peacefully, the smaller ones in front near the bank, after them came those a little bigger, and last of all, were the water was deeper, the largest. 

When they had placed themselves in this order, St Anthony began to preach to them most solemnly, saying: “My brothers the fishes, you are bound, as much as is in your power, to return thanks to your Creator, who has given you so noble an element for your dwelling; for you have at your choice both sweet water and salt; you have many places of refuge from the tempest; you have likewise a pure and transparent element for your nourishment. God, your bountiful and kind Creator, when he made you, ordered you to increase and multiply, and gave you his blessing. In the universal deluge, all other creatures perished; you alone did God preserve from all harm. He has given you fins to enable you to go where you will. To you was it granted, according to the commandment of God, to keep the prophet Jonas, and after three days to throw him safe and sound on dry land. You it was who gave the tribute-money to our Saviour Jesus Christ, when, through his poverty, he had not wherewith to pay. By a singular mystery you were the nourishment of the eternal King, Jesus Christ, before and after his resurrection. Because of all these things you are bound to praise and bless the Lord, who has given you blessings so many and so much greater than to other creatures.” 

At these words the fish began to open their mouths, and bow their heads, endeavouring as much as was in their power to express their reverence and show forth their praise. 

St Anthony, seeing the reverence of the fish towards their Creator, rejoiced greatly in spirit, and said with a loud voice: “Blessed be the eternal God; for the fishes of the sea honour him more than men without faith, and animals without reason listen to his word with greater attention than sinful heretics.” 

And whilst St Anthony was preaching, the number of fishes increased, and none of them left the place that he had chosen. And the people of the city hearing of the miracle, made haste to go and witness it. With them also came the heretics of whom we have spoken above, who, seeing so wonderful and manifest a miracle, were touched in their hearts; and threw themselves at the feet of St Anthony to hear his words. The saint then began to expound to them the Catholic faith. He preached so eloquently, that all those heretics were converted, and returned to the true faith of Christ; the faithful also were filled with joy, and greatly comforted, being strengthened in the faith. 

After this St Anthony sent away the fishes, with the blessing of God; and they all departed, rejoicing as they went, and the people returned to the city. But St Anthony remained at Rimini for several days, preaching and reaping much spiritual fruit in the souls of his hearers.

Repent while you still have time~A meditation by St.Leonard of Port Maurice 

Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved. If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His sacraments.

You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: “Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul.”

And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, “Good Jesus, I want to save my soul,” O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!
~Saint Leonard of Port Maurice from a sermon

On the Love of the Three Persons for man~St.Alphonsus Liguori

 TRINITY SUNDAY. – ON THE LOVE OF THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS FOR MAN.


Going, therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (MATT. xxviii. 19)

ST. LEO has said, that the nature of God is by its essence, goodness itself. ”Deus cujus natura bonitas”Now, goodness naturally diffuses itself. ”Bonum est sui diffusivum.” And by experience we know that men of a good heart are full of love for all, and desire to share with all the goods which they enjoy God being infinite goodness, is all love towards us his creatures. Hence St. John calls him pure love pure charity. “God is charity.” (1 John iv. 8.) And therefore he ardently desires to make us partakers of his own happiness. Faith teaches us how much the Three Divine Persons have done through love to man, and to enrich him with heavenly gifts. In saying to his apostles”Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, ” Jesus Christ wished that they should not only instruct the Gentiles in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity but that they should also teach them the love which the adorable Trinity bears to man. I intend to propose this day for your consideration the love shown to us by the Father in our creation; secondly, the love of the Son in our redemption; and thirdly, the love of the Holy Ghost, in our sanctification.

First Point The love shown to us by the Father in our creation.

1. ”I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.” (Jer. xxxi. 3.) My son, says the Lord, I have loved you for eternity, and, through love for you, I have shown mercy to you by drawing you out of nothing. Hence, beloved Christians, of all those who love you, God has been your first lover. Your parents have been the first to love you on this earth; but they have loved you only after they had known you. But, before you had a being, God loved you. Before your father or mother was born, God loved you; yes, even before the creation of the world, he loved you. And how long before creation has God loved you? Perhaps for a thousand years, or for a thousand ages. It is needless to count years or ages; God loved you from eternity. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” As long as he has been God, he has luved you: as long as he has loved himself, he has loved you. The thought of this love made St. Agnes the Virgin exclaim: “I am prevented by another lover.” When creatures asked her heart, she answered: “No: I cannot prefer you to my God. He has been the first to love me; it is then but just that he should hold the first place in my affections. ”


2. Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity, and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men whom he could have created in place of you; but he has left them in their nothingness, and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world. For the love of you he has made so many other beautiful creatures, that they might serve you, and that they might remind you of the love which he has borne to you, and of the gratitude which you owe to him. “Heaven and Earth,” says St. Augustine, ”and all things tell me to love thee. ” When the saint beheld the sun, the stars, the mountains, the sea, the rains, they all appeared to him to speak, and to say: Augustine, love God; for he has created us that you might love him. When the Abbe de Ranee, the founder of La Trappe, looked at the hills, the fountains, or flowers, he said that all these creatures reminded him of the love which God had borne him. St. Teresa used to say, that these creatures reproached her with her ingratitude to God.

Whilst she held a flower or fruit in her hand, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to feel her heart wounded with divine love, and would say within herself: Then, my God has thought from eternity of creating this flower and this fruit that I might love him.

 
3. Moreover, seeing us condemned to hell, in punishment of our sins, the Eternal Father, through love for us, has sent his Son on the earth to die on the cross, in order to redeem us from hell, and to bring us with himself into Paradise. “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son”(John iii. 16), love, which the apostle calls an excess of love. “For his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, has quickened us together in Christ.” (Eph. ii. 4, 5.)
 

4. See also the special love which God has shown you in bringing you into life in a Christian country, and in the bosom of the Catholic or true Church. How many are born among the pagans, among the Jews, among the Mahometans and heretics, and all are lost. Consider that, compared with these, only a few not even the tenth part of the human race have the happiness of being born in a country where the true faith reigns; and, among that small number, he has chosen you. Oh! what an invaluable benefit is the gift of faith! How many millions of souls, among infidels and heretics, are deprived of the sacraments, of sermons, of good example, and of the other helps to salvation which we possess in the true Church. And the Lord resolved to bestow on us all these great graces, without any merit on our part, and even with the foreknowledge of our demerits. For when he thought of creating us and of conferring these favours upon us, he foresaw our sins, and the injuries we would commit against him.

Second Point. The love which the Son of God has shown to us in our redemption.

 
5. Adam, our first father, sins by eating the forbidden apple, and is condemned to eternal death, along with all his posterity. Seeing the whole human race doomed to perdition, God resolved to send a redeemer to save mankind. Who shall come to accomplish their redemption? Perhaps an angel or a seraph. No; the Son of God, the supreme and true God, equal to the Father, offers himself to come on earth, and there to take human flesh, and to die for the salvation of men. O prodigy of Divine love! Man, says St. Fulgentius, despises God, and separates himself from God, and through love for him, God comes on earth to seek after rebellious man. “Homo Deum contemnens, a Deo discessit: Deus hominem diligens, ad homines venit.” (Serm. in Nativ. Christ.) Since, says St. Augustine, we could not go to the Redeemer, he has deigned to come to us. “Quia ad mediatorem venire non poteramus, ipse ad nos venire dignatus est.” And why has Jesus Christ resolved to come to us? According to the same holy doctor, it is to convince us of his great love for us. ”Christ came, that man might know how much God loves him.”

 
6. Hence the Apostle writes: “The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared.” (Tit. iii. 5.) In the Greek text, the words are: ”Singularis Dei erga homines apparuit amor :”“The singular love of God towards men appeared.” In explaining this passage, St. Bernard says, that before God appeared on earth in human flesh, men could not arrive at a knowledge of the divine goodness; therefore the Eternal Word took human nature, that, appearing in the form of man, men might know the goodness of God. ”Priusquam apparet humanitas, latebat beniguitas, sed undo tanta agnosci poterat? Venit in came ut, apparante humanitate, cognosceretur benignitas.” (Serm. i., in Eph.) And what greater love and goodness could the Son of God show to us, than to become man and to become a worm like us, in order to save us from, perdition? What astonishment would we not feel, if we saw a prince become a worm to save the worms of his kingdom! And what shall we say at the sight of a God made man like us, to deliver us from eternal death? “The word was made flesh.” (John i. 14.) A God made flesh! if faith did not assure us of it, who could ever believe it? Behold then, as St. Paul says, a God as it were annihilated. ”He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and in habit found as a man. ” (Phil. ii. 7.) By these words the Apostle gives us to understand, that the Son of God, who was filled with the divine majesty and power, humbled himself so as to assume the lowly and impotent condition of human nature, taking the form or nature of a servant, and becoming like men in his external appearance, although, as St. Chrysostom observes, he was not a mere man, but man and God. Hearing a deacon singing the words of St. John, “and the Word was made flesh,” St. Peter of Alcantara fell into ecstasy, and flew through the air to the altar of the most holy sacrament.

7. But this God of love, the Incarnate Word, was not content with becoming flesh for the love of man; but, according to Isaias, he wished to live among us, as the last and lowest, and most afflicted of men. ”There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows.” (Isa. iii. 2, 3.) He was a man of sorrows. Yes; for the life of Jesus Christ was full of sorrows. Virum dolorum. He was a man made on purpose to be tormented with sorrows. From his birth till his death, the life of our Redeemer was all full of sorrows.


8. And because he came on earth to gain our love, as he declared when he said “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled ?” (Luke xii. 49), he wished at the close of his life to give us the strongest marks and proofs of the love which he bears to us. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” (John xiii. 1.) Hence he not only humbled himself to death for us, but he also chose to die the most painful and opprobrious of all deaths. “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.) They who were crucified among the Jews, were objects of malediction and reproach to all. “He is accursed of God that hangeth on a tree.” (Deut. xxi. 23.) Our Redeemer wished to die the shameful death of the cross, in the midst of a tempest of ignominies and sorrows. “I am come into the depths of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.” (Ps. lxviii. 3.)

 
9. ”In this” says St. John, “we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us.” (1 John iii. 16.) And how could God give us a greater proof of his love than hy laying down his life for us? Or, how is it possible for us to behold a God dead on the cross for our sake, and not love him? “For the charity of Christ presseth us.” (2 Cor. v. 14.) By these words St. Paul tells us, that it is not so much what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our salvation, as the love which he has shown in suffering and dying for us, that obliges and compels us to love him. He has, as the same Apostle adds, died for all, that each of us may live no longer for himself, but only for that God who has given his life for the love of us. “Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 15.) And, to captivate our love, he has, after having given his life for us, left himself for the food of our souls. “Take ye and eat: this is my body.” (Matt. xxvi. 26.) Had not faith taught that he left himself for our food, who could ever believe it? But of the prodigy of divine love manifested in the holy sacrament, I shall speak on the second Sunday after Pentecost Let us pass to a brief consideration of the third point.

Third Point. On the love shown to us by the Holy Ghost in our sanctification.

10. The Eternal Father was not content with giving us his Son Jesus Christ, that he might save us by his death; he has also given us the Holy Ghost, that he may dwell in our souls, and that he may keep them always inflamed with holy love. In spite of all the injuries which he received on earth from men, Jesus Christ, forgetful of their ingratitude, after having ascended into heaven, sent us the Holy Ghost, that, by his holy flames, this divine spirit might kindle in our hearts the fire of divine charity, and sanctify our souls. Hence, when he descended on the apostles, he appeared in the form of tongues of fire. “And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire.” (Acts ii. 3.) Hence the Church prescribes the following prayer: ”We beseech thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may inflame us with that fire which the Lord Jesus Christ sent on the earth, and vehemently wished to be enkindled.” This is the holy fire which inflamed the saints with the desire of doing great things for God, which enabled them to love their most cruel enemies, to seek after contempt, to renounce all the riches and honours of the world, and even to embrace with joy torments and death.


11. The Holy Ghost is that divine bond which unites the Father with the Son; it is he that unites our souls, through love, with God. For, as St. Augustine says, an union with God is the effect of love. “Charity is a virtue which unites us with God.” The chains of the world are chains of death, but the bonds of the Holy Ghost are bonds of eternal life, because they bind us to God, who is our true and only life.

 
12. Let us also remember that all the lights, inspirations, divine calls, all the good acts which we have performed during our life, all our acts of contrition, of confidence in the divine mercy, of love, of resignation, have been the gifts of the Holy Ghost. ”Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.” (Rom. viii. 26.) Thus, it is the Holy Ghost that prays for us; for we know not what we ought to ask, but the Holy Spirit teaches us what we should pray for.

 
13. In a word, the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity have endeavoured to show the love which God has borne us, that we may love him through gratitude. “When,” says St. Bernard, ”God loves, he wishes only to be loved. ” It is, then, but just that we love that God who has been the first to love us, and to put us under so many obligations by so many proofs of tender love. “Let us, therefore, love God, because God first hath loved us.” (1 John iv. 19.) Oh! what a treasure is charity! it is an infinite treasure, because it makes us partakers of the friendship of God. ”She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God.” (Wis. vii. 14.) But, to acquire this treasure, it is necessary to detach the heart from earthly things. “Detach the heart from creatures,” says St. Teresa, “and you shall find God.” In a heart filled with earthly affections, there is no room for divine love. Let us therefore continually implore the Lord in our prayers, communions, and visits to the blessed sacrament, to give us his holy love; for this love will expel from our souls all affections for the things of this earth. ”When,” says St. Francis de Sales, ”a house is on fire, all that is within is thrown out through the windows.” By these words the saint meant, that when a soul is inflamed with divine love, she easily detaches herself from creatures: and Father Paul Segneri, the younger, used to say, that divine love is a thief that robs us of all earthly affections, and makes us exclaim: ”What, O my Lord, but thee alone, do I desire ?”

 14. ”Love is strong as death.” (Cant. viii. 6.) As no creature can resist death when the hour of dissolution arrives, so there is no difficulty which love, in a soul that loves God, does not overcome. When there is question of pleasing her beloved, love conquers all things: it conquers pains, losses, ignominies. ”Nihil tam durum quod non amoris igne vincatur.” This love made the martyrs, in the midst of torments, racks, and burning gridirons, rejoice, and thank God for enabling them to suffer for him: it made the other saints, when there was no tyrant to torment them, become, as it were, their own executioners, by fasts, disciplines, and penitential austerities. St. Augustine says, that in doing what one loves there is no labour, and if there be, the labour itself is loved. ”In eo quod amatur aut non laboratur, aut ipse labor amatur.”

The careful shepherd watches over Christ’s flock~St.Boniface

A letter by St Boniface
In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.

  The ancient fathers showed us how we should carry out this duty: Clement, Cornelius and many others in the city of Rome, Cyprian at Carthage, Athanasius at Alexandria. They all lived under emperors who were pagans; they all steered Christ’s ship – or rather his most dear spouse, the Church. This they did by teaching and defending her, by their labours and sufferings, even to the shedding of blood.

  I am terrified when I think of all this. Fear and trembling came upon me and the darkness of my sins almost covered me. I would gladly give up the task of guiding the Church which I have accepted if I could find such an action warranted by the example of the fathers or by holy Scripture.

  Since this is the case, and since the truth can be assaulted but never defeated or falsified, with our tired mind let us turn to the words of Solomon: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own prudence. Think on him in all your ways, and he will guide your steps. In another place he says: The name of the Lord is an impregnable tower. The just man seeks refuge in it and he will be saved.

  Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.

  Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful and he tells us: My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

  Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, let us die for the holy laws of our fathers, so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them.

  Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead let us be careful shepherds watching over Christ’s flock. Let us preach the whole of God’s plan to the powerful and to the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season, as Saint Gregory writes in his book of Pastoral Instruction.

On False Spiritual Peace~St.Dorotheus


The man who finds fault with himself accepts all things cheerfully – misfortune, loss, disgrace, dishonour and any other kind of adversity. He believes that he is deserving of all these things and nothing can disturb him. No one could be more at peace than this man.

  But perhaps you will offer me this objection: “Suppose my brother injures me, and on examining myself I find that I have not given him any cause. Why should I blame myself?”

  Certainly if someone examines himself carefully and with fear of God, he will never find himself completely innocent. He will see that he has given some provocation by an action, a word or by his manner. If he does find that he is not guilty in any of these ways, certainly he must have injured that brother somehow at some other time. Or perhaps he has been a source of annoyance to some other brother. For this reason he deserves to endure the injury because of many other sins that he has committed on other occasions.

  Someone else asks why he should accuse himself when he was sitting peacefully and quietly when a brother came upon him with an unkind or insulting word. He cannot tolerate it, and so he thinks that his anger is justified. If that brother had not approached him and said those words and upset him, he never would have sinned.

  This kind of thinking is surely ridiculous and has no rational basis. For the fact that he has said anything at all in this situation breaks the cover on the passionate anger within him, which is all the more exposed by his excessive anxiety. If he wished, he would do penance. He has become like a clean, shiny grain of wheat that, when broken, is full of dirt inside.

  The man who thinks that he is quiet and peaceful has within him a passion that he does not see. A brother comes up, utters some unkind word and immediately all the venom and mire that lie hidden within him are spewed out. If he wishes mercy, he must do penance, purify himself and strive to become perfect. He will see that he should have returned thanks to his brother instead of returning the injury, because his brother has proven to be an occasion of profit to him. It will not be long before he will no longer be bothered by these temptations. The more perfect he grows, the less these temptations will affect him. For the more the soul advances, the stronger and more powerful it becomes in bearing the difficulties that it meets.

Sermon on the Holy Spirit~ St.John Vianney 


O my children, how beautiful it is! The Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide…. Man by himself is nothing, but with the Holy Spirit he is very great. Man is all earthly and all animal; nothing but the Holy Spirit can elevate his mind, and raise it on high. Why were the saints so detached from the earth? Because they let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit have true ideas; that is the reason why so many ignorant people are wiser than the learned. When we are led by a God of strength and light, we cannot go astray.
The Holy Spirit is light and strength. He teaches us to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and between good and evil. Like glasses that magnify objects, the Holy Spirit shows us good and evil on a large scale. With the Holy Spirit we see everything in its true proportions; we see the greatness of the least actions done for God, and the greatness of the least faults. As a watchmaker with his glasses distinguishes the most minute wheels of a watch, so we, with the light of the Holy Spirit, distinguish all the details of our poor life. Then the smallest imperfections appear very great, the least sins inspire us with horror. That is the reason why the most Holy Virgin never sinned. The Holy Spirit made her understand the hideousness of sin; she shuddered with terror at the least fault.

Those who have the Holy Spirit cannot endure themselves, so well do they know their poor misery. The proud are those who have not the Holy Spirit.

Worldly people have not the Holy Spirit, or if they have, it is only for a moment. He does not remain with them; the noise of the world drives Him away. A Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit has no difficulty in leaving the goods of this world, to run after those of Heaven; he knows the difference between them. The eyes of the world see no further than this life, as mine see no further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity. To the man who gives himself up to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there seems to be no world; to the world there seems to be no God…. We must therefore find out by whom we are led. If it is not by the Holy Spirit, we labor in vain; there is no substance nor savor in anything we do. If it is by the Holy Spirit, we taste a delicious sweetness… it is enough to make us die of pleasure! Those who are led by the Holy Spirit experience all sorts of happiness in themselves, while bad Christians roll themselves on thorns and flints. A soul in which the Holy Spirit dwells is never weary in the presence of God; his heart gives forth a breath of love. Without the Holy Spirit we are like the stones on the road…. Take in one hand a sponge full of water, and in the other a little pebble; press them equally. Nothing will come out of the pebble, but out of the sponge will come abundance of water. The sponge is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, and the stone is the cold and hard heart which is not inhabited by the Holy Spirit.

A soul that possesses the Holy Spirit tastes such sweetness in prayer, that it finds the time always too short; it never loses the holy presence of God. Such a heart, before our good Savior in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, is a bunch of grapes under the wine press. The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and suggests words in the hearts of the just…. Those who have the Holy Spirit produce nothing bad; all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are good. Without the Holy Spirit all is cold; therefore, when we feel we are losing our fervor, we must instantly make a novena to the Holy Spirit to ask for faith and love…. See, when we have made a retreat or a jubilee, we are full of good desires: these good desires are the breath of the Holy Spirit, which has passed over our souls, and has renewed everything, like the warm wind which melts the ice and brings back the spring…. You who are not great saints, you still have many moments when you taste the sweetness of prayer and of the presence of God: these are visits of the Holy Spirit. When we have the Holy Spirit, the heart expands – bathes itself in divine love. A fish never complains of having too much water, neither does a good Christian ever complain of being too long with the good God. There are some people who find religion wearisome, and it is because they have not the Holy Spirit.

If the damned were asked: Why are you in Hell? they would answer: For having resisted the Holy Spirit. And if the saints were asked, Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: For having listened to the Holy Spirit. When good thoughts come into our minds, it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us. The Holy Spirit is a power. The Holy Spirit supported St. Simeon on his column; He sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love. The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, “You will accompany this man everywhere, and you will bring him back to me safe and sound.” How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit! He is indeed a good Guide; and to think that there are some who will not follow Him. The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Pans. We should only have to say “yes,” and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say “yes”!… Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven; we have only to say “yes,” and to let Him take us there.


The Holy Spirit is like a gardener cultivating our souls…. The Holy Spirit is our servant…. There is a gun; well you load it, but someone must fire it and make it go off…. In the same way, we have in ourselves the power of doing good… when the Holy Spirit gives the impulse, good works are produced. The Holy Spirit reposes in just souls like the dove in her nest. He brings out good desires in a pure soul, as the dove hatches her young ones. The Holy Spirit leads us as a mother leads by the hand her child of two years old, as a person who can see leads one who is blind.

The Sacraments which Our Lord instituted would not have saved us without the Holy Spirit. Even the death of Our Lord would have been useless to us without Him. Therefore Our Lord said to His Apostles, “It is good for you that I should go away; for if I did not go, the Consoler would not come.” The descent of the Holy Spirit was required, to render fruitful that harvest of graces. It is like a grain of wheat – you cast it into the ground; yes, but it must have sun and rain to make it grow and come into ear. We should say every morning, “O God, send me Your Spirit to teach me what I am and what You are.”

St.Louis de Montfort~Apostle of Mary

Between the years 1399 and 1419, a holy Dominican missionary from Brittany traveled throughout western Europe on foot, converting souls to the Faith and teaching the necessity of penance. This was the great “Apostle of the Last Judgment,” Saint Vincent Ferrer. Once, while preaching at La Cheze in France, he came upon the old chapel of Our Lady of Pity that had long since fallen into ruin through total disuse and neglect. Saddened by the pitiful sight and the thought of the heartless disregard that had caused it, Saint Vincent foretold that the chapel “will be restored by a man whom the Almighty will bring into the world at a distant date. He will appear as a stranger, will be insulted and balked, but he will achieve his purpose.”

That man did come to La Cheze, almost exactly three hundred years later. He too was a Breton who, like his early herald, tirelessly traveled on foot. And like another saint, Alexis, he lived as a beggar, sleeping under staircases or in open fields. Like Saint Bernardine of Siena, he was a powerfully compelling preacher; like Saint Bonaventure, a brilliant theologian; like Saint Vincent de Paul, he loved God’s poor; and like Saint Francis of Assisi, nursed the diseased. He was, in fact, so much like many of the great saints in their special virtues that he indeed was a very special saint himself. He was Saint Louis Marie de Montfort.

The Early Years

The name Jean Baptiste Grignion was well respected in his community. He was Crown lawyer of Montfort and the Parliament, as well as treasurer to the factory of St. Jean. Typical of country gentlemen of the time, Monsieur Grignion was a man of recognized position and no money. But he and his wife, Jeanne Robert, were rich in other treasures, for as many as eleven of their eighteen children became saints. Ten were taken into Heaven in infancy. The other, the greatest of the Grignion saints, was born on January 31, 1673. On the following day he was baptized and given the name Louis Marie.

Monsieur Grignion was known for his fiery temper which, with the hardships of raising a large family in near poverty, found frequent occasions to be vented. Young Louis, we are told, not only was often the victim of his father’s explosiveness, but also inherited the trait. In fact, he confessed in later years that his most difficult struggle against passions of the flesh was in subduing his violent temper.

Be that as it may, those who knew him in life only witnessed remarkable docility in his nature. Rather than human weaknesses, Louis Marie displayed extraordinary qualities of virtue, even from the early age of four years. “This angelic boy,” Pere de Cloriviere recalled, would console his mother “by words so full of unction and so beyond all material knowledge he would have, that it seemed as if the Spirit of God Himself gave them to him.” Apostolic zeal also was fully evident in his childhood, by his teaching catechism to other children and encouraging their devotion to the Blessed Virgin. For he himself had such strong devotion to his “good Mother” that he would spend hours at a time in the chapel praying to her. In childlike simplicity, he would lay before her all his spiritual and temporal needs, confident that he then had done everything necessary to obtain them.

The boy’s maternal uncle was the Abbe Robert, who said of him, “He showed such a horror of vice and such an inclination to virtue, that you would have thought him immune from Adam’s sin.” Indeed, a close friend of Louis Marie de Montfort, Jean Baptiste Blain, relates this example: “His whole childhood was spent in the most wonderful innocence. He knew so little of what may tarnish purity that when I was speaking to him one day of temptations against that virtue, he told me that he did not know what they were.” But he did know what would violate purity. He once found in his father’s library a book containing what he considered to be indecent illustrations. Monsieur Montfort saw nothing wrong with the pictures, for he did not have the boy’s sensitive conscience. Louis threw the book into the fire, knowing full well that his father would be outraged.

An exceptionally brilliant student, Louis was twelve when he entered St. Thomas’s, a Jesuit college in Rennes where schooling was given free to an enrollment of some three thousand students. The devout Jesuits at the college exercised an edifying influence on their pious student. After their example, and out of his own unbounded charity, he eagerly denoted himself to the care of the poor and the infirm. It was here also that he began his lifelong practice of rigorous penance and mortification with scourges, chains, hairshirts, and fastings. And it was here too that he received his vocation to the priesthood.


But to Louis Marie Grignion the priesthood meant much more than a vocation; it was to be total servitude and self-sacrifice to God. So in his priestly calling, he gave himself entirely to Jesus through Mary, vowing never to hold any personal possessions. Upon setting out for the Seminary of Saint Sulpice at Paris, for example, he promptly gave to some needy soul the ten crowns provided him for the trip and traded his new suit for a beggar’s rags. Moreover, he chose to make the seven-hundred-mile journey on foot, begging for his food along the way. So complete was his abandonment of worldly attachments that he even gave up his family name, to be known simply as Louis Marie of Montfort.

Since he was never one to voice even the slightest complaint, we learn only from classmates that Louis Marie’s attendance at Saint Sulpice was a punishing experience. For while he performed brilliantly in his studies, the young saint continually found his pious exercises under suspicion and criticism. Such practices as his visits to the chapel before and after every class, his spontaneous conversations with the Blessed Virgin wherever he came upon one of her statues, his acts of grueling mortification, and his forming an “absurd” association called “Slaves of Jesus in Mary” — all were jeered at and treated with scorn. Even his confessor and the superior suspected Louis of spiritual pride and tried, by every conceivable kind of humiliation, to break him down, but with no success.



His Works

In the year 1700, when Father de Montfort was ordained, the Church in France never seemed healthier, by physical appearances. There were over 100,000 ecclesiastics in the country, 130 bishops, more than l,000 abbeys, and “a veritable galaxy” of lesser monasteries. All the great Orders, as well as forty-two new religious congregations founded in the previous century, were flourishing there. Paris alone, whose population was just half a million, boasted forty six parishes, ten seminaries, eleven abbeys, one hundred religious communities, and twenty-six Catholic hospitals. All of which prosperity certainly would indicate that the Faith in France was vigorously alive and well. So often it is found, however, that the Church outwardly may never look healthier as an institution than when she is being ravaged internally by the malignant growth of error and heresy. And we usually discover in those instances that the root cause of the contradiction is a disproportionate attention having been placed on material endowment, to the tragic neglect of spiritual growth.

In this case, the body of the French Church had become critically undernourished through the spiritual ignorance of both the people and much of the clergy. Thus she was rendered dangerously susceptible to the three-fold disease that attacked her, in the forms of Protestantism, Gallicanism, and Jansenism. By far the most contagious and destructive of the three was Jansenism, a condemned heresy which not only refused to acknowledge its separation from the Holy Church, but maintained an audacious pretension of rigid Catholic orthodoxy. Though anything but orthodox, its doctrines certainly were rigid. In general, they placed Divine mercy and grace so far from the reach of all but the holiest souls that even the most ordinary human frailties were cause to despair of hope for forgiveness and salvation. With the extensive but subtle spread of this cold poison, vast multitudes were encouraged to withdraw from the Communion rail, believing their confessed unworthiness to receive Our Lord was a greater act of Christian humility. Hence they denied themselves of the most magnificent Gift that God, in His sublime condescension, so eagerly offered to mankind for its salvation — Himself. Many priests would even allow the faithful to die without the Sacraments. And, of course, devotion to the Merciful Heart of Jesus was considered to be a sin of presumption. To the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a sin of idolatry.

Meanwhile, with the Church in France now functioning in a spirit of political ambition instead of filial submission, many bishops demanded to be recognized as having an authority equal to that of the Bishop of Rome — which is the essence of Gallicanism. To defend their brazen defiance of the Pope, therefore, they sought refuge in an alliance with Jansenism, and thus heresy, being an expedient to personal power, gained protection and momentum from the ambitions of the hierarchy.

Small wonder, then, that Montfort, the obedient slave and champion of the Sovereign Queen of Heaven, found little favor in his native country. On the contrary, Jansenism had become so widespread that this holy priest, for the sixteen years from his ordination to his death, was to enjoy a life whose most conspicuous routine was enduring ridicule, humiliation, slander, threats, contradiction, interdiction, and ostracism. And we do mean “enjoy.” Saint Louis Marie loved nothing more than to suffer calumnies and persecution for his Master Who said: “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” He prayed constantly for such crosses, in fact, and accordingly was blessed with an abundance of them. For he was repetitiously driven by his enemies from one diocese to another — from Nantes to Poitiers, to Angers, to Orleans, to Tours, to Paris, to Rennes, to Rouen, and back, again and again — in triumphant persecution.

Temporal enemies were not the only antagonists of the holy man. In Poitiers, cries and sounds of desperate struggles were heard coming from his room on several occasions. Once he had been seen dragging himself on his hands and knees, pleading, “O Mother of God, help me!” His assailant was Satan, as was confirmed in a letter written by Saint Louis Marie From Paris, saying, “Men and devils make war on me in this great city….”

But aside from sufferings, there are volumes of other details that comprise the monumental story of this remarkable man. An imposing figure of amazing strength and limitless energy, Saint Louis Marie de Montfort performed a variety of outstanding works that would stagger a hundred other men of zeal, as may be discerned from the following selective and extremely condensed accounts.

After ordination, it was a year before Louis finally obtained permission to preach. Conducting his first missions at Poitiers (where he also performed his first miracle by curing a blind man) his efforts were eminently successful, producing countless moral conversions. So completely had he captured the affections of the poor that they begged the bishop to give “kind Father de Montfort” a more definite assignment amongst them. Consequently, he was made chaplain of a local hospital — a poorhouse governed in chaos, abuse, and neglect. Animated as Louis was by great love for the poor, he labored tirelessly to comfort the wretchedly afflicted inmates, denying his own needs to allow better portions for the patients.


Trouble, as usual, was not long catching up to Louis Marie. Revolutionary reforms he had instituted at the hospital disgruntled certain staff workers who had an aversion to doing honest work, but none to misrepresenting their saintly chaplain as a tyrannical madman. Added to this, his habit of living and dressing like a beggar made him the subject of incessant community gossip. Then too, there was the “scandalous” incident concerning Marie Louise Trichet, daughter of a prominent and wealthy Crown lawyer. Under Montfort’s spiritual direction, she too took to a life of poverty, devoting herself, as Saint Louis’ first Daughter of Wisdom, to caring for the poor. Both the community and the family of this holy girl were shocked. Other unjust complaints continued to mount against the poor priest, until the bishop at last forbade him to say Mass. Louis then moved on.

The Poitiers affair typifies so many in Montfort’s life that it establishes the routine: always inflamed with dedication to his priestly duty, and always rewarded in the same cruel way — ostracism. Wherever he went he found that only his undeserved reputation had preceded him, so that invariably he was greeted with suspicion and contempt. But unfailingly he would leave behind him miracles, conversions, and fervent devotions which remained for generations as living landmarks of the route he had taken.

Journeying on foot to Paris, he arrived in 1704 at another hospital where he found that spiritual formation of most of the five thousand impoverished inmates had never progressed beyond the baptismal font — this, despite the presence of twenty-three priests attending them. Entering as an assistant chaplain, Father de Montfort, through his Christ-like manner of tenderly treating both the physical and spiritual afflictions of his poor patients, portrayed a compelling day-to-day sermon. He would cleanse their wounds at the same time that he washed the defilements of their souls with absolution, like Him Who said: “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but they who are sick. For I have not come to call the just, but sinners.” Such eloquence of mercy, however, was certain to excite Jansenist retaliation. Coming to dinner one evening, the saint found a note of dismissal on his plate.

Montfort returned to the hospital at Poitiers and remained there a year before difficulties again forced his departure. He was, however, permitted to preach in outlying towns — filthy slums of degeneracy where the sight of a priest aroused bitter hatred. In time he worked so complete a conversion of these villages that evening Rosary devotions and processions became a way of life for all. Chapels were restored; saloons were converted into Rosary shrines; bonfires were built for burning impure books and pictures, confessions were heard in unending numbers; miracles were performed; people’s courts were convened under “Magistrate” Montfort for resolving disputes; and a hospital for incurables was begun. But, as always, someone in a position of power resented these spectacular achievements, and the missioner of mercy was summarily expelled from the diocese.

Apostle of France



Several years now had passed and Saint Louis still had no more idea of what his specific service to God was to be than he had on the day he was ordained. At least three times he had tried to devote his life to the poor and had met obstacles. Then too, he had always wanted to work in foreign missions, while at the same time he confessed an attraction to the contemplative life. Since his only reply from hierarchical superiors was hindrance rather than help, he decided to seek the counsel of the Pope. Walking a thousand miles to Rome, resting only at the Holy House of Loreto, he was granted an audience with His Holiness on June 6, 1706. Clement XI intuitively sensed beyond the humble appearance of the beggar priest before him that here was a man of extraordinary sanctity. The Pope, assuring Louis Marie that there was more than enough work for him in France, appointed him as Apostolic Missioner.

Returning home now fully confident that God’s Will had been revealed to him through the Vicar of Christ, Montfort joined the famous missionary company of Father Leuduger and spent eight months with him evangelizing the northeast provinces of France. It was during this time that the indefatigable slave of Our Lady fulfilled Saint Vincent’s prophecy, rebuilding the ruined church at La Cheze while somehow continuing uninterruptedly to conduct a major mission. His miracles throughout this period were numerous and included, besides many cures, several instances of his multiplying fragments of food during a time of famine to feed the throngs of beggars that regularly surrounded him. But these and countless other spectacular blessings disturbed the humble priest, inasmuch as they were not balanced with the usual measure of crosses. Fearing that spiritual pride might overtake him, he greatly intensified his acts of mortification — so much so that his confessor had to intervene and order that he lighten the terrible sufferings he inflicted on himself.

Difficulties did not long fail to arise, however, for some misunderstanding provoked the dismissal of Saint Louis by Father Leuduger, who later was to regret the decision. Montfort hereafter was on his own as the Pope’s Apostolic Missioner, joined only by religious brothers recruited for his small Company of Mary and occasionally assisted by other missionary priests. His successful work continued in the northern diocese of Saint Malo until its heretical bishop drove him away to Nantes, a seething cauldron of Jansenism. One of the more extraordinary phenomena associated with Saint Louis Marie de Montfort occurred here. A young girl, later to become the superior of a hospital, daily had been traveling a great distance to attend one of his missions. She arrived one day only to realize that she had forgotten to bring food for her return trip. As she sat tearfully on the church steps, exhausted, hungry, and too shy to ask for help, there suddenly appeared “a beautiful lady who, with an indescribably graceful gesture, offered her a piece of bread, saying gently, ‘Take this, my child, and eat it.’ A moment later she disappeared.”

It was here also that a group of about a dozen thugs brutally attacked Montfort, intending to beat him to death. This was the second attempt on his life, and like the first it was unsuccessful. Underestimating the humble saint’s might, the assailants soon found themselves in fear for their own lives and quickly retreated.

His work in Nantes continued, bringing with it many conversions and effectively dispersing much of the stifling atmosphere of Jansenism. Miracles abounded as well. For example, barren soil where his foot had trod, soon issued healthy harvests. And there were several reported apparitions of Our Lady to simple peasants following his missions. But again his accomplishments thus far were devoid of the crosses desired by Louis Marie — an “oversight” soon to be corrected.

The saint long since had adopted the practice of erecting impressively large Calvary scenes at the close of his missions. The grandest that he had ever undertaken was the Calvary at Pontchateau, thirty miles distant from Nantes. Though work on it had already begun, Louis remained doubtful about the site chosen for it and interrupted construction long enough to assemble his crew in the chapel to pray for Our Lady’s guidance. When work resumed, two doves were observed gathering dirt in their bills, flying away, and returning repeatedly for more. Discovering that the destination of the winged excavators was the highest point in Pontchateau, Montfort immediately recognized this sign from the Blessed Mother and relocated his operation. (Thirty-six years earlier, crosses were seen to descend from heaven amidst a great noise and singing and to suspend over this very spot — on the same day that Saint Louis Marie was born.) Before long, news of the tremendous project had traveled so far that pilgrimages of men and women of every station in life came from all over Europe to lend their generous help in hauling an estimated 300,000 cubic feet of earth which was to constitute the sprawling seventy-foot-high mount. The undertaking continued through a hard winter for fifteen months, during which time not only did many miracles of the usual variety occur, but “a woman of unearthly beauty” was seen appearing to Montfort on several occasions. Surmounted with three huge crosses — one fifty feet tall — and surrounded by an elaborate Rosary and gardens representing Eden and Gethsemane, the Calvary of Pontchateau was completed in 1710. Then came what had to be the most bitter heartbreak in the life of Saint Louis Marie.

One of his enemies, wielding considerable influence among government authorities, seeded the suspicion that the enormous shrine, which was to be solemnly blessed on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, could be used as a military stronghold by foreign powers warring on France. On the eve of the Feast, Father de Montfort received orders from the bishop prohibiting the blessing. Shortly afterwards the Calvary masterpiece, hill and all, was completely leveled. True, Saint Louis had prophesied that his beautiful Passion site, which had been so clearly blessed by Our Lady, would be destroyed and rebuilt twice before it would survive for the ages. But he had no idea that the first demolition would come so soon. His response, however, shows with what incomparable confidence this magnificent soul was resigned to God’s Will in that bitter trial: “Blessed be God! It was His glory I sought, not mine. I hope He will accept the gift I intended for Him, as though I had had it to give.”

Clouds of ecclesiastical censure finally parted in 1711 for the Breton priest. He was invited to work in the diocese of La Rochelle and from then on was able to preach an almost unbroken succession of missions with the wholehearted support of Bishop Champflour, a determined foe of heresy. Henceforth we find that his ordinary month-to-month activities — if we dare speak of miracles, mass conversions, and all other remarkable works performed by him as being “ordinary” — were redundantly routine right up to the time of his early death.

Yet while assured of the bishop’s staunch backing, Saint Louis had no relief from the hateful torments to which he had become so well accustomed. Much to the contrary, both Jansenism and Calvinism proved mighty forces to be contended with in the La Rochelle district. To illustrate, several attempts on his life by now already had been made, and fortunately — sometimes miraculously — he had escaped them all. But when he converted two of this city’s most prominent and vocal Protestants — one of whom entered a convent of Poor Clares — Calvinist rage could not be quieted. Threats were made against both the converts and Louis Marie. Frequently the great priest was greeted with a hail of stones, and more frequently with cries of “Kill Montfort!” One evening a powerful dose of poison was administered to his broth. Though he swallowed but a mouthful before noticing the deadly presence, the wicked deed was accomplished. Saint Louis did not die immediately from the poison, but the solution was so concentrated that even the small amount of a spoonful ravaged and gravely undermined his once robust health, and the slow, agonizing process of death was begun.

The usual suspicions were awaiting the saint in every new town along his path, and of course he won out over them in his usual fashion. A good example is his mission work at La Garnache. Montfort gained so many ardent followers there that a procession consisting of almost the entire village escorted him on to Sallertaine, the next stop on his crowded itinerary, where in contrast only a wary and hostile mob awaited him. But upon his approach to the church its doors, which had been barred against him, miraculously burst open. Needless to say, the inhabitants of Sallertaine in turn were hastily converted to deep admiration of the saint.

Though most of the time in the few years left for him was spent in the diocese of La Rochelle, Saint Louis Marie continued to make excursions to whatever places in France poor souls could be found. But then not always in such places was there even that token of good will by which the residents could benefit from his presence. On his third and final visit to Rennes, for example, his evangelizing was met only with stubborn obstinacy. Heart broken, he wrote in a farewell poem that a curse was upon the city and warned of its destruction. Five years later, most of Rennes was razed by a fire which raged for ten days.

Nothing could discourage him. He was asked to preach a mission on the Island of Yeu. England and France at the time were at war, and the waters he would have to cross were thick with English pirates. Warned of this, Montfort responded: “By all means, let us go. If the martyrs had been as timid as we are, they never would have received their palms.” While making passage, a miracle saved him and his company only a moment before two English warships could overtake them. Today a large boulder at the base of a steep hill gives testimony to the great saint’s arrival on the Island of Yeu. It had once been at the top of that hill, occupying the spot where Saint Louis decided to erect a Calvary cross. Several men had tried unsuccessfully to budge what the Breton priest dislodged with a touch.

The years of endless work and rigorous mortifications, combined with the severe effects of the poison, ultimately reduced his once strong frame to a pitifully gaunt and badly suffering hulk. It was the year 1716 and his end now was visibly in sight. By this time he already had founded his religious congregations, the Daughters of Wisdom and the Company of Mary. Moreover, he had left a legacy of devotion to the Blessed Virgin that was to survive, and in fact to help defeat, the Satanic Terror of the French Revolution — that evil precursor of Communist barbarity. What more could be asked of him? In his own mind, much. This incredible slave redoubled his labors, hoping to regain all the more souls for his “good Mother” and Her Divine Son right up to the moment he drew his last breath.

Somehow Saint Louis managed a new burst of energy from that wretched body which already looked fit for the grave. On Palm Sunday he began a mission at St. Laurent-sur-Sevre; it was to be his last. Leaving the pulpit one day, he was at the point of collapsing and had to take to his bed. His confessor ordered that the straw and the rock-pillow on which the holy man normally slept be replaced with a mattress. Louis reluctantly but obediently submitted and was given the Last Rites. Yet he insisted on receiving the many followers who wanted one last blessing from their beloved saint.

For several days he lay there dying with a statue of the Blessed Virgin in one arm and the indulgenced crucifix given him by Pope Clement XI in the other. He gave his last will and testament, asking that his heart be buried “under the steps of the altar of the Blessed Virgin.” On the following day, April 28, 1716, Satan made a final desperate bid, to which Saint Louis retorted loudly, “You attack me in vain; I stand between Jesus and Mary. I have finished my course. I shall sin no more.” With that the soul of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort was taken into Heaven. And his entire body was laid to rest beneath the altar of the Queen he loved so much.

His Teachings


There is a dual aspect to the glorious career of every saint. One, the most obvious, is that of the achievements realized in his own time, and the other is that of the benefits with which later ages have been abundantly blessed as the result of his holy works. But it is from the illustrious saint from Montfort that we see these characteristics beam forth most luminously. In fact, it well may be said that Louis Marie is even more a saint for our age than for his own. As he was an apostle to an unfaithful France of the eighteenth century, through his preaching and his works of mercy, so he is all the more the Apostle to a faithless world of the latter times, through his writings and his prophecies.

As a preacher he taught a simple people with simple lessons. Since the poor of France could not read, he gave them a treasure of humble yet beautiful poems and hymns by which they learned and long sustained their childlike faith. But as the Apostle of all later ages he presents a striking contrast in his teaching facilities.

Biographers, being mindful of his spiritual appetite for humiliation, affectionately describe Saint Louis Marie de Montfort as a holy “fool.” Fitting as the description may seem to be in that sense, it is in no way meant to imply that his mental faculties were deficient. On the contrary, he was a brilliant theologian. Indeed, we dare say that Holy Mother may one day confer upon him the honored title of Church Doctor, owing to the outstanding theological expositions given in his flawless writings.

Saint Louis Marie wrote five significant compositions, all of which are still in wide circulation even today. They are Love Of The Eternal Wisdom, Friends Of The Cross, True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin, The Secret Of Mary, and The Secret Of The Rosary. Georges Rigault aptly summarizes these works, observing, “Three words cover the gist of his teaching: Wisdom, the Cross, the Virgin — words which belong to each other: No Wisdom outside the Cross and without the aid of the Virgin.”

Wisdom here does not mean sagacity in the natural sense. Rather, it means “Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary.” Saint Louis Marie writes, “To know Jesus Christ, the Eternal Wisdom, is to know enough. To know everything and not know Him is to know nothing. . . . A thousand times happier is the man into whose soul Wisdom has come to dwell. . . . To acquire Wisdom we must seek Him ardently, that is, we must be willing to abandon all, to suffer all, and to undertake all things in order to possess Him. There are but few who find Him because there are but few who seek Him in a manner worthy of Him.”

Hence he teaches the necessity of the Cross: “Born in the sorrowful Heart of the Saviour, [a friend of the Cross] comes into the world through His right side, stained with His Blood; he never forgets his birth and crosses, death to the world, the flesh, and sin are all he lives for, that even in this world he may be hid with Christ in God. . . . [He] triumphs over the devil, the world, and the flesh and their three-fold concupiscence. He overthrows the pride of Satan by his love for humiliation, he triumphs over the world’s greed by his love for poverty, and he restrains the sensuality of the flesh by his love for suffering.”

But the surest, the easiest, the happiest, the most perfect way to Jesus Christ is through Mary. And this brings us to the great genius of Saint Louis Marie in explaining Our Lady’s role in the redemption of mankind. In his treatise on True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin, he wrote, “It is through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he has to reign in the world. . . . It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated. . . . Devotion to Our Blessed Lady is necessary for salvation. . . . He who has not Mary for his Mother has not God for his Father.

“It is necessary for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known. . . . Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might, and in grace in these later times: 1 in mercy to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans, Jews, and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God. . .; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ who shall battle for His interests.

“But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem . . . and persecuted as the heel is by other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly.”

Who shall these servants, slaves, and children of Mary be? The saint answers himself: “They shall be the ministers of the Lord who, like a burning fire, shall kindle the fire of divine love everywhere.” And “they shall be ‘like sharp arrows in the hand of the powerful’ Mary to pierce her enemies.”

How does one become a slave of the Blessed Virgin? The easiest way is by first carefully studying True Devotion, for which Pope Saint Pius X granted an Apostolic Benediction. (The original English translation by Father Frederick W. Faber is the best.) Then by confidently making, and faithfully living by, the following Act of Consecration to the Mother of God, composed by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort:In the presence of all the Heavenly Court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, to the greatest glory of God, in time and in eternity.

Source:catholicism.org

Quotes of St.Louis de Montfort



“Have you strayed from the path leading to heaven? Then call on Mary, for her name means “Star of the Sea, the North Star which guides the ships of our souls during the voyage of this life,” and she will guide you to the harbor of eternal salvation.”

“God the Father has communicated to Mary His fruitfulness, as far as a mere creature was capable of it, in order that He might give her the power to produce His Son, and all the members of His mystical body.”

“The works of Jesus and Mary can also be called wonderful flowers; but their perfume and beauty can only be appreciated by those who study them carefully—and who open them and drink in their scent by diligent and sincere meditation.”


“If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ, we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil; but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary, necessary for us—as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter—as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, of serving Him faithfully.”

“In order to rid ourselves of self, we must die ourselves daily. That is to say, we must renounce the operations of the powers of our soul and the senses of our body. We must see as if we saw not, understand as if we understood not, and make use of the things of this world as if we made no use of them at all (1 Cor. 7:29-31). This is what St. Paul calls dying daily (1 Cor. 15:31). “Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone,” and bringeth forth no good fruit (Jn. 12:24-25).”

“three steps to climb to go to God: the first, which is the nearest to us, and the most suited to our capacity, is Mary; the second is Jesus Christ; and the third is God the Father. To go to Jesus, we must go to Mary; she is our mediatrix of intercession.”


“There have been some saints, but they have been in small numbers, who have walked upon this sweet path to go to Jesus, because the Holy Ghost, faithful Spouse of Mary, by a singular grace disclosed it to them. Such were St. Ephrem, St. John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis de Sales, and others. But the rest of the saints, who are the greater number, although hall all had devotion to our Blessed Lady, nevertheless have either not at all, or at least very little, entered upon this way. That is why they have had to pass through ruder and more dangerous trials.”

“Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.”


“Both Saint Bernard and Saint Bonaventure say that the Queen of Heaven is certainly no less grateful and conscientious than gracious and well-mannered people of this world. Just as she excels in all other perfections, she surpasses us all in the virtue of gratitude; so she would never let us honor her with love and respect without repaying us one hundred fold. Saint Bonaventure says that Mary will greet us with grace if we greet her with the Hail Mary.”

“One and the same mother does not bring forth into the world the head without the members, nor the members without the head; for this would be a monster of nature. So in like manner, in the order of grace, the Head and the members are born of one and the same Mother; and if a member of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ—that is to say, one of the predestinate—was born of any other mother than Mary, who has produced the Head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but simply a monster in the order of grace.”


“Saint Dominic has divided up the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady into fifteen mysteries which stand for their virtues and their most important actions. These are the fifteen tableaux ; or pictures whose every detail must rule and inspire our lives.”

“O sweet Jesus, may every good feeling that is fitted for Thy praise, love Thee, delight in Thee, admire Thee. God of my heart and my Portion, Christ Jesus, may my heart faint away in spirit and mayest Thou be my life within me! may the live coal of Thy love grow hot within my spirit, and break forth into a perfect fire; may it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart; may it glow in my innermost being; may it blaze in hidden recesses of my soul; and in the day of my consummation, may I be found consummated with Thee. Amen.”


“By the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva), I learned that in His infinite power God had preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery which the first woman had been subject to. “The name Mary which means ‘lady of light’ shows that God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up Heaven and earth. “The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix. “When people say The Lord is with thee they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb. “When you say to me blessed art thou among women I praise Almighty God’s Divine mercy which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness. “And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of Heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind.”

“Now, if the Councils, the Fathers, and even experience show us that the best means of remedying the irregularities of Christians is by making them call to mind the obligations of their Baptism, and persuading them to renew the vows they made then, is it not only right that we should do it in a perfect manner, by this devotion and consecration of ourselves to Our Lord through His holy Mother? I say “in a perfect manner,” because in thus consecrating ourselves to Him, we make use of the most perfect of all means, namely, the Blessed Virgin.”

“To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin.”


“I have just said that to say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace “or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin;” first of all, because, if it were true that God only heard the prayers of those in a state of grace it would follow that people in a state of mortal sin should not pray at all. This is an erroneous teaching which has been condemned by Holy Mother Church, because of course sinners need to pray far more than good people do. Were this horrible doctrine true it would then be useless and futile to tell a sinner to say all, or even part of his Rosary, because it would never help him.”

“TO pray well, it is not enough to give expression to our petitions by means of that most excellent of all prayers, the Rosary, but we must also pray with real concentration for God listens more to the voice of the heart than that of the mouth. To be guilty of willful distractions during prayer would show a great lack of respect and reverence; it would make our Rosaries fruitless and would make us guilty of sin. How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves do not pay attention to what we are saying? How can we expect Him to be pleased if, while in the presence of His tremendous Majesty, we give in to distractions just as children run after butterflies? People who do this forfeit Almighty God’s blessings which are then changed into curses because they have been praying disrespectfully. “Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord”

“Among Catholics those who bear the mark of God’s reprobation think but little of the rosary (whether that of five decades of fifteen). They either fail to say it or only say it very quickly and in a lukewarm manner.”

“Let us recall here, as a proof of the dependence we ought to have on our Blessed Lady, what I have said above in bringing forward the example which the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost give of this dependence. The Father has not given, and does not give, His Son, except by her; He has no children but by here, and communicates no graces but through her. The Son has not been formed for the whole world in general, except by her; and He merits and His virtues except through her.”


“All the gifts, virtues and graces of the Holy Ghost are distributed by Mary, to whom she wishes, when she wishes, the way wishes and as much as she wishes.”

“She embellishes our works, adorning them with her own merits and virtues. It is as if a peasant, wishing to gain the friendship and benevolence of the king, went to the queen and presented her with a fruit which was his whole revenue, in order that she might present it to the king. The queen, having accepted the poor little offering from the peasant, would place the fruit on a large and beautiful dish of gold, and so, on the peasant’s behalf, would present it to the king. Then the fruit, however unworthy in itself to be a king’s present, would become worthy of his majesty because of the dish of gold on which it rested and the person who presented it.”

“It is an easy way. It is the way which Jesus Christ Himself trod in coming to us, and in which there is no obstacle in reaching Him. It is true that we can attain divine union by other roads; but it is by many more crosses and strange deaths, and with many more difficulties, which we shall find it hard to overcome. We must pass through obscure nights, through combats, through strange agonies, over craggy mountains, through cruel thorns and over frightful deserts. But by the path of Mary we pass more gently and more tranquilly.”


“At this point, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, accompanied by three Angels of heaven, and she said: “My dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity has used to reform the world?” “My Lady,” replied St. Dominic, “you know better than I because next to your Son Jesus Christ you were the chief instrument of our salvation.” Our Lady added: “I want you to know that the principal means has been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation of the New Testament. That is why, if you want to win these hardened hearts for God, preach my Psalter.” The Saint arose, comforted. Filled”

“Vatican Council II (1962–1965): ‘The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. All her saving influence on men originates not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it.’ . . . ‘The practices and exercises of devotion to her recommended by the Church in the course of the centuries [are to] be treasured.’ (Lumen Gentium: 60, 67).”

“God the Father made an assemblage of all the waters and He named it the sea (mare). He made an assemblage of all His graces and he called it Mary (Maria). This great God has a most rich treasury in which He has laid up all that He has of beauty and splendour, or rarity and preciousness, including even His own Son: and this immense treasury is none other than Mary, whom the saints have named the Treasure of the Lord, out of whose plenitude all men are made rich.”

“It is by her that He applies His merits to His members, and that He communicates His virtues, and distributes His graces. She is His Mysterious canal; she is His aqueduct, through which He makes His mercies flow gently and abundantly.”


“When we read then in the writings of Sts. Bernard, Bernadine, Bonaventure and others that in Heaven and on earth everything, even God Himself, is subject to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority which God has been well pleased to give her is so great that it seems as if she had the same power as God; and that her prayers and petitions are so powerful with God that they always pass for commandments with His Majesty, who never resists the prayer of His dear Mother, because she is always humble and conformed to His will.”

“In a word, we know that they shall be true disciples of Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of His poverty, humility, contempt of the world, charity; teaching the narrow way of God in pure truth, according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world; troubling themselves about nothing; not accepting persons; sparing, fearing and listening to no mortal, however influential he may be. They shall have in their mouths the two-edged sword of the Word of God. They shall carry on their shoulders the bloody standard of the Cross, the Crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, the sacred Names of Jesus and Mary in their hearts, and the modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their own behavior.”

“infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin;”

“She is so intimately united with Thee that it were easier to separate the light from the sun, the heat from the fire; nay, it were easier to separate from Thee all the angels and the saints than the divine Mary, because she loves Thee more ardently and glorifies Thee more perfectly than all the other creatures put together.”

“All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father.”

“Mary is the fruitful Virgin, and in all the souls in which she comes to dwell she causes to flourish purity of heart and body, rightness of intention and abundance of good works. Do not imagine that Mary, the most fruitful of creatures who gave birth to a God, remains barren in a faithful soul. It will be she who makes the soul live incessantly for Jesus Christ, and will make Jesus live in the soul”


If we do not risk anything for God we will never do anything great for Him.”

Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance.

If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.

Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.

The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you.

She [Mother Mary] is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say “Mary” she says ‘God’.

We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor!

How different are theirs from ours! Their roses are pleasures of the flesh, worldly honours and passing riches which wilt and decay in no time, but ours, which are the Our Father and Hail Mary which we have said devoutly over and over again, and to which we have added good penitential acts, will never wilt or die, and they will be just as exquisite thousands of years from now as they are today.’

‘You must expect then to be shaped, cut and chiseled under the hammer of the Cross, otherwise you would remain unpolished stone, of no value at all, to be disregarded and cast aside. Do not cause the hammer to recoil when it strikes you. Yield to the chisel that is carving you and the hand that is shaping you.’


Prayers of St.Louis de Montfort


St. Louis De Montfort’s Prayer to Mary


Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father! Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son! Hail Mary, faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost! Hail Mary, my dear Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign! Hail my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul! Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am all thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine. I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou still seest in me anything which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and to make thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine. Destroy in me all that may be displeasing to God, root it up and bring it to nought; place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee.

May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination; may thy continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine; may thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine to know Jesusand His divine will; that I may have no other soul but thine to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but thine to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotion or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly; it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the righthand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons; it is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou willest.

Such is, O heavenly Mary, the “best part,” which the Lord has given thee and which shall never be taken away from thee–and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was thine: to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures; to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite; and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death as the humblest of thy servants. The only grace I beg thee to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say: Amen, So be it–to all that thou didst do while on earth; Amen, so be it–to all that thou art now doing in Heaven; Amen, so be it–to all that thou art doing in my soul, so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen.

St.Louis de Montfort’s Prayer to Jesus


O most loving Jesus, deign to let me pour forth my gratitude before Thee, for the grace Thou hast bestowed upon me in giving me to Thy holy Mother through the devotion of Holy Bondage, that she may be my advocate in the presence of Thy majesty and my support in my extreme misery. Alas, O Lord! I am so wretched that without this dear Mother I should be certainly lost. Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee; that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve; that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee, pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee; that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others; in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will and seek Thy greater glory in all things. Ah, would that I could proclaim throughout the whole world the mercy that Thou hast shown to me ! Would that everyone might know I should be already damned, were it not for Mary! Would that I might offer worthy thanksgiving for so great a blessing! Mary is in me. Oh, what a treasure! Oh, what a consolation! And shall I not be entirely hers? Oh, what ingratitude! My dear Saviour, send me death rather than such a calamity, for I would rather die than live without belonging entirely to Mary. With St. John the Evangelist at the foot of the Cross, I have taken her a thousand times for my own and as many times have given myself to her; but if I have not yet done it as Thou, dear Jesus, dost wish, I now renew this offering as Thou dost desire me to renew it. And if Thou seest in my soul or my body anything that does not belong to this august princess, I pray Thee to take it and cast it far from me, for whatever in me does not belong to Mary is unworthy of Thee.
O Holy Spirit, grant me all these graces. Plant in my soul the Tree of true Life, which is Mary; cultivate it and tend it so that it may grow and blossom and bring forth the fruit of life in abundance. O Holy Spirit, give me great devotion to Mary, Thy faithful spouse; give me great confidence in her maternal heart and an abiding refuge in her mercy, so that by her Thou mayest truly form in me Jesus Christ, great and mighty, unto the fullness of His perfect age. Amen.

St.Fidelis of Sigmaringen

 

 


Fidelis was born in 1577 at Sigmaringen, Prussia. His father Johannes Rey was burgomaster of the city. He entered the University of Freiburg in Breisgau to study law and philosophy. After receiving his degree, he was chosen to be tutor to three young princes with whom he traveled in France and Italy. The father of St. Fidelis was burgomaster of Sigmaringen, Prussia
In 1611, he returned to Freiburg to earn his doctorate in canon and civil law, and then began practice as a lawyer in Kolmar. Disappointed with the open fraud in the law courts and general corruption of society, he decided to abandon the world. He was ordained a priest the following year, and immediately after was received into the Capuchin Order at Freiburg at age 35. He took the name of Fidelis.

In notes that he left about his life during that period, he wrote: “From now on I want to live in complete poverty, chastity, and obedience amidst sufferings and persecutions and in austere penance and profound humility. I came from the womb of my mother with nothing, and with nothing I desire to return to the arms of my Savior.”

St. Fidelis was a remarkable orator. He preached in numerous German, Austrian and Swiss cities. From the beginning of his apostolic career, he struggled tirelessly to convert heretics; nor did he confine his efforts to the pulpit, but also used his pen. He wrote many pamphlets against Calvinism and Zwinglianism.

He was named Superior first at the Monasteries of Rheinfelden and Freiburg, and afterwards at Feldkirch, where he exerted a strong influence. Because of this, he was also appointed by the Papal Nuncio to reform monasteries of other Orders.

Since Calvinism was spreading over Switzerland, especially in the region of the Grisons, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith appointed the Capuchins to combat it there. Fr. Fidelis was chosen to be head of the mission.


“Shortly you will see me no longer,” he prophesied in a sermon in Feldkirch, “for I was called to shed my blood for the Faith.”

St. Fidelis labored indefatigably and with such success in the region that the heretics became alarmed and set themselves to inflame the people against him. They spread rumors that his mission was political rather than religious, and that he was preparing the way for the subjugation of the country by Austria.

In January 1622 on returning to the region of the Grisons, he was met everywhere with the cry: “Death to the Capuchins!” On April 24, 1622, being then at Grusch, he made his confession and afterwards celebrated Mass and preached. Then he set out for Sevis. When he arrived, he entered the church and began to preach, but was interrupted by a sudden tumult both within and without the church. Several Austrian soldiers who were guarding the doors of the church were killed by the attackers and Fidelis himself was struck.

Outside the church he was surrounded by a crowd led by Calvinist preachers who offered to save his life if he would apostatize. Fidelis replied: “I came to extirpate your heresy, not to embrace it.” The Calvinists killed him with blows of swords.

It is interesting to note the action of this great orator, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen. He was so successful in his sermons that the Holy See chose him to head the group of Capuchin preachers sent to the region infested by Calvinism, a branch of the Protestant heresy. The intention of the Holy See was to convert those who had been fooled by the heretics, and also to prevent Catholics from falling into the same trap.

Through his sermons, he had an enormous influence in the city of Feldkirch, the capital of an Austrian province in the Alps. There he had already strongly attacked the Protestants. He was designated, then, to enter Switzerland to continue the assault against the heretics. Before he left, he had a premonition revealing that he would suffer martyrdom there. As a supernatural, indomitable, energetic man, he did not step back because of that threat; on the contrary, he went forward facing death with a kind of joy. It is the attitude of a warrior.

To this tenacity he added another proof of valor: he infuriated the Calvinists. No one aggravates the enemy unless he counts victories over them. To prevent more of his remarkable successes, the Calvinists decided to murder him. They plotted his death and carried it out. He became a martyr.

St. Fidelis was, therefore, an audacious, strong, and vigorous missionary who willingly faced martyrdom. He presents to us an admirable example of fortitude. This is the spirit that should be seen in the notes he wrote about his life:“From now on I want to live in complete poverty, chastity, and obedience amidst sufferings and persecutions and in austere penance and profound humility. I came from the womb of my mother with nothing, and with nothing I desire to return to the arms of my Saviour”


Let us ask St. Fidelis the Sigmaringen who strongly attacked the Revolution of his time to give us the love for wisdom that oriented his life in order to make us zealous counter-revolutionaries – as he was – for the glory and exaltation of Holy Mother Church

Quotes of St.Fidelis Sigmaringen

 


“It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”

“O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never pass away. From the beginning the world opposed you, but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. It has subjected powerful kings to the rule of Christ; it has bound nations to his service. What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.

“I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death. . . Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!” – St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, upon his death