Posted in BLAISE PASCAL, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, GOD ALONE!, I BELIEVE!, POETRY, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Quote/s of the Day – 18 July – ‘Who lives in Love …’

Quote/s of the Day – 18 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Micah 2:1-5, Psalm 10:1-4, 7-8, 14, Matthew 12:14-21

“In his name the Gentiles will hope”

Matthew 12:21

matthew 12 21 - in his name the gentiles will hope 18 july 2020

“Christ made my soul beautiful
with the jewels of grace and virtue.
I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”

St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

christ-made-my-soul-st-agnes-21-jan-2018 and 18 july 2020

“If you wish to enter into life,
keep My commandments.
If you will know the truth,
believe in Me.
If you will be perfect,
sell all.
If you will be My disciple,
deny yourself.
If you will possess the blessed life,
despise this present life.
If you will be exalted in heaven,
humble yourself on earth.
If you wish to reign with Me,
carry the Cross with Me.
For only the servants of the Cross
find the life of blessedness
and of true light.

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
The Imitation of Christ Chapter 56

if-you-wish-to-enter-into-life-keep-my-commandments-thomas-a-kempis-2-june-2020-belonging-to-god and 18 july 2020

“I am the king’s good servant
but God’s first.”

St Thomas More (1478-1535)
Martyr

i-am-the-kings-good-servant-but-gods-first-st-thomas-more-29-jan-2019 and 18 july 2020

“God gave Himself to you:
give yourself to God.”

god gave himself - st robert southwell - 21 feb 2018

Who lives in Love, loves least to live
and long delays doth rue,
if Him he love by whom he lives,
to whom all praise is due,
Who for our love did choose to live
and was content to die,
who loved our love more than His life,
and love with life did buy.
Let us in life, yea with our life
requite His living love,
for best we live when least we live,
if Love our life remove.
Mourn, therefore, no true lover’s death,
life only him annoy,
and when he taketh leave of life
then Love begins his joys.

who-lives-in-love-st-robert-southwell-5-jan-2020 and 18 july 2020

“I do not much dread the tortures,
as I look forward to the crown.”

St Robert Southwell (1561-1595) Martyr

i-do-not-much-dread-the-tortures-st-robert-southwell-sj-21-jan-2019-on-martyrdom and 18 july 2020

“Jesus will be in agony
even to the end of the world;
we must not sleep
during that time”

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
(Pensées, 553)

jesus-will-be-in-agony-even-to-the-end-of-the-world-we-must-not-sleep-during-that-time-blaise-pascal-2-june-2020 and 18 july 2020

Posted in BLAISE PASCAL, CHRIST the KING, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, I BELIEVE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, REDEMPTORISTS CSSR, SPEAKING of ....., The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Quote/s of the Day – 2 June – Speaking of: Belonging to God

Quote/s of the Day – 2 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Tuesday of the Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 2 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18, Psalm 90:2-4, 10, 14, 16, Mark 12:13-17

Speaking of: Belonging to God

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s
and to God, the things that are God’s.”

Jesus

John 12:17

john 12 17 render to caesar 2 june 2020

“You have made us for Yourself, O Lord
and our hearts are restless
until they rest in You.”

you have made us for yourself - st augustine 14 feb 2019

“Love God, then do what you will.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

love god then do what you will - st augustine - belonging to god 2 june 2020

“Love God, serve God,
everything is in that.”

St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)

love-god-serve-god-everything-is-in-that-st-clare-1-jan-2019 and 2020

“Lord, take me from myself
and give me to Yourself.”

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
Doctorof the Church

lord take me from myself and give me to your yourself - st catherine of siena - 30 april 2020

“If you wish to enter into life,
keep My commandments.
If you will know the truth,
believe in Me.
If you will be perfect,
sell all.
If you will be My disciple,
deny yourself.
If you will possess the blessed life,
despise this present life.
If you will be exalted in heaven,
humble yourself on earth.
If you wish to reign with Me,
carry the Cross with Me.
For only the servants of the Cross
find the life of blessedness
and of true light.”

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
The Imitation of Christ Chapter 56

if you wish to enter into life keep my commandments - thomas a kempis 2 june 2020 belonging to god

“I am the king’s good servant
but God’s first.”

St Thomas More (1478-1535)
Martyr

i am the kings good servant but god's first - st thomas more 29 jan 2019

“God gave Himself to you,
now give yourself to God.”

St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595)

god gave himself - st robert southwell - 21 feb 2018

“Jesus will be in agony
even to the end of the world;
we must not sleep
during that time”

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

(Pensées, 553)

jesus will be in agony even to the end of the world - we must not sleep during that time blaise pascal 2 june 2020

“Who except God can give you peace?
Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”

St Gerard Majella C.Ss.R. (1726-1755)

who except god can give you peace - st gerard majella 2 june 2020

“We are like the penny,
because we have the image of the king stamped on us,
the divine King.”

we are like the penny - gk chesterton 30 april 2020

“A Catholic is a person,
who has plucked up courage,
to face the incredible and inconceivable idea,
that something else may be wiser than he is.”

G K Chesterton (1874-1936)

a catholic is a person - seeking chesterton - part two - 8 may 2018

“What you are is God’s gift to you,
what you become,
is your gift to God.”

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)

what you are is god's gift to you what you become is your gift to god - hans urs von balthasar 20 april 2020

“If you truly love God and His will,
then doing what you will,
will, in fact,
be doing what God wills.”

Peter Kreeft

if you truly love god and his will then doing what you will - peter kreeft 2 june 2020

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Ven Servant of God John A Hardon

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – The Burning Babe

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – the Memorial of St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church and St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Priest and Martyr

The Burning Babe, by Saint Robert Southwell

burning-babe-excerpt-st-robert-southwell-mem-21-feb-21-jan-2019 and 21 feb 2020 as quote of the day

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.

St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595) Martyr, Religious Priest, Poet, Hymnodist, Writer, clandestine missionary was born in 1561 in Horsham Saint Faith, Norfolk, England and he was martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 21 February 1595 (aged 33) in Tyburn, London, England. St Robert was Canonised on 25 October 1970 by Blessed Pope Paul VI.
“His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell. His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’” (Ven Fr John A Hardon SJ)

St Peter Damian quotes here:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/21/quote-s-of-the-day-21-february-st-peter-damian/
And some from St Robert Southwell here:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/21/quote-s-of-the-day-21-february-the-memorial-of-st-peter-damian-o-s-b-1007-1072-and-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595/

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 21 February

St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
A lot about St Peter here:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-peter-damian/
AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-peter-damian-osb-1007-1072-doctor-of-the-church/

 

 

St Avitus II of Clermont
Bl Caterina Dominici
Bl Claudio di Portaceli
St Daniel of Persia
Bl Eleanora
St Ercongotha
St Eustathius of Antioch
St Felix of Metz
St George of Amastris
St Germanus of Granfield
St Gundebert of Sens
Blessed Noel Pinot (1747-1794) Priest and Martyr
St Paterius of Brescia
St Pepin of Landen
St Peter Mavimenus
St Randoald of Granfield

Blessed Richard Henkes
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
St Robert’s Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595-martyr/

 

St Severian of Scythopolis
St Severus of Syrmium
Bl Thomas Pormort
St Valerius of San Pedro de Montes
St Verda of Persia

Martyrs of Sicily – 79 saints – Seventy-nine Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. They were martyred in c 303 on Sicily.

Martyrs of Hadrumetum – A group of 26 Christians martyred together by Vandals. We know little more than eight of their names – Alexander, Felix, Fortunatus, Saturninus, Secundinus, Servulus, Siricius and Verulus. c 434 at Hadrumetum (modern Sousse, Tunisia)

Martyrs Uchibori – Three Japanese laymen, all brothers, all sons of Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon, one a teenager, one only five years old and all martyred for their faith in the persecutions in Japan. 21 February 1627 in Shimabara, Nagasaki, Japan. Beatified 24 November 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Antonius
Balthasar
Ignatius

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DEVOTIO, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, Our MORNING Offering, POETRY

Our Morning Offering – 5 January – Who lives in Love

Our Morning Offering – 5 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Who lives in Love
By St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr

Who lives in Love, loves least to live
and long delays doth rue,
if Him he love by whom he lives,
to whom all praise is due,
Who for our love did choose to live
and was content to die,
who loved our love more than His life,
and love with life did buy.
Let us in life, yea with our life
requite His living love,
for best we live when least we live,
if Love our life remove.
Mourn, therefore, no true lover’s death,
life only him annoy,
and when he taketh leave of life
then Love begins his joys.who lives in love - st robert southwell 5 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 21 February

St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
A lot about St Peter here:   https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-peter-damian/

St Avitus II of Clermont
Bl Caterina Dominici
Bl Claudio di Portaceli
St Daniel of Persia
Bl Eleanora
St Ercongotha
St Eustathius of Antioch
St Felix of Metz
St George of Amastris
St Germanus of Granfield
St Gundebert of Sens
Bl Noel Pinot
St Paterius of Brescia
St Pepin of Landen
St Peter Mavimenus
St Randoald of Granfield
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
St Robert’s Biography: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595-martyr/

St Severian of Scythopolis
St Severus of Syrmium
Bl Thomas Pormort
St Valerius of San Pedro de Montes
St Verda of Persia

Martyrs of Sicily – 79 saints – Seventy-nine Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. They were martyred in c 303 on Sicily.

Martyrs of Hadrumetum – A group of 26 Christians martyred together by Vandals. We know little more than eight of their names – Alexander, Felix, Fortunatus, Saturninus, Secundinus, Servulus, Siricius and Verulus. c 434 at Hadrumetum (modern Sousse, Tunisia)

Martyrs Uchibori – Three Japanese laymen, all brothers, all sons of Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon, one a teenager, one only five years old and all martyred for their faith in the persecutions in Japan. 21 February 1627 in Shimabara, Nagasaki, Japan. Beatified 24 November 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Antonius
Balthasar
Ignatius

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of ....., The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 21 January – The Burning Babe

Thought for the Day – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time –  and The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Seeing as it is the Memorial of St Agnes and we are thinking about martyrdom, I have included the post below, which is an excerpt from my post on St Robert Southwell’s Memorial – 21 February.    It is talk by Servant of God, Fr John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000) (a hero!).   If you wish to read the whole post, it is here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595-martyr/

“There are two books, prose writings, that Robert Southwell wrote that are worth reading.   They are of course written in 16th century English but, powerful, written to encourage his fellow Catholics to remain firm in their faith.   The one is called ‘Mary Magdalene’s Funeral Tears’.   And the other one is called ‘Epistle of Comfort‘.   We would probably call it a letter of encouragement.   

His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell.   His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’”

The Burning Babe, by St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.burning babe excerpt - st robert southwell - mem 21 feb - 21 jan 2019 on martyrdom mem of st agnes

St Agnes, Pray for Us!bernardo-lorente-german-sevilla-1680-sevilla-1759-e2809csaint-agnese2809d-pray-for-us

St Robert Southwell, Pray for Us!st robert southwell - pray for us - 21 feb 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MARTYRS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of ....., The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Speaking of:   Martyrdom

“For me to live
is Christ
and to die,
is gain.”

St Paul – Philippians 1:21for me to live is christ and to die is gain st paul phil 1 21 - 21 jan 2019 martyrdom - no 2

“Christ made my soul beautiful
with the jewels of grace and virtue.
I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”

St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyrchrist-made-my-soul-st-agnes-21-jan-2018.jpg

“She is too young to know of death,
yet is ready to face it.”she is too young - st ambrose on st agnes - 21 jan 2019.jpg

“One victim but a twin martyrdom,
to modesty and religion.
Agnes preserved her virginity
and gained a martyr’s crown. “

From an essay ‘On Virgins’ by

Saint Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Churchone victim but a twin martyrdom - st ambrose on st agnes - no 2 - 21 jan 2019.jpg

“…As we are under great obligations to Jesus,
for His Passion endured for our love,
so also are we under great obligations to Mary,
for the martyrdom which she voluntarily suffered,
for our salvation, in the death of her Son”.

St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Churchas-we-are-under-great-st-bonaventure-on-the-sorrowful-mother-the-third-word-28-march-2018.jpg

“Nothing can happen to me
that God doesn’t want.
And all that He wants,
no matter how bad
it may appear to us,
is really for the best.”

St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyrnothing can happen to me - st thomas more - 16 march 2018.jpg

“I do not much dread the tortures,
as I look forward to the crown.”

St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595) Martyri do not much dread the tortures st robert southwell sj 21 jan 2019 on martyrdom.jpg

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over,
the martyr dies and his rule begins.”

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
The Journals of Kierkegaardthe tyrant dies and his rule is over the martyr dies and his rule begins - soren kierkegaard 21 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARIAN QUOTES, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY SPIRIT

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – The Memorial of St Peter Damian O.S.B. (1007-1072) and St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595)

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – The Memorial of St Peter Damian O.S.B. (1007-1072) and St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595)

“He pours light into our minds,
arouses our desire and gives us strength…
As the soul is the life of the body,
so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.”he pours light into our minds - st peter damian - 21 feb 2018

“Through a woman [Eve]
a curse fell upon the earth;
through a woman [Mary] as well,
there returned to the earth a blessing.”through a woman (eve) - st peter damina - 21 feb 2018

“When you are scorned by others
and lashed by God, do not despair.
God lashes us in this life,
to shield us from the eternal lash in the next.”

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Churchwhen-you-are-scorned-by-others-st-peter-damian-21 feb 2018

“God gave Himself to you:
give yourself to God.”god gave himself - st robert southwell - 21 feb 2018

“Where sin was hatched, let tears now wash the nest.”where-sin-was-hatched-st-robert-southwell-29-jan-2018

“Christianity is warfare
and Christians are spiritual soldiers.”

“Not where I breathe
but where I love,
I live.”

“When Fortune smiles,
I smile to think, how quickly she will frown.”

St Robert Southwell (1561-1595)christianity is warfare - st robert southwell - 21 feb 2018

 

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 21 February – The Memorial of St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595)

One Minute Reflection – 21 February – The Memorial of St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595)

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.   And those who find it are few...Matthew 7:14

REFLECTION – “The path to Heaven is narrow, rough and full of wearisome and trying ascents, nor can it be trodden without great toil and therefore wrong is their way, gross their error and assured their ruin who, after the testimony of so many thousands of saints, will not learn where to settle their footing.”…St Robert Southwell (1561-1595)the path to heaven is narrow, rough and full of - st robert southwell - 21 feb 2018

PRAYER – Lord of heaven and earth, You blessed us this day with the grace of the Martyr St Robert Southwell.   Grant that, through his intercession, we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life.   We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amenst robert southwell - pray for us - 21 FEB 2018

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 21 February – St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 21 February – St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595) Martyr, Religious Priest, Poet, Hymnodist, Writer,  clandestine missionary – Additional Memorials:  25 October as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales and 29 October as one of the Martyrs of Douai.   He was born in 1561 in Horsham Saint Faith, Norfolk, England and he was martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 21 February 1595 (aged 33) in Tyburn, London, England.   St Robert was Canonised on 25 October 1970 by Blessed Pope Paul VI.

The Life of St Robert Southwell below, is written by Servant of God, Fr John A Hardon S.J. (1914-2000) – one of my heroes, so I hope you enjoy his chatty style as much as I do which was, as you can tell, presented live.

Our saint for this evening is St Robert Southwell, the English Jesuit, poet and martyr.   He was born in 1561, died in 1595 at the ripe old age of thirty-three.   He was canonised – took a long time, in 1970.   His family on his mother’s side was related to the Shelleys’, the other English poet.   By this time the Catholic faith was proscribed in England – English Catholics, had to go into hiding. If they wanted a catechetic education they had to leave the country.   In case you haven’t been told, it’s getting closer and closer to that in the United States.   He was therefore sent to Douay, which as you know, is the place where the first and official English translation of the Bible was made, Douay, later on revised, the Douay-Rheims.web-saint-robert-southwell-england-flag-001-public-domain-and-shutterstock-aleteia-comp

It was while studying at Douay that he first met some Jesuits, including the famous Leonard  Lessii, a great Jesuit theologian, who’s best known work is on the ‘Attributes of God’.   Then he went on to Paris and by this time, he was just seventeen.   Incidently, young people matured much earlier in those days.   It is thirty-one years that I have been working with the daughters of St Mary of Providence in Chicago.   As you know their special apostolate is caring for the handicapped, say, the retarded.   I would say this is a very common phenomenon.   In other words, that young people nowadays are really young.   It takes them a long time to grow up – thirty years old and they behave like young adolescents.

When Southwell applied to enter the Society of Jesus, he was seventeen.   They turned him down because he was too young.   Well, just before his eighteenth birthday, they figured, he qualifies.   He was ordained in 1584 at the age of twenty-three.   Two years after his ordination, by that time he had taken his final vows, he was sent back to England to try to reconvert his fellow ex-Catholic, English people.   The actual time span of his attempted evangelisation mission work would be about six years, that’s all.   He got himself a position as chaplain to a certain Anne who was Countess of Arundel.   Her husband suffered a great deal for defending priests who were trying to hide out from those who were trying to root out the Catholic faith.   It’s well to know that the hostess who hid Robert, her husband, had since been declared blessed.   What is remarkable about St Robert Southwell, is that although he worked quite openly in the sense that it was not a big secret that he was a priest.   He did, of course, try to work in disguise but, he was allowed extraordinary freedom.   A number of factors were in his favour, he was naturally of a gentle disposition, he was quiet.   In other words, he did not make unnecessary noise or create a scene or you might say, irritate those who were out to destroy the Church.   He avoided, as much as he could, controversy.

As I re-read a short biography of St Robert Southwell, well, I was reminded how over the years, there are certain of my confreres that have stood out as models for me to try to imitate, Robert Southwell was one.   There are not too many of us, Jesuits, who have survived nationally, mainly of course, God’s grac, but one reason I think, is avoiding as far as possible, controversy.   Keep proclaiming the truth, keep insisting on what the faith really teaches and avoid either unnecessary exposure as a critic of those who don’t go along with the Church’s teaching – in a word, keeping as much as you can, in the background, so as not to irritate those who are still nominally Catholic, but My Lord, who have lost their faith.

In 1592, Robert Southwell was arrested by an infamous spy by the name of Topcliffe who had to his credit many English martyrs, including Robert Southwell.   Significantly, it was a young girl in the household of this Countess of Arundel, one of her daughters that betrayed the priest.   Topcliffe brought Southwell to his own home – we have record of nine separate severe, cruel tortures.   You may have seen pictures or descriptions of some of the machinery in which the people were tortured.   For example, they would be stretched over a barrel, either way, either face down or back down, of course the back down would break your back and the two hands were made to touch the two feet and they would keep twisting and twisting until the one under torture couldn’t stand it any longer and then would confess, as the expression goes, to what his torturers wanted to get out of him.   What did they want to get out of Robert Southwell – they wanted him to betray his fellow Catholics, who were in hiding;  those who had hidden him, those that helped him escape, those who helped him work in disguise.   He refused.   We don’t know how many times he was tortured, all we know is many times during three years in prison.   One reason they kept torturing him is because they were hoping to break down his resistance and get him to implicate many other Catholics to really root out the faith. Topcliffe was a very successful torturer in the quaint English of those days, remarked, ‘I never did take so wavey a man if he be rightly used.’   In other words, ‘if we could break down Southwell’s resistance, he would be very useful.’

Being three years in prison, he finally insisted that he should be tried or freed.   In other words, it was a request he made, ‘either put me on trial or get me out of prison’, so they said, “all right.”   They put him on trial and they found him guilty and he was condemned to death because of his priesthood.  The opposition didn’t even attempt to disguise his martyrdom on political grounds.  He was hanged and drawn – that means cut into pieces and quartered into four pieces on 21 February 1595, which has, over the centuries remained his feast day, 21 February.

The bystanders that watched his being martyred by hanging pleaded with the executioners to let him die on the scaffold and only then, that is, after the body was really dead, to then cut him into pieces, which was as you know, the familiar English form of execution – John Fisher, Thomas More and here Robert Southwell.   Just to remind ourselves, I like the date.   Thirty-three years old, exactly my age at ordination.   In fact, I was ordained on my birthday.San Roberto Southwell

Robert Southwell, on the grounds we have so far seen, was not unlike other martyrs whose lives either we’ve talked about or that we are familiar with.   His age of course – he was a young man but what makes Robert Southwell stand out among Jesuit saints and among the Church’s martyrs, is the fact that he has left us so much for a man of thirty-three, has left us so much in writing that has made world literature.   Southwell, he is called, is one of the great writers of the English-speaking world.   He wrote prose, he wrote poetry.

Just a few statements to I think to be exact from his prose writing touching on the spiritual life.   Remember, he was turned down when he applied for the Jesuits because of his age, sixteen is young but once he was admitted, here’s what he said:   “How great a perfection is required of a member of the Society of Jesus.   He should be ready at a moment’s notice to go to heretics, pagans or barbarians.”   That moment’s notice is almost a quotation from St Ignatius.   As I think I told the people this afternoon, you may have heard, the priest who was to have conducted the day of recollection, forgot.   So somebody else pinch-hitted until I got there.   Lucky I took my cassock along, on general principles.   But I told the people and I can tell you because that’s what this is all about. All we have to know, that’s all, what is God’s will and in a moment’s notice, with the twinkling of an eye, you do it.   As weak human beings our temptation is to hesitate, or in Christ’s words, “We turn around.” and the key is, the moment we know God wants us don’t even put a comma – do it.   It is dangerous to speculate, once you know that God wants something, because then human reason, being very shrewd, they’ll find reasons, otherwise known as rationalisation for not doing it.

The second quotation, “we should be prepared for being cast into chains” – I like this – “by the heretics.”   The worst persecutors of the Church have not been native born pagans, they have been Christians who have lost their faith.   The vicious hatred of the Communists is born of God’s punishment for having rejected Christ.   We should be prepared for being cast into chains by the heretics, starved by hunger, seduced and tortured.   I like that combination-seduced and tortured.   Between the two, I would choose torture to seduction.   What Southwell is saying is, that in his day and, of course in ours, you rub your eye, shake your head and we can’t quite be sure we’re seeing right – people we’ve known, whose faith we’ve admired; priests, for example, who may have been instrumental in leading us closer to God, who allow themselves to be seduced or are afraid of being starved by hunger and, my friends, the deepest hunger of the human spirit is not for food but for recognition.

Pray acceptance – take it from a man who knows. Southwell knew and that’s why I thought I picked some choice quotations and I ended up with those two.   Almost from the time that he entered the Jesuits, he felt that he would be a martyr.   He was getting constant reports from home about one more being put to death for the faith or languishing in prison.   Long before he was martyred himself, the account of the first Jesuit English martyr, St Edmund Campion S.J., was already in print.   He read it, admired it and hoped to die the same.   Among his many letters, I should keep reminding us that he was only 33 when he died, his run to the superior in England, Father Parsons – you couldn’t write an ordinary letter about things religious, so being educated Jesuits they could read between the lines;  they have their own crypto-language.   Here’s a quotation, see what you make of it:  Robert Southwell is writing to Parson, superior in England, he is writing about Edmund Campion who had already been martyred – he doesn’t mention Campion’s name, but he says, I quote:  “He has had the start on you” – Parsons later on was also martyred – “he has had the start on you in leading his vessel with English wares (a business letter) and has successfully returned to the desired port. Day by day we are looking for something similar from you.”

In 1586, two years after his ordination, he wrote to the father general, I quote:  “I do not much dread the tortures as I look forward to the crown.” st robert southwell large

There are two books, prose writings, that Robert Southwell wrote that are worth reading. They are of course written in 16th century English but, powerful, written to encourage his fellow Catholics to remain firm in their faith.   The one is called ‘Mary Magdalene’s Funeral Tears’.   And the other one is called ‘Epistle of Comfort‘.   We would probably call it a letter of encouragement.   His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell.   His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’

The Burning Babe, by Saint Robert Southwell

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.
It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.holy-poet-martyr-st-robert-southwell-and-the-burning-babe-199-william-hart-mcnichols

Now some comments on St. Robert Southwell’s spirituality.   I know of no martyred saint who has left us a longer and more detailed record of his desire for martyrdom than Robert Southwell.   One reason no doubt because he wrote so much that he died so soon. In any case what he is telling us, is not only not wrong but, quite all right to pray for a martyr’s crown.

There have been 21 general councils of the Church including the Second Vatican.   My business is to read these councils because that’s my profession.   I know of none that is ever written as clearly and expensively on martyrdom as the peak of Christian perfection as has the Second Vatican Council.   I’ve mentioned this, I’m sure, to you before, it’s well worth repeating.   The Church has had more martyrs since 1900 than in all the 19 centuries before.   We are living in an age of martyrs.   You better believe it, because if you don’t, you will not measure up to the kind of loyalty to Christ that today’s world demands.   Ordinary Catholics will not survive, not today.   I’m not even asking you to believe it;  it’s too obvious.   So St. Robert Southwell’s desire for martyrdom is something we can legitimately ask God to grant us.   And among other things that I think I’ve learned from experience, I’m not sure, not really, which is more demanding – living a martyrs life or dying a martyrs death.

Second feature of his spirituality.   Robert Southwell was an Englishman to the tips of his fingers, quiet, gentle, compassionate and consequently, you would expect that naturally speaking he dreaded what supernaturally he desired, am I clear?   He proves what God’s grace can do with fallen human nature given strength and courage that is impossible to nature alone.

And finally, Robert Southwell put so many of his prayers into writing, that I recommend that we all, at least, on occasion do the same.   It is a wonderful way of praying and a most effective way of remembering the insights that God gives us and even the effort we make to go over and over what we may write in the prayers we compose so they express exactly the sentiments we want to say.   With apologies for this late evening conference. We invoke St.Robert Southwell, pray for us.   In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE

Quotes of the Day – 29 January – “Speaking of Repentance”

Quotes of the Day – 29 January

“Speaking of Repentance”

To speak of repentance is not fashionable today in a world that prefers to ignore sin, yet we who belong to Christ can testify that repentance is the way to forgiveness and freedom.   It is the key that unlocks the mercy of God!   The call to repentance is always addressed to ourselves first, since all of us are continually in need of deeper conversion.

“Be ashamed when you sin,
don’t be ashamed when you repent –
Sin is the wound, repentance is the medicine.
Sin is followed by shame;
repentance is followed by boldness
Satan has overturned this order
and given boldness to sin and shame to repentance.”be ashmed when you sin - st john chrysostom - 29 jan 2018

“Do you fast?
Then feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty,
visit the sick, do not forget the imprisoned,
have pity on the tortured,
comfort those who grieve and who weep,
be merciful, humble, kind, calm, patient,
sympathetic, forgiving, reverent, truthful and pious,
so that God might accept your fasting
and might plentifully grant you the fruits of repentance.”

“Since it is likely that, being men,
they would sin every day,
St Paul consoles his hearers by saying
‘renew yourselves’ from day to day.
This is what we do with houses:
we keep constantly repairing them as they wear old.
You should do the same thing to yourself.
Have you sinned today?
Have you made your soul old?
Do not despair, do not despond
but renew your soul by repentance and tears
and Confession and by doing good things.
And never cease doing this.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchdo you fast - st john chrysostom -29 jan 2018

“Repentance is the renewal of baptism.
Repentance is a contract with God for a second life.
A penitent is a buyer of humility.
Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort.
Repentance is self-condemning reflection of carefree self-care.
Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair.
A penitent is an undisgraced convict.
Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord
by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.
Repentance is purification of conscience.
Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions.
A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments.
Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach
and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.”

St John Climacus (579-649) Father of the Church – The Ladder of Divine Ascentrepentance is the renewal of baptism - st john climacus - 29 jan 2019

“To do penance is to bewail
the evil we have done
and to do no evil to bewail.”

St Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Churchto do penance - st pope gregory the great - 29 jan 2018

“Satisfaction consists in the cutting off
of the causes of the sin.
Thus, fasting is the proper antidote to lust;
prayer to pride, to envy, anger and sloth;
alms to covetousness.”

St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)satisfaction consists in - st richard of chichester - 29 jan 2018

“Where sin was hatched,
let tears now wash the nest.”

St Robert Southwell (1561-1595)where sin was hatched - st robert southwell - 29 jan 2018

“We come to confession quite preoccupied
with the shame that we shall feel.
We accuse ourselves with hot air.
It is said that many confess and few are converted.
I believe it is so, my children,
because few confess with tears of repentance.”we come to confession - st john vianney - 29 jan 2018

“The saints understood how great
an outrage sin is against God.
Some of them passed their lives
in weeping for their sins.
St Peter wept all his life;
he was still weeping at his death.
St Bernard used to say,
‘Lord! Lord! it is I who fastened You to the Cross!'”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)the saints understood - st john vianney - 29 jan 2018