Imágenes de páginas

and S. Jerom said, the image of her soul;-women upon whom the ideal of Mary shed so sweet a light of sanctity, and who in return could enable men to understand, and in some measure to behold, what was the innocence, and piety, and grace, of that divine Mother;-women who may often be represented, like S. Elizabeth in the old paintings, adorned with three crowns, to denote, that as virgins, wives, and widows, their conversation was always most holy. These were in truth beings of a new creation, the fruits of that faith which could remove mountains, and of that Spirit which renews the face of the earth'."

The Song of the Blessed Virgin is the earliest of those evangelical hymns which the Holy Spirit has given to the Church, and which her children will sing in the daily Office till the end of time. It is on account of this Song that S. Augustin and an author in the third century speak of S. Mary as one of the holy prophetesses. Ven. Bede, in his commentary on the first book of Samuel, takes notice of the resemblance between the Magnificat and the hymn of the holy Anna. "Call to mind,” he says, "the hymn of the blessed Mary, and see how similar are the thoughts of the mother of the prophet and of the Mother of the Lord, of the wife and of the Virgin, regarding the judgments and the grace of God"." The contrast between the emotions of those holy women is full of deep instruction. She who lived under a dispensation of the types and shadows of good things to come, showed the less perfect dispositions of heart, in

Mores Catholici, B. vi. 3.

Expos. allegor. in Sam. lib. i. c. 4.

which a sincere confidence in God is yet mixed up with much that is earthly. She rejoiced indeed in the Lord, but her mouth is enlarged over her enemies. Hers is as much a song of personal triumph as of humble thanksgiving. But the blessed Maiden, in whom the Light of the Gentiles was revealed, breathes in her divine hymn no thought of herself, but inasmuch as her low estate is regarded by God her Saviour, "All generations shall call me Blessed, for He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name."

The Feast of the Visitation was first instituted by pope Urban VI. in 1389. At that time the Western Church was torn by dissensions, and Robert de Genève, commonly called by his supporters Clement VII., had set up at Avignon a rival claim to the chair of S. Peter. The Feast was formally published to the Church by Boniface IX., in a bull dated November, 1389. It was appointed to be observed on the day after the Octave of the Nativity of S. John Baptist, in order to obtain for the Church the blessing of peace, through the prayers of the holy Virgin. This desire is breathed in the words of the collect which is used on this day; "Grant to Thy servants, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the gift of celestial grace; that to whom the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of salvation, the votive solemnity of her Visitation may bring an increase of peace." It was confirmed by the council of Basle which met in 1431.

In 1610, the renowned Order of the Visitation was founded at Annecy, in honour of the Visitation of the holy Virgin, by S. Francis de Sales, and S. Jane

Frances de Chantal, its first Abbess. The holy bishop of Geneva enjoined that humility and meekness should be the basis of its rule. "In the practice of virtues," he said to the sisters, "let humility be the source of all the rest, let it be without bounds; make it the reigning principle of all your actions. Let an unalterable meekness and sweetness in all events become by habit natural to you." The great duty of constant prayer, and the mortification of the senses, even in little things, he earnestly commended to them. Speaking of the adorable Sacrifice of the Altar he said, "The holy Eucharist is the sun of spiritual exercises, the heart of devotion, the center of our divine religion. Unite your heart in it with the Church triumphant and militant, which joins itself here in one body with Christ, its sacred Head, through Him to draw down, by a holy violence, the mercy of the Father upon us." The sum of his whole rule he declared to be comprehended in these two words, "Desire nothing, refuse nothing."

Many congregations were at various times instituted in honour of the Visitation of S. Mary, by devout women in different countries, for the purpose of visiting and relieving the poor, and the sick, and prisoners.

Ye mountains, bend ye low,
O'er which the Virgin flies,
To whom the starry skies
Would their glad summits bow.

In maiden fear concealed,

Long hid in quiet home,
She now abroad doth come,
With charity her shield,

She flies without delay,-
She flies from human eyes,-
Not to be seen, she flies,
And fears lest aught betray.

Blest earth whereon she trod,
Put forth your fragrance sweet ;—
Blest hills, that felt her feet,
The Mother with her God.

More blest ye friends, whose Guest
She now doth silence break,
Of heavenly things to speak,
And where her footsteps rest.

The Father Who doth send

The Son, Who saves the lost,
The guiding Holy Ghost,
We praise Thee without end.

Hymns from the Parisian Breviary, p. 218.


Translation of S. Martin, Bishop and



S. MARTIN, the holy bishop of Tours, in France, died in 397, at Cande, on the borders of Anjou and PoicWe shall learn the particulars of his life on the 11th of November, the day on which his decease is commemorated. His remains were carried to Tours, but not without opposition from the people of Poictiers, who claimed the honour of possessing them. They were attended by the inhabitants of many of

the neighbouring towns and of the adjoining country, and by a great company of monks and religious virgins. The whole city of Tours came out to meet the body of the blessed man, and bore it to a little grove without the city, at a short distance from the monastery, singing psalms and hymns, and weeping as they went, though no one doubted he had been received into glory. S. Britius, his successor, built a small chapel over the spot.

S. Perpetuus, the eighth bishop of Tours, founded a glorious church and monastery in honour of the saint, and translated the relics to a sumptuous tomb behind the high altar, on the 4th of July, 473. The assistants in this pious work were encouraged by an old man of venerable appearance, who disappeared mysteriously after it was completed, as S. Gregory of Tours relates. The Church celebrates this translation, and also the consecration of S. Martin to the office of bishop, on this day.

The tomb of S. Martin was for many ages the scene of wonderful miracles, by which God was pleased to honour the holy memory of His servant. The church where his body lay was regarded with singular devotion throughout France, and indeed over the whole of Western Europe. The monks who served it were displaced by secular canons in the seventh century. Towards the close of the following age, pope Adrian I. restored the regular canons, and Charlemagne appointed Alcuin, the learned monk of York, abbat of the house. Since the middle of the ninth century it has been occupied by seculars. From the reign of Hugh Capet, in the end of the tenth age, the king of France has been abbat and first canon;

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