« AnteriorContinuar »
Stern hardihood she wears,
Blest they whom God above
Them shall the heavenly Bridegroom own,
Hymns from the Parisian Breviary, p. 327.
S. Crispin, Martyr.
S. CRISPIN and his brother CRISPINIAN, were among the companions of S. Denys, the Apostle of Paris. Soissons was the scene of their labours. They instructed the people daily, as opportunity offered, in the knowledge of God; and in imitation of the great Apostle S. Paul, they earned a livelihood by the trade of making shoes. Hence they have been considered the patron of those who follow the same calling.
During the progress of the emperor Maximian Herculeus through Gaul, in the end of the third century, he came to Soissons, and hearing of the holy brothers, he commanded them to be arrested. They were brought before the governor, Rictius Varus, who after inflicting severe tortures condemned them to be beheaded. They suffered at Soissons, on the 25th of October, 288. Their names are mentioned in the old martyrologies. In the sixth cen
tury, a great church was built at Soissons in their honour. Their shrine was enriched and beautified by S. Eligius, the holy bishop of Noyon, in the following age. In later times an abbey was dedicated to God under their invocation. If we may believe the Roman Martyrology, their relics were translated to the church of S. Laurence in Rome. But Tillemont asserts, with much more probability, that they were preserved, in his age, in the abbey of Notre Dame at Soissons.
"From the example of the saints, it appears how foolish the pretences of many Christians are, who imagine the care of a family, the business of a farm or shop, the attention which they are obliged to give to their worldly profession, are impediments which excuse them from aiming at perfection," as the pious author of the Lives of the Saints observes. "Such indeed they make them; but this is altogether owing to their own sloth and malice. How many saints have made these very employments the means of their perfection! S. Paul made tents; SS. Crispin and Crispinian were shoemakers; the Blessed Virgin was taken up in the care of her poor cottage; Christ Himself worked with His reputed father; and those saints who renounced all commerce with the world to devote themselves totally to the contemplation of heavenly things, made mats, tilled the earth, and copied and bound good books. The secret of their sanctification was, that, fulfilling the maxims of Christ, they studied to subdue their passions and die to themselves; they with much earnestness and application obtained of God, and improved daily in their souls, a spirit of devotion and of prayer; their
temporal business they regarded as a duty which they owed to God, and sanctified it by a pure and perfect intention, as Christ on earth directed every thing He did to the glory of His Father. In these very employments they were careful to improve themselves in humility, meekness, resignation, divine charity, and all other virtues, by the occasions which call them forth at every moment, and in every action. Opportunities of every virtue and every kind of good work never fail in all circumstances, and the chief means of our sanctification may be practised in every state of life, which are self-denial and assiduous prayer, frequent aspirations, and pious meditation or reflections on spiritual truths, which disengage the affections from earthly things, and deeply imprint in the heart those of piety and religion."
There are in this loud stunning tide
Of the everlasting chime;
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Christian Year, p. 346.
S. Leonard, Confessor.
S. LEONARD was a French nobleman at the court of Clovis. He was converted to the true faith by S. Remigius; and renouncing the world, he devoted himself to the instructions of the holy bishop. The king entreated him to return to court; but as he desired a life of penance and contemplation, he retired to the monastery of Micy, not far from Orleans. It was then governed by S. Maximin or Mesmin, whose name was afterwards given to it. S. Leonard there assumed the religious habit, and practised spiritual discipline under the care of S. Loetus, a holy monk of the house. His brother, S. Lifard, had also followed his example, and founded a monastery at Meun, which became a collegiate church of
S. Leonard aspired to the life of more perfect solitude, and obtained leave from his superior to depart. He travelled through Berri, converting many hea
then as he went along. On his arrival at Limousin, he chose for his retreat a forest at a little distance from Limoges. There he built an oratory, in a place called Nobiliac. His food was wild herbs and fruits. And except when he sometimes visited the neighbouring churches, he had no witness of his devotion but God alone. His fame began to be known, and the hearts of many were filled with ardent longings after the same life of heavenly communion. His hermitage soon became a flourishing monastery. In later years it was called in honour of its founder S. Leonard de Noblat. The king bestowed on it a great part of the forest which lay around it.
Even before he retired to Micy, S. Leonard was remarkable for his charity towards captives and prisoners. His labours for their corporal and spiritual relief were unwearying; and throughout his life they continued to be the chief objects of his care. Some of them were even miraculously delivered from their chains by his prayers. The king granted him the privilege of setting some at liberty. This was a prerogative not unfrequently bestowed on holy bishops and men of mercy in those ages.
S. Leonard also applied himself to bring prisoners to a sense of their guilt, and to lead them to contrition and penance. For he considered the deliverance of their souls from the chain of sin no less an act of charity than the release of their bodies. After many years spent in the service of his heavenly Master, his labours were crowned by a happy death, in the year 559. The monastery which he had founded was for many ages exempted from public burdens and exactions, and enjoyed other privileges. His