Wednesday, May 15, 2013



On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength / and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart! To be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light: and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You / by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart / I implore You / Adorable Spirit I Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere / "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You I and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God find know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.


Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!
The Gift of Knowledge
The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen
(Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father 7 TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Novena Day 1
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Day 9



Part 6 of the life story of St. Molokai shared from Youtube 


(Vatican Radio IMAGE SHARE)
Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) – The action that the Holy Spirit carries out, in guiding the Church and within each of us, was the theme chosen by Pope Francis for his catechesis in today's general audience, with Pentecost drawing near.
“We are living in an age when we are rather sceptical regarding truth,” the Holy Father said to the over 75,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square. “Benedict XVI spoke many times about relativism, that is, the tendency to believe that there is nothing definitive and to think that truth comes from consensus or from what we desire. … What comes to my mind here is … Pontius Pilate's question when Jesus reveals to him the profound meaning of his mission: 'What is truth?' Pilate is unable to understand that 'the' Truth is in front of him, he is unable to see, in Jesus, the face of truth, which is the face of God. … You cannot grasp truth as if it were a thing; it is encountered. It isn't a possession; it is an encounter with a Person.”
“But who can make us recognize that Jesus is 'the' Word of truth, the only begotten Son of God the Father? St. Paul teaches us that 'no one can say, “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit. Jesus calls him the 'Paraclete', that is, 'He who comes to our assistance', who is at our side to sustain us in this journey of knowledge.”
So, what then is the Holy Spirit's action? “In the first place, He recalls and seals upon believers' hearts the words that Jesus said and, precisely through those words, God's law … is inscribed upon our hearts and becomes, in us, the principle of judgement in our choices and of guidance in our everyday actions. It becomes the principle of life.”
The Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised, “'guides us to all truth'. He guides us not only to the encounter with Jesus, the fullness of Truth, but He guides us 'within' Truth, that is, makes us to enter into an ever deeper communion with Jesus, giving us knowledge of the things of God. … The Church's tradition affirms that the Spirit of truth acts in our hearts, arousing that 'sense of the faith' (sensus fidei) through which, as Vatican Council II states, the People of God, under the guidance of the Magisterium, unfailingly adheres to the faith that is bequeathed, deepening it with right judgement and applying it more fully in their lives. Let us ask ourselves: 'Am I open to the Holy Spirit's action, do I pray him to give me light, to make me more sensitive to the things of God?'”
“This is a prayer that we need to say every day: 'Holy Spirit, make my heart open to God's Word so that my heart might be open to good, so that my heart might be open to God's beauty every day.' Let me ask you: how many of you pray to the Holy Spirit every day? It will be few of you, but we must satisfy this desire for Jesus and pray every day to the Holy Spirit that He might open our hearts to Jesus.”
“Embracing the words and the truths of faith so that they might become life takes place and grows with the action of the Holy Spirit. In this sense it is helpful to learn from Mary, to relive her 'yes', her total openness to receiving the Son of God in her life, which was transformed from that moment. Through the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son come to reside in us: we live in God and of God.”
“We have to let ourselves be flooded by the Holy Spirit's light, because He introduces us to the Truth of God, who is the only Lord of our life. In this Year of Faith, let us ask ourselves if we have concretely taken some steps to know Christ and the truth of faith more. .. At the same time let us also ask what steps we are taking so that faith might guide our entire existence. You cannot be a 'part time' Christian, [a Christian] in some moments, under some circumstances, for certain decisions. You are a Christian in every moment! The truth of Christ, which the Holy Spirit teaches and gives us, involves, for always and entirely, our daily life. Let us call upon him more often. Let me make this proposition to you: let us call upon the Holy Spirit every day so that He will bring us closer to Jesus Christ,” the Pope concluded.
In his greetings to the groups from different languages, the Pope addressed Polish pilgrims from Szczecin, members of the Christian Civitas Association that had organized a March for Life there. “This initiative reminds everyone,” the pontiff said, “of the necessity of promoting and defending human life from its conception until its natural end.” He also spoke to the Italian students, particularly those from Catholic schools, noting that “Catholic schools constitute an invaluable reality for all of society, above all for the educational service they undertake in collaboration with families. It is good that their role be recognized properly.”
Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) – At the end of today's general audience, the Pope, addressing a group of pilgrims from the Italian island of Sardinia, announced that he would like to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria that is located in the Sardinian city of Cagliari.
“I would like to visit the Sanctuary in Cagliari—almost surely in the month of September,” he said, “because there is a brotherhood between the cities of Buenos Aires and Cagliari because of an ancient story. At the moment of the founding of the city of Buenos Aires ifs founder wanted to name it 'City of the Most Holy Trinity', but the sailors who had brought him there were Sardinian and they wanted it to be called 'City of the Madonna of Bonaria'. There was an argument and, in the end, they arrived at a compromise. Thus the city's name turned out rather long: 'City of the Most Holy Trinity and Port of Our Lady of Bonaria'. Since it was so long only the last [word] remained: Bonaria, Buenos Aires, in memory of your image of the Madonna of Bonaria.”
Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a conference was held to present the Pentecost Vigil at which ecclesial movements will participate in for the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II. Speaking at the conference, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, noted that, to effectively celebrate the Year of Faith, it was not possible to overlook a gathering with the ecclesial realities, which are one of the Council's most evident results.
“In organizing the Year of Faith,” Archbishop Fisichella said, “we hoped to create a moment of encounter, of prayer, exchange, and listening that would allow us to live and to continue along the path of the new evangelization with as much strength and motivation. … The objective and the purpose remain identical and common for all: to bring the joy of the Gospel to every person.”
“Over 120,000 people, in fact, have signalled their attendance. Around 150 different ecclesial realities coming from [around the world] are registered … attesting to the fact that the Church's catholicity knows no boundaries.”
Under the slogan, “I Believe! Increase our Faith”, the gathering will begin with a pilgrimage for the various groups to the tomb of St. Peter throughout the morning of 18 May starting from 7:00am. Then, at 3:00pm, a welcoming ceremony with reflection, music, and testimonials will be held in St. Peter's Square.
Of particular note, the famous Gen Verde group and a choir of over 150 singers belonging to the various movements will accompany those gathered until 6:00pm when the Holy Father Francis will join the celebration with a moment of prayer in front of the image of the Virgin Mary Salus Populi Romani.
The event will continue with two very meaningful testimonials from the Irish writer and editorialist John Waters and the Pakistani surgeon Paul Batthi. After that, representatives of the movements will ask the Holy Father some questions, which he will respond to spontaneously.
Among those present there will also be a large number of people with various disabilities, the parents of a child killed in the earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy, and Italian politicians belonging to the Communion and Liberation movement.
The event will conclude with the celebration of Mass, presided by Pope Francis, on Sunday, 19 May, at 10:00am in St. Peter's Square.
Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, the Holy See Press Office issued the following press release:
“His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last Conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer, and penance. Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.”
Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) – The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) intends to open, before the end of the year, a website where it will make public, among other information, the “Yearly Report” of its activities. According to Vatican Radio, the announcement was made by the President of the IOR, Mr. Ernst von Freyberg, during a meeting with that Institute's personnel. Also, consultation with a new international certification company has been undertaken by the IOR in order to ensure full compliance with international standards for combating money laundering.
Vatican City, 15 May 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:
   - accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Songea, Tanzania, presented by Archbishop Norbert Wendelin Mtega, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa of Iringa, Tanzania, as apostolic adminstrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same diocese.
   - appointed Bishop Ramon Castro Castro as bishop of Cuernavaca (area 4,941, population 2,202,000, Catholics 1,904,000, priests 197, permanent deacons 1, religious 442), Mexico. Bishop Castro, previously of Campeche, Mexico, was born in Teocuitatlan de Corona, Guadalajara, Mexico in 1956, was ordained to the priesthood in 1982, and received episcopal ordination in 2004. In the Mexican Episcopal Conference, he was elected director of the Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation Dimension of the Episcopal Commission for Social Outreach for the period of 2012-2015.
   - appointed Fr. Savio Dominic Fernandes and Fr. John Rodrigues as auxiliaries for the Archdiocese of Bombay (area 10,103, population 20,121,000, Catholics 520,932, priests 591, permanent deacons 10, religious 1,951), India. Bishop-elect Fernandes was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1989. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral, judicial, and administrative roles, most recently, from 2010, as chairman of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council. The Holy Father has assigned him the Titular See of Cozila. Bishop-elect Rodrigues was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1998. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and academic roles, most recently, from 2011, as dean of studies at St. Pius X College in Goregaon, Maharashtra, India. The Holy Father has assigned him the Titular See of Deulto.


The incident took place on 4 May during Holy Saturday celebrations in Jerusalem. The Patriarchate and local Christians complain of police brutality. For Jerusalem bishop, "denying access to the Holy Sepulchre and mistreating pilgrims, including the elderly and disabled, have nothing to do with security."

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The beating of a Coptic Orthodox priest on 4 May only a few metres from the Holy Sepulchre, during Holy Saturday celebrations, has become a major issue after an amateur video surfaced online, later posted on the Jerusalem Post website. The tape shows Fr Arsanios, the 85-year-old head of the Coptic Church in Ramallah, brutally pushed around by Israeli police.
On Monday, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the leaders of the Christian Churches in the Holy Land issued a statement slamming the excessive and unwarranted security measures taken by police that prevented "thousands of the faithful from quietly participating in Easter celebrations in the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem."
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Mgr William Shomali, patriarchal vicar to Jerusalem, said that such acts take place every year, which pilgrims and religious authorities have always tolerated, but on this occasion, police went too far.
"We do not criticise the need for security in such events or the presence of Israeli police," he said, "but denying access to the Holy Sepulchre, treating pilgrims and clergy with brutal methods, shoving handicapped people are hurtful. The Patriarchate had to take a stand."
Apparently, the incident took place after police began to block streets in the old city of Jerusalem stopping the flow of pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre.
This resulted in an altercation between some agents and pilgrims, including Fr Arsanios, who was manhandled with brutally. The elderly clergyman briefly lost consciousness, and was subsequently treated at an area hospital.
The incident prompted Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin Ze'ev Elkin to express his apologies to Cairo and the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
According Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Jerusalem police, law enforcement and representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church met in recent days to shed light on the incident and determine responsibility for the incident. (S.C.)



The Standing Committee for Relations with Movements and Associations of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has sent its annual Pentecost message to the Catholic movements and associations of Canada.  The Bishops on the committee extend to the groups and their members “heartfelt appreciation for your ongoing participation in the mission of the Church, a true share in the life of Christ”. In its message, the Standing Committee highlights a speech by Blessed John Paul II on Pentecost 1998, in which the Pope expressed his conviction that ecclesial movements and new communities are “the fruit of a new Pentecost”. The members of the Standing Committee also focus on what Pope Francis in his first homily to the College of Cardinals described as three essential dimensions of discipleship: “walking, building, and witnessing”. 
And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house . . . . All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.2,4). 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In his address to the ecclesial movements and new communities at Pentecost 1998, Blessed Pope John Paul expressed his conviction that such groups are the fruit of a new Pentecost:
You, present here, are the tangible proof of the outpouring of the Spirit.  Each movement is different from the others, but they are all united in the same communion and for the same mission.  Some charisms given by the Spirit burst in like an impetuous wind, which seizes people and carries them to new ways of missionary commitment to the radical service of the Gospel, by ceaselessly proclaiming the truths of the faith, accepting the living stream of the truth as a gift instilling in each person an ardent desire for holiness.
These words are most fitting as we extend to you our heartfelt appreciation for your ongoing participation in the mission of the Church, a true share in the life of Christ.
In the course of this Year of Faith, we have received an abundant outpouring of the Spirit’s gift in the election of the first successor of Peter from the Americas.   On the day after his election, Pope Francis delivered his first homily to the College of Cardinals, focusing on three essential dimensions of discipleship:  walking, building, and witnessing.  He stressed that whatever our call and station in life, if we are not first disciples of Jesus Christ who live the mystery of his cross, then we have missed the point.  This, and no other, is the path to the holiness of life which is our gift and task through baptism.
Throughout the life of the Church, movements and associations of the faithful have responded to the Spirit’s gift to live the Gospel in meeting the diverse needs of the Church and of the world.  It is our sincere hope and our deep prayer this Pentecost that by the Spirit’s gift, the members of your associations and movements might share in the grace of walking by faith, building in hope, and witnessing to love. 
Pentecost 2013
Standing Committee for Relations with Movements and Associations
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops


"Beyond the Heavy Heart" - A Pentecost letter to young people from Archbishop Coleridge
At Pentecost, the party is finally over.  The fifty days of the Easter festival come to an end.  The word “Pentecost” in Greek means “fifty days” to mark the seven weeks since the Passover feast.  
The feast of Pentecost has deep roots that take us way back into the agricultural world of Canaan before the Chosen People entered the Promised Land.  Passover itself marked the beginning of the harvest season with the first cutting of the barley crop.  The harvest came to an end fifty days later when the wheat harvest was finished; and both the Canaanites and Israelites celebrated this as the Feast of Weeks, seven weeks.  
After their entry into the Promised Land, the Israelites took the harvest festivals of Canaan and made them their own.  The spring-time fertility festival became Passover and was tied to the exodus from Egypt.  The Feast of Weeks fifty days later was tied to God’s giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai.  And the autumn festival – called the Feast of Tabernacles or Tents – was tied to the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness when they lived in tents.  The rhythms of nature were linked to the great events of salvation history. What had begun as Canaanite became Israelite.
But the story of Pentecost does not stop there.  Because the early Church took what had become Israelite and made it Christian in another act of re-interpretation.  Now it was not the giving of the Law on Sinai that was celebrated but the giving of the Holy Spirit, which brought the Law to its fulfilment.  Now the harvest was not barley and wheat but what the Apostle Paul calls “the fruits of the Spirit” – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”, as Paul puts it in his Letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).  
The Feast of Weeks was a time of joyful celebration, since God had once again given what was needed for life.  In the ancient world, famine was a constant threat, and a good harvest was cause for celebration because it meant the difference between life and death.  So too the Christians saw the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as making the difference between eternal life and eternal death.  
The Feast of Weeks was also a moment of sharing with the needy the good things of the land, so that no-one went without.  And the Christians saw Pentecost as the beginning of a great God-inspired sharing of the fruits of the Spirit with a very needy world.  They saw it as the beginning of the Church’s mission, as we still do.
That mission continues to this day because God has not ceased to breathe the Holy Spirit into the Church.  Without that Spirit, the Church would be a corpse, but with the breath of God within us, the Church becomes the Body of Christ – wounded it is true, but still radiant with the life that is bigger than death, the life of Easter.   
At a time when we need to become more missionary, God is breathing the Holy Spirit into us in new ways.  How could it be otherwise, given that God always equips those whom he calls?  In a place like Australia, we may have too much to eat, but famine of a different kind still looms, more than ever in our great abundance.  To become more missionary in a culture like this, we may need to turn away from abundance of one kind to find and share with others a different kind of abundance.  We may need to say no to material abundance in order to find and share with others a genuinely spiritual abundance.  That was certainly the inspiration of someone like St Francis of Assisi whom the new Holy Father has set before us by taking his name as Pope.  
It was also the call of Jesus to the rich young man.  You know the story:  “A man came up to Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 17 Jesus said to him, “… If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 20 The young man said to Jesus, “I have kept all of them.  What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go and sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away heavy-hearted because he had many possessions” (Matt 19:16-17; 20-22).  This is the story of each of us.  Called to say no to one kind of abundance for the sake of another, we baulk or turn away…and always end up heavy-hearted.
The theme of this year’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro is “Go and make disciples of all nations”.  More clearly and urgently than ever Jesus is saying this to the Church now – not just to some in the Church but to the whole Church, including young people.  Young people are not just the missionaries of the future; they are the missionaries of now.  Just as Jesus called the rich young man to follow him, he is calling young people now.  Just as St Paul chose the young Timothy to be one of the leaders of his missionary team (Acts 16:1-3), so young people are being chosen now.  The rich young man could not bring himself to say yes, but Timothy was quick to answer Paul’s call, even though it cost him plenty.  The rich young man went away heavy-hearted into oblivion: even his name is unknown.  But Timothy stands forever as a joyful witness to the power of saying yes to the call and setting off on the missionary path, the path of eternal life.  
On the wall of my office I have three small icons – St Antony of Egypt, St Benedict of Norcia and St Francis of Assisi.  They are there because each of them was a disciple who brought to birth not only a new way of being Christian, but also a new form of human consciousness and eventually a new civilisation.  Can one person make such a difference?  Absolutely, if we look at the figures of Antony, Benedict and Francis – all of them young when they were called.  We may be at a point now where we need a new Antony, a new Benedict or a new Francis.  Their witness is not just a thing of the past; it is a thing of now, because the Spirit who moved in their lives is moving among us no less.  Why should the same gifts not flourish, so that the whole world can enjoy the magnificent fruits of the Holy Spirit?  The party may be over, but the work must now begin.

Most Rev Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane
Released in advance of Pentecost Sunday 2013
For more information and to download the Pentecost Letter to Young People please see Catholic Youth Ministry BrisbaneLink will take you to an external website


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Severe damage to the church, the school and the bishop’s house, who was slightly wounded: the suicide bombing that after the elections in Pakistan, hit the police station in Quetta, capital of the troubled province of Baluchistan, also had a major impact on the small Christian community. As reported to Fides by the local Church, the car stuffed with 2,000 kilograms of explosives, detonated in the evening of May 12 at 10.45, causing eight deaths and 97 wounded, also damaged the nearby structure of the Catholic Church. The Apostolic Vicar of Quetta, Mgr. Victor Gnanapragasam, OMI, who was sleeping in his room, was hit by the glass of the window. The doors and windows of the Chapel of the convent were broken. The doors, windows and walls of the Bishop’s house, of the Caritas office, the schools and the convent of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) are badly damaged. Catholic schools run by missionaries and nuns (St. Francis High School, St. Joseph School and the Sacred Heart School) are currently closed and will remain uninhabitable for about a week, to remove debris and check the stability of the school complex. The Bishop is back to work, but the missionaries express to Fides great fear and ask for help in the restoration of the damage. Fr. Renard Lawrence, OMI, who lives and works in the structure affected, explains to Fides that "the attack was linked to electoral violence. Now we hope to return to a peaceful and constructive climate for the development of the society in Beluchstan." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 15/05/2013)


John 17: 11 - 19

11And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.12While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.13But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.14I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.15I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.18As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.


St. Isidore the Farmer
Feast: May 15

Feast Day:May 15
Born:1070 at Madrid, Spain
Died:15 May 1130
Canonized:12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Patron of:farmers; day laborers
It is a misfortune which deserves to be lamented with floods of tears, that ignorance, obstinacy, and vice should so often taint a country life, the state which of all others is most necessary and important to the world; the most conformable to a human condition and to nature; the state which was sanctified by the example of the primitive holy patriarchs, and which affords the most favorable opportunities for the perfect practice of every virtue and Christian duty. What advantageous helps to piety did the ancient hermits seek in the deserts, which the circumstances of a country laborer do not offer? The life of St. Isidore is a most sensible proof of this assertion. He was born at Madrid, of poor but very devout parents, and was christened Isidore from the name of their patron, St. Isidore of Seville. They had not the means to procure him learning or a polite education; but, both by word and example, they infused into his tender soul the utmost horror and dread of all sin, and the most vehement ardor for every virtue, and especially for prayer. Good books are a great help to holy meditation; but not indispensably requisite. St. Irenaeus mentions whole nations which believed in Christ, and abounded in exemplary livers, without knowing the use of ink or paper. Many illustrious anchorets knew no other alphabet than that of humility and divine charity. The great St. Antony himself could not so much as read the Greek or Latin languages: nay, from the words of St. Austin, some doubt whether he could read even his own barbarous Egyptian dialect. Yet in the science of the saints, what philosopher or orator ever attained to the A B C of that great man? Learning, if it puffs up the mind, or inspires any secret self-sufficiency, is an impediment to the communications of  the Holy Ghost: simplicity and sincere humility being the dispositions which invite him into the soul. By these was Isidore prepared to find him an interior instructor and comforter. His earnestness in seeking lessons and instructions of piety made him neglect no opportunity of hearing them; and so much the more tender and the deeper were the impressions which they left in his soul, as his desire was the stronger and the more pure. His patience in bearing all injuries and in overcoming the envy of fellow-servants by cordial kindnesses, his readiness to obey his masters, and in indifferent things to comply with the inclinations of others, and humbly to serve every one, gave him the most complete victory over himself and his passions. Labor he considered as enjoined him by God in punishment of sin, and for a remedy against it. And he performed his work in a spirit of compunction and penance. Many object that their labors and fatigues leave them little time for the exercises of religion. But Isidore, by directing his attention according to the most holy motives of faith, made his work a most perfect act of religion. He considered it as a duty to God. Therefore he applied himself to it with great diligence and care, in imitation of the angels in heaven, who in all things fulfil the will of God with the greatest readiness and alacrity of devotion. The more humbling and the more painful the labor was, the dearer it was to the saint, being a means the more suitable to tame his flesh, and a more noble part of his penance. With the same spirit that the saints subdued their bodies by toils in their deserts, Isidore embraced his task. He moreover sanctioned it by continual prayer. While his hand held the plough, he in his heart conversed with God, with his angel guardian, and the other blessed spirits; sometimes deploring the sins of the world, and his own spiritual miseries, at other times in the melting words of the royal prophet, raising his desires to the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem. It was chiefly by this perfect spirit of prayer, joined with, or rather engrafted upon a most profound humility and spirit of mortification, that St. Isidore arrived at so eminent a degree of sanctity as rendered him the admiration of all Spain. In his youth he was retained servant by a gentleman named John de Vargas of Madrid, to till his land and do his husbandry work. The saint afterwards took a most virtuous woman to wife, named Mary Toribia. Those who call her de la Cabeza were deceived by a chapel to which that name is given, because her head is kept in it. After the birth of one child, which died young, the parents, by mutual consent, served God in perfect continency.

St. Isidore continued always in the service of the same master. On account of his fidelity, he could say to him as Jacob did to Laban,1 that, to guard and improve his stock, he had often watched the nights, and had suffered the scorching heats of summer, and the cold of winter; and that the stock, which he found small, had been exceedingly increased in his hands. Don John de Vargas, after long experience of the treasure he possessed in this faithful ploughman, treated him as a brother, according to the advice of Ecclesiasticus,2 Let a wise servant be dear to thee as thy own soul. He allowed him the liberty of assisting daily at the public office of the church. On the other side, Isidore was careful by rising very early, to make his devotions no impediment to his business, nor any encroachment upon what he owed to his master. This being a duty of justice, it would have been a false devotion to have pretended to please God by a neglect of such an obligation; much less did the good servant indulge his compassionate charity to the poor, by relieving them otherwise than out of his own salary. The saint was sensible that in his fidelity, diligence, and assiduous labor consisted, in great part, the sanctification of his soul; and that his duty to his master was his duty to God. He also inspired his wife with the same confidence in God, the same love of the poor, and the same disengagement from the things of this world: he made her the faithful imitatrix of his virtues, and a partner in his good works. She died in 1175, and is honored in Spain among the saints. Her immemorial veneration was approved by pope Innocent XII. in 1697. See Benedict XIV., de Canoniz. 1. 2, c. 24, p. 246.
St. Isidore being seized with the sickness of which he died, foretold his last hour, and prepared himself for it with redoubled fervor, and with the most tender devotion, patience, and cheerfulness. The piety with which he received the last sacraments drew tears from all that were present. Repeating inflamed acts of divine love, he expired on the 15th of May, 1170, being near sixty years of age. His death was glorified by miracles. After forty years, his body was removed out of the churchyard into the church of St. Andrew. It has been since placed in the bishop's chapel, and during these five hundred years remains entire and fresh, being honored by a succession of frequent miracles down to this time. The following, among others, is very well attested. Philip III., in his return from Lisbon, was taken so ill at Casarubios del Monte, that his life was despaired of by his physicians. Whereupon the shrine of St. Isidore was ordered to be carried in a solemn procession of the clergy, court, and people, from Madrid to the chamber of the sick king. The joint prayers of many prevailed. At the same time the shrine was taken out of the church, the fever left the king; and upon its being brought into his chamber, he was perfectly cured. The year following the body of the saint was put into a new rich shrine, which cost one thousand six hundred ducats of gold. St. Isidore had been beatified a little before by Paul V., in 1619, at the solicitation of the same king. His solemn canonization was performed, at the request of king Philip IV., on the 12th of March, 1622; though the bull was only made public by Benedict XIII. See the life of St. Isidore, written by John of Madrid, one hundred and forty years after his death; and Card. Lambertini, de Canoniz. SS. t. 3.