St. Francis of Paula
AT the age of fifteen Francis left his poor home at Paula in Calabria, to live as a hermit in a cave by the sea-coast. In time disciples gathered round him, and with them, in 1436, he founded the "Minims," so called to show that they were the least of monastic Orders. They observed a perpetual Lent, and never touched meat, fish, eggs, or milk. Francis himself made the rock his bed; his best garment was a hair-shirt, and boiled herbs his only fare. As his body withered his faith grew powerful, and he "did all things in Him Who strengthened him." He cured the sick, raised the dead, averted plagues, expelled evil spirits, and brought sinners to penance. A famous preacher, instigated by a few misguided monks, set to work to preach against St. Francis and his miracles. The Saint took no notice of it, and the preacher, finding that he made no way with his hearers, determined to see this poor hermit and confound him in person. The Saint received him kindly, gave him a seat by the fire, and listened to a long exposition of his own frauds. He then quietly took some glowing embers from the fire, and closing his hands upon them unhurt, said, "Come, Father Anthony, warm yourself, for you are shivering for want of a little charity" Father Anthony, falling at the Saint's feet, asked for pardon, and then, having received his embrace, quitted him, to become his panegyrist and attain himself to great perfection. When the avaricious King Ferdinand of Naples offered him money for his convent, Francis told him to give it back to his oppressed subjects, and softened his heart by causing blood to flow from the ill-gotten coin. Louis XI. of France, trembling at the approach of death, sent for the poor hermit to ward off the foe whose advance neither his fortresses nor his guards could check. Francis went by the Pope's command, and prepared the king for a holy death. The successors of Louis showered favors on the Saint, his Order spread throughout Europe, and his name was reverenced through the Christian world. He died at the age of ninety-one, on Good Friday, 1507, with the crucifix in his hand, and the last words of Jesus on hiss lips, "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."
Reflection. —Rely in all difficulties upon God. That which enabled St. Francis to work miracles will in proportion do wonders for yourself, by giving you strength and consolation.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 42, 1, 2
Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For Thou art my God and my strength. Ps. 42, 3. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles. Judge me.
Look with favor upon Thy household, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that, by Thy gift, it may be governed in body and, by Thy preservation, may be guarded in spirit. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Heb. 9, 11-15
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.
[Evil pastors are reproved. Christ the true pastor shall come, and gather together his flock from all parts of the earth, and preserve it for ever.]
Brethren, Christ, being come an high priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, that is, not of this creation: Neither by the blood of goats, or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions, which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance; in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gradual • Ps. 142, 9, 10
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord, teach me to do Thy will. Ps. 17, 48, 49. My deliverer, O Lord, from the angry nations: Thou wilt left me up above them that rise up against me: from the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.
Tract. Ps. 128, 1-4
Often have they fought against me from my youth. Let Israel now say: often have thy fought against me from my youth. But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back. They have lengthened their iniquities: the Lord Who is just will cut the necks of sinners.
Gospel • John 8, 46-59
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John.
[The woman taken in adultery. Christ justifies his doctrine.]
At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews, Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.
Offertory • Ps. 118, 17, 107
I will confess to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: render to They servant: I shall live and keep Thy words: enliven me according to Thy word, O Lord.
May these offerings, we pray Thee, O Lord, both loose the bonds of our sins, and win for us the gifts of Thy mercy. Through our Lord.
Communion • 1 Cor. 11, 24, 25
This is My body which shall be delivered for you: this is the chalice of the New Testament in My blood, saith the Lord: do this, as often as you receive it, in commemoration of Me.
Draw near to us, O Lord, our God, and with Thy perpetual succor defend those whom Thou hast refreshed with Thy mysteries. Through our Lord.