St. Jane Frances de Chantal
AT the age of sixteen, Jane Frances de Frémyot, already a motherless child, was placed under the care of a worldly-minded governess. In this crisis she offered herself to the Mother of God, and secured Mary's protection for life. When a Protestant sought her hand, she steadily refused to marry "an enemy of God and His Church," and shortly afterwards, as the loving and beloved wife of the Baron de Chantal, made her house the pattern of a Christian home. But God had marked her for something higher than domestic sanctity. Two children and a dearly beloved sister died, and, in the full tide of prosperity, her husband's life was taken by the innocent hand of a friend. For seven years the sorrows of her widowhood were increased by ill-usage from servants and inferiors, and the cruel importunities of friends, who urged her to marry again. Harassed almost to despair by their entreaties, she branded on her heart the name of Jesus, and in the end left her beloved home and children to live for God alone. It was on the 19th of March, 1609, that Madame de Chantal bade farewell to her family and relations. Pale, and with tears in her eyes, she passed round the large room, sweetly and humbly taking leave of each. Her son, a boy of fifteen, used every entreaty, every endearment, to induce his mother not to leave them, and at last passionately flung himself across the door of the room. In an agony of distress, she passed on over the body of her son to the embrace of her aged and disconsolate father. The anguish of that parting reached its height when, kneeling at the feet of the venerable old man, she sought and obtained his last blessing, promising to repay in her new home his sacrifice by her prayers. Well might St. Francis call her "the valiant woman." She was to found with St. Francis de Sales a great Order. Sickness, opposition, want, beset her, and the death of children, friends, and of St. Francis himself followed, while eighty-seven houses of the Visitation rose under her hand. Nine long years of interior desolation completed the work of God's grace; and in her seventieth year St. Vincent of Paul saw, at the moment of her death, her soul ascend, as a ball of fire, to heaven.
Reflection. —Profit by the successive trials of life to gain the strength and courage of St. Jane Frances, and they will become stepping-stones from earth to heaven.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 118, 75, 120
I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me: pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear; I am afraid of Thy commandments. (P.T.) Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 118, 1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way; who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be …
Almighty and merciful God, Who didst endow blessed Jane Frances, burning with love of Thee, with an admirable strength of soul through all the paths of life in the way of perfection, and Who was pleased to glorify Thy Church with a new family by her means, grant to her merits and prayers that we, who, conscious of our own infirmity, trust in Thy power, may, by the assistance of divine grace, conquer all obstacles which beset us. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Prov. 31, 10-31
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[An exhortation to chastity, temperance, and works of mercy; with the praise of a wise woman.]
Who shall find a valiant woman? the price of her is as of things brought from afar off, and from the uttermost coasts. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands.She is like the merchant' s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar. And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens. She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night. She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite. Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.
Gradual • Ps. 44, 3
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee forever. Because of truth and meekness, and justice; and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 44, 5. With thy comeliness and thy beauty, set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 13, 44-52
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[The parables of the sower and the cockle: of the mustard seed, etc.]
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls.
Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Have ye understood all these things? They say to him: Yes. He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.
Offertory • Ps. 44, 3
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee forever, and for ages of ages.
May this saving Victim, O Lord, inflame us with that fire of love with which it vehemently kindled the heart of blessed Jane Francis, burning it away with the flames of eternal charity. Through our Lord.
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (P.T. Alleluia.)