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at the moment fixed in the divine decrees, we shall rise again, in order that we may assist at the solemn and terrible Judgment. Our consciences will be laid open, our good and bad actions will be weighed, before the whole of mankind; after which, the sentence already pronounced upon us in our particular Judgment will be made public. Sinners as we are, how shall we be able to bear the eye of our Redeemer, who will then be our inexorable Judge? How shall we endure even the gaze of our fellowcreatures, who shall then behold every sin we have committed? But above all,-which of the two sentences will be ours? Were the Judge to pronounce it at this very moment, would he place us among the Blessed of his Father, or among the Cursed? on his right, or on his left?
Our fathers were seized with fear when thou, O Vincent, didst put these questions to them. They did penance for their sins, and, after receiving pardon from God, their fears abated, and holy joy filled their souls. Angel of God's Judgment! pray for us, that we may be moved to salutary fear. A few days hence, and we shall behold our Redeemer ascending the hill of Calvary, with the heavy weight of his Cross upon him; we shall hear him thus speaking to the Daughters of Jerusalem: Weep not over me, but weep for yourselves and for your children : for if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry? Help us, O Vincent, to profit of these words of warning. Our sins have reduced us to the condition of dry dead branches, that are good for nought but to burn in the fire of divine vengeance; help us, by thy intercession, to be once more united to Him who will give us life. Thy zeal for souls was extreme; take ours under thy care, and procure for them the grace of perfect
1 St. Luke, xxiii. 28, 31.
reconciliation with our offended Judge. Pray, too, for Spain, the country that gave thee life and faith, thy Religious Profession and thy Priesthood. The dangers that are now threatening her require all thy zeal and love; exercise them in her favour, and be her faithful protector.
SAINT MARY OF EGYPT,
ONE of the most striking examples of penance ever witnessed, is this day proposed for our consideration: Mary, the Sinner and Penitent of Egypt, comes to animate us to persevere in our Lenten exercises. Like Magdalene and Margaret of Cortona, she had sinned grievously; like them, she repented, atoned for her guilt, and is now the associate of Angels. Let us adore the omnipotence of our God, who thus changed a vessel of dishonour into one of honour; let us lovingly contemplate the riches of his mercy, and hope for our own participation in them. At the same time, let us remember, that pardon is not granted, save where there is repentance; and that repentance is not genuine, unless it produce an abiding spirit and deeds of penance. Mary of Egypt had the misfortune to lead a life of sin for seventeen years; but her penance lasted forty: and what kind of penance must not hers have been, living alone in a desert, under a scorching sun, without the slightest human consolation, and amidst every sort of privation! The pledge of pardon, the receiving Holy Communion,-which we received so soon after our sins, was not granted to Mary, till she had done penance for nearly half a century. Yes, that pledge
of Jesus' forgiveness, which he has given us in the Sacrament of his Love, and which was communicated to us so promptly, was withheld from this admirable Penitent, so that her second time for receiving it was at the moment when Death was on the point of separating her soul from her body which was worn out by austerities! Let us humble ourselves at such a comparison; let us think with fear on this great truth, that God's justice will require an account of all the graces he has heaped upon us; and with this thought, let us rouse ourselves to a determination to merit, by the sincerity of our repentance, a place near the humble Penitent of the desert.
We take the Lessons of the Office of St. Mary of Egypt from the ancient Roman-French Breviaries.
Mary of Egypt left her parents, when she was twelve years of age. It was during the reign of the Emperor Justin. She entered Alexandria, and was a sinner in that city for seventeen years. Having visited Jerusalem, and, it being the feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross, having endeavoured to enter the church of Calvary, she felt herself thrice repelled by divine power. Standing under the portico, she made a vow before an image of the VirginMother of God, that if our Lord would grant her to see and venerate the life-giving Wood of the Cross, she would lead a life of penance. Immediately, she entered the Church; she saw; she adored.
Then, taking three loaves, as provision for her journey, and having received the Eucharist, in St. John's Church
Maria Ægyptia, duodecennis, tempore Justini imperatoris, relictis parentibus, Alexandriam venit, fuitque per annos septemdecim ea in civitate peccatrix. Cum autem Hierosolymam profecta, Calvariæ templum in festo Exaltationis sanctæ Crucis ingredi tentasset, ter divinitus repulsa, in atrio coram imagine Deiparæ Virginis vovit pœnitentiam, si liceret sibi vivificum Crucis lignum videre et adorare: moxque templum ingressa, vidit et adoravit.
Inde sumpto trium panum viatico, perceptaque Eucharistia in oratorio sancti Joannis ad ripam
Jordanis, ultra flumen in vastissimam solitudinem recessit. Ibi, consumpto viatico detritisque vestibus, ignota permansit annis quadraginta septem, donec ad torrentem quemdam occurrit ei Zozimas presbyter, a quo obtinuit ut vespere in Coena Domini, in adversam Jordanis ripam afferret sibi Corpus et Sanguinem Domini, quorum participatione tot annos caruerat.
Condicto die accessit ad eumdem locum Zozimas, quo et Maria signo crucis impresso super aquas ambulans pervenit; recitatoque Symbolo et Oratione Dominica, ut moris erat, divina dona suscepit; rursumque precata est Zozimam, ut anno recurrente ad eumdem torrentem veniret. Qui cum eo accessisset, conspexit corpus ejus jacens in terra, in qua scripta hæc legit: Sepeli, Abba Zozima, misera Mariæ corpusculum; redde terræ quod suum est, et pulveri adjice pulverem ; ora tamen Deum pro me: transeunte mense Pharmuthi, nocte salutiferæ Passionis, post divinæ et sacræ Cœnæ communionem. Corpori ejus leo adveniens, effossa ungulis terra, paravit sepulcrum.
on the banks of the Jordan, she withdrew into an immense wilderness, on the other side of the river. There, her provisions consumed, and her garments worn to tatters, she abode unknown to all, for forty-seven years, when she was discovered by the priest Zozimus. She asked him to bring to her, on the evening of Maundy Thursday, and on the other side of the Jordan, the Body and Blood of our Lord, which she had not received during all these years.
On the appointed day, Zozimus came to the place that had been agreed on; and Mary, having made the sign of the cross upon the waters, walked over them, and came to the priest. Having recited the Symbol and the Lord's Prayer, as was the custom, she received the divine gifts. She again besought Zozimus that he would come to the same torrent, the following year. He did so, and found her body lying on the ground, on which were written these words: "Abbot Zozimus! bury the
body of this wretched Mary. "Give back to the earth what belongs to it, and add dust unto dust. Yet, pray to "God for me. This last day of
the month of Pharmuthi, on "the night of the saving Pas"sion, after the Communion
of the divine and sacred "Supper." A lion then came towards the place, and making a hole in the ground with his paws, he prepared a grave for her body.