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tuales accipiens, beate; et illuminatissimus corde et anima visus fuisti.
Qui cœlum, terram et mare verbo fabricatus est vocatus fuit Filius fabri, tui, Joseph admiratione digne. Vocatus es pater illius qui sine principio est, qui te glorificavit ut mysteriorum supra rationem ministrum.
O quam pretiosa fuit mors tua in conspectu Domini, beate Joseph; tu enim Domino ab infantia sanctificatus, sacer fuisti custos benedictæ Virginis, et cum ea cecinisti Omnis creatura benedicat Dominum, et superexaltet eum in sempiterna sæcula. Amen.
direct upon thee, O blessed one! and enlightened thee. Thy heart and soul were bathed in light.
He that, by his only word, made heaven and earth and sea, was called "the Carpenter's Son," yes, thine, O Joseph, that deservest all our admiration. Thou wast called the "Father" of Him that had no beginning, and receivedst from him the glory of being minister of unfathomable mysteries.
Oh! how precious, in the sight of the Lord, was thy death, O blessed Joseph ! for thou wast consecrated to him from thine infancy, and wast the holy guardian of the Blessed Virgin. Thou didst thus sing together with her: Let every creature bless the Lord, and praise him above all for endless ages. Amen.
We praise and glorify thee, O happy Saint! hail thee as the Spouse of the Queen of heaven, and Foster-Father of our Redeemer. These titles, which would seem too grand for any human being to enjoy, are thine; and they are but the expression of the dignities conferred on thee by God. The Church of heaven admires the sublime favours thou hast received; the Church on earth joyfully celebrates thy glories, and blesses thee for the favours thou art so unceasingly bestowing upon her.
Though born of the kingly race of David, thou wast the humblest of men; thy spirit led thee to seek obscurity, and a hidden life was thine ambition: but God chose thee to be an instrument in the sublimest of all his works. A noble Virgin, of the same family of David,—the object of heaven's admiration,
and the glory and hope of the world, yes, this Virgin is to be thy Spouse. The Holy Ghost is to dwell within her as in a most pure tabernacle; it is to thee, the just and chaste, that he intrusts her as an inestimable treasure. Espouse, then, to thyself her whose beauty the very King of heaven so greatly desires.1
The Son of God comes down to this earth, that he may live the life of man; he comes that he may sanctify the ties and affections of kindred. He calls thee Father; he obeys thy orders. What strange emotions must have filled thy heart, O Joseph ! when, knowing the prerogatives of thy Spouse and the divinity of thy adopted Son, thou hadst to be the head of this Family, which united heaven and earth into one! What respectful and tender love for Mary, thy Blessed Spouse! What gratitude and profound worship of Jesus, who obeyed thee as thy Child! O mysteries of Nazareth-a God dwells among men, and permits himself to be called the Son of Joseph !
O sublime minister of the greatest of blessings, intercede for us with God made Man. Ask him to bestow Humility upon us,-that holy virtue which raised thee to such exalted dignity, and which must be the basis of our conversion. It was pride that led us into sin, and made us prefer our own will to that of God: yet will he pardon us if we offer him the sacrifice of a contrite and humbled heart.2 Get us this virtue, without which there can be no true penance. Pray also for us, O Joseph, that we may be chaste. Without purity of mind and body, we cannot come nigh the God of all sanctity, who suffers nothing defiled to approach him. He wills to make our bodies, by his grace, the temples of his holy Spirit: do thou, great Saint, help us to maintain ourselves
in so exalted a dignity, or to recover it, if we have lost it.
And lastly, O Faithful Spouse of Mary! recommend us to our Mother. If she cast a look of pity upon us during these days of reconciliation, we shall be saved for she is the Queen of Mercy, and Jesus, her Son, will pardon us and change our hearts, if she intercede for us, O Joseph! Remind her of Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth, in all of which she received from thee such marks of thy devotedness. Tell her, that we, also, love and honour thee; and Mary will reward us for our devotion to him that was given her by heaven as her protector and support.
FORTY days after the white dove of Cassino had mounted to heaven, Benedict, her glorious Brother, ascended by a bright path to the blissful abode, where they were to be united for ever. Both of them reached the heavenly country during that portion of the year, which corresponds with the holy Season of Lent. It frequently happens, however, that St. Scholastica's feast is kept before Lent has begun; whereas St. Benedict's day, the twenty-first of March, always comes during the Season of penance. God, who is the Sovereign Master of time, willed that the Faithful, whilst practising their exercises of penance, should always have before their eyes a Saint, whose example and intercession should inspire them with courage.
With what profound veneration ought we not to celebrate the Festival of this wonderful Saint, who, as St. Gregory says, "was filled with the spirit of all the Just!" If we consider his virtues, we find nothing superior in the annals of perfection presented to our admiration by the Church. Love of God and man, humility, the gift of prayer, dominion over the passions,-form him into a master-piece of the grace of the Holy Ghost. Miracles seem to con
stitute his life: he cures the sick, commands the elements, casts out devils, and raises the dead to life. The spirit of prophecy unfolds futurity to him; and the most intimate thoughts of men are not too distant for the eye of his mind to scan. These superhuman qualifications are heightened by a sweet majesty, a serene gravity, and a tender charity, which shine in every page of his wonderful Life; and it is one of his holiest children who wrote it,-St. Gregory the Great. It is this holy Pope and Doctor, who had the honour of telling posterity all the wonders which God vouchsafed to work in his servant Benedict.
Yes, posterity had a right to know the life and virtues of a man, whose salutary influence upon the Church and society has been so observable during the ages of the Christian era. To describe the influence exercised by the spirit of St. Benedict, we should have to transcribe the annals of all the nations of the Western Church, from the 7th century down to our own times. Benedict is the Father of Europe. By his Benedictines, numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sands of the sea-shore, he rescued the last remnants of Roman vigour from the total annihilation threatened by the invasion of Barbarians; he presided over the establishment of the public and private laws of those nations, which grew out of the ruins of the Roman Empire; he carried the Gospel and civilization into England, Germany, and the Northern countries, including Sclavonia; he taught agriculture; he put an end to slavery; and to conclude, he saved the precious deposit of the arts and sciences from the tempest which would have swept them from the world, and would have left mankind a prey to a gloomy and fatal ignorance.
And Benedict did all this by that little book, which we call his "Rule." This admirable code of