Friday, December 25, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
But sluggard if thou art not yet persuaded to labor, do but attend to S. Paul, who thus invites & pricks thee forward: But to those who are of that sort we denounce, & beseech in our Lord IESV Christ, that working, with silence they eat their bread. Because if anyone will not work, he shall not eat. [2 Thess. 3. 12.] This most skillful physician applies one medicine to many infirmities, for with that only salve of labor he cures all the ulcers proceeding from the root of idleness and sloth. And he observed first himself the law which he gave onto others. For you know, saith he, how you ought to imitate us: because we were not unquiet amongst you; neither have we eaten our bread gratis from anyone, but in labor and weariness day and night working, lest we might be burdensome to any of you. [1. Thess. 2. 7. & 8.]
Behold S. Paul of Tarsus, in that very place, where he sounded the trumpet, which drew the greatest part of the world to the standard of Christ, earned his food by the work of his hands, twisted ropes, made tents & pavilion. Yea the mother of our Lord herself, how far was she at all times from idleness? There was never any woman spent the daily course of her life in better order than this most B. Virgin; who from the break of day till the third hour, applied herself seriously to her prayers; from that time till noon in spinning; and after dinner (which she took very sparingly) entertained the rest of the day in reading divine matters.
But if the Apostles (as saith S. Jerome) [Epist. 4 ad Rust. Mon.] who might have lived by the Gospel, labored with their own hands, lest they should be burdensome to others, why are you not doing somewhat that may be necessary for yourself?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Let us see now how these familiar spirits of the spiritualists [psychics] behave when in the presence of an opposing power. Such an opposing power, for instance, is a simple prayer from a Catholic priest, or even from a good Catholic layman.
I know a certain priest, who, one day, went to such a meeting with the intention of preventing the diabolical performances. He adjured the evil spirits not to exercise any influence, neither over their mediums, nor over any of those present at the meeting. What happened ? It was in vain that the medium tried to make the spirits appear and speak. He told the assembly that the spirits would not come, that there must be some opposing power.
One day, the Earl of Fingall, in Ireland, Lord Plunkett, father of Rev. Father Plunkett, of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, happened to be at a meeting of spiritualists. The tables began to move. He became frightened, because he saw there was something preternatural in it. So he retired to a corner, and began to pray (to say the Rosary), and instantly the operations were stopped, and they could not get along any more, as long as he was there. (Related by Father Plunkett to one of our Fathers.)
The familiar spirits of spirit-mediums find an opposing power in the presence of sacred relics.
The Emperor Julian, surnamed the Apostate, was most foolishly superstitious, and exceedingly fond of soothsayers and magicians (or spiritualists), Maximius, the Magician (or spiritualist), and others of that character, were his chief confidants. He endeavored, by the black art, or by means of the devil, to rival the miracles of Christ, though he effected nothing.
At that time there was, at Daphne, five miles from Antioch, a famous idol of Apollo, which uttered oracles in that place. Gallus Caesar, to oppose the worship of that idol, translated from Antioch to Daphne the sacred relics of St. Babylas, Bishop of Antioch, and Martyr. He erected a church, sacred to the name of St. Babylas, near the profane temple (or devil's temple), and placed in it the venerable relics of the martyr, in a shrine above ground. The neighborhood of the martyr s relics struck the devil dumb. Eleven years after, in the year 362, Julian the Apostate came to Antioch, and, by a multitude of sacrifices, endeavored to learn of the idol the cause of his silence. At length the fiend gave him to understand that the neighborhood was full of dead bones, which must be removed before he could be at rest, and disposed to give answers. Julian understood this of the body of St. Babylas, and commanded that the christians should immediately remove his shrine to some distant place, but not touch the other dead bodies. The Christians obeyed the order, and, with great solemnity, carried in procession the sacred relics back to Antioch, singing, on this occasion, the psalms which ridicule the vanity and feebleness of idols, repeating after every verse : "May they who adore idols and glory in false gods blush with shame, and be covered with confusion. The following evening lightning fell on the Temple of Apollo, and reduced to ashes the idol and all its ornaments. (Butlers Lives of the Saints, vol. i., pp. 107 and 112, note.)
Similar story in Korea, 1866: Shamans in the royal palace couldn't practice sorcery because their charms were counteracted by the torture of the French Catholic missionaries, saying that it would be evil augury if the blood of the priests were shed in Seoul. (they wouldn't be able to practice shamanism because of the holy influence of the relics of the saintly priests):
"Meanwhile at the palace a troop of sorcerers were plying their trade to cure the illness of the boy-king in time for his marriage. They complained that their charms were counteracted by the suffering of the men from the West, and that if blood were shed in the capital it would be an evil augury for the royal nuptials. Orders were given to execute the condemned five on the promontory of Sou-rieng, a long distance from Seoul.
Catholic world By Paulist Fathers: "
Holy water, too, or any thing else blessed by the Church, is an opposing power for these spirits.
While some of our Fathers were giving a Mission in Erie, a meeting of spiritualists was held in that city. When the bishop heard of it, he sent one of our Fathers to prevent the evil spirits from exercising their influence over their mediums. The Father went in disguise to the house where the meeting was to take place. He took with him a bottle of holy water. Before the performance began, the Father sprinkled the whole floor with holy water. The medium, a young woman, came on the stage, to get into a trance, but she could not succeed. They tried for about an hour, but got no answer. At last the performer, the medium, said: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have to give up to-night. There must be some opposing power, as the spirits do not appear and speak."
When General Lamoriciere, Commander of the Pope's Army, and a very pious Catholic, came back from Italy, he happened to be present at a meeting of spiritualists. He held in his hand a little crucifix, blessed by our Holy Father the Pope. Now, when they laid their hands on the table, and invoked the spirits, none of the spirits would come and answer. The medium then came and said : "Gentlemen, there is some one among you who is averse to the spirits." He examined the hands of every one, and found the little crucifix in the hand of General Lamoriciere. He then told the general either to give up this article or to leave. The general left, the opposing power was gone, and the spirits could work through their medium.
Fr. Park: In the places where shamans do their rituals, if there is a Catholic person or Catholic sacramental such as the crucifix or the rosary, the shaman knows this somehow. They tell them to go away, because the spirits will not come when there is something unclean.
And the shamans draw cross on the ground and curse it while stabbing it with a sword. This is the devils hating the Cross of Jesus Christ. This is because the devils were driven out by the Cross of Christ.
Seeing this, it can be known that God exists, and that there are evil spirits who fears the God we believe.
(Fr. Park continues with an example of a possessed person he encountered during the summer break of his seminary days.):
A possessed woman's family, having heard that one can exorcize the devil in a Catholic Church, brought her from far away to a place where they could go to a Catholic Church and rented a room. While there, they went to a Catholic Church everyday to drive the devil away. When the priest said the Mass, she laid down on the floor and pretended to be dead, then was lively again after the Mass ended. One day, she shed tears and said "(Calls her own name twice) Now I have to leave you!" After a while she returned completely to her senses. Her entire family converted, and her mother said "In this world there are devils who torment people. And in Catholic Church there is God who the devils fears. If devils exist, hell must exist, and if God exists, heaven must exist. Look at my daughter, now I can live because of God. Now I cannot not believe in God." Original Korean
From a Korean Catholic online board:
옆집에 무당이 실제로 사는 어떤 자매가 묵주기도 소리를 내어 바칠 때마다, 들은 무당이 너무 괴로워하여 싫어했다고 합니다. 실화인데 심지어 집에 작두도 날라왔다고
["In a neighbor's house, every time a Catholic prayed the Rosary out loud, the shaman who could hear it was very tormented and resented it. This is a true story, and even a shaman's blade was thrown in.]
Some time ago the Davenport brothers put up a blasphemous placard all over the city of St. Louis, Mo., informing the public that they could perform miracles similar to those of Christ. A certain priest of the city read this placard, and became quite indignant at it. He determined to expose the authors of the placard. So he went, in disguise, to the meeting. Now, when they were about to perform their lying miracles, they put out the lights, and told all present to join hands and form a circle. The priest said to his neighbor: "I will not join hands with you; I wish to find out whether the joining of hands is necessary to the performance." As soon as the lights were put out, they heard music over their heads.
All went on very well. The priest saw that the circle was not necessary to the performance; that it was nothing but a cheat to make the affair mysterious. Having found this out, the priest made the sign of the cross. Instantly there was heard a shriek, and a crash. The lights were lit. Davenport came and said : a Gentlemen, some one of you must have broken the circle ; please join hands once more, and do not break the circle." The lights were then put out again. The priest did not join hands with his neighbor, yet the performance again went on as well as before. The priest again made the sign of the cross, and again there was heard a shriek and a crash. Daven port came down and complained. The priest s neighbor then cried out : "My neighbor here did not join hands with me." Every one shouted : " Put him out ! Put him out !" and Davenport, too, begged him to leave. But the priest, who was a strong man, said : " I will not leave until the performance is over. You will have some trouble and difficulty in putting me out ; I have paid for my ticket, and I have as much right to stay as any one else. "
They could no longer succeed in the performance of their lying wonders. Every one left the priest stayed until all were gone. Davenport complained to him, saying : "Why did you act thus, and stop our proceedings?" " Well ! " said the priest, "do you know who I am ? I am a Catholic priest. I suppose you never had a Catholic priest in any of your circles. As you blasphemed God by your placard, I will expose you in all the newspapers of the city. A simple sign of the cross, which I made, was more powerful than all your evil spirits. Had they any power, they would have told you what was the opposing power." Davenport left the city next day. (St. Louis Guardian.)Now every Christian knows that good angels or spirits are not afraid of, nor are driven away by prayer, by holy relics, by the sign of the cross, by holy water, or the like. It is only the devil who fears the power of prayer, and trembles in the presence of sacred objects, because he finds in them the power of Jesus Christ. It is, then, evident from these facts that spiritism is nothing but satanism.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
OUR European priests who undertook to evangelize Japan were at first very successful; but in the year 1586 God made known by several signs the approach of a long and bloody persecution that was menacing the rising church. Among these signs the following is particularly remarkable: The King of Arima, named Protasius, a good and zealous Christian,had a vision in which there appeared to him two persons of celestial exterior, who thus spoke to him: "Know that on the lands over which you rule, the sign of Jesus is found; honor and love it much, for it is not the work of man." Six months afterwards, it happened that a fervent Christian from the neighborhood of Arima sent his son to the woods for the purpose of cutting firewood. On his arrival the young man noticed a tree that was somewhat dried up; he split it in two, and found inserted in the middle of it a cross of a brown color and of a regular form. At the sight of this prodigy every one was struck with astonishment. As soon as the king heard of this, he went himself to the place, and on seeing the cross he cried out: "Behold the sign of Jesus, that I was told was hidden in my dominions, and that was not made by the hand of man." He then fell on his knees, and after having venerated it amidst many tears, he had it carried to Arima, where by his order it was formed in a magnificent crystal. This miraculous cross brought about the conversion of twenty thousand people.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Life of St. Alphonsus:
He was of middle size, with a rather large head, and of a fresh
complexion. He had a full forehead, pleasing azure blue eyes,
an aquiline nose, a small mouth and smiling lips. His
beard was thick and his hair black; he kept them short,
and often cut them himself. He was short-sighted and
made use of glasses, but never in the pulpit or when
he spoke to women. His voice was clear and sonorous;
however spacious the church might be, and however long
a mission might last, it never failed him, and it continued
thus until his last infirmities. He had an imposing mien;
his manners were grave and gracious at the same time.
His judgment was subtle arid penetrating; his memory
prompt and tenacious; and his mind precise and methodical.
He was of a passionate temper, but through virtue he
became a model of sweetness. His whole life was one
continual application ; but he was never occupied about
indifferent things, nor even about matters which were more
curious than useful.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
One day, as the holy man was prostrate before the Divine Majesty, a copious flood of celestial light filled his mind, accompanied at the same time with such a vehemence of divine love, that, overpowered with excess of bliss, and feeling his heart bursting, as it were, in his bosom, he exclaimed aloud: "Enough, enough, O Lord ! Not so much light, O Lord!" He afterwards owned in confidence, when speaking of this affair, that his room at the time became like a furnace.
That this light was also the voice whereby God approved his desire, and encouraged him to put his hand to the work, was shown from the admirable effects produced by this signal favour. These were, first, a sublime intelligence of holy Scripture, especially of matters referring to mystical theology, on which he wrote with as much depth and clearness as if the objects had been actually before his eyes; the second effect, no less admirable, was his facility in writing on such difficult and abstruse subjects, in terms so appropriate, with reflections so correct, and similitudes so just, and all this so clearly and so expressively, that some one more than human seemed to have been his teacher; so much so, that many very learned men asserted that he had rendered these matters more clear and intelligible than any previous writer.
With this assistance from on high, and being assured of the Divine Will, he applied himself to his writing. The first work which issued from his pen was the book of "Meditations" on the principal mysteries of our faith, on the Life and Passion of our Lord, of His Blessed Mother, &c. It was written in Spanish, in two volumes, and printed in the year 1605. It is in truth an immortal work, in which the reader scarcely knows which to admire most, either the extensive learning, or the order of arrangement, or the multiplicity and correctness of the reflections, or the unction with which the mysteries are unfolded. It cannot be read without feeling the will excited to devotion, or without a desire to profit by it. It passed through three editions, and was translated into several other languages within one year after its first appearance. In it he explains admirably the practice of prayer, at the same time furnishing ample materials for it. In it directors and confessors may find wherewith to instruct those committed to their charge. In it religious of every order may find celestial manna for the daily food of their devotion. In it, in fine, every person of every state may learn how to appreciate the eternal truths, and the mysteries of our holy faith, and also how to live well, if they will frequently read and meditate upon them. The pious Emperor Ferdinand II. declared that this book had been most useful to him, and was accustomed to say that he knew it almost by heart. Lastly, we may say that most writers who have latterly dealt with this subject have borrowed from Father de Ponte's inexhaustible mine.
Meditations on the mysteries of our holy Faith (Volume 1)
Meditations on the mysteries of our holy Faith (Volume 2)
Meditations on the mysteries of our holy Faith (Volume 3)
Meditations on the mysteries of our holy Faith (Volume 4)
Meditations on the mysteries of our holy Faith (Volume 5)
Meditations on the mysteries of our holy Faith (Volume 6)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The practice of virtue in the married state is all the more troublesome, that the care of a wife and anxiety about children are a bar to the soul, and draw it back to the preoccupation of earth. It is therefore true to say that, if man finds in woman some help for a weak and slender form of virtue, she becomes an obstacle for him as soon as he wishes to walk in the path of perfection. When walking along a road that is narrow and hedged with thorns, we can shun the difficulties of the road only by exposing ourselves to be lacerated by the thorns ; so, in the married life, one inconvenience avoided exposes us to incur a still greater.
[The Practice of virtue when engaged in secular mental labor is all the more troublesome, that the care of study and anxiety about the success of the mental labor are a bar to the soul, and draw it back to the preoccupation of earth.]
St. Liguori, addressing virgins, says to them, with all the authority of his knowledge and experience : " Poor mothers of families meet with many bars to holiness ; and the more shining their rank in the world, the more numerous these obstacles become. . . . What leisure, what help, what recollection, can a married woman find to devote herself constantly to God?" . . . Where can she get much time for prayer, since often she has no time for the duties of her house hold ? ...How hard to pray or be recollected amid such turmoil and anguish !
She could merit ; but in the midst of such noise, without prayer or sacraments, it is almost hopeless to expect such resignation.
...in their own houses they must receive the relatives, the connections, and the friends of their husbands. How many occasions are there not in all this for losing God ! Young girls do not know all the danger to which they expose themselves in marrying, but women already married have a full knowledge of them."
" The atmosphere of the world is poisonous for the soul," says St. Liguori. " The ways of society, bad example, bad language, are so many baits that attract us to earth, and draw us away from God. Every one is aware that dangerous occasions are the ordinary cause of the ruin of souls."
It is indeed true that, with the grace of God, we may sanctify ourselves everywhere, just as, in the holiest places, we may fall under the weight of our weakness and the malice of the devil ; but the same St. Liguori tells us that the souls lost in the world are many in number, while but few come to eternal ruin in religion. St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, continues St. Liguori, used often to kiss the walls of her convent, exclaiming : " O walls, sacred walls, that shield me against the temptations of hell! " Whenever the saintly Mary Orsini saw a nun laugh, " Laugh," she would say, " laugh, sister: you have reason to laugh. You are sheltered from the storms of the world.
" Persons living in the world," says St. Liguori, " are trees planted in a parched soil, on which the dews of heaven rarely fall. Poor worldlings! you would wish to give much time to prayer and meditation, often to hear the word of God, and enjoy a little solitude and recollection. But your domestic cares, your parents, social exigencies, visits, and many other distractions, prevent you. On the other hand, religious are privileged trees, growing in a rich soil that is always watered by the showers of heaven. The Lord incessantly helps his spouses by the lights and inspirations of meditation, by sermons, spiritual books
Indeed, the religious life is one of the most efficacious satisfactions for the sins that preceded it.
There are also weak souls that find everywhere in the world proximate occasions for offending God mortally, and for whom religion would be a secure haven against tempests, an escape after spiritual shipwreck. In reference to this matter, we read as follows in St. Liguori : " If one thought that, by remaining in the world, he would lose his soul, either because he has experience of his weakness amid the dangers of the world, or because he does not find there the assistance that the religious state offers, he could not be excused from grievous sin were he to remain in the world, since he thereby would put himself in serious danger of losing his soul."
Although a reasonable cause suffices for putting off the execution of such a vow, yet care is to be taken lest delays should bring on entire faithlessness, and we should fear the sins that may be committed in the world. A long delay, having no excuse in its favor, would be grievously sinful. He who vowed to enter religion, but has not succeeded in gaining admission, though he took all the necessary steps to secure it, is freed from the obligation of his vow, provided he has no hope of gaining admission at some future day.
"If we knew a place unhealthy and subject to pestilence, would we not withdraw our children from it, without being stopped by the riches that might be heaped up in it, or by the fact that their health had not as yet suffered, and might, perhaps, be secure in it from all danger? And yet, now that so deadly a contagion has overspread everything, not only are we the first to push these same children into the chasm, but we even drive away as impostors those who would fain keep them back from destruction."
What are you doing under the paternal roof? ...even if your father were to throw himself across the threshold of your house, step over the obstacle, and with unquivering eye rush to take your place under the standard of the cross. Our heart is not of iron, nor are our feelings dead ; your grandmother, your tutor, who, next to your father, has a claim on your filial affection, exclaim, 'Wait a while until we are dead ; bury us before you go'--love for God and fear of hell easily break all chains. O solitude, all spangled with the flowers of Jesus Christ! O solitude, wherein are shaped the stones that build up the city of the great King! Blessed retreat where one enjoys familiarity with God ! Brother dear, what are you doing in the world, which is so far less than you? How long more shall the paternal roof shelter your head ? Will you tarry much longer in the smoky prison of cities ? Do you fear hardship? And what athlete was ever crowned without a struggle ? It is my love for you, O brother ! that has urged me to say these things, to the end that, on judgment-day, you may share the glory of those who now live amid the holy rigors of penance."
But there is nothing more striking than the example of St. Bernard. The details are taken from the best historians of his admirable life. This saint in the flower of his youth, at the age of twenty, began to feel the impulse of grace drawing to retirement from the busy world. He not only triumphed over the opposition of his family, but drew to his purpose his uncle and his brothers, and took with him to Citeaux thirty of the noblest gentlemen of his country.
St. Liguori: In the world it would be difficult for you to keep yourself in the grace of God. What I say to you, I repeat to all young women who come to ask my advice. I always remind them that, such is the corruption of the world, they will meet in it a thousand hindrances to their salvation. You should then fear to abandon Christ for the world.
" Many young men," says St. Liguori again, " have lost their vocation through the fault of their parents ; and not only have they come themselves to a bad end, but they have brought ruin on their families. A young man, influenced by his father, was unfaithful to his religious vocation ; later he had violent quarrels with his father, in one of which he killed him, and afterward met death himself on a scaffold. How many equally tragic examples could we not cite?
Had he been raised to some high office in the world, who knows whether he would not have despised that same father? But in the career which he has chosen, a career that raises him above kings, he will be in his parents presence the most dutiful of children. In the world, perhaps, he would have coveted riches, and for that reason would have been anxious for you to die; now, on the contrary, he begs of God that your life may be prolonged for many years. Had he even to lay down his own life to save yours, he would not refuse the sacrifice ; for he serves and obeys you, not from the law of nature alone, but, above all, out of obedience to God, for whose sake he has trampled on every earthly advantage.
"No, your son's present lot does not call for tears. He deserves to be covered with applause for having made choice of a life free from turmoil, for having taken refuge in a port so secure.
This father first had recourse to the magistrates, then he threatened his son with prison, stripped him of all he possessed, and sent him to a distant country, without allowing him even the barest necessaries for the support of life. The object of all this harshness was to force his son to return to the world. But when the father saw that the young man was proof against all this ill-treatment, he entirely changed his conduct toward him, and to-day he venerates his child as he would a parent.
However, to have them taught human learning, you send them far away from their native land, and forbid the paternal roof to those who go to learn a mere trade, or something still less honorable.
Finally, if, by remaining in the world, a child were exposed to the danger of sinning grievously, and he could not remove that danger, he would be allowed to enter religion, no matter what might be the wants of his parents ; because the eternal salvation of the child must take precedence of the temporal life of his parents.
But St. Thomas further remarks that the honor due to parents does not consist in rendering them mere bodily service, but takes in, besides, spiritual service and that respect to which their authority has a right. For this reason the religious can fulfil the commandment on honoring parents by praying for them,...
We may add that the sacrifice of their family which religious make, far from being an act of harshness, as the world sometimes unjustly calls it, is often the prompting of filial piety pushed to its farthest limits.
Who can tell how much such a separation costs them ? Jesus Christ alone, who has promised a hundred-fold and life everlasting to sacrifices of this nature.
St. Alphonsus did not speak this way only when he delivered his views as a theologian. He also wrote as follows to a young man : " Under pretext of calming your father and mother, evil counsellors will say to you that it is a matter of conscience for you to expose your parents to lose their souls. Make no account of such scruples: if your parents wish to lose their souls, it is their concern. Tell them that you cannot, for the sake of soothing them, put your own soul in danger, by giving up your evident vocation. "
"When a child finds himself called by God to the religious state, and perceives that his parents are ill-disposed toward him, and, on account of their excessive carnal love for him, would throw obstacles in his way, he is under no obligation to consult them, for it will be wiser and more prudent for him to keep his intention to himself. "[9
"The saints, directly [as soon as] they were called to leave the world, left it altogether, without informing their parents. This was the conduct of St. Thomas of Aquin, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, and St. Louis Bertrand. St. Stanislaus also made his escape without his father's permission. His brother instantly followed in pursuit, driving his carriage at full speed. As he was on the point of overtaking the holy fugitive, his horses stopped : no amount of beating could make them move on. At last Paul Kostka turned them about, and then they set off in a gallop to the town from which they had started.
" We have, besides, the example of the blessed Oringa of Valdarno, in Tuscany. Though betrothed to a young man, she secretly left her home to consecrate herself to God. Arriving at the banks of the Arno, which barred her way, she said a short prayer, and immediately saw the river part its waters, which rose on both sides like walls of crystal, and opened a dry passage to her.
it is especially befitting for them to undertake the life of the counsels. For one has all the more reason to refuse himself what is allowable, because he often indulged in what was forbidden.
Several of them, after a life of terrible sin, began immediately to practise the counsels, and shut themselves up in the most austere monasteries, without devoting any previous time to the commandments.
Who would dare to advise a person desirous of embracing poverty for the sake of Jesus Christ, first to live amid riches and observe the laws of justice, as if the possession of wealth were a preparation for the practice of poverty, whereas, on the contrary, wealth throws many obstacles in its way? Are we bound to say to a young man : Live among persons of the opposite sex or among libertines, so as to form yourself to chastity, which you will afterward observe in religion as if it were easier to cultivate that virtue in the world than in the cloister? Those who parade such a doctrine resemble generals that, at the very outset, would expose to the severest shocks of war raw recruits that have only recently been drafted into the army.
Persons of feeble virtue, and but little versed in the fulfilment of God's law, have greater need than others of the means of preservation which the religious life affords : it is easier for them to shun sin in religion than it would be were they living under the freedom of the world. Religious observance, at the same time that it removes the hindrances to perfect charity, also does away with the occasions of sin ; for it is evident that fasting, watching, obedience, and other exercises of the same nature, keep a man from the excesses of intemperance, from failing in chastity, and from every other kind of sin.
Holy orders demand previous holiness ; but the religious state is a means to holiness. Deception on this point would expose us to exclude from the religious state persons who are exceedingly in need of it, and for whom that life may be strictly obligatory, as we have already stated in the fifth chapter of this section. For there are souls guilty only because they are cast among occasions, or because they have not in the world sufficient means of preservation. Give them the shelter and resources of the religious life, and they will pass their days without difficulty in the grace of God.
St. Benedict himself, disregarding the study of human learning, and seeking only to please God, left his father's house, and every thing in the world, to devote himself to the practice of a holy life. "
Similar examples in Korean martyrs who stopped studying secular studies:
Alexander...he immediately embraced it with ardor, and no longer wanted any other knowledge than that of salvation. He repudiated the world and its dangerous pleasures, and understanding that he had to communicate to others the light that he himself had received, he became a zealous catechist.
"...Leo Hong. Arrested with his father Francis Xavier Hong GyoMan (프란치스코 샤비에로 홍교만)...Leo had spent his youth in this district, not dreaming of anything but the future human greatness, which his birth and position had paved the road. But scarcely had he known our holy religion, which he embraced with zeal, he forgot to follow any ambition other than to serve God and spread His law. Filial piety made him a duty to start with his father, who, though instructed in Christianity, hesitated to embrace it. Leo was able to clarify his doubts, fix his irresolution, and end up solidly strengthening him in his faith. His zeal was then turned on other members of his family, whom he instructed assiduously; to lukewarm Christians, whom he stimulated with patient energy; and to the pagans, of whom he converted a great many. ...He was fourty-four years old when he was decapitated, in Bocheon (보천), on January 30, 1802. For several days after his death, a strong light surrounded his body, which retained all the appearances of life.The satellites and a great crowd of pagans were witnesses to this prodigy.
(Léon Hong, qui, arrêté avec son père François-Xavier Hong Kio-man-i, le 14 de la deuxième lune, avait été renvoyé à la prison de Po-tsien, pendant que son père était 'gardé à la capitale. D'un caractère doux et tranquille, Léon avait passé sa jeunesse dans ce district, ne rêvant pour l'avenir que les grandeurs humaines, dont sa naissance et sa position lui frayaient la route. Mais à peine eut-il connu notre sainte religion, qu'il l'embrassa avez zèle, et oublia de suite toute autre ambition que celle de servir Dieu et de propager sa loi. La piété filiale lui faisait un devoir de commencer par son père, qui, bien qu'instruit du christianisme, hésitait à l'embrasser. Léon sutéclaircir ses doutes, fixer ses irrésolutions, et parvint à l'affermir solidement dans la foi. Son zèle se porta ensuite sur les autres membres de sa famille qu'il instruisait assidûment, sur les chrétiens tièdes qu'il excitait avec une patiente énergie, et sur les païens dont il convertit un grand nombre. Son humilité surtout était admirable ; il ne parlait de luimême que dans les termes les plus modestes, et se plaisait à relever les qualités, les talents, et les bonnes actions des autres. Aussi était-il estimé et aimé de tous.)
if they could get a close view of the supernatural loveliness which the solitude of a monastery sheds in a few months over these young souls, they would, with the holy doctor, acknowledge that " it is good for a man to bear the yoke of the Lord from his tenderest years." Alas ! these flowers that have opened and bloomed, under the breath of God, in the shade of the cloister, are no sooner exposed to the parching blasts of the world, than they fade and lose all their glory. Sometimes only a few days spent in the world are enough to blast these fairest of hopes. As soft wax, the child, says the poet, receives every impress of vice: Cereus in vitium flecti ;hence nothing better can be done for him than to separate him from every scandal and every occasion of sin, by multiplying around him supports for his weakness. This is what the religious state does.
Is it reasonable, under pretence of testing a vocation, to oblige a child to spend a long time amid the dangers of the world, to witness all its vanities, and share in the treacherous joys of its festivities ? Could even the most solid virtue resist assaults of this kind?
Can one not remain in the world, and still be saved ? Is it really the same man who at one time has full confidence in the possibility of salvation, even amid all the cares and turmoil of the world, and afterward trembles for the solitary that has been freed from his barriers? You maintained that a man may save his soul in a city : with much more reason will he be able to do so by retiring into solitude." " But my son is young and weak. It is just for that reason," continues St. Chrysostom, " that he should be less exposed, and more surrounded with means of protection. You upset things altogether ; for you throw into the battle of life in the world those whose years, whose weakness and inexperience, have most to fear from the combat. You act like an officer who would order a raw soldier, that cannot yet stand the brunt of war, to throw himself for that very reason into the thickest of the fight, and to command the action.
" WHEN there is question of entering religion in order to lead a life at once more perfect and more secure against the dangers of this world, it is astonishing," says St. Liguori, " to what a degree people of the world carry their pretensions. They insist that, before coming to such a determination, long deliberation is essential ; there must be no haste in the execution of the project, so as to gain a certainty that the call comes really from God, and not from the evil spirit. They do not speak in this way when some high office in the state is to be accepted, which is attended with so many dangers for the soul. Then they do not require the aspirant to go through so many ordeals in order to test the divine origin of his call.
God often uses the malice of the spirits of darkness for the good of his saints, whose struggles and victories he crowns ; and it is thus that holy souls make a sport of the devil. Still we must keep in mind that, were the devil to infuse into one a desire to enter religion, such desire would beget no result, unless God drew the soul to himself by his own divine grace. "
when risks are rare, there is no need of much hesitation. Ordinary watchfulness will suffice to ward off every mishap. " He that observes the wind, shall not sow : and he that considers the clouds, shall never reap." (Eccl. xi, 4.) " The slothful man says : There is a lion in the way, and a lioness in the roads." (Prov. xxvi, 13.)
even the few months spent in a religious house by those who do not persevere, are often fruitful in consolations, in pious exercises, in acts of virtue, and they are sheltered from the dangers and the sins in which life in the world usually abounds.
To those who are of opinion that, if a vocation came from God, delays and obstacles would not be able to destroy it, St. Liguori replies in his turn : " The lights that God sends us are fleeting, not permanent. This is what led St. Thomas to say that divine calls to a more perfect life must be followed without delay : quanta citius" 
"St. John Chrysostom, quoted by the Angelical, says that, when God favors us with similar inspirations, he does not wish us to hesitate a moment to follow them. Why so ? Because the Lord loves to see us docile; and the more prompt we are, the more he opens his hand to fill us with blessings. But delays give him great displeasure. God then closes his hand and withholds his graces, so that he who puts off corresponding to his vocation finds it difficult to follow it, and easily gives it up altogether. "Hence," adds St. Chrysostom, "when the devil cannot rob one of his resolution to consecrate himself to God, he endeavors to persuade him, at least, to defer its execution, and he considers it a great gain to obtain a delay of a day, or even of an hour ; for, if, during that day or hour, a new occasion should present itself for delay, it will be less difficult for him to obtain more and more procrastination. In this way does the devil act until the person called by God, finding himself weaker and less influenced by grace, ends by yielding altogether and renouncing his vocation. By such delays how often has not the enemy destroyed a vocation ! For this reason St. Jerome, addressing those who are called to abandon the world, urges them to esape as soon as possible." " Hurry," says he ; " cut, rather than untie, the rope which binds your boat to the shore ;"that is to say, break as quickly as possible the bonds which fasten you to the world.
"Peter and Andrew," says St. Thomas, "directly they were called by our Lord, left their nets on the spot to follow him ; and St. Chrysostom says, to their praise, that, hearing the orders of Christ in the midst of their occupations, they made no delay in executing them. They did not say, Let us go back to our homes and see our friends, but, leaving everything, they followed him."These words were not spoken by the saints with a view to make people enter the religious life rashly, but as a preservative against worldly prejudices, and against the delays in which nature readily delights, but which often extinguish the grace of heaven.
Suarez further remarks, with many theologians, that every one should look upon the religious state as suiting him, as long as he has not acquired a certainty of the contrary, either by some evident reason, or by his own personal experience. For, the watchfulness of superiors, the removal of occasions of sin, holy examples, frequent hearing of the word of God, the consolations which the Lord lavishes on religious, all this abundance of help renders easy the obligations of a state which would be above the strength of a man living in the midst of the world. Should we consult many persons before entering religion? " To lay down as a principle that many should be consulted, would be to raise," says St. Thomas, "a great obstacle against the purpose of those intending to follow the path of perfection.
Every sensible person will be of this opinion ; for the advice of carnal men, who always form the greater number, turns away from, rather than exhorts to, spiritual goods." It is not then necessary to consult much. But should we consult at all? The answer of St. Thomas is, that, " in matters which are certain, there is no need of counsel : In his quae certa sunt, non requiritur consilium; and it is certain that, putting out of question the aspirant, entrance into religion, considered in itself, is a higher good. To doubt of it would be to give the lie to Jesus Christ, who made a counsel of it." There is, therefore, no need of consulting in this matter, as Suarez observes.
Secular priests are under even greater obligastion than religious, and still, withal, they continue exposed to the dangers of the world. Hence, in order that a priest may be good in the world, he must have led a very exemplary life before his ordination. Without that, he would lay himself open to imminent danger of damnation, especially if he took orders to obey parents who had nothing higher than worldly motives in view."
And who is there that has greater need of this wisdom than young people without experience in life, and still having to choose a state in it ? No one more than they has to fear the deceptions and prejudices of the world, the rush of passions and of a fiery imagination, and the fascination of trifles [higher income, honours, esteem of the world] which shroud real good in darkness. Let them pray, therefore.
" Do not fail," continues St. Liguori, "to recommend yourself in a special way to our holy mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, beseeching her to obtain for you grace perfectly to fulfil the will of her divine son.
St. Louis Gonzaga paid frequent visits to our Lady's altar, fasted every Saturday in her honor, and often received holy communion for the same object. On the feast of the Assumption, having eaten the bread of angels, whilst in the name of Mary he besought the Holy Ghost to manifest his will, the young saint learned, in a clear and definite way, what God wished him to do.  Turn not away your eyes from the light of that star, if you wish to escape the fury of the waves, says St. Bernard. In all your doubts and anxieties think of Mary, call upon her name.
Q. Why is retirement, or seclusion from the world, necessary in order to preserve the grace of a religious vocation? A. Because an apparently trifling circumstance often causes the loss of such a vocation. A day of amusement, a discouraging word, even from a friend, an unmortified passion, or a conversation, especially with a person of the opposite sex, often suffices to bring to naught the best resolution of giving one's self entirely to God.
Q. Why should a vocation to the religious state be followed promptly? A. St John Chrysostom, as quoted by St Thomas, says: "When God gives such vocations, He wills that we should not defer even for a moment to follow them; for when the devil cannot bring a person to give up his resolution of consecrating himself to God, he at least seeks to make him defer the execution of it, and he esteems it a great gain if he can obtain the delay of one day, or even of one hour."
"Because," continues St Liguori, "after that day, or that hour, other occasions presenting themselves, it will be less difficult for the devil to obtain greater delay, until the person, finding himself more feeble and less assisted by grace, gives way altogether, and loses his vocation."
St Jerome gives this advice to those who are called to quit the world: "make haste, I beseech you, and rather cut than loosen the rope by which your bark is bound fast to the land;" that is, break at once all ties that bind you to the world.