Imitation Of Christ – OF THE DANGER OF TOO MUCH FAMILIARITY

Open not thine heart to every man, but deal with one who is wise and feareth God. Be seldom with the young and with strangers. Be not a flatterer of the rich; nor willingly seek the society of the great. Let thy company be the humble and the simple, the devout and the gentle, and let thy discourse be concerning things which edify. Be not familiar with any woman, but commend all good women alike unto God. Choose for thy companions God and His Angels only, and flee from the notice of men.

2. We must love all men, but not make close companions of all. It sometimes falleth out that one who is unknown to us is highly regarded through good report of him, whose actual person is nevertheless unpleasing to those who behold it. We sometimes think to please others by our intimacy, and forthwith displease them the more by the faultiness of character which they perceive in us.

St Simeon Feb 18

058_Presentation_FraAngelicaSt. Simeon was the “just and devout” man of Jerusalem who according to the narrative of St. Luke, greeted the infant Saviour on the occasion of His presentation in the Temple (Luke ii, 25-35). He was one of the pious Jews who were waiting for the “consolation of Israel” and, though advanced in years, he had received a premonition from the Holy Ghost, Who was in him, that he would not die before he had seen the expected Messias. This promise was fulfilled when through guidance of the Spirit he came to the Temple on the day of the Presentation, and taking the Child Jesus in his arms, he uttered the Canticle (Luke, ii, 29-32), and after blessing the Holy Family he prophesied concerning the Child, Who “is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel”, and regarding the mother whose “soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed”. As in the case of other personages mentioned in the New Testament, the name of Simeon has been connected with untrustworthy legends, viz., that he was a rabbi, the son of Hillel and the father of Gamaliel mentioned in Acts, v, 34. These distinguished relationships are hardly compatible with the simple reference of St. Luke to Simeon as “a man in Jerusalem”. With like reserve may we look upon the legend of the two sons of Simeon, Charinus, and Leucius, as set forth in the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus.

Imitation of Christ – OF FLEEING FROM VAIN HOPE AND PRIDE

Vain is the life of that man who putteth his trust in men or in any created Thing. Be not ashamed to be the servant of others for the love of Jesus Christ, and to be reckoned poor in this life. Rest not upon thyself, but build thy hope in God. Do what lieth in thy power, and God will help thy good intent. Trust not in thy learning, nor in the cleverness of any that lives, but rather trust in the favour of God, who resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.

2. Boast not thyself in thy riches if thou hast them, nor in thy friends if they be powerful, but in God, who giveth all things, and in addition to all things desireth to give even Himself. Be not lifted up because of thy strength or beauty of body, for with only a slight sickness it will fail and wither away. Be not vain of thy skilfulness or ability, lest thou displease God, from whom cometh every good gift which we have.

3. Count not thyself better than others, lest perchance thou appear worse in the sight of God, who knoweth what is in man. Be not proud of thy good works, for God’s judgments are of another sort than the judgments of man, and what pleaseth man is ofttimes displeasing to Him. If thou hast any good, believe that others have more, and so thou mayest preserve thy humility. It is no harm to thee if thou place thyself below all others; but it is great harm if thou place thyself above even one. Peace is ever with the humble man, but in the heart of the proud there is envy and continual wrath.

Imitation Of Christ – Unbridled Affections

WHEN a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. An unmortified man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad to forego them; he is quick to anger if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience overwhelms him because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought.

True peace of heart, then, is found in resisting passions, not in satisfying them. There is no peace in the carnal man, in the man given to vain attractions, but there is peace in the fervent and spiritual man.

St. Faustinus and St Jovita Martyrs Feb 15

215fampj5_zps42446b1dMartyrs, members of a noble family of Brescia; the elder brother, St. Faustinus, being a priest, St. Jovita the younger brother, a deacon. For their fearless preaching of the Gospel, they were arraigned before the Emperor Hadrian, who, first at Brescia, later at Rome and Naples, subjected them to frightful torments, after which they were beheaded at Bescia in the year 120, according to the Bollandists, though Allard (Histoire des Persécutions pendant les Deux Premiers Siècles, Paris, 1885) places the date as early as 118. 2e5d2cdb0The many “Acts” of these saints are chiefly of a legendary character. Fedele Savio, S.J. the most recent writer on the subject, calls in question nearly every fact related of them except their existince and martyrdom, which are too well attested by their inclusion in so many of the early martyrologies and their extraordinary cult in their native city, of which from time immemorial they have been the chief patrons. Rome, Bologna and Verona share with Brescia the possession of their relics. Their feast is celebrated on 15 February, the traditional date of their martyrdom.