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La Harpe took a deep interest in Sefton, and by the advice of this friend, he resolved to visit Switzerland as soon as he was able to travel. Before taking his departure from Paris, he called at the convent of the Sisters of Charity, to thank Sister Angela for all the anxious care and kind attention she had shown him, and in token of his gratitude and esteem, offered the superioress a check on his banker for a very handsome sum, which she, however, gracefully declined, observing, at the same time, that the Sisters of Charity were not accustomed to look for temporal reward for the offices of charity which they performed.
« Receive it, then, as an alms to your convent,” said Sefton, 'for I am informed you do sometimes receive alms; and when I look about here, and see the nakedness and poverty of your habitation, I am convinced your receipts do not overbound.'
“« On that title,' replied the superioress, with dignified courtesy, ‘I will thankfully receive it. Our community is large, and our means scanty. The grateful prayers of the sisterhood shall not be wanting for the generous Englishman.'
“ I feel convinced,' said Sefton, with some emotion, that the God of mercy and of love, can never reject the prayers of these, his ministeriug angels of charity.'
“ Sister Angela then approached, and presented to Sefton a silver medal of the Blessed Virgin, attached to a silken cord, begging of him to accept and wear it in his bosom, in honour of her whose image was there expressed. Sefton was taken by surprise; he knew not how either to receive or decline the proffered gift. After a short pause, during which his countenance betrayed his perplexity, he at length said with some trepidation :
". Sister Angela, there is nothing I would not do to gratify you as far as conscience might allow me; but, pardon me, I cannot bring myself to promise you to wear that medal in honour of the virgin. I have been accustomed too long to consider that a superstitious practice.
“ 'Rather pardon me,' said sister Angela, ‘for making the proposal ; but I really thought your good sense was superior to such an idle fancy.
66. How so?'
66. I observed in the hospital with what raptures you received again the restored miniature of your wife; kissing it and pressing it to your bosom, without any scruple of superstition.'
“ • True,' replied Sefton, with a deep blush of confusion; “but there is a great difference between the two.'
“I see no difference,' said Sister Angela, 'but in the object of these external marks of respect. You wear the image of your beloved wife next to your heart; you cherish it there, out of affection to her: the action is simple and natural, and springs from a kindly and holy motive. Now I only ask you to
wear this medal out of affection to the Mother of the Redeemer; where is the superstition in that ??
“. Pardon me, sister Angela, I do not feel that affection for the Virgin which I feel for my wife; respect, and even venerate her, as the mother of Jesus Christ; bui I cannot love her so as to put my trust in her.'
"Well, well,' said the nun smiling, ' at least wear the medal out of respect and veneration to her.'
“Excuse me, it is impossible; I really cannot do it. Bid me wear it for your sake, as a token of my obligations to you, as a memorial of your kindness, and I will accept it, I will press it to my heart, that the remembrance of you may never be cancelled thence.'
Well, then, wear it for my sake ; and as often as you cast your eyes upon it, remember that there is a poor nun,
prayers shall be daily offered up for your eternal welfare ; she will invoke the holy Virgin's protectionfor you ; and in the hour of affliction or distress, perhaps at the sight of the medal you may he induced to seek aid where it was never sought in vain.'
“A tear struggled in the eye of Seston as he held out his hand to receive the medal; he threw the cord round his neck and promised to wear the medai for the sake of Angela; he then took leave of the religious, and in a few days left for Paris.
We shall continue our notice in next number.
EXHORTATION OF ST. AUGUSTINE; SUITABLE
FOR THE DAY OF ALL SOULS.
• Now, we will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others that have no hope.”—1 Thess, iv. 12.
The Blessed Apostle admonishes us “ not to be sorrowful concerning them that are asleep;" that is, concerning those most loved ones who are dead ; "even as others that have no hope,”-hope, namely, of the resurrection and eternal incorruption ; for like as is most truly the wont of Holy Scripture to call them by the name of those that are asleep, so bere, as we have heard it above, we should by no means dispair that these shall wake again. Whence also it is sung in the psalm, “ Shall he that sleepeth rise again no more ?” (Ps. xl. 9.)
There is indeed a natural sadness for the death of those we love ; for it is not imagination but nature that revolts from death : nor would this death have come, but in punishment of the sin that had preceded it. Wherefore, animals which were so created that they also at their appointed time should die, yet fly from death, and love life,-how much more man, who was so created that, had he chosen to live without sin,
he should have lived for ever! Hence it is by necessity that we are sad, when those whom we love by dying leave us; and though we know that those should not remain with us for ever, and that we should follow them in a little while, yet nevertheless death, when it comes, imbitters the affection of love itself; wherefore the Apostle admonishes us, “ that we should not be sorrowful, even as those that have no hope." Therefore, we mourn over our dead from the necessity of losing them, but with the hope of receiving them again ; with the one we are stung with anguish, from the other we receive consolation ;- hence weakness affects what faith restores. Hence the condition of man grieves, but the divine promise cures. Hence the funeral pomp, the stately exequies, the sumptuous sepulture, and richly adorned tomb. All these are for the consolation of the living, not the help of the dead. But the prayers of Holy Church, the SACRIFICE of SALVATION and alms-deeds, which are offered in supplication for the souls departed,—without a doubt these help the dead; that by these they may be more mercifully dealt with by our Lord than these sins have deserved. For this tradition of the fathers all the Church Catholic observes,—that for those who die in the COMMUNION of the BODY AND BLOOD of Christ, when IN THAT SACRAMENT prayer is made for them commemoratively in its usual place, and for them also that sacrifice is offered up in commemoration. When also in their commemoration the works of mercy are celebrated, who can doubt but they are helped thereby, for whom prayers are sent as an embassage not uselessly to God?
But though without doubt this is profitable for the dead, yet is it for those who so lived before death, that these offerings may be profitable to them after death. But those who have lived without “ Faith, which worketh by love," (Gal. v. 16) and who have departed out of the body without these Sacraments, in vain for them will these works of human piety be offered up for them by their friends, who, while they were get here, wanted its pledge; and who either received not, or received to no purpose, the grace of God, and who treasured up for themselves, not mercy, but wrath. Wherefore, no neu merit is prepared for the dead, when any good work is performed for them, but are, as it were, consequences of what had gone before ; for it is not said that they receive any help, unless, as they had here lived, what they wanted when alive; and so, as a conclusion to what was begun on earth, seeing that, had he not deserved it in this life, he should not have obtained it in that. Wherefore, pious hearts are allowed to be sorrowful over their dead with a wholesome sorrow; they pour forth comsoling tears with
a human condition ; but luckily the joy of faith maketh these give way, since the faithful believe that those who die have gone but a little while before them, and have passed to a better life. Wherefore, brotherly rites console them ; whether it be shown in [funeral obsequies, or in tears of sorrow which the mourner is wont to pour forth, lest theirs should be the complaint of those that say, “ I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.” (Ps. Ixiii. 21.) Hence also our care for the rites of sepulture, and the building of monuments, which also in the Holy Scripture are reckoned among good works,—not only in the bodies of the patriarchs and other saints (Gen. xlix.), but in those of any of the dead whatsoever,—but also in the body of our Lord, where those who laid it in the sepulchre are approved and commended. (St. John xix.)
These offices of charity men do to their brethren, as a soothing of liuman sorrow; but those that do good to the souls of the departed,namely, oblations, prayers and supplications,—these let us fulfil with more observance, with more instance, with more abundance; for those that we love are dead in the flesh, but not in the spirit; and therefore it behoves us to love them, not only carnally, but spiritually.
In Fest. S. Lucæ, 1842.
HOMILY OF ST. LEO, POPE, ON THE GOSPEL
FOR THE FEAST OF ALL HALLOWS.
Gospel.-Matth. v. 1, 12," At that time, Jesus, seeing the multitude, went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, liis disciples came to him. And opening his mouth, He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice : for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace makers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake; be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.”
What the doctrine of Christ is, these holy sentences declare; wherein those who desire to come to eternal beatitude, may discover the steps by which to make this most happy ascent. “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he says, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Who the poor are, of whom our Lord speaks, might be doubtful, had he only said, “Blessed are the poor," and added no more for ascertaining the quality of poverty to which a blessing is attached ; and it would thence seem enough, that want alone, which so many endure, should deserve the kingdom of heaven. But when he says, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he shows, that to such is the kingdom of heaven to be given ; even to those whose humility of soul more than the lack of worldly wealth commends. Yet it is not to be doubted, that this grace of humility is more readily obtained by the poor than by the rich; since to those in their slender means, meekness is friendly; and to those in their riches, pride is familiar. Nevertheless, in many rich men this spirit is found ; namely, that they use not their abundance to the swelling of pride, but to works of benignity; and who count their greatest gain to be, the aid they lend to the alleviation of others suffering. To every race and order of men, there is given fellowship with this virtue; for all may be equal in purpose, though not in means ; nor does it matter that they be disproportionate in worldly goods, so as they be found equal in what are spiritual. Blessed, then, is that poverty which is not taken by the love of temporal things, which coveteth not after increase of worldly wealth, but earnestly desireth to be enriched with heavenly good things. First after our Lord, the apostles afford us an example of this magnanimous poverty ; seeing that they forsook all, and at once, at the voice of their heavenly Master, and by a ready conversion, were changed from their calling of fishermen, to be fishers of men : and many were those whom they made like unto themselves, for in the primitive Church all had but one heart; and the soul of those that believed was as one, seeing that all their possessions were in common. (Acts iii.) By most devout poverty, they became rich unto eternity ; and by the preaching of the apostles, rejoiced that they possessed nothing in this world, but had all things in Christ. Hence the blessed apostle Peter, upon going up into the temple, was asked of the lame man to receive an alms ; he said, “Silver and gold I have none, but what I have, I give thee : in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.” (Acts iii. 6.) What can be more exalted than this humility ? what more rich than such poverty ? Money he had none to help him, but he possessed the gifts of Nature. He whom his mother brought forth halting, Peter by