Martyrology - 1st December
On the morrow we keep the Feast of the holy Confessor Felix de Valois, of whom mention is made upon the 4th day of November.
Upon the same 1st day of December, were born into the better life:
The Prophet Nahum, who sleepeth in Begabar.
At Rome, (about the year 283,) the holy martyrs the Priest Diodorus, and the Deacon Marianus with many others, who gained the glory of martyrdom by command of the Emperor Numerian.
There likewise the holy martyrs Lucius, Rogatus, Cassian, and Candida.
On the same day, the holy martyr Ansanus, who confessed Christ at Rome, under the Emperor Diocletian, and was cast into prison then was brought to Sienna, in Tuscany, where he was beheaded, and so finished the course of his testimony, (about the year 304.)
At Ameria, in Umbria, under the same Diocletian, the holy martyr Olympias. He was a man of consular rank, who had been converted by blessed Firmina, and died upon the rack, (about the year 284.)
At Arbela, in Persia, the holy martyr Ananias.
At Narni, the holy martyr Proculus, Bishop (of that see,) who, after many good works, was beheaded by order of Totila, King of the Goths.
At the city of Casala, the holy martyr Evasius, Bishop (of that see.)
At Milan, holy Castritian, Bishop (of that see,) who gained great praise for his worthy acts and his godly and pious conduct of affairs during the most troublous times of the Church.
At Brescia, holy Ursicinus, Bishop (of that see.)
At Noyon, (in, probably, the year 659,) holy Eloy, Bishop (of that see,) whose marvelous life is commended by the number of signs wrought through him.
At Verdun, (in the year 591,) holy Ageric, Bishop (of that see.)
On the same day, holy Natalia, the wife of the blessed martyr Hadrian. She ministered for a long time to the holy martyrs who were kept in prison at Nicomedia under the Emperor Diocletian, and after their battle was over went to Constantinople, where she fell asleep in peace.
And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God
Meditations - Thursday in the first Week of Advent: Sentence of the Supreme Judge
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will meditate tomorrow: first, on the sentence of the Sovereign Judge in favour of the good; second, His sentence against the wicked; third, the consequences of this double sen- tence. We will then make the resolution: first, to live holily that we may merit a place amongst the elect; second, with this view to watch over our actions, our words, our intentions, often asking ourselves: Is it thus that the saints would act, think, and speak? We will retain as our spiritual nosegay the prayer of the Church: “Remember, O good Jesus, that it was for me Thou camest into the world; do not condemn me in the day of Thy justice” (Strophe of the Dies Iræ)
Meditation for the Morning
Let us transport ourselves, in thought, to the last judgment, to that scene as consoling for the elect as it is terrible for the damned. Let us be hold the just Judge seated on His throne; let us prostrate ourselves at His feet and render to Him our profound homage; let us listen reverently to Him pronouncing His sentence, from which there is no appeal.
The Sentence in Favour of the Elect.
We know what the sentence is: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (mat xxv:34). Come! How consoling is this word to the just soul! Come from labour to repose, from persecution to reward, from the miseries of earth to the joy of Paradise. Come to Me whom you have followed, desired, loved; to Me, your God, your last end, your sovereign good. “Come, ye blessed of My Father,” you, My friends, My beloved; you have been, for My sake, hated, persecuted, cursed by man; you will now be the blessed of God; My Father blesses you; Heaven blesses you; you are blessed forever, and this blessing assures your happiness forever. “Take possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the beginning.” A kingdom prepared by a God; that is to say, sovereignty, glory, riches, pleasures—for a king has all that; a kingdom prepared from the beginning; that is to say, O my God, that from all eternity Thou hast thought of me; from all eternity Thou hast loved me; Thou hast reserved me for the most magnificent of destinies, and it will be given to me one day to mount upon a throne, and thence to judge the nations. Thus, O my soul, those will be raised who are now humble; thus will be glorified those who will have counted as nothing in presence of duty the speeches and opinions of men, and as pure gold never shines with so much splendour as when it is withdrawn from the entrails of the earth in which it was buried, so they will appear in glory with Jesus Christ (col iii:4). Oh, how calculated these thoughts are to make us love humility, poverty, simplicity, obedience!
The Sentence against the Damned.
After the sentence in favour of the elect, the Sovereign Judge, turning towards the left, will cast upon the damned one of those terrible looks of which David was able to say: The earth trembled, its foundations shook because the Lord looked upon it. “Depart from Me, ye cursed!” He will say to them. Ah. O my God I whither will they go far from Thee; what will become of them without Thee; what will become of them cursed by Thee, cursed in their bodies, cursed in their soul and in all its faculties. “Depart into fire!” O my God, what a torment! “Into everlasting fire!” O my God, what despair! And this formidable sentence is without appeal; it is all over with these wretched men; their fate is fixed forever. Ah! if men only thought of it (deu xxxii:29). He who is not awakened by this clap of thunder, says St Augustine, is not asleep: he is dead.
Execution of the Double Sentence.
The Sovereign Judge, declaring the session closed, takes His flight towards heaven. All the saints ascend with Him and form His glorious retinue. They rise triumphant and radiant, and make the air resound with their songs of victory and happiness (1th iv:16). Witnesses of this magnificent spectacle, the damned are filled with despair. Oh, what would they not give to follow so many relatives, friends, and acquaintances! But, O cruel separation! they must leave them—leave them forever—address to them a last and sorrowful farewell. Adieu, Christian parents, pious friends, whose lessons and examples I would not follow; adieu, be- loved mother, whose society was so sweet, whose heart was so loving; adieu, holy angels; adieu, all ye saints; adieu, Mary, whom I was so often counselled to love and honour; adieu, Jesus, who did so much to save me; adieu, beautiful heaven, paradise of delight which was destined for me, and of which I rendered myself unworthy; adieu, Holy Trinity, my begin- ning and my end (St Ephrem, Serm. de Jud.). Alas! he can no longer continue these sad farewells; the earth gives way beneath his feet, hell opens, he falls into it, and the abyss closes. Time is finished; eternity begins. Thus will pass the last day; thus will the world be brought to an end. O my God! what will be my fate on that great day? Of what shall I think, if I do not think of this? And where is my faith and my reason if I do not think of it, and if I do not tremble at it, and if I do not correct myself, and if I do not become a saint?
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.