No one gets to Heaven without prayer. Prayer is unique for each soul, yet holy Mother Church has given to us not only the Divine Office to aid us if we care to pray it in union with all consecrated religious who pray the correct Office, but also has given us Scripture, the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and countless other prayers to our Lord, His Blessed Mother, and countless saints.
I have learned that prayer can be oneís work, if offered for the greater honor and glory of Almighty God. Yet, in the stillness of oneís being, prayer becomes more powerful, more productive a means of communication between the finite being and the Infinite Creator. I have understood as the days and years have passed, that Godís time is not our time, and He writes straight with crooked lines. It is good to often reflect upon your life, and to examine the route you have taken, to see the Hand of God directing you, guiding you to the straight and narrow path to Heaven, allowing, as it were, for many detours which He permits, for He alone can bring good out of the wandering paths we so often choose due to our fallen nature and our finite minds clouded by the effects of Original Sin.
We are addressing in these columns the virtues that exemplify our union with God, virtues which are absolutely necessary if we are to attain our heavenly home. We must never lose sight of this fact: Our sojourn on earth is temporary, and all earthly possessions are but dust, as our own mortal bodies shall return to dust upon our death. Our immortal soul must be our first priority each day, for the soul is to be made into the very image and likeness of God, of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus showed us the way to Heavenóand as I mentioned in previous columns, that way is the double thread of seraphic charity and suffering.
In our own time, we are faced with such diabolical forces running amok throughout the world, in particular the false conciliar church which dares to call itself Ďcatholicí, that the restoration of the One True Faith seems nigh unto impossible to our weak nature. However, if you study the history of holy Mother Church down through the ages, you will discover that our heavenly Father, Who holds the entirety of creation in the palm of His Hand, never allows one prayer, one sigh from the heart, one effort to seek virtue, to practice the True Faith, and to evangelize to those outside the Bosom of holy Mother Church, to be in vain.
Saint Remigius, chosen by our Blessed Savior to be the Apostle to the Franks, gives a perfect example of the pursuit of sanctity for all ages, and in particular, for us today, for he lived at a time when heresy was rampant throughout Europe, threatening the very foundation of holy Mother Church. The difference from the time of St. Remigius and our own is this: Our saint had the support of a truly holy Pontiff, who understood the fullness of the Roman Catholic Faith, and the zeal he, and all Christians, needed in order to evangelize the pagans who were abundant through the continent of Europe.
St. Remigius was born of noble parents on January 13, 437. His parents were advanced in age, not unlike St. Elizabeth and St. Zachary, parents of St. John the Baptist. His fatherís name was Aemilius, and his mother St. Celinia. The birth of the future St. Remigius was foretold to his parents by a blind man who, after the birth of our saint, was cured of his blindness when offered the milk by which St. Celinia nourished her infant son.
Remigiusí youth was spent in the pursuit of prayer and study, at which he excelled due to Godís graces and the application of the gifts God has given him in preparation for his future apostolate to the Franks. Remigius shrank from the public forum, preferring solitude, where the distractions of daily life did not intrude upon his prayer life. Let us pause here and learn this great lesson: Prayer is talking to God, and it is a two-way conversation. Unfortunately, in our own day, solitude and quiet are next to impossible to find and employ in our busy lives, and the vehicle of communications today that bombard us wherever we go - whether it be billboards, radio, TV, videos, DVDís, cell phones, internet, etc.- all add to the clutter and serve as chaff where God's voice is muffled. These diabolic distractions also take up valuable, nay, precious, time which we could spend in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament when possible, and when not, in the solitude of our bedroom, or any other room in our home, where we can be still and hear God speak to us. Oh, yes, God does speak to us. Sometimes it is a vibrant communication, which is usually reserved for certain chosen souls who have been graced for a particular apostolate. Yet, Godís Infinite Love for all of His creatures compels Him to hear and respond to our prayers. He does so in a whisper, which enters first the intellect of our soul, before it is transmitted to our brain. It is our soul, the very heart of our soul that hears the whisper of its Creator, and rejoices at the sound of His voice, which the soul remembers.
Thus, solitude is essential if we are to develop not only a deeper, purer spiritual life, but also a life filled with virtues, the latter forming the rungs of the ladder we all must climb in pursuit of our heavenly home. Let us all remember that it is possible for each of us to find a place of solitude and quiet (even if we must arise in the wee hours of the morning) in order to pray as Christ taught us to pray. If our faith is lively, and if we truly trust in Christís promises without reserve, then we have every right to expect Heaven to respond to our prayers, whether we receive the answer we want, or hear that which Heaven desires us to know. If we accept Heavenís response with confidence in Godís Providence for us, then we shall also receive Christís Peace, and our progress toward sanctity will become more rapid, our life more holy, our virtues polished and perfected, and our sufferings turned to joy, for this is the way of perfection.
St. Remigius preferred solitude, but the holy Pontiff Saint Leo the Great , hearing of his great knowledge and piety, humility, charity, and love of the poor, raised our saint at the age of twenty-two to the rank of Bishop of Rheims. At first, Remigius refused the office with expressed humility, but God had other designs for our saint, and thus Remigius was ordered by Almighty God to accept the office of Bishop of Rheims. At once Remigius obeyed. He knew not how he was to fulfill such an office, but his trust in our Lord was such that He placed his entire episcopate into Christís hands, and allowed Our Lord to lead, while Remigius, always humble and obedient, followed our Saviorís footprints.
From the beginning of his appointment as Bishop of Rheims, Remigius became an apostle to the nation that God had deigned to bear an abundance of good fruit, by raising from its soil many great saints, whose lives would bring glory to God and to their native land, making France the eldest daughter of Holy Mother Church. We must pray that the time of these great saints, and the miracles they worked, will one day bring forth even more saints, who will restore the one True Faith to this once Catholic country, for God does not waste time, nor does he allow the labors of his saints to die with their mortal bodies. In His time, God shall raise up this nation again, allowing it, for now, to suffer the torments of infidels who have literally taken over, and who have buried the True Faith beneath the heap of heresy of Islam, and the corrupt crypt wrought by the devil through the Second Vatican Council, the latter producing false shepherds whose perversions reek of hellís stench and cry to Heaven for vengeance. St. Remigius, whose labors have ceased, nonetheless pleads before the Throne of the Triune Divinity, and obtains grace for those in the country he converted to the True Faith, lest the Ďgates of hellí prevail, which Christ promised would not happen.
St. Remigius first set out to evangelize the people of Belgium, and succeeded admirably in his quest, due not only to his singular learning and to eloquence of speech, but more particularly by his manner of living. He treated saint and sinner with such charity that people came to him in droves, for he never turned a single person away. Remigius lived what he preached, and in doing so won countless souls to the True Faith.
His fame spread far and wide, and Clovis, king of the Franks heard of him and being curious sent for Remigius. Clovis wanted to hear from the lips of this man what religion he preached, and how this religion changed hearts and minds from the pagan gods the people had worshipped for ages.
Remigius appeared before Clovis, whose wife was St. Clotidle. Clovis was much impressed with Remigius, and although he desired to embrace Catholicism, remarked to Remigius that he dared not take such a step, as he feared that his people would revolt. To the amazement of Clovis, the people learned of his trepidation in converting, and the Frankish people cried aloud as with one voice: ďWe renounce mortal gods, O pious king, and are ready to follow the immortal God Whom Remigius preaches.Ē
Prudent and wise, as well as humble and learned, Remigius imposed a fast upon Clovis and his people to prepare them for their entrance into the One True Faith. He instructed all diligently in the precepts of the Faith, guided by the Holy Ghost in his labors so that the roots of the One True Faith grew deeply in the souls of these people.
On the day of Our Lordís Nativity in 496, in the presence of the queen, St. Clotidle, Remigius baptized Clovis. After being received into the bosom of holy Mother Church, Remigius anointed Clovis with Holy Chrism, which had miraculously come down from Heaven, guarded by angels. This vial of holy chrism was seen by thousands who had gathered for the anointing of their king, and who had also been baptized into the Roman Catholic Faith. Rheims still contains the sacred vial, sent from Heaven as a sign to the Franks that their anointed King was subject to the King of Kingsóour Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remigius, recognizing the supernatural gift from God, thus instructed Clovis and his queen in the pursuit of all virtues and sanctity, which the King thus transferred to his people.
Remigiusí charity toward the poor was renowned through Europe, and he treated the sinner who sought him out with such love and compassion that God sent a seemingly endless stream of sinners to his door, where they entered and exited once again reconciled with God. Remigius remarked to his people that charity, the queen of virtues, demanded a great love for sinners, who sought repentance with a sincere heart. Remigius knew the truly repentant sinner from the few who tried to trick him into giving them absolution, when in truth their hearts were far from God and His Truth.
Remigius instructed his people in how they must treat the poor and the sinner, saying: ďGod has not placed us here to exercise wrath, but to take care of men.Ē Let no one interpret these words of St. Remigius with a modernist, ambiguous mindset, for St. Remigius knew that Christ had shown seraphic charity to the repentant sinners of his time, and that He expected His ambassadors to do likewise. Christ forgave the sinner who repented, admonishing each to "go and sin no more". Remigius did likewise, and because of his humble but firm admonishment, many people found that their spiritual life advanced rapidly, as Our Lord worked through St. Remigius to form a holy people, a holy country that was to produce great saints for many years yet to come. Remigius, humble, patient to all, zealous for Christ and the One True Faith, a true pastor and shepherd to his people, and a living example of seraphic charity, laid the foundation for Christ to raise up the eldest daughter of the Church, for His honor and glory, and the advancement of the Catholic Faith in the face of the heresies rampant at that time, which included Arianism.
Christ chose Remigius from all eternity to be his Apostle to the Franks, and St. Remigius became a saint because he understood the necessity of prayer, of solitude with God in order to know Godís Perfect Will. From his prayer he learned the practice of virtue, which far exceeded his learning on Scripture and Theology. When he spoke, he touched hearts and minds by his example, which allowed his words to penetrate souls that were darkened by paganism or the heresy of Arianism. He considered himself as a humble servant of Christ, and saw in each person Christ Himself. His zeal for the salvation of an entire nation was so great that Heaven sent down Holy Chrism when Clovis was to be anointed the first Christian King of France.
Patience was also one of Remigiusí virtues, for his labors took him throughout the country, and he was not always received with kindness as different tribes and groups of people of various cultures and beliefs were enkindled with the spirit of darkness, which kept them from grasping the Truths, which Remigius spoke concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. However, far from despairing, Remigius increased his prayer life, lived an exceedingly humble and charitable life, and thus won the souls of these various peoples for God. He labored ceaselessly for decades in evangelizing France, and when his death was nigh, he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
He fed his flock with the Most Precious Body of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, blessed his clergy and his people, and prepared his mortal body to die by receiving the Last Sacrament with edifying humility before clergy and laity.
Having been made Bishop of Rheims at the age of twenty-two, Remigius died on the same day he was born, January 13, and the same day he was consecrated Bishop. He had labored for seventy-four years in the vineyard of France, and was laid to rest in the oratory of St. Christopher in the year of salvation 533, when he was ninety-six years of age.
The people of France could not forget Remigius, for while he had labored among them he was famed for many miracles. After his death, our Blessed Lord allowed St. Remigius to continue working miracles in Christís name, for the fruitfulness of France was but a seed that had not yet fully blossomed. From Heaven, St. Remigius watched the Hand of God trace the future of this nation, saw God raise up great saints at the appointed time, and interceded for his people when sorrows, tribulations, and even new heresies sprang up from the bowels of hell.
St. Remigius, beloved of God, beloved by his people, lived the virtues expressed so beautifully in the Beatitudes, exemplified by the Son of God in His public life on earth, and renounced all earthly possessions to gain the summit of perfection by living such a virtuous life on earth, that he exemplified for his people Heaven on Earth in both word and deed.
May each one of us learn from this saint the goodness of the Lord who does not leave his children unattended, unless those children so despise and disregard our Lord as to lose His graces and His Mercy, leaving themselves open to His Perfect Justice.
France, the eldest daughter of the Church, once a mighty fortress of Catholicism, is presently under the diabolical chains of satan. May each one of us seek to imitate, as far as is possible through the grace God ordains to give us, the practice of zeal for souls, and fear nothing as we seek the conversion of all who are outside the One True Faith. May we pray for patience, mercy, sweetness, and charity; may we clothe ourselves in holy poverty of spirit and body, and may our prayers be an incense rising to Heaven in the solitude and quite of our own home, our own Catholic chapel in the catacombs where the One True Faith exists, and may we never tire of seeking sanctity for our own salvation and that of others.
God loves a generous soul. Let us be generous beyond any measure, and be confident in the promises of our Lord that our reward shall be great in Heaven. As we grow in virtue through prayer, may we see our Lord raise up great saints who will restore not only France, but every nation to the One True Faith, as the Great Apostasy is stayed through our embracing of every virtue, our willingness to suffer whatever the Good Lord sends to us, and the sublime charity we are to have toward everyoneÖfor Christ expects nothing less of those who are Heaven-bound.
May you continue to have a grace-filled Advent through prayer, sacrifice and in striving to live a virtuous life in preparation for the Christ Child this Christmas and the ultimate goal of being ever in His presence for all eternity.