Proper of the Saints and Feasts |
Feast of Saint Remigius, Bishop, Confessor and Apostle of the Franks
Simple Feast of a Confessor. Also Mass of the preceding Sunday - 19th Sunday After Pentecost. Either white vestments for Feast of a Confessor, or green vestments for Ferial Day.
Saint Remigius or Remi was born in the middle of the fifth century, of noble and pious parents. His mother, Saint Celine, had borne two other sons before him; the eldest, Saint Principius, became the twelfth bishop of Soissons, and the second was the father of Saint Lupus, thirteenth bishop of the same see. Saint Remi was given to his parents many years later, miraculously; a blind hermit named Montanus, afflicted by the state of religion in the churches of Gaul, was told three times, supernaturally, to advise his worthy parents that they would have a son who would be the light of the Franks, and would bring these new conquerors out of the idolatry in which they were plunged.
The child born to them in fulfillment of the prediction, was at the age of twenty-two years acclaimed Archbishop of Rheims, despite his humble doubts as to his competence. He was unusually tall, his countenance manifested a blend of majesty and serenity; his bearing was gentle, humble, and retiring. He was learned and eloquent, and his pity and charity were boundless. In his labors he knew no weariness. His body was the outward expression of a noble and holy soul, breathing the spirit of meekness and compunction. The archbishop received the gift of miracles. When a great fire was threatening the city of Rheims with total ruin, by his presence he arrested it; he faced it with a crucifix and made the sign of the cross, and the flames retired as he advanced. He resurrected a young woman, and his fame continued to increase.
For His predestined servant, God had a particular and great work in store. The south of France was in the hands of Arians, and in the last years of the 5th century the pagan Franks were wresting the north from the Romans. But Saint Remigius was loved by Clovis, the fifth of the Merovingian kings. The king was converted and baptized by him in 496, after winning the famous battle of Tolbiac, to fulfill a promise he had made to adopt the religion of his Christian wife if he repulsed the invading armies. A very large army of invaders, which had cast all of France into panic, fled in disarray when the small army of Clovis attacked, and their leader was slain.
Clovis had married the noble Christian maiden known to us as Saint Clotilda, and these three acting concertedly gained virtually the entire nation to the Christian religion. The army was baptized at the same time as Clovis, by Saint Remi and his assistants. The Saint threw down the altars of the idols, built churches, and appointed bishops. He silenced the Arians and presided at the Catholic First Council of Orleans. Eventually he converted so many that he left France a Catholic kingdom; its king was also the first crowned son of the Church, and at that time the only one. Ever since Saint Remi, Catholic France has rejoiced in its title of eldest daughter of the Church.
After an episcopate of seventy-four years, the longest on record, Saint Remi died in 533, leaving to France his famous Testament, predicting God’s graces of predilection for this blessed kingdom, as long as its Heads remained faithful to Him, with the most severe chastisements if the contrary ensued. The prophecy has already been fulfilled three times, as the nation’s Catholic historians affirm, for the three royal dynasties.
Reflection: Few men have had such natural advantages and such gifts of grace as Saint Remi, and few have done so great a work. Learn from him to comport yourself amid the world’s praise, as well in its scorn, with a lowly and chastened heart.
Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels
Double Major Feast, white vestments.
This devotion dates back to the Middle Ages, most probably in association with the account in Tobit of the Archangel Raphael leading Tobias which had been widely spread in art. It was specifically introduced in 1411 in Valencia, Spain to venerate the guardian angel of the city. Pope Sixtus V in 1590 allowed a special privilege to Portugal - that of a special Liturgy honoring the guardian angels. Pope Paul V added the feast universally to the Church in 1608, slotting it in the first available date after the feast of St. Michael. There are many accounts of angels, mentioned in over two thirds of the books of the Bible. They are not named specifically other than the three Archangels; the rest are referred to as "an angel" or "angels" in both the Old and New Testament. The Psalmist David makes frequent mention of the angels. The concept of "guardian" is first mentioned in Exodus 23:20--23, "See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way" as well as in Psalm 33: 8, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them" and in Matthew 18: 10 in the New Testament when Jesus said to His disciples regarding the little children, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you their angels in Heaven always behold the face of My Father in Heaven." As we all know, angels were plentiful in great numbers at the Incarnation and with Jesus throughout His mission as He confirms in John 1: 51, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you shall see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." These same angels are there in full force adoring Jesus during each and every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass universally throughout the world. Today angels have had a resurgence in secular society, but in Holy Mother Church Guardian Angels are not a superstition or "fad" but rather a reality that each soul created by God is assigned at least one Guardian Angel to them for their lifetime. Though so often the Guardian Angel is associated with children as every Catholic child is taught the beautiful Angel of God Prayer, our Guardian Angels stay with us even as we become adults for though in the eyes of the world we are grown, in God's eyes we will always be His children. It is Catholic belief that the angels are with us always and we need to lean on them more often, ask for their assistance.
God does not abandon to what we call “chance,” any of His creatures. By His essence and providence He is everywhere present; not a sparrow falls to the ground, nor a hair from our heads, without His consent. He is not content, however, with assisting His creation daily and at every moment, with sustaining His handiwork, which without His continuous support would return to dust. His divine and infinite Love, not only maintaining the existence which He gives and perpetuates in living beings, has charged His Holy Angels with the ministry of watching and safeguarding each one of His rational creatures.
The Angels, divided into nine hierarchies, have varied obligations. Their intelligence and prudence are penetrating like the beam of a lighthouse; so it appears even when we compare it to the best of human intelligences, which are like the light of a little candle in contrast. An Angel, visualizing an end to be attained, sees instantly the means necessary to achieve it, whereas we must pray, study, deliberate, inquire, and choose during many phases of effort, in order to reach our proposed ends.
Kingdoms have their Angels assigned to them; dignitaries of the Church and of the world have more than one Angel to guide them; and every child who enters into the world receives a Guardian Angel. Our Lord says in the Gospel: “Beware lest you scandalize any of these little ones, for their Angels in heaven behold the face of My Father.” Thus the existence of Guardian Angels is a dogma of the Christian faith, based on Holy Scripture itself.
Reflection: This being so, what should our respect be for that holy and sure intelligence, ever present at our side? And how great should our solicitude be, lest, by any act of ours, we offend those eyes which, without losing the divine vision, are ever turned upon poor creatures in all their ways!
Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).