Evelyn Waugh was born in London on October 28th 1903 in the Hampstead district during the early days of Pope Saint Pius X's pontificate during the transition from Pope Leo XIII's twenty-five year papacy. However few took notice of that for young Evelyn was not born Catholic but rather converted later in life. He was educated at Hertford College at Oxford. He had begun writing creatively as a child, due largely to the fact that his brother was a novelist and his father worked for the prestigious British publisher Chapman & Hall. Thus, with these connections the young Waugh had privately published his first work at the age of 13. He established himself as England's leading comic novelist with the novels "Decline and Fall", published in 1928, and "Vile Bodies" released two years later. In 1934 his satire "A Handful of Dust" came out. His writings caught the mood of English upper-class life and criticized it harshly albeit comically for its inanity and irresponsibility, particularly highlighting the period between the two world wars.
After an early life of depression when he almost committed suicide by trying to drown himself at sea in 1925, he bounced between colleges and jobs, and, after several bouts with alcoholism and a failed marriage to Evelyn Gardner, Waugh found God and converted to Catholicism in 1930. It was another example of how God allows a person to plummet to the depths in order to build one back up. From that time on he began traveling with a purpose and in 1935 wrote a biography of Saint Edmund Campion, the Elizabethan Catholic martyr. In 1937 he married Laura Herbert and settled down, fathering a daughter Teresa. Two years later another daughter Mary was born but died shortly after birth. Before his conversion this tragedy would have sent him over the edge but his faith gave him the strength to persevere. Evelyn served in the Royal Marines during World War II, yet found the time to write what is considered by many to be his masterpiece "Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder" which was published in 1945. Evelyn was later to describe "Brideshead Revisited" as "an attempt to trace the workings of the divine purpose in a pagan world." Brideshead describes the relationships of one of England's great old Catholic families, and is a complex story of sin, grace, and redemption. There are elements of the story that are probably autobiographical, and the drawing of the individual characters, even those playing a minor role in the story, is particularly masterful.
A year before "Brideshead", another daughter Harriet was born, who gave renewed hope to Evelyn and Laura after the death of their second child. In 1948 he published the humorous satire "The Loved One" which was made into a movie twenty years later about Forest Lawn Cemetary in Hollywood. In 1950 the Waughs had a son who they named Septimus. He wrote "Love Among the Ruins" in 1953, a year after he published "Men at Arms", followed in 1955 by "Officers and Gentlemen" and in 1961 "Unconditional Surrender" which completed the trilogy of his books he called the "Sword of Honour". In 1964 his autobiography was published entitled "A Little Learning.". The results of Vatican II greatly bothered Evelyn for he could see the modernization of the Church and he didn't like what he saw, clinging to the traditional orthodox Church he had embraced when he was 27. He died two years later at his home at Combe Florey in Sommerset, England on April 10, 1966 at the age of 63, having lived a full life and warning all about the problems the Church faced for he could foresee the schism being forged by the liberal factions trying to wrest control. Though he led a wild, sinful life in his earlier years, in the manner of the Prodigal Son and Mary Magdalen, he atoned for his sins after his conversion and used his God-given talent as a masterful wizard with the pen to right wrongs and tweak the conscience of England and America through his writings. Overall he published over 25 books, many of which can be considered classics in English literature.
He was born in Turin on February 15, 1927 two years after the death of another Turin citizen Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati who we highlighted in Monday's issue. When he was seventeen, Cardinal Martini enrolled in the Jesuit seminary and was ordained eight years later on July 13, 1952, considered an exceptionally young age for a Jesuit priest. Two years later he graduated summa cum laude from the Gregorian University with a degree in Theology, writing an excellent thesis that was soon published. He was assigned to teach in Chieri, but the academic life called him back to Rome where he again excelled, achieving his doctorate in Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. His scholastic excellence opened the door for him to be named head of the Scripture Department at the Biblicum where he also was appointed Rector of the Institute in 1969, an office he held until 1978. During this time he gained a reputation for being accessible and being a people person to the students and faculty. In 1978 he was tabbed Rector of the more prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University. That was also the year the Pope Paul VI invited him to preach the Vatican's annual retreat during Lent. It would be the Pope's last Lent. After a year as head of the Gregorian, Martini took a sabbatical to write more, authoring numerous biblical, theological and spiritual thesis and documents.
On December 29, 1979 Pope John Paul II named him the new Archbishop of Milan a quarter of a century after Pope Paul VI had been appointed Archbishop of Milan. On March 6, 1980 he was ordained by the Holy Father and installed as the head of the important See of Milan in northern Italy. Three years later he received his red-hat and the titular church of St. Cecilia. He serves membership in the Curial Offices of the Second Section of the Secretary of State, the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies for Apostolic Life and the Congregation for Catholic Education as well as the Pontifical Council for Culture. He is now nearing twenty years as Archbishop of Milan where he resides at Palazzo Arcivescovile, Piazza Fontana 2, 20122 Milan. Once considered a young phenom in the Church, he is now 72 and fast approaching the age where he will be too old. In fact, every year His Holiness John Paul II lives diminishes Cardinal Montini's hopes of attaining the highest office in the Church.
How saddened I am at the state of the souls of all My children. Where there should be a great shining light to welcome Me, I discover only darkness and in the darkness confusion and chaos.
O! My children! Why must you debate the Gospel which I spoke, taught and gave to you. Why, O My children, do you seek to grasp its meaning only with your finite mind, and never lift up your heart for divine enlightenment?
On this day, as the solemn Holy Week draws closer, I wish you to read the Gospel as St. Matthew recorded it. Begin with Chapter 14 at verse 22 until the end of verse 32. I want this most important happening to become for you a measure of your faith in these perilous times. You must examine your conscience and see with the Grace of the Holy Spirit if you are of strong faith.
I Who Am came to My Apostles for I knew what terror the ravages of the storm would do to them. Yet I came not to save their mortal bodies only, for it was not yet their time, but more importantly to let them see clearly how deeply rooted was their faith in Me.
My little children, behold the rock, My Peter. He is humanly terrified at the violent storm, and then he saw Me, but was uncertain. He cried aloud in fear but I gently answered him as I answer each of you: "Take courage; it is I, be not afraid."
Do you truly believe that I am with you in all things, and where I am you have nothing to fear?
Peter, upon hearing Me, tested Me and bid Me to ask him to come unto Me. And when I had uttered the command, "Come," Peter did not hesitate. All fear vanished. His faith filled him as he leaped from the drenched boat and effortlessly came toward Me. His eyes were upon Mine! But oh, his faith was not yet strong enough against the weakness of human nature. Peter lowered his eyes only for an instant. One instant - he took his eyes away from Me, His Lord and God. And what happened? Faith dimmed and human fear mounted, and he saw the water beneath his feet and began to sink! Yet he willed to believe and thus cried out to Me to save him. I said to him at that instant, "O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?"
Do you doubt, My children? Or is your faith alive and daily growing? Does trust enliven your faith, a ladder upon which faith climbs ever higher? Does love speed your journey up the ladder into My eternal embrace?
"O ye of little faith!" That, I solemnly say to you is My pronouncement to this generation of hardened hearts.
Behold Me, your Lord and God! I Am. I am unchanging. I bid you come to Me, but you do not come because your eyes seek Me, but focus only on the world. Like Peter, you begin and approach Me, only to lose sight of Me because of your sins left unrepented, and your heart hardened to My Word.
Read this Gospel passage very carefully. The storm of evil is all around you. Many of you are faltering, giving into the lies of satan who seeks to take your eyes from Me.
If you would persevere then be focused only on Me, your Lord God and Savior, and willingly cling to My Cross. Then shall the storm of doubt be stifled and as My child you shall cry out: "My Lord and my God, come!"
I solemnly say to all the world: If your faith be strong and you call out to Me, you shall witness the Victory and acknowledge before all the fullness of Truth. Cry out to Me in faith, for I solemnly tell you: I Come!
O! With what Love do I gaze upon My little children, and how I am comforted by those who are in My Divine Presence.
But I say again: Where are all of My children; all to whom I freely bestowed the gift of faith? Have I done so in vain, O children? Do you reject My Gift and seek the world before Me?
I do solemnly tell you, My children, that I am very sorrowful because that which I taught you while I was with you, and all that My Holy Mother has sought from you for all these years has not been done. It has been a battle of ego, pride; all filled with man's will, but not My Perfect Will.
Thus you remain a divided people. And because of your division you remain a people of hard heart, a generation so ensnared by satan that all evil appears to you as justifiable and, to many, even good!
Woe! Woe to all who by means of their own free will go the path of the evil one, for unto them shall the full Justice of God come and their prince shall be the prince of everlasting darkness.
Behold, My children, you draw nigh unto Holy Week, a blessed and solemn time. Hear Me, O world! Now does your Calvary truly begin, and unto the Father alone is known the moment of its culmination. Behold, O world. I, Jesus Christ, plead before the Perfect Justice of the Father and through My Most Sacred Passion I seek to pour out My Love and My Divine Mercy. But you do not seek Me, and Mercy does not come to soften the hardened heart.
I solemnly tell you that so many of My children call out for even more signs and words from Heaven. But these things have already been given to you, yet you have not seen nor understood because your heart is as a grave.
But I solemnly tell you: All Scripture shall be fulfilled, and all that has been foretold to you shall come to pass. But it shall not happen as you conceive, but it shall all be fulfilled as a thief coming in the night. Therefore, prepare your self daily by living a holy, chaste and pure life. Receive the Sacraments frequently. Go to Holy Mass, and be ever My little, humble, contrite children. For behold, I solemnly tell you: I Come!
End of the 2nd Crusade when the Christian crusaders were forced to retreat outside Damascus.
On this day a son is born to the new Tudor King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward IV. They name him Henry. He would go on to become the monarch of England, be proclaimed "Defender of the Faith" and fall from grace with his divorce to Catherine of Aragon and subsequently was excommunicated. He retaliated by forming the Church of England and becoming an apostate, persecuting Catholics and clergy who refused to join him. He was, of course, the notorious King Henry VIII who turned Catholic England to Protestantism.
Pope Saint Pius X issues his eighth encyclical Pieni l'animo to the bishops and clergy of Italy.