THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
All power is given to Me in Heaven and on earth. - Matthew 28:18
The Providence of God
"1 think more of the private chapel where 1 was baptized, than of the Cathedral at Rheims where 1 was crowned: for the dignity of a child of God, which was bestowed on me at baptism, is greater than that of a ruler of a kingdom. The latter 1 shall lose at death: the other will be my passport to everlasting glory."
-Saint Louis, King of France (d. ·1 ! 70)
The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary P.O. Box 524
Vienna, Ohio 44473-0524
Christ's Last Words on the Day of His Ascension into Heaven
All power is given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matt.28: 18-20)
People are inclined to attach great importance to the last words of a friend or family member who is about to depart from this life. Now, what was the final message given by Our Lord and Savior to His Church on the Mount of Olives before His Ascension? Jesus, our God, spoke of the power that was given Him in Heaven and on earth. He sent His disciples off to the four corners of the world in order to preach the Gospel of salvation to every creature. Mission impossible? No, for with God, all things are possible!
Each of us is placed in this world for one purpose only. And what is our ultimate goal? Everlasting salvation in the Beatific Vision of God. This is to be our eternal happiness if we fulfill the requirements of our Creator.
This booklet does not pretend to be a theological treatise. It is merely a small collection of stories and words of the saints, in praise of the wonders and marvels of the Providence of God, Who knows all things and can do all things.
First and Most Necessary Means of Arrival at Our Goal: Baptism
And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night, and said to Him: Rabbi, we know that Thou art come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which Thou dost, unless God be with him.
Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God .
Nicodemus saith to Him: How can a man be born again when he
is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother s womb, and be born again?
Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3: 1-5)
Christ and Nicodemus
Providence of God in Apostolic Times
Water in the Desert
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza: this is desert.
And rising up, he went. And behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch, of great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore.
And he was returning, sitting in his chariot, and reading Isaias the prophet.
And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near and join thyself to this chariot.
And Philip running thither heard him reading the prophet Isaias.
And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understand est what thou readest?
Who said: And how can I, unless some man show me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth.
in. humility his judgment was taken 'Gl"'ay. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth?
Am;! the eunuch answering Philip, said: I beseech thee, of whom
doth speak this, of himself, or of some other man?
Philip Explains the Scriptures to the Queen s Treasurer
Then Philip, opening his mouth, and beginning at this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.
And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water; and
the eunuch said: See, here is water: what doth hinder me from being baptized?
And Philip said: If thou belie vest with all thy heart, thou mayest.
And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch: and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing.
But Philip was found in Azotus; and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. (Acts of the Apostles 8:26-40.)
Saint Peter's Miraculous Fountain
Even to this day, tourists to the Ete~al City can visit the Mamertine Prison where the holy Apostles Saints Peter and Paul were held in captivity for the sake of Our Lord. In the lower dungeon the guide will point out a water hole in the ground, well within reaching distance of the stone pillar to which the Prince of the Apostles was once chained, and from which he preached the message of salvation to his jailers. This miraculous fountain sprang up at the time of the conversion of his two guards, Processus and Martinian. At the prayer of Saint Peter, God supplied the water necessary for the baptism of these two men, who went on to become martyrs for the Faith of Christ. Their feast is celebrated on July 2nd.
God's Providence in the Third Century
Angels Lead to Baptism
St. Lawrence, a Spaniard by birth, was the archdeacon to Pope Saint Sixtus II. After undergoing many torments for the Faith of Christ, in the persecution of Valerian, he died a martyr, being roasted to death on a gridiron in the city of Rome in the year 258. Saint Romanus, a soldier, moved by the confession of Saint Lawrence, begged to be bap-
tized by him, and was immediately taken and scourged, and finally beheaded. In the Office for the feast of Saint Lawrence, we read, "Romanus said to blessed Lawrence, 'I see before thee a most beautiful youth: make haste to baptize me. '"
Perhaps a little more well known is the story of Saint "Cecilia, the Roman virgin, born of a noble family, who was brought up from her infancy in the precepts of the Christian Faith, and vowed her virginity to God. But when, against her will, she was given in marriage to Valerian, on the first night of the nuptials she thus addressed him: 'Valerian, 1 am under the care of an Angel, who is the guardian of my virginity; wherefore do not do anything to me that might kindle God's wrath against thee.'
"Valerian, moved by these words, did not dare to touch her; and even said that he would believe in Christ, if he could see the Angel.
"When Cecilia said that this was impossible without Baptism, he, burning with a desire to see the Angel, replied that he was willing to be baptized. Taking the virgin's advice, he went to Pope Urban, who, on account of the persecution was hiding in the tombs of the martyrs on the Appian Way, and by him he was baptized.
"Then, returning to Cecilia, he found her at prayer, and beside her, an Angel shining with a divine splendor. He was astounded at the sight, but as soon as he had recovered from his fear, he summoned his brother
I ' Tiburtius, who also was instructed by Cecilia in the Faith of Christ, and, after being baptized by the same Pope Urban, was also favored by the sight of the same Angel." This all happened in the year 230 A. D. (Matins for Nov. 22nd, feast of Saint Cecilia)
The Providence of God in the 15th Century
"One of the most unique saints of all time was Joan of Arc (1412- 1431), La Pucelle, the Maid of Orleans. While still in her teens, she courageously and successfully led French troops against the occupying English armies; she had been so directed by "voices" of St. Michael, St. Margaret, St. Catherine and others. Like all great saints, St. Joan was a very balanced personality: allied to her fortitude and fearlessness were gentleness and pity for the suffering.
A Mother with the Faith
"In early March, 1430, St. Joan arrived at the village of Lag ny- surMarn, in the direction of Paris. Here she learned of a woman who was greatly distressed because she had given birth to a stillborn son. Some villagers approached Joan and asked for her intercession. The mother prayed only that the child might be brought to life long enough to be baptized and so gain Heaven.
"Joan went to the church where the dead child had been laid at the feet of the statue of the Blessed Mother. Young girls of the village were praying by the small corpse.
"St. Joan then added her own prayers. The baby came to life and yawned three times. Baptism was hurriedly administered. Then the baby boy died again, and his beautiful spotless baptized soul went straight to Heaven." p. 93 Raised from the Dead - Tan Books and Publishers
The Providence of God in the 16th Century
What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? (Matthew 16:26) With these words, the great founder of the Jesuit Order, Saint Ignatius, stirred the generous soul of Saint Francis Xavier to leave a successful career at the University of Paris, setting out for the Far East, to preach the Gospel to the heathens in the vast regions of India and Japan. At the age of 46, after twelve vigorous years of labor and toil, having personally baptized 3,000,000 souls, Saint Francis Xavier passed to his eternal reward on an island off the coast of China, having earned the honor of being the greatest missionary ofthe CatholicChurch since the time of Saint Paul.
The following stories are two instances of the power of God as reflected in the life of this glorious saint. Both are taken from the book entitled Raisedfrom the Dead by Father Albert J. Hebert S. M. - Tan Books and Publishers
"In Japan, at or neat Cagoxima, a pagan nobleman lost his only daughter. He was greatly grieved. Some recent Christian converts, sympathizing with him, recommended that he seek help from the God
of the Christians and the prayers of the "great teacher of the Portuguese." The father went to Saint Francis and cast himself at his feet. He was so choked with emotion he could not speak. But the saint understood.
"Saint Francis went into the little oratory where he offered Mass.
His helper, John Fernandez, went along with him. After Francis prayed for a few moments, he came out and told the anxious father to go, that his prayers were heard. That was all Francis said, so the nobleman turned homeward, hurt and grieved.
"But on his way, a servant met him and joyfully told him that his daughter was alive. Next, the girl herself came running and threw herself upon her father's neck. She informed her father that when she had breathed her last breath, immediately two horrible demons had seized
The Good Shepherd: And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
her. They were about to hurl her into Hell when two venerable men came to her rescue. The next moment, she found herself alive and well.
"When the girl's father brought her to Saint Francis Xavier's house, she identified Francis and Fernandez as her two deliverers. Father and daughter were subsequently instructed and baptized. (our emphasis)
"Another miracle occurred when Francis was on a ship, the Santa Croce, going to San Chan. A Mussulman's five-year-old son fell overboard at a time when the ship was running fast before the wind. It was impossible even to attempt to save him. The father had been in despair for three days when he chanced upon Francis on the deck. Francis somehow-for the glory of God?- had not heard of the tragedy. He asked the father if he would believe in Jesus Christ if his child were restored. (A small child, overboard in the sea for three days, miles behind the ship, and Francis confidently asks such a question!) The man said he would believe.
"A few hours passed, probably while Francis was praying. Suddenly the Mussulman met his child, bright and joyous, running to him on the deck. The father and his entire family were baptized." (our emphasis)
Not many years before his death at the young age of forty six, driven by a consuming love of God and an indefatigable zeal for souls, Saint Francis wrote to his superior in Rome, the great Saint Ignatius, in the following words:
"I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptized. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: 'The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these' ...
"Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: 'What a tragedy: how
many souls are being shut out of Heaven and falling into Hell, thanks to you!"" (E Vila Francisci Xaverii, auctore H. Tursellini, Romae)
Providence of God in the Seventeenth Century
Eight North American Martyrs
Who were the eight North American martyrs? They were heroic members of the Society of Jesus, martyred in North America in the middle of the 17th century, having come from France, to bring the Faith that is necessary for salvation to the Huron, the Iroquois and the Mohawk Indians. Five were put to death in what is now Canada, and three in New York State. There is a shrine to the United States martyrs in Auriesville, New York and one to the Canadian martyrs at Fort St' Mary, near Midland, Ontario.
Names of the Eight North American Martyrs
St. Isaac Jogues, Priest, St. Rene Goupil and St. John de la Lande, lay-brothers- martyred in New York State. St. Anthony Daniel, St. John de Brebeuf, St. Charles Gamier, St. Noel Chabanel and St. Gabriel Lalemant, all priests, martyred in Canada.
Clear Intention and Purpose
Why did these brave men leave a comfortable home in France to face a savage wilderness, with all its pains, dangers, fatigues and trials, even to the shedding of their blood? They came "primarily as priests and missioners, to bring the knowledge and the love of God to the pagans, to instruct and baptize them, to establish a Catholic church in their midst." (Fr. Francis Talbot S. 1. Saint Among Savages p.453)
Words of St. Isaac Jogues
"I have come into your country ... to show you the road to Heaven." "These poor people do not understand that what keeps us here is
more precious than all that they can conceive in the way of the pleasures of this world."
"I have baptized more than sixty persons, several of whom have gone to Heaven. That is my single consolation, and the will of God, to which very gladly I unite my own." (our emphasis)
A few excerpts from the wonderful book just quoted from will give the reader a faint idea of the zeal of these saints of God.
Ice and Snow Bless the Lord
"They were outcast. Some nights they slept in the forests and dug their beds in the hollow of the snow. Some days they passed entirely without food. When they were received into a cabin, they exposed themselves to even greater dangers. It happened one night that a man of the hut in which they lodged had a terrifying dream. He rose in the middle of the night and stood over them menacingly, with his face distorted like a maniac and his fingers clutching wildly, he ordered them to leave his fire at once. On another occasion, in the dead of night, when all the village was asleep, they were roused by a brave pounding on the door and bellowing out threats against them, warning them that they would be murdered if they showed themselves in the village the next morning.
"Thus wandering about from place to place, and everywhere meeting with blows and threats and hatred, Jogues and Garnier came to a little cluster of cabins in the heart of the hills. They were both exhausted by the terrible exposure to the cold and by the lack of food. They forced themselves upon one of the cabins and were grudgingly received. Jogues felt feverish and sick through all his body. He could not move from his mat. Here they hoped to rest for a few days in comparative quiet. Then came a messenger from one of the villages in which they had been welcomed on their entry into the Petun land. The runner told them that some of the people who were sick were begging them to return.
"It was a call from God. They could not but heed it. In order to complete the journey of thirty five miles by daylight, they started out at three 0' clock in the morning. All the country was pale with snow in the
dawn, and the mountain air was painfully cold. Jogues was still gripped by the fever and unsteady on his legs. They slid their snowshoes laboriously over the crackling crust of the icy snow. Frequently they stopped for breath in deadly exhaustion. But they had to shorten their rests for fear lest they die of the cold. Their only food, a lump of com bread about the size of the fist, was hard as ice. They arrived at the village late at night, covered with sweat, and yet half-frozen, they said. The sick persons were still alive. They were baptized. 'Some souls gone astray here and there, who are placed on the road to heaven when they are just about to be swallowed up in hell, 'was their comment, 'deserve a thousand times more than these labors, since these souls have cost the Savior of the world much more than that. '" (our emphasis) p.161
" .•• True and Natural Water. •• "
"War-hoops split the air. Grotesque faces, bodies streaked with blood-red paint, erupted from the cover of the swamp. Thirty Iroquois stood among the waist-high weeds, took aim, blazed with their muskets. Balls whistled through the air ... Father Jogues lifted himselfto his knees, and with his arm making the sign of the cross, shouted the words of absolution over his people.
"Atieronhonk, the pilot of his canoe, crouching just in front of him, was pierced in the hand by the first volley.
"He was the only one in the boat who was not a Christian. Jogues asked him ifhe wanted Baptism. 'Yes,' he answered. The Father cupped the water in his hand, and sprinkled it over the head of the man, baptizing him Bernard. Another volley of shots sprinkled about them. The canoe smashed against the shore. Jogues felt himself catapulted into the weeds ...
"'Most assuredly I could conceal myself here among the grasses and reeds,' he argued within himself, 'and perhaps free myself from the danger of capture. But could I ever be able to abandon ... especially those who are not baptized?' He was a priest of God. The thought of escape was horrible to him. 'Could I think for a moment of abandoning our French and deserting these good neophytes and catechumens, without giving them the help and consolation that the Church of my God
has entrusted to me? Never, never could that be,' he told himself 'It is necessary, it must be, that my body suffer the fires of this earth in order to deliver these souls from the flames of hell. It must be that my body die a death that passes, in order to obtain for these a life that is eternal. '
"He lifted himself up and stood boldly among the reeds ... 'Take me prisoner! Put me with Frenchmen and the Hurons whom you have captured! . . .'
"The captives sat nearby in terror. Jogues mingled with them and spoke words of consolation. He counseled the few who were pagans that they should be baptized, for it was likely that the Iroquois might strike them down. They consented, and he squeezed a few drops of water from his wet garments while he pronounced the sacred words." (our emphasis) pp. 211-214
"Along the way, they had to cross a gorge of a swift mountain stream. The bridge was a tree trunk stretched a few feet above the swirling, deep waters. It was unsteady and slippery with moss. One of the party was a pregnant woman, who also carried a baby on her back and was otherwise burdened with the camp utensils ... The squaw started to climb across the tree, while Father Jogues waited to follow her. She lost her balance, and toppled over into the tumbling rapids ....
"In an instant, Father Jogues leaped into the gorge and the icy current. Wading and swimming, he fought his way to the woman, unstrapped the bundles and the cradle, and dragged her and the baby to the bank. He took good care to baptize the baby before he lifted it out of the water ...
"The woman recovered, but the newly baptized child died within a few days." (our emphasis) p.298
"In This Sign Thou Shalt Conquer"
" ... Father Jogues blessed the food and himself with the Sign of the Cross. 'Stop that', the old chief snapped at him. 'That gesture is no good. The Dutchmen have told us of it. ... They hate these ceremonies of yours, and we hate them also. It is the making of that sign which caused the death of your comrade; and it will be the cause of your death if you continue to form it among us. '
'That doesn't make any difference to me,' Jogues answered. 'I shall continue to form this Sign of the Cross, since the Author of our lives commands it. Let the people do whatever they please about it. ' " ... The words of the chief gave Father Jogues confirmation of his belief, that Rene Goupil was a martyr and had been put to death for his profession of this Faith." p. 299
'" The prince of this world, driven out from almost every corner of the globe by the power of the Cross, seems to have fled into these regions as his best fortified stronghold. So that, the kingdom which this strong man armed has possessed for so many thousands of years cannot be overthrown except by the process of time and by the constant attacks of the soldiers of Christ.' He carried his apostolate out to the bleak streets of the village and to the windswept gates and wherever he could attract a listener. 'Some refused to listen to me', he narrates,' 'others drove me off, others assented merely with the lips. . .'
"Some few adults who listened to his words of promise and warning consented to receive baptism. Many infants in a critical state, he also contrived to baptize. 'This was my only solace in the bitterest mental pains' ." ( our emphasis) p. 304
"A war party arrived, parading with them four Hurons whom they had captured along the Saint Lawrence near Lake Erie. Jogues recognized the Hurons; they were not Christians; he must baptize them. They were already mutilated ... Jogues watched in anguish as they ran the gauntlet. He hovered over them ... He spoke to them consolingly and urged them to give their consent to being baptized ....
Rain and Dew Bless the Lord
"Two of the Hurons, Jogues learned, were to be burned to death that night. .. He stayed with them on the platform and concentrated his appeals on them. Finally they consented. About that moment, the Mohawks threw the prisoners some raw corn which had been freshly plucked. The sheathes were wet from the recent rains. Father Jogues carefully gathered the precious drops of water on a leaf and poured them over the heads of the two neophytes, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." p.247
"The old man whom Father Jogues had just before baptized refused to stir from where he was sitting .... 'If you don't want to spare my life, I am willing to find my death here. It won't be much of a disadvantage to lose my life anyway.' They took him at his word. Scarcely had he finished speaking, when one of the braves smashed his skull and scalped him. Father Jogues rejoiced in the sorrow, for the waters of Baptism had scarce dried on his head." p.220
More Words of Saint Isaac Jogues
"I baptized this woman while she was on the funeral pyre, since I was unable to do it before, while I was offering a drink to her parched lips." p.319
"Naturally, I loved to get away into the quiet and solitude, where, far from the village, I would not be nauseated by the usual cruelty of the savages, and where I could be with God more freely and with greater devotion ... I was mindful of the Institute of our Society, which places the salvation of our neighbors before our own private spiritual delight. Therefore, without reluctance, I remained about the cabin. By staying in the village, I had more opportunity to make progress in the study of the language. Also, I could better effect the baptism of children and the salvation of adults. I was greatly grieved whenever, during my absence, an adult died who had not been instructed, or a child who had not been baptized." ( our emphasis)
"I desire all that Our Lord desires, and I desire it at the peril of a . thousand lives. Ah, with what regret should I be filled, ifI lost such a wonderful occasion (returning as a missioner to the Iroquois) one in which it might depend only on me that some souls were not saved. I hope that God's goodness, which has never abandoned me on former occasions, will still continue to assist me, and that He and I, we together, will be able to trample under foot all the difficulties which rise up against us. It is a fearsome thing to be in the midst of fallen peoples, alone, without Mass, without the Sacrifice, without confession, without the Sacraments. Nevertheless, God's holy Will and His sweet command on us are well worth that. He Who has preserved us by His holy grace without these aids for eighteen or twenty months, will not refuse
the same favor to us who do not thrust ourselves into this position, but who undertake this work solely and only to please Him, and undertake it against all the instincts and inclinations of nature." p.423
A Favor Returned
"Once when he had entered a cabin in one of the villages to inquire about the sick, he heard his name called from the darkness of a comer. Going over, he found a young man desperately ill.
'Ondessonk,' (that was the name the Indians gave Father Isaac Jogues) the sick young man exclaimed, 'do you not know me?'
'I do not remember ever having seen you before,' Father Jogues
'Do you not remember well the favor I did you at your entrance into the country of the Iroquois?' the man questioned.
'But what favor did you do me?' asked Jogues, puzzled.
'Don't you remember the man who cut your bonds ... when you were at the end of your strength?, he continued.
'Of course, I remember that very well. That man put me in his debt very, very much. I have never been able to thank him. I beg you, give me some news of him, if you are acquainted with him. '
'It was I, myself, who did it. It was I who took pity on you and loosed you.'
"Father Jogues bent over the sick man and embraced him. "But oh, how sad I am to see you in this pitiable condition!' he exclaimed. 'How much I regret that I am unable to help you in your sickness. I never knew who you were. Nevertheless, I have often prayed for you to the great Master of our lives. You see that I am in great poverty. Despite that, I shall do you a greater favor than you did to me.'
"Father Jogues told the dying man about God, of the happiness in the next life with God for those who believed, of what it was necessary to believe in order to be baptized and made happy forever after death. The man listened with attention. With deep sincerity, he begged for baptism and for the happiness Ondessonk promised him. Father Jogues poured on his head the water of salvation. While he prayed beside the mat, a few hours later, the man died peacefully.
"Jogues felt himself compensated by winning the soul of this man for God." pp.327-8
A Not-So-Ignorant Native
"They held council, in the Huron fashion, and each of the natives who sought baptism was called upon to argue his position.
"Ahatsistari addressed them thus: 'I have the Faith deep down in my heart... In two days, I am departing on the warpath. IfI am killed in the battle, tell me: where will my soul go if you refuse me baptism? If you saw into my heart as clearly as the great Master of our lives, I would already be numbered among the Christians; and the fear of the flames of hell would not accompany me, now that I am about to face death. I cannot baptize myself All that I can do is to declare with utmost honesty the desire that I have for it. After I do that, if my soul be burned in hell, you will bear the guilt of it. Whatever you may decide to do, however, I will always pray to God, since I know him. Perhaps He will have mercy on me, for you say that He is wiser than you are.'
"'What made you first think: of believing in God,' one of the Fathers questioned him.
'''Even before you came into this country,' Ahatsistari responded, 'I had escaped from a great many perils in which my comrades were killed. I saw very clearly that it was not I who saved myself from these dangers. I had the thought that some spirit, most powerful and unknown to me, was favorable to me and aided me. We peoples attribute all of our good fortune to dreams. But I was convinced that all that was only nonsense. Still, I did not know much about it. When I heard of the greatness of the God whom you preach, and of what Jesus Christ had done while He was on earth, I recognized him as the being who had preserved me. I was resolved to honor Him all my life. When I went to war, I recommended myself to Him night and morning. It is to Him that all my victories are due. He it is in whom I believe. I ask you for baptism so that He may have pity on me after my death.'" pp. 185-6 (Ahatsistari was solemnly baptized and was given the name Eustace.)
Light and Darkness Bless the Lord
"The following quotes are taken from "Saint Among the Hurons" by Father Francis x.. Talbot S. J.
"The French were warned not to leave their houses after nightfall, lest some of the savages commit another crime. During this tense period, the trusted La Nasse one evening pounded on the door and begged Pere Paul to baptize a baby that was dying. Despite the prohibition, Le Jeune resolved to go with La Nasse. But de Brebeufpersuaded him to remain at home, since he was running a fever, and volunteered to take his place, with Pere de Noue as companion. They were guided by La Nasse along the dark paths to a cabin some two miles away, under the cliff of the Rock. The relatives of the baby refused to show it to the Blackrobes, lest they cast a spell over it and cause it to die. De Noue, frightened by the baleful looks of the savages in the cabin, slipped out to bring the interpreter ... to protect de Brebeuf Together they persuaded the mother that her baby would be happy if it were baptized. She finally agreed if the father, who was drunk in another cabin, would also consent. He was awakened, and sent back word: 'Although I am drunk, I understand what you say. Tell the Blackrobes I know they will do my son no harm if they baptize him.' Pere Jean poured the waters and named the child Francis Xavier. They returned to Notre Dame des Anges about ten o'clock. Le Jeune said to Brebeufkindly: 'Mon Pere, are you not very happy that you ended the day so well?' 'Alas!' exclaimed de Brebeuf, 'for this one single occasion I would travel all the way from France. I would cross the great ocean to win one little soul for Our Lord."
No Greater Love
"Daniel, still clothed in white alb and red stole, hurried to the gate where the battle raged. With arm upraised, he shouted the words of absolution toward his believers, and paused over those who knelt for baptism, while musket balls whizzed through the palisades, and arrows showered down from above. He ran through the cabins, where some were sick, and others aged, ministering to them the Sacraments. He
was caught up in a frantic mob trying to escape through the holes in the stockade. He dashed back to the chapel, while still there was time. Many of his Believers crowded in and about it. With a sweep of his hand, he pronounced general absolution over them ...
"'Flee, my children, and bear with you your Faith even till your last breath.' They begged him to go with them. 'No, no,' he called back, 'I must await death here, as long as there is here any soul that can be sent to Heaven.' They pleaded with him; the Iroquois were breaking through; he must hurry. 'No, I shall die here to save you. I do not care any longer for life.' As they were turning away from him, he cried out in parting; 'We shall see one another again in Heaven.' Some remained with him, old men and women who could not follow the young. Tenderly he encouraged them: 'My Brothers, my sisters, today we shall be in Paradise. Believe this, and hope that God may love you forever.'
"From the ferocious yells of victory, he judged the Iroquois had forced the gates and broken through the stockade. From the shrieks of those shrinking from the deathblow, he knew the enemy was raging through the streets and cabins ... Darting here and there in the open area about his chapel, absolving and baptizing the terrorized Hurons who were fleeing confusedly past him, Antoine Daniel heard the horrible Iroquois wiiiiiii grow louder and louder. He stood at the door of the chapel. He saw a band of Iroquois burst from behind the cabins, their faces and bodies striped with the crimson war paint, their upraised tomahawks dripping with blood, their mouths open as they screeched their ear-splitting war whoops. He watched them as they smashed the heads of those they were overtaking. He must halt them, and save the escaping Hurons. From the chapel door, slowly, with crucifix uplifted, he strode against them.
" ... He showed no fear of them, no, not any.
"'The Blackrobe!' one of them cried out.. .. One lodged a musket ball in his heart, while others let fly their arrows in his face and neck. They stood still, awed even yet by this frightening spectacle.
" ... Taking him by the wrists and ankles, they heaved the bleeding body of Antoine Daniel into his chapel, now become his pyre." pp. 286-7
The Providence of God in the Twentieth Century
The Glory of His People, Israel
(The following story is taken from the Diary of Blessed Faustina
whose feast is now celebrated on October 6th.) .
"This day is so special for me; even though I encountered so many sufferings, my soul is overflowing with great joy. In a private room next to mine, there was a Jewish woman who was seriously ill. I went to see her three days ago and was deeply pained at the thought that she would soon die without having her soul cleansed by the grace of Baptism. I had an understanding with her nurse, a religious Sister, that when her last moment would be approaching, she would baptize her. There was this difficulty however, that there were always some Jewish people with her.
Mercy of God
"However, I felt inspired to pray before the image which Jesus had instructed me to have painted. I have a leaflet with the Image of the divine Mercy on the cover. And I said to the Lord, 'Jesus, You yourself told me that You would grant many graces through this image. I ask You, then, for the grace of Holy Baptism for this Jewish lady. It makes no difference who will baptize her, as long as she is baptized.'
"After these words, I felt strangely at peace, and I was quite sure that, despite the difficulties, the waters of Holy Baptism would be poured upon her soul. That night, when she was very low, I got out of bed three times to see her, watching for the right moment to give her this grace.
"The next morning, she seemed to feel a little better. In the afternoon, her last moment began to approach. The sister who was her nurse said that Baptism would be difficult because they were with her.
"The moment came when the sick woman began to lose consciousness, and, as a result, in order to save her, they began to run about; some went to fetch the doctor, while others went offin other directions to find help.
"And so the patient was left alone, and sister baptized her, and
before they had all rushed back, her soul was beautiful, adorned with God's grace. Her final agony began immediately, but it did not last long. It was as if she fell asleep. All of a sudden, I saw her soul ascending to Heaven in wondrous beauty. 0, how beautiful is a soul in sanctifying grace! Joy flooded my heart ...
"0, how great is God's mercy; let every soul praise it!" (pp. 356-7)
And, yes, God's Providence Can Even Reach the Second Half of the Twentieth Century!
This next story is taken from P.I.ME. World a magazine of the PI.M.E. Missionaries, under the heading, "Egyptian Camel Owner Loves Virgin Mary."
"Devotion to Mary is so strong and deep that, according to Christian missionaries who work in Islamic countries, the number of people converted to Christianity through devotion to Mary is more than usually supposed ....
To Jesus through Mary
"A missionary in northern Egypt tells what happened to him once.
A camel owner, Ali by name, arrived at his little church and asked him, 'Fayna Maryam?' -meaning, 'Where is Mary?' The missionary accompanied him to the statue of Mary in the church. Ali spread out a small rug, knelt down, and started praying and chanting the words, 'Maryam, Maryam.' Then he left. But twice a week he passed by as he drove his camels and stopped to kneel in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary and repeat a fervent prayer. For more than a year he did this.
"Several years passed, and the missionary was called to the hospital to the side of Ali, dying of cancer.
"'Father, I am dying, but I want to go with the Great Lady. Tell me what I have to do. She loves me and surely will welcome me. '"
"Touched by his profound faith, the missionary went back to visit Ali every day for a month, and at the end of the month baptized him when he asked to be baptized He was completely happy andjoyful to be able to go with Mary." (our emphasis)
A Catholic Convert Against all Odds
This story is taken from Angelus magazine just a few years ago:
"On Monday, November 6, 1989, the priest arrived in Singapore, coming from New Zealand. He said Mass daily for the group of the faithful, and also held Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass. He was also asked to bless seven homes and to enthrone in them the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"On Wednesday, November 8, the priest went to a hospital to give the last rites to the mother of one of the young men attending the prayer group... She was very ill and unconscious. It was 11 :00 am.
"After administering Extreme Unction and after giving her the Papal Blessing in articulo mortis, the priest noticed that besides this lady, there was a Chinese man lying in another bed who was obviously in a • desperate condition. He clearly had only a few more hours to live in this world. He was probably in his late fifties.
"The priest went to his side and said to him, "I am a Catholic priest.
Would you like to become a Catholic? I am offering you life everlasting." Then the priest asked him, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Catholic Church?" The poor man could not speak, so bad was his condition, but he pressed the priest's hands twice, affirmatively. After that he could answer no more questions. He was dying of cancer.
"At the end of the man's bed was a notice carrying the man's name, 'Hong Kee Koh.' Mr. Xavery accompanying the priest told him that name could only belong to a non-Catholic.
"The priest then administered the Sacrament of Baptism to the dying man, and the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Papal Blessing in articulo mortis. So he became 'Hong Kee Joseph Horace George Koh'. Mr. Koh died eight hours later.
"The following day, the priest was told that a few weeks previously, Mr. Koh had asked the nurses to bring a Catholic priest to him, because he wanted to become a Catholic. However, the nurses did not do so. Moreover, Mrs. Koh, a non-Catholic, did not want her husband to die a Catholic. But 'man proposes, God disposes.' Mr. Koh died as a son of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Laudetur Jesus Christus!"
The Secret of John Wayne's Conversion
"I've never been too busy to take the time to say, 'Thank: You, Lord!' It's an ongoing silent prayer in my heart.
"I turned my life over to God a long time ago. He gave me something priceless in return ... Faith! Without faith you're a lost soul.
"I turned my thoughts and my pain and my fears over to Christ. I thought about His suffering, and my own faded into insignificance. I thought how He came down from Heaven to save sinners. You. Me. All of us. How he died to save us. A horrible, humiliating death. On the Cross. With thick, lethal nails hammered into His flesh. But He never whimpered. He was brought here to do a job and He did it. .. with His life, His love.
"Christ knew pain. Suffering. He's the true Hero. The only Hero.
Worship no other. lowe Him a lot. Everything." -John Wayne
The well-loved American actor and star, John Wayne, was received into the Catholic Church on his deathbed, where, in his own words, he had been doing some "tall thinking and talking things over with God."
In an interview with Catholic Twin Circle shortly after his death, Michael Wayne spoke of the major causes of his father's conversion.
"First, my mother, Josephine, who was his first wife prayed for his conversion all the time. Prayer had a lot, to do with it. I think: that his introduction to, and association with Catholicism through my mother, and her example of Christian motherhood had a lasting effect on him.
"We were all raised as Catholics by my mother, and supported in this by my father... He would go to Mass on special occasions, Christmas, Easter, weddings, and occasionally he would go to Mass on Sundays, too, just for the heck of it.
"The effect that the religious training had on us kids made an impression on him.
"My father also had a lot of friends who were priests. He knew and respectedthem for the vocation they had chosen." As he got older, certain values and qualities that priests represented became more important to him. He began to see that these values were an intrinsic part of the Catholic Church."
An Archbishop Misses his Plane
About a month before The Duke's death, Archbishop McGrath of Panama, a longtime friend, missed his plane on a return flight home and found himself stuck with an hour and a half layover at L. A. International Airport. He figured he'd swing by the hospital, hoping to see the dying celebrity. "The Archbishop spent 15 minutes with my father, alone," says Michael Wayne, "and when he came out, I walked him to his car and he said, 'Your father's in good shape; don't worry about
him,' something to that effect, only more eloquent. ,
'''1 knew the Archbishop meant my father was spiritually in good shape, and that's all I needed to hear."
Twice Out of a Coma
The whole day before his death, John Wayne had been completely oblivious to everything going on in the room around him. Even the doctor shouting in his face had received no response. However, when asked by his son, Patrick, he replied, "Yeah," he would like to see the hospital chaplain, and fell back into unconsciousness. It's a miracle he answered the question at all.
Wayne came out of his coma again; and greeted Father Curtis when he arrived. "Another small miracle," says Michael Wayne.
The priest later told the family that he had baptized their father and given him the Last Sacraments. Mr. Wayne never regained consciousness again. He died on the following day.
I Michael comments, "We felt a tremendous loss, but it was tempered with a tremendous joy of knowing that we had been somewhat instrumental in bringing him together with his God in the final moments of his life."
Prayer and Good Example Lead a Soul to Salvation
Wayne's son put it well: "Hopefully, the way the family lived may have influenced him ... plus my mother's daily barrage of prayers, coupled with the friendship of other Catholics and priests, and let s not leave out the Good Lord!"
Saint Francis Xavier, s.J
Prayer of A True Missionary
It would be well to end this brief booklet with the powerful prayer of the world's greatest missionary since the time of Saint Paul, which used to be said annually in many parishes as part of the Novena of Grace. These nine days of prayer which run from the 4th to the 12th of March commemorate the canonization of Saint Francis Xavier which occurred on the 12th of March in 1622. It is called Saint Francis Xavier's Prayer for Unbelievers:
Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers have been created by Thee, and formed to Thine own image and likeness. Behold, 0 Lord, how to Thy dishonor, Hell is being filled with these very souls. Remember that Jesus Christ, Thy only Son, for their salvation, suffered a most cruel death. .
Do not permit, 0 Lord, I beseech Thee, that Thy Divine Son be any longer despised by unbelievers, but rather, being appeased by the prayers of Thy saints, and of the Church, the most holy Spouse of Thy Son, deign to be mindful of Thy mercy, and forgetting their idolatry and their unbelief, bring them to know Him Whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who is our health, life and resurrection, through Whom we have been redeemed and saved, to Whom be all glory forever. Amen.
Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer from the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Most noble Queen of the world, Mary, ever virgin, intercede for our peace and salvation, who didst bring forth Christ Our Lord, the Savior of all mankind.
The Angel Gabriel greets Mary: Ave Maria!
The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.