From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Fri Feb 18 23:56:34 2022
How Surrender of Self Brings Freedom of Heart [I]
My son, renounce self and you shall find me. (Matt. 16:24) Retain no
private choice or personal interest and you will always be the gainer.
As soon as you yield yourself unreservedly into My hands, I will grant
you even richer graces.
How often shall I yield myself and in what way forsake myself, Lord?
Always and at all times, in small things as well as in great. I make
no exceptions, for I desire to have you wholly divested of self:
otherwise, unless you are wholly stripped of self-will, how can you be
Mine, or I yours? The sooner you do this the better it will be with
you and the more completely and sincerely you do it, the better you
will please Me and the greater will be your gain.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Bk 3 Ch 37
February 19th - Saint Barbatus of Benevento
(also known as Barbas, Barbato )
Born in the area of Benevento, Italy. Born of Christian parents,
Barbatus was raised to sanctity. Devout meditation on the holy
scriptures was his chief entertainment. His innocence, simplicity, and
purity of heart qualified him for the service of the altar, to which
he was ordained as soon as the canons of the church would allow it.
Barbatus was immediately employed by the bishop in preaching because
he had an extraordinary talent for it. Later he was made curate of
Saint Basil's in Morcona near Benevento, a typical parish where the
people hesitated to change their sinful ways. As they desired only to
slumber on in their sins, they could not bear the remonstrations of
their pastor who endeavored to wake them to a sense of their miseries
and to sincere repentance. They, in turn, treated him as a disturber
of the peace and violently persecuted him.
Their malice was answered by Barbatus's patience and humility, and his character shining still more brightly was an even greater reproach.
Finally, he was forced to withdraw from them. But by these fiery
trials, God purified his heart from all earthly attachments, and
perfectly crucified it to the world.
Barbatus returned to Benevento were he was received with joy by those
who were acquainted with his innocence and sanctity. Barbatus was the
enemy of superstition, which still prevailed among the Lombards even
after the conversion of the Arian king Grimoald. The people expressed
a religious veneration for a golden viper and prostrated themselves
before it. They also paid superstitious honor to a tree on which they
hung the skin of a wild animal.
Barbatus preached zealously against these abuses, and added fervent
prayer and rigorous fasting for the conversion of his people. At
length he roused their attention by foretelling the calamities they
were to suffer from the army of Emperor Constans, who, soon after
landing in Italy, besieged Benevento. Soon they were listening to the
preacher and renounced their errors and idolatrous practices. Then
Barbatus assured them that the siege would be ended and it so
Upon their repentance the saint cut down the tree with his own hand
and melted down the golden viper to make a chalice for the altar.
For behold the day shall come kindled as a furnace: and all the proud,
and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh
shall set them on fire, saith the Lord of hosts, it shall not leave
them root, nor branch. But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of
justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth,
and shall leap like calves of the herd. [Malachi 4:1-3]
Reflection. Saint Augustine says, “When the enemy has been cast out of
your hearts, renounce him not only in word but in works; not only by
the sound of the lips, but in every act of your life.”
Whoever humbleth himself shall be exalted. -Lk. 14:11
"What is it, O my God, that we expect to gain by appearing well before creatures, and by pleasing them? What does it matter to us if we are
blamed by them, and considered worthless, provided we are great and
faultless before Thee? Ah, we never come fully to an understanding of
this truth, and so we never succeed in standing upon the summit of
perfection! The Saints had no greater pleasure than to live unknown
and abject in the hearts of all.
A holy bishop, in order to live unknown, left his diocese, and
putting on a poor dress went secretly to Jerusalem, where he worked as
a laborer. There a nobleman saw him several times sleeping on the
ground, with a column of fire rising from his body even to the
heavens. Wondering at this, he asked him privately who he was. He
answered he was a poor man who lived by his work, and had no other
means of support. The count, not satisfied with this, urged him to
reveal the whole truth, and the bishop, after exacting a promise of
secrecy during his lifetime, told him who he was, and how he had left
his country to escape from renown and esteem, as he held it to be
unworthy of a Christian, who ought always to have in mind the insults
and reproaches heaped upon his Lord, to enjoy the honor and reverence