From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Sat Feb 25 02:12:27 2023
To Despise the World and Serve God is Sweet (5)
It is a great honor, a great glory to serve You and to despise all
things for Your sake. They who give themselves gladly to Your most
holy service will possess great grace. They who cast aside all carnal
delights for Your love will find the most sweet consolation of the
Holy Ghost. They who enter upon the narrow way for Your name and cast
aside all worldly care will attain great freedom of mind.
O sweet and joyful service of God, which makes man truly free and
holy! O sacred state of religious bondage which makes man equal to the
angels, pleasing to God, terrible to the demons, and worthy of the
commendation of all the faithful! O service to be embraced and always
desired, in which the highest good is offered and joy is won which
shall remain forever!
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Book 3, Chapter 10
February 25th – St. Walburga, Abbess
We have already met some of the many ancient Irish monks who traveled
abroad not only in self-imposed exile but also for the purpose of
acquainting non-Christians with Christianity, and Christian layfolk
with the monastic life.
There were also a number of English monks who brought the gospel to
other lands. Best known among them was the “Apostle of Germany”,
Wynfrid, better known as St. Boniface. And he sponsored others.
One of the earliest programs undertaken by Bishop Boniface was to
import into Germany some English nuns. He believed that, even though cloistered, these sisters could set among the new German converts an
admirable example of Catholic devotional life. Their presence alone
would teach a lesson, he rightly believed.
One of the nuns whom he brought to Germany was his niece, Sister
Walburga. She was the daughter of St. Richard, one of the under-kings
of the West Saxons of Britain. Two other famous English missionaries
were her brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winebald, so she was of
pretty staunch Catholic stuff.
Walburga became a nun at Wimborne Monastery in Dorset, England, She
had been educated at Wimborne as a young laywoman, and there had
acquired considerable literary skill, Subsequently she joined that
monastic community. By 748, when she and other nuns were sent to
Germany by St. Tetta, she was already respected as a saintly woman.
Indeed, the trip across the English Channel gave her a chance to show
her trust in God. When a terrible storm threatened to capsize their
boat, she knelt on the deck and prayed for deliverance. The tempest
ceased at once. The crew of the ship hailed this as a miracle; and,
indeed, since her death St. Walburga has been considered by sailors
their own special patron.
When the nuns reached Mainz, Germany, Uncle Boniface and brother
Willibald were both there to greet Walburga. Willibald would later
become the first bishop of Eichstaett. Walburga spent four years in
the monastery of Bischofsheim. Then in 752 Willibald and her other
brother Winebald founded the monastery of Heidenheim. This was a
double monastery, one section for monks and one for nuns. Winebald
headed the male wing; Walburga the female wing. Indeed, the Abbess
herself eventually became sole head of both monasteries.
At Heidenheim, St. Walburga proved to be an ideal Superior, noted for
her wisdom and her miracles. But she was also outstanding for her
knowledge. She wrote a life of St. Winebald in Latin and another book
about the travels to the Holy Land of her brother St. Willibald.
Because of these writings, she has been called first female Christian
author of both Britain and Germany. But she also acquired several
other skills. One of these, it is said, was medicine, which she
learned on her own and practiced within her community.
Walburga died in 777 with a reputation for holiness. Her remains were eventually transferred to St. Walburga’s Church in Eichstaett. From
893 on, a liquid to which many cures were attributed began to flow out
of her tomb. Devotion to her increased after that. Churches a
considerable distance from Eichstaett then sought relics of her to
enshrine within their own altars: places like Brussels, Antwerp,
Thielt, Zutphen and Groningen. St. Walburga was also accepted as the
patron saint of the diocese of Plymouth in England. Her name became a
popular church name and baptismal name under various forms: Waldburg,
Vaubourg, Gauburg, Falbourg, Wilburga, Warpurg and Walpurgis. In
German folklore, the night of one of her feastdays, May 1,
(Walpurgisnacht) was eventually considered as the night when all
witches gathered together early on Blocksberg, in the Hartz Mountains.
But the saint had no more to do with stimulating this legend than St.
Valentine had to do with the custom of sending Valentines.
The real St. Walburga needed no legends to publicize her. She was a
holy and able woman, and one of the most highly intelligent leaders of
her sex in the early Christian years of the Germanic peoples.
–Father Robert F. McNamara
There is no sin or wrong that gives a man a foretaste of hell in this
life as anger and impatience.
--Saint Catherine of Sienna
When thou shalt pour out Thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy
the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and Thy
darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill Thy soul with brightness, and deliver Thy
bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of
water whose waters shall not fail. (Isa 58:10-11)
To Obtain Holy Perseverance.
O Queen of Heavens, I, who was once a miserable slave of Lucifer, now
dedicate myself to thee, to be thy servant forever; I offer myself to thee,
to be thy servant forever; I offer myself to honor thee, and serve thee
during my whole life; do thou accept me, and refuse me not, as I should deserve. O my Mother, in thee have I placed all my hopes, from thee do I
expect every grace. I bless and thank God, who in his mercy has given me
this confidence in thee, which I consider a pledge of my salvation. Alas, miserable wretch that I am, I have hitherto fallen, because I have not had recourse to thee. I now hope that, through the merits of Jesus Christ and
thy prayers, I have obtained pardon. But I may again lose divine grace; the danger is not past. My enemies do not sleep. How many temptations have I
still to conquer! Ah, my most sweet Lady, protect me, and permit me not
again to become their slave; help me at all times. I know thou wilt help me, and that with thy help I shall conquer, if I recommend myself to thee; but
this what I fear - I fear that in time of danger I may neglect to call upon thee, and thus be lost. I ask thee, then, for this grace; obtain that, in
the assaults of hell, I may always have recourse to thee, saying, Mary help
me. My Mother, permit me not to lose my God. - Amen