• The Joy of a Good Conscience (1)

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    The Joy of a Good Conscience (1)

    THE glory of a good man is the testimony of a good conscience.
    Therefore, keep your conscience good and you will always enjoy
    happiness, for a good conscience can bear a great deal and can bring
    joy even in the midst of adversity. But an evil conscience is ever
    restive and fearful. Sweet shall be your rest if your heart does not
    reproach you.
    --Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Book 2, Chapter 6

    March 4th - St. Peter of Cava, Bishop of Policastro

    d. 1123
    PETER PAPPACARBONE was a native of Salerno in Italy, a nephew of St.
    Alferius, founder of the monastery of Cava, and entered upon the
    religious life at a very early age under St. Leo, the 2nd abbot. He distinguished himself at once by his piety, abstemiousness and love of solitude. At this time the fame of the abbey of Cluny had spread far
    and wide, and the young monk was so attracted by what he had heard
    that about 1062 he obtained permission to leave Cava and go to France.
    When the older monks at Cluny would have sent him to the school to be
    trained, their abbot, St. Hugh, disagreed, saying that Peter might be
    young in years but that he was a full-grown man in devotion. The
    abbot’s opinion was abundantly justified, for Peter proved himself
    well among that household of holy men and he remained there for some
    six years. He was then recalled to Italy, having been released by St.
    Hugh apparently at the request of the archdeacon of Rome, Hildebrand
    (who was afterwards Pope St. Gregory VII).

    St. Peter was appointed the first bishop of Policastro, but he found
    himself unfitted for the turmoil of the world and for the secular
    cares which devolved upon him. He obtained permission to resign and
    retired to Cava, where Abbot Leo, realizing that he himself was
    becoming too old to govern, nominated him as his successor and
    withdrew. The monks by their votes had confirmed the election of their
    new superior, but soon found the strict rule he had brought from Cluny extremely irksome: they began to murmur and rebel, and some of them
    carried their complaints to the aged Leo in his retirement. St. Peter,
    far from resisting and equally far from relaxing the rule, quietly
    left and betook himself to another monastery. It was not long before
    the monks of Cava, urged by Abbot Leo, came to entreat St. Peter to
    return, which he consented to do. Thereafter it was remarked that
    those who had the most vehemently opposed him were now foremost in
    welcoming the rule they had previously spurned.

    Under the government of Abbot Peter the monastery flourished
    amazingly. Not only did numbers of aspirants to the religious life
    flock to him from all sides, but men and women in the world showered
    money and lands upon the community, which was enabled to minister far
    and wide to the sick and the poor. The abbey itself had to be enlarged
    to admit the new members, and a new church was built, to the
    dedication of which came Pope Urban II, who had been with St. Peter at
    Cluny and had remained his close friend. The description of this
    occasion was preserved in the chronicles of Cava, where it is stated
    that Bl. Urban talked freely with the abbot and monks, as though
    “forgetting that he was pope”. St. Peter lived to a great age and died
    in 1123.

    The abbey of Cava still exists, and in 1912 the monks gave proof of
    their devotion to the founders of their observance by reprinting from
    the unique ancient manuscript in their possession the Lives of
    Alferius, Peter and two other early abbots, purporting to be written
    by Hugh of Venosa, a younger contemporary of St. Peter. It is to this biography, which may be found in the Acta Sanctorum (March, vol. i) as
    well as in Ughelli and Muratori, that we owe all our knowledge of St.
    Peter of Cava.

    Saint Quote:
    I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink
    because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon
    Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his
    holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.
    -- Saint Thomas More

    Bible Quote:
    And it came to pass afterwards, that he went into a city that is
    called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great
    multitude. 12 And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a
    dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a
    widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. 13 Whom when
    the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her:
    Weep not. 14 And he came near and touched the bier. And they that
    carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise.
    15 And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him
    to his mother. (Luke 7:11-16)

    Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?

    These were the first words of the Apostle St. Paul as he
    recognized the Lord: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"
    And they were uttered by him with so much sincerity of affection,
    and with such submission of will, that from that day forward
    he had no other desire and no other aim than to fulfill the
    Divine Will in all and through all. Nor in all the adversities,
    labors, sufferings, and torments which he encountered was
    there ever a thing sufficient to diminish, or even in the least
    to shake, his constancy and fidelity.

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