From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Sat Feb 20 23:18:41 2021
Diligence in prayer
. . . The crown of every good endeavor and the highest of
achievements is diligence in prayer. Through it God guiding us and
lending a helping hand, we come to acquire the other virtues . . . as
the work of prayer is greater than other work, so it demands greater
effort and attention from the person ardently devoted to it, lest
without him being aware the devil deprives him of it. The greater the
good a person has in his care, the greater the attacks the devil
launches on him; hence he must keep strict watch, so that fruits of
love and humility, simplicity and goodness--and, along with them,
fruits of discrimination--may grow daily from the constancy of his
prayer. These will make evident his progress and increase in holiness,
thus encouraging others to make similar efforts.
--St. Symeon Metaphrastis
February 21st – St. Robert Southwell, Martyr
ROBERT SOUTHWELL, English Jesuit and poet, son of Richard Southwell of
Horsham St Faith's, Norfolk, was born in 1560/61. The Southwells were affiliated with many noble English families, and Robert's grandmother, Elizabeth Shelley, figures in the genealogy of Shelley the poet. He
was sent very young to the Roman Catholic college at Douai, and thence
to Paris, where he was placed under a Jesuit father, Thomas
Darbyshire. In 1580 he joined the Society of Jesus, after a two years' novitiate, passed mostly at Tournay.
In spite of his youth he was made prefect of studies in the English
college of the Jesuits at Rome, and was ordained priest in 1584. It
was in that year that an act was passed, forbidding any English-born
subject of the Queen who had entered into priest's orders in the Roman
Catholic Church since her accession to remain in England longer than
forty days on pain of death. But Southwell at his own request was sent
to England in 1586 as a Jesuit missionary with Henry Garnett. He went
from one Catholic family to another, administering the rites of his
Church, and in 1589 became domestic chaplain to Ann Howard, whose
husband, the first Earl of Arundel, was in prison convicted of
treason. It was to him that Southwell addressed his Epistle of
Comfort. This and other of his religious tracts, “A Short Rule of Good Life”, “Triumphs over Death”, “Mary Magdalen's Tears” and a “Humble Supplication to Queen Elizabeth”, were widely circulated in
manuscript. That they found favour outside Catholic circles is proved
by Thomas Nash's imitation of “Mary Magdalen's Tears” in “Christ's
Tears over Jerusalem”.
After six years of successful labour Southwell was arrested. He was in
the habit of visiting the house of Richard Bellamy, who lived near
Harrow and was under suspicion on account of his connexion with Jerome
Bellamy, who had been executed for sharing in Anthony Babington's
plot. One of the daughters, Anne Bellamy, was arrested and imprisoned
in the gatehouse of Holborn. She revealed Southwell's movements to
Richard Topcliffe, who immediately arrested him. He was imprisoned at
first in Topcliffe's house, where he was repeatedly put to the torture
in the vain hope of extracting evidence about other priests.
Transferred to the gatehouse at Westminster, he was so abominably
treated that his father petitioned Elizabeth that he might either be
brought to trial and put to death, if found guilty, or removed in any
case from "that filthy hole." Southwell was then lodged in the Tower,
but he was not brought to trial until February 1595. There is little
doubt that much of his poetry, none of which was published during his
lifetime, was written in prison. On the 10th of February 1595 he was
tried before the King's Bench on the charge of treason, and was hanged
at Tyburn on the following day. On the scaffold he denied any evil
intentions towards the Queen or her government.
“St. Peter's Complaint” with other Poems was published in April 1595 without the author's name, and was reprinted 13 times during the
next forty years. A supplementary volume entitled Maeoniae appeared
later in 1595, and A Foure found “Meditation of the Four Last Things”
in 1606. This, which is not included in Dr A. B. Grosart's reprint
(1872) in the Fuller Worthies Library, was published by Mr Charles
Edmonds in his Isham Reprints (1895). “A Hundred Meditations of the
Love of God”, in prose, was first printed from a MS. at Stonyhurst
College in 1873.
Southwell's poetry is euphemistic in manner. But his frequent use of
antithesis and paradox, the varied and fanciful imagery by which he
realizes religious emotion, though they are indeed in accordance with
the poetical conventions of his time, are also the unconstrained
expression of an ardent and concentrated imagination. Ben Jonson told
Drummond of Hawthornden that he would willingly have destroyed many of
his own poems to be able to claim as his own Southwell's "Burning
Babe," an extreme but beautiful example of his fantastic treatment of
sacred subjects. His poetry is not, however, all characterized by this elaboration. Immediately preceding this very piece in his collected
works is a carol written in terms of the utmost simplicity.
Southwell was beatified in 1929 and canonized by Pope Paul VI as one
of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales on 25 October 1970.
Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God rather for sinners
than for the just, since Jesus Christ declares that he came to call
not the just, but sinners.
Never suffer pride to reign in thy mind, or in thy words:
for from it all perdition took its beginning. (Tobias 4:14)
A sin that is most common and very
little recognized is the sin of idle talk.
Let us ponder what the Holy Bible
has to say on this subject and then
adjust our lives accordingly. From the
Holy Bible: “But I tell you that of every
idle word men speak, they shall give
account on the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou wilt be condemned”
(Matt. 12:36-37). What is the general rule
about the use of the tongue?
“But let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
For the wrath of man does not work
the justice of God” (James 1:19-20).
What does idle talking lead to? “
But avoid profane and empty babblings,
for they contribute much to ungodliness
and their speech spreads
like a cancer" (2 Tim. 2:16:18).