ST. JAMES THE GREAT,
[The following is from BUTLER'S LIVES
OF THE SAINTS]
ST. JAMES, the brother of St.
John Evangelist, son of Zebedee and Salome, and nearly related to Christ, was
called the Great, to distinguish him from the other apostle of the same name,
who was Bishop of Jerusalem, and is surnamed the Less, perhaps because he was
lower in stature, or, more probably, because he was the younger. St. James the
Great seems to have been born about twelve years before Christ, and was
many years older than his brother, St. John. Salome is other-wise called Mary,
and was sister to the Blessed Virgin, which some take in the strict sense of the
word ; others understand by it only cousin-german, according to the Hebrew
phrase, and think that the Blessed Virgin was an only daughter.
(1) Exod. xxxii..10.
was by birth a Galilean, and by profession a fisherman with his father and
brother, living probably at Bethsaida, where St. Peter also dwelt at that time.
Jesus, walking by the lake of Genesareth, saw St. Peter and St. Andrew fishing,
and he called them to come after him, promising to make them fishers of men.
Going on a little farther on the shore, he saw two other brothers, James and
John, in a ship, with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets, and he also
called them who forthwith left their nets, and their father, and followed him.¹
Probably by conversing with St. Peter, their towns-man; and by other means, they
had before this call an entire conviction that Jesus was the Christ; and no
sooner did they hear his invitation, and saw the marks of his divine will
directing them to what was eminently conducive to his honour, but the same
moment they quitted all things to comply with this summons. They held no
consultation, made no demur, started no difficulties, thought of no consequences
or dangers; and their sacrifice was most perfect and entire. Like Abraham, they
preferred obedience to the divine command before all the endearments of their
nearest relations, and forsook all they had, and all their hopes and prospects
in the world, to become the disciples of Jesus. Zebedee, their father, seems to
have approved of their resolution, and their mother, Salome, devoted herself
heartily to the service of our Lord, as the gospels frequently men-lion. All
fervent souls ought to be in the like dispositions of perfect sacrifice with
these apostles, without the least inordinate attachment to any thing on
earth, being most ready to renounce every thing, if God's greater glory should
With what boundless liberality
does the Divine Spirit shower down his choicest treasures upon souls which thus
perfectly open themselves to him I This the apostles, of whom we speak, happily
experienced in themselves. But they, for some time, so followed Christ, and
listened to his divine instructions, as still to return, from time to time, to
their fishing trade for a maintenance. It was in the same first year of Christ's
preaching that Peter and Andrew, at the command of their divine Master, took a
prodigious shoal of fishes by a miraculous draught. James and John were their
partners, though in another boat, and were called in to assist in hauling up the
nets. Astonished at this manifestation of Christ's power, they entirely quitted
their business, the more perfectly to attach themselves to him.¹
In the year
31, St. James was present with his brothers, St. John and St. Peter, at the cure
of St. Peter's mother-in-law, and at the raising of the daughter of Jairus from
the dead. This same year Jesus formed the college of his apostles, into which he
adopted St. James and his brother St. John. He gave these two the surname of
Boanerges, or Sons of Thunder, probably to denote their active zeal. When a town
of the Samaritans refused to entertain Christ, they suggested that he should
call down fire from heaven to consume it; but our Blessed Redeemer gave them to
understand that meekness and patience were the arms by which they were to
conquer.² Christ distinguished St. Peter,
St. James, and St. John by many special favours above the rest of the apostles.
They alone were admitted to be spectators first of his transfiguration, and
afterwards of his agony and bloody sweat in the garden. The instructions and
example of the Son of God had not fully enlightened the understandings of these
apostles, nor purified their hearts, before the Holy Ghost had shed his beams
upon them; and their virtue was still imperfect, as appeared in the following
instance :—Mary Salome, the mother of James and John, relying upon their merit,
and her relation to Christ, and imagining that he was going to erect a temporal
monarchy, according to the notion of the carnal Jews concerning the Messias,
presented to him a request that her two sons might sit, the one on his right
hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom.
(1) Luke v.
11. (2) Luke ix. 25.
By this example, we are put in
mind how often the fondness of parents renders them the spiritual murderers of
their own children, and makes them blindly excuse, flatter, and encourage their
secret vices and passions. At the same time we are taught how formidable an
enemy ambition is, which could find admittance in the breasts of two apostles
(though yet novices) before the descent of the Holy Ghost. They doubtless
disguised their vice under the cloak of a reasonable desire, and a virtuous
emulation of preferment, with a design of serving their Master by it. Only the
children of light discover the deceit and snare of this enemy; only profound
humility discerns and condemns the specious pretences of subtle pride and
covetousness. The two sons of Zebedee seem to have spoken by the mouth of their
mother; wherefore Christ directed his answer to them, telling them they knew not
what they asked; for in his kingdom preferments are attainable, not by the most
forward and ambitious, but by the most humble, the most laborious, and the most
patient. He therefore asked them if they were able to drink of his cup of
suffering. The two apostles, understanding the condition under which Christ
offered them his kingdom, and glowing with ardour and courage to suffer,
answered peremptorily, they were able to do it. Our Lord told them, they should
indeed have their portions of suffering; but for the honours of his kingdom, he
could make no other if disposal of them than according to his decrees in
conjunction with his Father in proportion to every one's charity and patience in
of the most fervent novices in the service of God is very imperfect, so long as
entire self-denial, and a great assiduity and spirit of prayer have not yet
prepared their souls for, and called down upon them a plentiful effusion of the
Holy Ghost, who fills their understanding with a clear and new heavenly light,
and by the ardour of his charity consumes the rust of the affections, and fills
them with his fervour. In this state even the moral virtues acquire an heroic
and infused degree of perfection. Humility now gives the soul a much more clear
and feeling knowledge of her own infirmities, baseness, and imperfections, with
much stronger sentiments of a just contempt of herself; and the like is to be
said of divine and fraternal charity and all other virtues; so that she seems to
herself translated into a region of new light, in which by continual heroic acts
of these virtues, and especially of prayer and contemplation, she makes daily
and wonderful advances. This perfection the apostles received in a more
miraculous manner by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them, when he not only
engraved the law of love deeply in their hearts, but also bestowed on them the
external graces and gifts of prophecy and miracles, and qualified them for the
execution of the great commission they had received from Christ.
James was employed in preaching and promoting the gospel after Christ's
ascension, we have no account from the writers of the first ages of
Christianity. It appears that he left Judaea, some time after the persecution
that was raised at the martyrdom of St. Stephen in the year 30, and was returned
again ten years after, when he suffered martyrdom. The addition to St. Jerom's
catalogue of illustrious men tells us, that he preached the gospel to the twelve
tribes of the Jews, in their dispersion up and down the world. Though the
apostles, during the first twelve years, preached generally in the neighbourhood
of Judaea, yet St. James might in that interval make a voyage to Spain, and
preach some time in that country, as Baronius observes. F. Cuper adds that his
martyrdom happened above a year after the dispersion of the apostles, in which
space he had the fairest opportunity of visiting Spain. That he preached there,
is constantly affirmed by the tradition of that church, mentioned by St.
Isidore, the Breviary of Toledo, the Arabic books of Anastasius, Patriarch of
Antioch, concerning the Passions of the martyrs and others. Cuper the
traces this tradition very high, and confirms it from St. Jerom,²
St. Isidore, the ancient Spanish office, &c., and from many corroborating
circumstances. St. Epiphanius says, that St. James always lived a bachelor, in
much temperance and mortification, never eating flesh nor fish ; that he wore
only one coat, and a linen cloak, and that he was holy and exemplary in all
manner of conversation. He was the first among the apostles who had the honour
to follow his divine Master by martyrdom, which he suffered at Jerusalem,
whither he was returned, in the eleventh year after our Lord's ascension.
the grandson of Herod, by Aristobulus, was author of this persecution. Being
brought up at Rome in the reign of Tiberius, he, basely flattering Caligula in
his passions, gained the confidence of that monster, who was no sooner placed on
the imperial throne than he gave Agrippa the title of king, with the tetrarchies
of Philip and Lysanias, which were then vacant. Claudius, in the year 41,
enlarged his dominions, giving him also Jerusalem and all the rest of
Judaea, Samaria, and what-ever other provinces had: been possessed by his
t. vi. p. 69. See on the same the learned F. Flores, in his Espana Sagrada, t.
iii. c. 3, de la Predication de San Jago in Espana, p. 39, and his answers to F.
Mamachi, the Roman Dominican, prefixed to his sixth tome; the mission of St.
James in Spain is defended at large by the learned Jesuit F. Farlat, Illyrici
Sacri Prolegom, part 3, t. i. p. 252. See also Card. d'Aguirre, i. Conc. lisp.
p. 140, upon the words of St. Jerom in .1sa.iae c. 34, p. 279, t. iii
de Divisione Apost. ante t. iv. Julij, et in vita St. Jacobi, t. vi. p. 71.
He gave also to his younger
brother Herod the little kingdom of-Chalcis in Syria, near Mount Libanus.
Agrippa reigned with great state and magnificence. Being very fond of pleasing
the Jewish nation, when he came from Caesarea to Jerusalem to keep the Passover
in the year 43, he began to persecute the Christians; and the first who fell a
victim to his popular zeal was St. James the Great, whom he caused to be
apprehended and beheaded there a little before Easter, in the year 43, about
four-teen years after the death of Christ. Clement of Alexandria, and from him
Eusebius,¹ relate that his accuser,
observing the great courage and constancy of mind wherewith the apostle
underwent his trial, was so affected with it, that he repented of what he had
done, declared himself publicly a Christian, and was condemned to be beheaded
with St. James. As they were both led together to execution, he begged pardon of
the apostle by the way for having apprehended him. St. James, after pausing a
little, turned to him, and embraced him, saying, "Peace be with you." He then
kissed him, and they were both beheaded together. The body of the apostle was
interred at Jerusalem; but not long after carried by his disciples into Spain,
and deposited at Iria Flavia, now called. El Padron, upon the borders of
Gallicia. The sacred relics were discovered there in the beginning of the ninth
century in the reign of Alphonsus the Chaste, King of Leon. By the order of that
prince they were translated to Compostella, four miles distant, to which place
Pope Leo III., transferred the episcopal see from Iria Flavia. This place was
first called Ad. St. Jacobum Apostolum, or Giacoma Postolo, which words have
been contracted into the present name, Compostella. It is famous for the
extraordinary concourse of pilgrims that resort thither to visit the body of St.
James, which is kept with great respect in the stately cathedral.
Hid. lib. ii. c. 9.
F. Caper the Bollandist proves
the truth of the tradition of the Spanish church concerning the body of St.
James having been translated to Coin postella, and gives authentic histories of
many miracles wrought through his intercession, and of several apparitions by
which he visibly protected the armies of the Christians against the Moors in
that kingdom. The military order of St. James, surnamed the Noble, was
instituted by Ferdinand II. in 1175.
by the martyrdom of St. James, lost in her infancy one of her main pillars; but
God was pleased that his name should be glorified by so illustrious a testimony,
and that it should appear he was the immediate supporter and defender of his
church. For when it was deprived of its chief members and pastors, it remained
no less firm than before; and even grew and gathered strength from the most
violent persecutions. The apostle with confidence committed his tender flock to
God, and commended to them his own work, whilst he rejoiced to go to his
Redeemer, and to give his life for him. We all meet with trials; but can we fear
or hesitate to drink a cup presented to us by the hand of God, and which our
Lord and Captain, by free choice, and out of pure love, was pleased himself to
drink first for our sake ? He asks us whether we can drink of his cup, he
encourages us by setting before our eyes the glory of heaven, and he invites us
by his own divine example. Let us humbly implore his grace, without which we can
do nothing, and take with joy this cup of salvation, which he presents us with
his divine hand.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: SAINT JAMES, PLEASE PRAY FOR
THIS REQUEST [STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST.]
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FOR TODAY|
ST. FRANCIS OF SALES.
BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
FEAST DAY: JANUARY 24TH
FRANCIS was born of noble and pious parents,
near Annecy, A.D. 1567, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua.
On his return from Italy he gave up the grand Career which his father had marked
out for him in the service of the State, and became a priest. He studied at Annecy,
Paris, France and Padua, Italy. He received a doctorate in law at the age
of twenty-four. He was ordained a priest in 1593. When the Duke of
Savoy had resolved to restore the Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself
for the work, and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary and one companion,
his cousin Louis of Sales. It was a work of toil, privation, and danger. Every
door and every heart were closed against him. He was rejected with insult and
threatened with death. But nothing could daunt or resist him, and ere long the
Church burst forth into a second spring. It is stated that he converted 72,000
Calvinists. He was then compelled by the Pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of
Geneva, and succeeded the see A.D. 1602. At times the exceeding gentleness with
received heretics and sinners almost scandalized his ends, and one of them said
to him, " Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I am not so sure of
the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd
turn." "Ah," said the saint, " I would rather account to God for too great
gentleness than for too great severity. Is not God all love? God the Father is
the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove, that
is, gentleness itself. And are you wiser than God ?" In union with St: Jane
Frances of Chantal he founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation, which soon
spread over Europe. Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even
the great see of Paris. He died at Avignon, A.D. 1622.
Introduction to the
CONTAINING COUNSELS CONCERNING THE
PRACTICE OF VIRTUE.
Of Conversation; and,
first, how to Speak of God.
PHYSICIANS judge to a great extent
as to the health or disease of a man by the state
of his tongue,
and our words are a true test of the state of our soul. "By thy words thou
shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," 1 the
Saviour says. We are apt to apply the hand quickly to the place where we
feel pain, and so too the tongue is quick to point out what we love. If
you love God heartily, my child, you will often speak of Him among your
relations, household and familiar friends, and that because "the mouth of
the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." 2 Even
as the bee touches nought save honey with his tongue, so should your lips
sweetened with your God, knowing nothing more pleasant than to
praise and bless His Holy Name,--as we are told that when S. Francis
uttered the Name of the Lord, he seemed to feel the sweetness lingering on
his lips, and could not let it go. But always remember, when you speak of
God, that He is God; and speak reverently and with devotion,--not
affectedly or as if you were preaching, but with a spirit of meekness,
love, and humility; dropping honey from your lips (like the Bride in the
Canticles 3 ) in devout and pious words, as you speak to one or another
around, in your secret heart the while asking God to let this soft
heavenly dew sink into their minds as they hearken. And remember very
specially always to fulfil this angelic task meekly and lovingly, not as
though you were reproving others, but rather winning them. It is wonderful
how attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is, and how much it wins hearts.
Take care, then, never to speak of God, or those things which concern Him,
in a merely formal, conventional manner; but with earnestness and
devotion, avoiding the affected way in which some professedly religious
people are perpetually interlarding their conversation with pious words
and sayings, after a most unseasonable and unthinking manner. Too often
they imagine that they really are themselves as pious as their words,
which probably is not the case.
1 S. Matt. xii. 37. 2 Ps. xxxvii.
30. 3 Cant. iv. 11.
Of Unseemly Words, and the
Respect due to Others.
SAINT JAMES says, "If any man offend
not in word, the same is, a perfect man." 1 Beware most watchfully against
ever uttering any unseemly expression; even though you may have no evil
intention, those who hear it may receive it with a different meaning. An
impure word falling upon a weak mind spreads its infection like a drop of
oil on a garment, and sometimes it will take such a hold of the heart, as
to fill it with an infinitude of lascivious thoughts and temptations. The
body is poisoned through the mouth, even so is the heart through the ear;
and the tongue which does the deed is a murderer, even when the venom it
has infused is counteracted by some antidote preoccupying the listener's
heart. It was not the speaker's fault that he did not slay that soul. Nor
let any one answer that he meant no harm. Our Lord, Who knoweth the hearts
of men, has said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh." 2 And even if we do mean no harm, the Evil One means a great
deal, and he will use those idle words as a sharp weapon against some
neighbour's heart. It is said that those who eat the plant called Angelica
always have a sweet, pleasant breath; and those who cherish the angelic
virtues of purity and modesty, will always speak simply, courteously, and
modestly. As to unclean and light-minded talk, S. Paul says such things
should not even be named 3 among us, for, as he elsewhere tells us, "Evil
communications corrupt good manners." 4 Those impure words which are
spoken in disguise, and with an affectation of reserve, are the most
harmful of all; for just as the sharper the point of a dart, so much
deeper it will pierce the flesh, so the sharper an unholy word, the more
it penetrates the heart. And as for those who think to show themselves
knowing when they say such things, they do not even understand the first
object of mutual intercourse among men, who ought rather to be like a hive
of bees gathering to make honey by good and useful conversation, than like
a wasps' nest, feeding on corruption. If any impertinent person addresses
you in unseemly language, show that you are displeased by turning away, or
by whatever other method your discretion may indicate. One of the most
evil dispositions possible is that which satirises and turns everything to
ridicule. God abhors this vice, and has sometimes punished it in a marked
manner. Nothing is so opposed to charity, much more to a devout spirit, as
contempt and depreciation of one's neighbour, and where satire and
ridicule exist contempt must be. Therefore contempt is a grievous sin, and
our spiritual doctors have well said that ridicule is the greatest sin we
can commit in word against our neighbour, inasmuch as when we offend him
in any other way, there may still be some respect for him in our heart,
but we are sure to despise those whom we ridicule. There is a
light-hearted talk, full of modest life and gaiety, which the Greeks
called Eutrapelia, and which we should call good conversation, by which we
may find an innocent and kindly amusement out of the trifling occurrences
which human imperfections afford. Only beware of letting this seemly mirth
go too far, till it becomes ridicule. Ridicule excites mirth at the
expense of one's neighbour; seemly mirth and playful fun never lose sight
of a trustful, kindly courtesy, which can wound no one. When the religious
around him would fain have discussed serious matters with S. Louis at
meal-times, he used to say, "This is not the time for grave discussion,
but for general conversation and cheerful recreation,"--out of
consideration for his courtiers. But, my daughter, let our recreation
always be so spent, that we may win all eternity through devotion.
1 S. James iii. 2. ; 2 S. Matt. xii. 34.; 3
Eph. v. 3.; 4 1 Cor. xv. 33.
THE BOOK: INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE BY SAINT FRANCIS DE
CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY
TO BE SAID ON ROSARY BEADS
Lord said to Saint Faustina:
Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you
... Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death ...
When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand
between my Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the
Merciful Savior ... Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope
of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to
recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite
mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My
mercy ... Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask
for is compatible with My will.
How to Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Begin with the Sign of the Cross: In the Name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
One (1) Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Say One (1)
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death. Amen.
I believe in God, the Father
Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under
Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father
almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of
saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life
Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved
Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole
Say the Following 10 Times:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on
the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for
all five decades).
Holy God, Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.