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over "his poor sins,” and twice tried to get away from his parish!
The Curé's life was passed in six phases of French later history. Born under the First Republic, he lived through the transition epochs of the First, Empire, the Restoration, the Citizen Monarchy, the Second Republic, and the Second Empire. He had witnessed the efforts under the Restoration to stimulate a Catholic revival, when the zeal of many outran their discretion. He doubtless saw that there was much in the movement which was superficial, if not artificial. He went deeper, and, by his example, showed that there was yet a more excellent way. As it was not learned scholiasts and the syllogistic method which moved the mediæval world and effected a wide-reaching and much-needed reformation in the ecclesiastical and social order, but a small group of selfdenying men in the Umbrian Valley, bareheaded and barefooted, and clad in the coarse, humble garb of the Apennine peasantry, so it will be priests, modelled more or less on the Curé of Ars, men who will regard the priesthood as an apostolate not as a profession, who wiil cause the Church in France to triumph over antagonistic elements within and without and restore that now Masonicridden country to the place it once occupied in Christendom, when Christendom was a solid, concrete fact and not an empty expression.
"It is a wholesome rebuke to the intellectual pride of this age, inflated by science,” observes Cardinal Manning, “that God has chosen from the midst of the learned, as his instrument of surpassing works of grace upon the hearts of men, one of the least cultivated of the pastors of his church.” At the seminary the fellow-students of the Curé at first treated him as a simpleton, and he failed in his entrance examination at the great Seminary of Lyons, but as he was even then universally regarded as a model of piety, the Vicar General, M. Courbon, in admitting him, predicted that “divine grace would do the rest.” His whole life was a justification of that judicious forecast. Through all its harmony we hear the same ground-tone; through all there breathes the same spirit, sweet as an angelic strain; through all strikes the same keynote, the dominant note of simplicity—simplicity in the spiritual sense of the word, the vital essence of holiness.
It is this salient chararteristic which so often suggests a parallel between him and St. Francis, as the lives of the seraphic saint of Assisi and his first companions have been likened to those of our Lord and the chosen Twelve. The Curé's life, almost from start to finish, was lived amid scenes of pastoral beauty and simplicity like Palestine and Umbria. The dawn of his vocation, when he thought “If I were ever a priest, I would win many souls to God,” was marked by an incident which reminds one of the son of Pietro Bernardone. On his way one day from Ecully to Dardilly, the Curé met a poor man without shoes; he immediately took off a new pair which he had on, gave them to him, and arrived at home without any, to the great dissatisfaction of his father, who, charitable as he was, was not inclined to carry things quite so far as his son.
It was in the clear light vouchsafed to those who view things, particularly the higher things, with a simple eye, that the Curé perceived, with intense appreciation, the sanctity required in priests. “If you want to convert your diocese," he said to Mgr. Devie, "you must make saints of your parish priests"; "albeit," he remarked on another occasion, “that the breviary is not overburthened with canonized curés." Simplicity was likewise the characteristic of that unclouded, unhesitating faith which made itself so manifest in his extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, in his preaching and method of direction. “What a man this is !” exclaimed one of the world, who began by declaring he had no faith, and ended by making his confession, “what a man this is ! Nobody ever spoke to me in this way before.”
“Go to Ars," said the Parisian litterateur to Louis Lacroix, “and you will learn how Christianity was established, how nations were converted, and Christian civilization was founded. There is a man there in whom dwells the creative action of the saints of old, who makes men Christians as the Apostles did, whom the people venerate as they did St. Bernard, and in whose person all the marvels are reproduced which we know only in books." Lacroix went, saw, and was conquered, and the spectacle he witnessed seemed like a page out of the Gospels, penetrated to his heart's core, and affected him even to tears.
We have often heard priests discuss the question, how to win the people, as if it was some difficult recondite problem of which they were seeking the solution. The solution is to be found in the life of the Curé of Ars.
THE SON OF MAN.
BY THE REVEREND JOSEPH MCSORLEY, C.S.P.
Diskohaldatal T is a solemn moment when the soul awakens to
a sense of its spiritual possibilities. Something of awe, of course, attends all beginnings—whether
the launching of a ship, about to venture forth un into seas unknown and brave the measureless furies of the tempest; or the first shot of a war, ringing round the world, and warning men of mighty interests and precious lives destined for sacrifice; or the faint little cry of a new-born infant, setting out on that most perilous of all careers called life. And whatever suggestion of sublimity there is in any of these beginnings, recurs-in an intense degrec- at the solemn hour of a soul's moral awakening, in the moments
“Sure though seldom,
These, indeed, are the awful moments of life; they are fraught with terrible dangers and immense responsibilities; they determine whether God's image in a man shall be made or marred.
Whatever the occasion may be, therefore, the turning of an unbeliever toward the God he has denied, or the entrance of a convert into the Church he has ignored, or the first long, deep breath of new resolve in the heart of a Catholic on whom the true ideals of life are at last commencing to dawn, whatever the occasion be, it is a solemn crisis when we heed the trumpetcall, gird ourselves, and step forth to the making of a godlike man.
It would truly be a hard fate, had we to carve out the pathway of progress alone, and guess unaided at God's ideal; or had we only the men and women chance throws in our way to reveal to us the high possibilities of human nature. Every creature we meet falls short of that perfection which the least of us is justified in striving for ; from no man do we get the full measure of inspiration that we need. But God has given us a model about whom all agree—One who is perfect, flawless, without defect. Every noble life is a needle pointing to him; every pure soul an image of his; every good deed a gem that gleams and sparkles in the shining of his light. Our homes are radiant with the glow of a beauty he created; his peace is in our hearts; his holiness is beaming from our innocent children's eyes. He is God; he is perfect as God; and still behind his forehead throbs a human brain, and a human heart is beating in his bosom. He can recognize each emotion of ours in some feeling of his own; in the longings of his heart echoes a response to Severy noble aspiration of mankind. Yes; if it be possible to receive what we looked and hoped for, if it be, indeed, the plan of Providence that one from heaven should come and lead us Godward, our hearts assure us that Jesus Christ is he—the Son of Man, God's ideal of a man. Very striking in the life of Christ is the vivid contrast between the Jewish anticipations of him and the reality. The chosen people had learned to cherish a vision of physical majesty as the picture of the Messiah; he was to ride forth to battle at the head of an army of kings and conquer all the earth, to beat down the nations under his iron hoofs and blind them with the glory of his brightness; he would reign from sea to sea, so that the dwellers of the wilderness would bow down before him and all peoples serve him ; he would rule over the nations with his iron sceptre, and dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel; he would restore Israel's greatness and give heavenly splendor to a new Jerusalem, the mistress of the world. Purple and cloth of gold and jewels and fine linen would adorn his person; and neither for him nor for his people would there be weakness or tribulation any more. With all this expectation contrast the fact. Christ brought no material comforts and no adornments; he steadily refused to secure them. Though faint with fasting, he would not turn stones, into bread. He had not whereon to lay his head. Austere himself, he wished none but austere followers;
and to those drawn by his teaching he said: “Give what you have to the poor.” He won no mind by the display of external magnificence; he regarded the cities of all the world as an offer to be spurned. He wore no crown; he held no sceptre; the only cause he was ever heard to plead was the Kingdom of God within the soul. Those who watched him saw no miraculous crushing of the enemies of God and Israel, but patient submission to buffeting and scourging and death. For homage he had insults; and thorns for a diadem, The spittle cast upon his brow signified in what esteem men held him; his triumphal procession consisted of a weary march under the cross up the hill of Calvary; and the angelic legions of Michael were replaced by the ruffian soldiers of brutal Rome.
The contrast was intensified by the evidence that Christ possessed the power to reverse all this. He himself said that he had but to ask his father and all he desired would be granted him. Already, as was clear, all the resources of nature lay at his command. From a few loaves he created food for five thousand; with a word he stilled the tempest; he burst the bars of death and called forth the buried from the tomb.
So striking, indeed, was the contrast of expectation and reality in Christ's life, that did we not know John the Baptist well, we would almost be led to fancy we could detect an echo of the popular disappointment in the blunt question his messengers put to Jesus: “Art thou he that art to come; or look we for another?” But while that question did not express the disappointment of John, it did furnish the providential opportunity for an answer which was a key to the enigma of Christ's life, and a solution of the problem already beginning to puzzle the earnest minds among the Jews : “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”
When men heard this, they could understand the mission of the Savior as never before: he had come in human form that they might have a visible image of the gracious God to study and love and fashion themselves upon. He revealed the divine perfection in an aspect and with a clearness which rendered mistake impossible; which made it plain that to be like God man must love his fellow-man—the neighbor, the poor,