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ST. CANUTUS, King of Denmark, was endowed with excellent qualities of both mind and body. It is hard to say whether he excelled more in courage or in conduct and skill in war; but his singular piety eclipsed all his other endowments. He cleared the seas of pirates, and subdued several neighboring provinces which infested Denmark with their incursions. The kingdom of Denmark was elective till the year 1660, and, when the father of Canutus died, his eldest brother, Harold, was called to the throne. Harold died after reigning for two years, and Canutus was chosen to succeed him. He began his reign by a successful war against the troublesome, barbarous enemies of the state, and by planting the faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his diadem, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings. After having provided for the peace and safety of his country, he married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Earl of Flanders, who proved a spouse worthy of him. His next concern was to reform abuses at home. For thus purpose he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, and repressed the violence and tyranny of the great, without respect to persons. He countenanced and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects made him study by all possible ways to make them a happy people. He showed a royal munificence in building and adorning churches, and gave the crown which he wore, of exceeding great value, to a church in his capital and place of residence, where the kings of Denmark are yet buried. To the virtues which constitute a great king, Canutus added those which prove the great saint. A rebellion having sprung up in his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by the rebels. Perceiving his danger, he confessed his sins at the foot of the altar, and received Holy Communion. Stretching out his arms before the altar, the Saint fervently recommended his soul to his Creator; in this posture he was struck by a javelin thrown through a window, and fell a victim for Christ's sake.
Reflection. —The soul of a man is endowed with many noble powers, and feels a keen joy in their exercise; but the keenest joy we are capable of feeling consists in prostrating all our powers of mind and heart in humblest adoration before the majesty of God. you!
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Station at the Cemetery ad Nymphas; This group of Persian martyrs, consisting of husband, wife and two sons, were originally buried ad nymhas Catabassi. They came to Rome under the Emperor Claudius II and visited Christians cast into prison. The Mass for their feast is very ancient and excellent liturgical form.
And let the just feast, and rejoice before God: and delighted with gladness. Ps. 67, 2. Let God arise, and let His enemies by scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before his face. Glory be …
Harken, O Lord, to Thy people who make supplication in union with the intercession of Thy saints, that Thou mayest grant us to rejoice in peace during this life on earth and to find the help of the life eternal. Through our Lord.
O God, Who for the enlightenment of Thy Church didst vouchsafe to distinguish blessed King Canute with the palm of martyrdom and with glorious miracles, mercifully grant, that as he was an imitator of the Lord’s passion, so we, walking in his footsteps, may deserve to enter into everlasting joys.
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians.
[Because of the insufficiency of the sacrifices of the law, Christ our high priest shed his own blood for us, offering up once for all the sacrifice of our redemption. He exhorts them to perseverance.]
BRETHREN, call to mind the former days, wherein, being illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions. And on the one hand indeed, by reproaches and tribulations, were made a gazingstock; and on the other, became companions of them that were used in such sort. For you both had compassion on them that were in bands, and took with joy the being stripped of your own goods, knowing that you have a better and a lasting substance. Do not therefore lose your confidence, which hath a great reward.
For patience is necessary for you; that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise. For yet a little and a very little while, and he that is to come, will come, and will not delay. But my just man liveth by faith.
The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise thy seemed to die, but they are in peace.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 67, 36. Wonderful is our God in His saints. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[Christ foretells the destruction of the temple, with the signs that shall come before it and before the last judgment. We must always watch.]
At that time, as Jesus was sitting on mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world? And Jesus answering, said to them: Take heed that no man seduce you: For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.
And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places: Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name' s sake. And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many. And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.
Our soul hath been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken and we are delivered.
Have regard, O Lord, to the prayers and offerings of Thy faithful, that thy may be both pleasing to Thee for the festival of Thy saints and may bring us the help of Thy mercy. Through our Lord.
May our devout offerings, O Lord, be acceptable in Thy sight; and by the intercession of the holy martyr o whose festival thy are laid before Thee, may thy profit us unto salvation. Through our Lord.
But I say to you, my friends, be not afraid of those who persecute you.
Be appeased by the prayers of Thy saints, O Lord, and grant, we beseech Thee, that the rites we perform here on earth may avail for our everlasting salvation. Through our Lord.
Our strength renewed from having shared in Thy sacred gift, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that, by the intercession of blessed Canute Thy martyr, we may ever feel the mighty power of the Sacrament we worship. Through our Lord.