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LEOVIGILD, King of the Visigoths, had two sons, Hermenegild and Recared, who reigned conjointly with him. All three were Arians, but Hermenegild married a. zealous Catholic, the daughter of Sigebert, Ring of France, and by her holy example was converted to the faith. His father, on hearing the news, denounced him as a traitor, and marched to seize his person. Hermenegild tried to rally the Catholics of Spain in his defence, but they were too weak to make any stand, and, after a two years fruitless struggle, he surrendered on the assurance of a free pardon. When safely in the royal camp, the king had him loaded with fetters and cast into a foul dungeon at Seville. Tortures and bribes were in turn employed to shake his faith, but Hermenegild wrote to his father that he held the crown as nothing, and preferred to lose sceptre and life rather than betray the truth of God. At length, on Easter night, an Arian bishop entered his cell, and promised him his father's pardon if he would but receive Communion at his hands. Hermenegild indignantly rejected the offer, and knelt with joy for his depth-stroke. The same night a light streaming from his cell told the Christians who were watching near that the martyr had won his crown, and was keeping his Easter with the Saints in glory.
Leovigild on his death-bed, though still an Arian, bade Recared seek out St. Leander, whom he had himself cruelly persecuted, and, following Hermenegild's example, be received by him into the Church. Recared did so, and on his father's death labored so earnestly for the extirpation of Arianism that he brought over the whole nation of the Visigoths to the Church. "Nor is it to be wondered," says St. Gregory, "that he came thus to be a preacher of the true faith, seeing that he was brother of a martyr, whose merits did help him to bring so many into the lap of God's Church."
Reflection. —St. Hermenegild teaches us that constancy and sacrifice are the hest arguments for the Faith, and the surest way to win souls to God.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
In Thy strength, O Lord, the just man shall joy: and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire. Ps. 20,4. For Thou hast prevented him with the blessings of sweetness; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. Glory be …
O God, Who didst teach blessed Hermenegild, Thy martyr, to choose a heavenly kingdom rather than and earthly one, grant us, we beseech Thee, to despise fleeting things, after his example, and to pursue those that are eternal. Through our Lord.
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[What wisdom did for Adam, Noe, Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, and the people of Israel.]
The Lord conducted the just, through the right ways, and showed him the kingdom of God, and gave him the knowledge of the holy things, made him honourable in his labours, and accomplished his labours.
In the deceit of them that overreached him, she stood by him, and made him honourable. She kept him safe from his enemies, and she defended him from seducers, and gave him a strong conflict, that he might overcome, and know that wisdom is mightier than all. She forsook not the just when he was sold, but delivered him from sinners: she went down with him into the pit. And in bands she left him not, till she brought him the sceptre of the kingdom, and power against those that oppressed him: and shewed them to be liars that had accused him, and gave him everlasting glory.
Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; he delighteth exceedingly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 20, 4. O Lord, Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[Christ sends out his twelve apostles, with the power of miracles. The lessons he gives them.]
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man' s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet: and he that receiveth a just man in the name of a just man, shall receive the reward of a just man. And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
Thou hast crowned him with glory, and honor; and hast set him over the works of Thy hands. O Lord.
Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our offerings and prayers; both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. Through our Lord.
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that we, who in this life joyfully assist in the commemoration of Thy saints, may hereafter rejoice in beholding them forever in heaven. Through our Lord.