Jeremiah, Chapter 23, Verse 4
I will raise up shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear or be terrified; none shall be missing—oracle of the LORD.
During the season of Lent we offer our suffering up to Christ to unite with His suffering and as our shepherd, He guides us through this time to bring us into his glory.
One such shepherd that God raised was St. Patrick.
ST. PATRICK was born towards the close of the fourth century, but the place of his birth is not positively known. Britain and Scotland both claim the honor, but the best authorities seem to agree upon Brittany, in France. In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snows, rain, and ice. The young man had recourse to God with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting: and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery under the same master St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the seacoast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel. After three days sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions. Patrick assured the company that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came into a country that was cultivated and inhabited. Some years afterwards he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. Great opposition was made to his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relations and by the clergy; but the Lord, Whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland to preach the Gospel, penetrating into the remotest corners; and such was the fruit of his preaching’s and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, but gave freely of his own, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions. He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.
WARRIORS BREASTPLATE OF ST. PATRICK
I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, his might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need; the wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward; the word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in the hearts of all that love me, Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger. Amen
An indulgence is the marriage of divine justice and mercy. We all have sinned and justice demands restitution-justice demands a righting of the wrong in the spiritual realm. We are not just let go of our sin, it is paid not by us but by the blood of Christ and the saints. It is not a forgiveness of our debt; it is paid by others; by Christ, Mary and the Saints from the infinite treasury of their merits. On the cross, Jesus pronounced, “It is finished.” When Christ gave up his life: he empowered us, through the Holy Spirit, to share in his own life, death, and resurrection. He transferred to us everything that he had merited. By his death he entrusted to the Holy Spirit his redemptive work. The Spirit applies to the saints and to all of us what Christ merited through his life, death and resurrection. The greatest of our church is that it also allows us to intercede for the debt of others, even those who have died and are now in purgatory. An indulgence allows us to ask for payment for the debt from this treasury of God’s mercy. We can do this if we are in a state of grace and have fulfilled other conditions of 1) confession 2) communion and 3) prayers for the pope.
What is an indulgence? It is the remission granted by the Church, in the name of God, and on account of the merits of Jesus Christ and of all the saints, of the temporal punishment which men must suffer, either in this world or in the world to come, for sins that have been already forgiven.
Whence do we know that after sins are forgiven there yet remains a temporal punishment? From Holy Scripture; thus God imposed upon Adam and Eve great temporal punishments, although He forgave them their sin (Gen. iii.). Moses and Aaron were punished for a slight want of confidence in God (Num. xx. 24; Deut. xxxii. 51). David, though forgiven, was obliged to submit to great temporal punishments (n. Kings xii.). Finally, faith teaches us that after death we must suffer in purgatory till we have paid the last farthing (Matt. v. 26).
Can the Church remit all temporal punishments, even those
imposed by God Himself, and why? Certainly, by virtue of the power to bind and to loose which Christ has given her (Matt, xviii. 18). For if the Church has received from God the power to remit sins which is the greater she certainly has authority to remit the punishment of them which is the less. Moreover, it is by the bands of punishment that we are hindered from reaching the kingdom of God.
But if the Church can loose all bands, why not this? Finally, Jesus certainly had power to remit the temporal punishment of sins ; and the power which He Himself had He gave to His disciples.
What is required in order rightly to gain an indulgence? In order to gain an indulgence it is necessary: I. To be In the grace of God. It is proper, therefore, to go to confession every time that one begins the good works enjoined for the gaining of an indulgence. In granting partial indulgences sacramental confession is not usually prescribed, but if one who is in the state of mortal sin wishes to gain the indulgence, he must at least make an act of true contrition with a firm purpose of going to confession. 2. It is necessary to have at least a general intention of gaining the indulgences. 3. It is necessary to perform in person and with devotion all the good works enjoined as to time, manner, end, etc., according to the terms in which the indulgence is granted. To gain plenary indulgences, confession, communion, a visit to some church or public oratory, and pious prayers are usually prescribed. If visits to a church are prescribed, Holy Communion may be received in any church, but the indulgenced prayers must be said in that church in which the indulgence is granted, and on the prescribed day. As to prayers, it is recommended that there be said seven times the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, and Creed.
Prayer for gaining an Indulgence.
“We beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously accept the petitions of Thy holy Church that Thou wouldst deliver her from all adversities, root out from her all heresies, and unite all Christian rulers and princes, and exalt Thy holy Church on earth that we may all serve Thee in peace and quietness.”