Friday, June 12, 2009

St. Edmund, Martyr V

St Edmund the Martyr crowned by angels
from a manuscript of Bury St Edmunds circa 1130
(photo credit)

No Christian can be surprised that innocence should suffer. Prosperity is often the most grievous judgment that God exercises upon a wicked man, who by it is suffered, in punishment of his impiety, to blind and harden himself in his evil courses, and to plunge himself deeper in iniquity. On the other hand God, in his merciful providence, conducts second causes so that afflictions fall to the share of those souls whose sanctification he has particularly in view. By tribulation a man learns perfectly to die to the world and himself, a work which, without its aid, even the severest self-denial and the most perfect obedience, leave imperfect. By tribulation we learn the perfect exercise of humility, patience, meekness, resignation, and pure love of God; which are neither practiced nor learned without such occasions. By a good use of tribulation a person becomes a saint in a very short time, and at a cheap rate. The opportunity and grace of suffering well is a mercy in favour of chosen souls; and a mercy to which every saint, from Abel to the last of the elect, is indebted for his crown. We meet with sufferings from ourselves, from disappointments, from friends, and from enemies. We are on every side beset with crosses. But we bear them with impatience and complaints. Thus we cherish our passions, and multiply sins by the very means which are given us to crucify and overcome them. To learn to bear crosses well is one of the most essential and most important duties of a Christian life. To make a good use of the little crosses which we continually meet with is the means of making the greatest progress in all virtue, and of obtaining strength to stand our ground under great trials. St. Edmund's whole life was a preparation for martyrdom.

Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler

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