Devotion to the Pope
Frederick William Faber, D.D.
Priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri
“Peter was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” – Acts xii.
London: Thomas Richardson and Son, 147, Strand: 9 Capel Street, Dublin; and Derby. MDCCCLX. [The Right of translation is reserved by the Author.]
To the Very Reverend Edward Hearn, D.D. Vicar General of the Diocese of Westminster, this tract is dedicated by the author in grateful recognition of many kindnesses, and as a token of respect and affection.
The London Oratory. Feast of the Epiphany. 1860.
The following pages are the substance of a Sermon preached in the Church of the London Oratory on the occasion of the Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the Intention of the Pope, on the first day of the New Year, 1860.
Devotion to the Pope
The New Year begins with a Feast of Jesus; and the Feast commemorates the first shedding of His Blood. This is a sort of type of the whole Christian life. Christ lives in us, and we live His life over again. The life of the redeemed is so intertwined with the grace and action of the Redeemer that we are not able to conceive of it apart from Him. He is mixed up with all we do, with all we are, with all we suffer. We have not a joy or sorrow which are not as much His as they are ours. They are His because they are ours. He is the end, the force, and the significance of all holy life. He makes all things His own, even those which seem to belong least to His interests. His jurisdiction is at once universal and minute. It is part of His love that our little interests are great interests to Him. The Old Year ends with His birth, as if to take all sadness out of the laps of time by so sweet an admonition of eternity. The New Year begins with His sorrow, as if to sober all flightiness of joy and to temper all impetuosity of action. It is the very description of our life that Jesus is everywhere and in everything. As we grow older His attractions absorb our lives more powerfully and more exclusively. As He was God’s master-thought from all eternity, so the thought of Him should at all times master all other thoughts in us. We live only to worship Him. We were only predestinated because He was predestinated first. He was the first-born of all creatures. We were made after His image, and for His sake. We have each of us some particular work to do for Him, some special office to fill in His court, some peculiar vocation out of which He is to have some peculiar glory. This is the meaning of us. We are nothing without Him. But to Him we are both dear an important. He makes much of us; and it is our wisdom, as it is our happiness, to make Him all in all to us.
It is not only true that Jesus is our life. It is also true that His life is our life; and this is true in numberless ways, from the august reality of the Blessed Sacrament down to the influence which any of our Lord’s mysteries exercises upon our prayers and upon our character. In all God’s creation, outside the world of angels, there is nothing so wonderful as a human life. There have been millions of such lives, each of them wonderful with its own individual wonder. There will be countless millions more of these diversified creations. But one Life is the true life of all these lives, a Life more wonderful that any angelic life can be. It is the life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God and Man. He lived Three-and-Thirty Years upon earth. His life was one unbroken series of mysteries. His infinite merits and His infinite satisfactions are the treasures which have enriched the poverty of the world. That Human Life of His supplied the means of our atonement, while it also furnished, in its examples, the pattern of all human holiness. Our lives are to be modelled upon that the life of His. The love of Jesus and the likeness of Jesus – it is these things which make up the whole of sanctity. All the real history of the world, all of it which savingly concerns ourselves, is gathered together in the narrative of the Four Gospels, in the records of the Three-and-Thirty Years. But this is only part of the truth. Our Lord’s life is not merely an external example. It is a power, a grace, an efficacy, whose undying energy is transmitted to remotest ages, both in the operations of the Sacraments, and also in the graces of contemplation. In other words, the Thirty-three Years are not over, and never will be over. They go on in the Church till the end of time.
But we must not longer now, much as we are tempted to do so, on the sweet truths and unspeakable consolations, with which this fact supplies us. It is sufficient for us to bear in mind that all holiness consists in our living out the years of Jesus in our own years, finding in His life at once our model and the hidden power enabling us to conform to that model. The Church teaches us this in her ecclesiastical year. Not only has she separate feasts to commemorate our Blessed Lord’s separate mysteries; but she contrives to make us live His Three-and-Thirty Years over again in each of our single years. We pass through the beautiful twelve years of His Infancy in the weeks from Christmas and Lent. Lent keeps us with Him in the wilderness, and purifies us for the detailed version of His Passion, which Holy Week brings so overwhelmingly before us. Paschal tide is His Risen Life, and the feast of His Ascension is incomplete without the festival of the Blessed Sacrament, the triumphal holyday of Corpus Christi. Thence to Advent we feed for months on the Sermons, the Parables, and the Incidents of His three year’' Ministry. Meanwhile beneath this annual life of Jesus lies also an annual life of Mary, which is a life of Jesus also. Her Immaculate Conception is almost mingled with her maternal Expectation. We celebrate her Purification, but a little while before we celebrate our Lord’s Temptation in the wilderness. The commemoration of her Dolours lies close to the commemoration of His Passion. The Assumption is to the Feasts of Mary what the Ascension is to the Feasts of Jesus. In all this arrangement we perceive the one constant and abiding sense of the Church that the life of Jesus is our life, the example of our life, and also its supernatural energy. Everything is summed up in the simple but inexhaustible truth, that Christians are Christs.
Thus it is a common form of our love of our dearest Lord to wish, that, with our present knowledge and our present faith, we had been with Him, during His Thirty-three Years on earth. We think how lovingly we should have served Him. We imagine a thousand incidents in which our love would ingeniously have vented itself in artifices of reverence and of endearment. Our thoughts expiate on the continual reparations which we should have made to His honour, how we should have divined His wishes better than those who were actually round about Him, how our assiduities would have come near to the enthusiastic devotion of the Apostles, and how, like the comforting angel at Gethsemane, we should for ever have been alleviating with our love the sufferings of His life. To wish these things is part of our Christian instincts. But here we come in sight of the great wonder of a Christian life. This is not a mere wish, a romantic dream, an unreal device of love. The Thirty-three Years are not over. Jesus is with us still. Now and here, as in Judea of old, real personal ministries to Jesus are the actions by which we are to sanctify ourselves. They are to be at once the kindling and the satisfying of our love. For this end He has come back to us in the Blessed Sacrament. He dwells amongst us in the shy magnificence of the Tabernacle. He shews the skirts of His white garments to our eyes. He puts Himself in our hands. He entrusts His helplessness to our keeping. He rests upon our tongues and goes down into our hearts in all the surpassing realities of the mighty Sacrament. He is more accessible to us now than he could have been in the actual Three-and-Thirty Years. He gives each of us more time and more attention. We can have Him completely to ourselves. We can enjoy Him more at ease, and more in private. Hence it is that the Blessed Sacrament is the very centre of our lives. We can hardly conceive how we should live without it, or far removed from its neighbourhood. Dearest Lord! how well He knew the manner in which we should yearn to love Him, and how incredibly has He satisfied the yearning!
It is the end of the Blessed Sacrament to make Jesus present to us, and miraculously to multiply His presence. The Sacraments, as theology calls them, are the actions of Christ: the Blessed Sacrament is the living Christ Himself. Thus are the Thirty-three Years continued upon earth, and continued in thousands of places at once, so that millions of souls are drawn within their actual sphere, and live supernatural lives upon the heat and light with which the ever-present Human Life of their Saviour surrounds them. How could heaven interfere more strikingly to the show that personal love of Jesus was the essence of religion, and that the presence of Jesus was the necessity of its life and power?
Sometimes great mercies look wonderful when we compare them with lesser ones; but more often the lesser ones look especially wonderful when we contrast them with greater ones. In other words, God’s mercy is most striking in little things, particularly when those little things seem the repetitions and superfluities of great ones. Jesus had satisfied His own immense love, and had given our love room to become immense, by returning to us in His Human Nature through the Blessed Sacrament. No more amazing continuation of His Thirty-three Years can be imagined. Indeed no created intelligence could have imagined one so amazing. But His love covers the whole ground of creation; and He felt that this invisible dwelling with us was not enough. All ministries to the Blessed Sacrament must of necessity be adorations; and man’s power of actual worship is intermitting. Our poor hearts wish to be always adoring the Blessed Sacrament; but the strain would be excessive. Moreover our service of the Blessed Sacrament represents either those great public actions of homage, in which all the faithful meet solemnly to join, and which are therefore few in number, and occurring at such intervals as the business of life requires, or it represents our inward, hidden lives of communion with God. Our secret sorrows are breathed forth at the Tabernacle door. We bring our joys there to be blessed, to be refined, and to be secured. We complain there of our temptations. There, with timid intrusion, we venture to carry the forward familiarities of love, secure that only the indulgent ear of our loving Lord shall hear them. There we argue with Him unashamed, like Job of old, and, even while we tremble at His majesty, make bold to assail Him with the petulances of our only half-believing prayer. But our love needs more than this. Our souls have other cravings which must be satisfied. Our life is very much a life of matter, sense, and outward things. In the Blessed Sacrament Jesus is invisible. So far therefore we are not so well of as they were of old that conversed with Him in Judea. They saw their love. They knew their love by sight. They read the dear mysteries of the Sacred Heart by the dear aspects of His beautiful Face. The light of His Eyes was a language to them. The sound of His Voice was a revelation to them. His outward beauty was a help to their inward love. The Blessed Sacrament is better in many ways. To use Our Lord’s own word, His invisible presence was “more expedient.” But the visible Jesus was in some ways sweeter, in some ways dearer. We cannot help but feel this; yet we should be surprised how Jesus has made the loss up to us, were it not that such repeated experience of His love has made us cease to be surprised at anything He does.
Shall a soul know of a way in which it can love Jesus, and not burn to love Him in it? Shall a soul know of a way in which it can love Jesus, and yet find that Jesus has made no provision for it to love Him in that way? He knew that, when once the love of Him had taken possession of our hearts and had gained delightful mastery there, we should long to minister to Him by our outward lives, to accumulate upon Him endless tokens of our affection, to wreak upon Him those contrivances of endearment of which the heart can be so fertile when it pleases. His infinite wisdom is always the handmaid of His infinite compassion. He looked upon His creation to find a fitting representative of His own blessed Self. He searched the earth with His unerring love to choose a fitting monument on which, as on the pillar of a trophy, He could hang His own insignia, and bid it do duty for Himself. It must be so like Him, that all men shall readily acknowledge the resemblance. It must have such a likeness to Him, as will best provoke enthusiastic and enduring love. It must be a visible compendium of the Three-and-Thirty Years. As all Bethlehem, and all Nazareth and all Galilee, and all Calvary, are invisibly in the Blessed Sacrament, so now in this new visible presence of Jesus all Bethlehem, all Nazareth, and all Galilee, and all Calvary must be plain and visible, real and pathetic. O characteristic choice of Him who chose all things from eternity! The Creator chose the Poor. When He was about to come on earth, He chose poverty for His own lot, for the condition of His own private life. Now, when He has hidden His Face from us in the clouds of heaven, He chooses the Poor to represent Him, and to carry on for our sakes all those occasions of worship and opportunities of sanctity, which belonged to the Three-and-Thirty Years. Hence it is that the Church has always clung to the Poor, as Mary clung in the cold and the dark and the wet to the Babe of Bethlehem. Hence it is that generous outgoings to the Poor are the infallible measures of our inward love of Jesus, and that spirituality is hindered from deceiving itself and by being able always to test its own reality by the abundance of its alms. What a revelation of Jesus is this His choice of the Poor! We feel that we know much more of Him, since we had this new disclosure of Him. He reveals His character by the very peculiarity of His selection, while His leaving this visible second Self behind Him manifests to us still more strikingly that His Thirty-three Years are not to cease, and that personal ministry to Him is the single shape of our sanctification.
It would do us all good to dwell on this matter: but we must pass on. Of a truth our dearest Lord has done much to satisfy our appetite of love. But there are many who have not the power of ministering to Him in corporal works of mercy; and by far the greatest number of even spiritual works of mercy to the Poor depend on alms. Also the Poor themselves must have a second self of Jesus, whom they can invest with the solicitudes of their believing love. Moreover there are still yearnings and loves in human hearts, which would fain be raised to the supernatural dignity of love of Jesus, and which are not satisfied in devotion to the Poor. Jesus therefore chose another visible Self, in order that He might cover all the ground which human hearts could cover. It was a dear invention of love, similar to that which made marriage into a Sacrament. He chose Children. He took the little ones, who fill our dwellings, who play about our streets, who crowd the benches of our schools. He first of all frightened us into reverence by telling us of the vindictiveness of the grand angels, who have charge of children’s souls, and of their power to punish us, because of that awful Sight of God which they always see; and then He tells us that all acts of religious kindness to the least of these weak little ones are acts of kindness to Himself. From this choice also has come the instinct of His Church for the interests of little children. For their souls she fights with the governments of the world; she lays herself open to attacks; she perils her peace; she forfeits the patronage of the great; she refuses the sanction of her obedience to iniquitous laws; she is contented to look unintelligibly fanatical or pretentiously false, to those who cannot believe in the sincerity of such a purely supernatural zeal. Doubtless it was our dear Lord’s love of us, which impelled Him to make Children another visible Self. Yet I venture sometimes to think that it was as much to gratify His own love as to satisfy ours. Somehow, Bethlehem clung more to our Blessed Lord than Calvary. There are more of Bethlehem at Calvary, than of Calvary at Bethlehem. The Blessed Sacrament is the memorial of His Passion: yet who will not own that is more full of lights from Bethlehem than of shadows from Calvary? There was something in His Sacred Heart which betokened an eternal Childhood; and His human character clung with especial love to children. There was more freedom in His choice of the Poor. There was less need of another visible Self. This further choice was more gratuitous. Therefore I think that it was especially for His own sake that He made it. Still the same great principle comes out, - the continuance of the Thirty-three Years, and the ensuring of personal ministries to Himself. His making the Poor and the Children as it were second Selves was an emanation of the same wisdom and the same benignity, out of whose abysses came the overwhelming mystery of the Blessed Sacrament.
O glorious capacity of human hearts to love! Even all this was not enough. When we serve our dearest Lord in the persons of the Poor and of the Children, we are, as it were, His superiors. We are ministering to Him of our superfluities. He comes before us in pitiable plight, and we are full of pity, and we run to His pity, and we run to His rescue, and succour Him. Sweet task indeed, and a most wonderful relief to our swelling love, which is ever growing so great as to be a burden to itself! Yet there are other kinds of love, to which we reach as we grow in grace, higher kinds bespeaking higher graces, more robust as being more proper to the fullness of our manhood in Christ. We want to obey. We want to receive commands, to hearken to teaching, to practice submission. We have wills of our own, and we want to give them up for the will of Him we love. We cling to our own opinions, and we set a high price upon our own judgements; and we wish to abandon them for His sake. We want to conquer the selfseeking of our understandings, in order that our hearts may grow larger and we may be able to love more vehemently and more exclusively. We want more immolation of self in our service of Jesus, than the tending of the Poor and the Children can supply. Besides, we want Jesus in all ways. We want Him as our Master. It was the name His disciples on earth delighted to give Him. Somehow they contrived to put into it an affectionate sound, above what in His case any other name possesses. They listened to His sermons on the mount and on the plain. They hung upon the words which fell like pearls of price from His beautiful lips. In delighted silence they nourished their souls on His teaching, which was to them the very bread of eternal life. His parables sank into their hearts, and grew there into broad revelations of the mysteries of God. We cannot forego all this. He must be our Master also, not in a dead book, not by hearsay, but our real living Master, at whose feet we can lay down our forwardness, and at the sound of whose voice we can be out of love with our own judgements and conceits. Jesus left Mary to the infant Church, as well as Peter. Was it not perhaps to supply this very craving of primitive fervour, a craving which had fed itself so recently on His own dear presence in the flesh? Even the sublimities of apostolic holiness could not bear that both Jesus and Mary should be withdrawn at once. So in like manner now He has left us the Pope. The Sovereign Pontiff is a third visible presence of Jesus amongst us, of a higher order, of a deeper significance, of a more immediate importance, of a more exacting nature, than His presence in the Poor and in the Children. The Pope is the Vicar of Jesus on earth, and enjoys among the monarchs of the world all the rights and sovereignties of the Sacred Humanity of Jesus. No crown can be above his crown. By divine right he can be subject to none. All subjection is a violence, and a persecution. He is a monarch by the very force of his office; for of all kings he is the nighest to the King of kings. He is the visible shadow cast by the Invisible Head of the Church in the Blessed Sacrament. His office is an institution emanating from the same depth of the Sacred Heart, out of which we have already seen the Blessed Sacrament, and the elevation of the Poor and of Children, take their rise. It is a manifestation of the same love, an exposition of the same principle. With what carefulness then, with what reverence, with what exceeding loyalty, ought we not to correspond to so magnificent a grace, to so marvellous a love, as this which our dearest Saviour has shown us in His choice and institution of His earthly Vicar! Peter lives always, because the Three-and-Thirty Years are always going on. The two truths belong to each other. The Pope is to us in all our conduct what the Blessed Sacrament is to us in all our adoration. The mystery of His Vicariate is akin to the mystery of the Blessed Sacrament. The two mysteries are intertwined.
The conclusion to be drawn from all this is of the most momentous importance. It is no less than this: - that devotion to the Pope is an essential part of all Christian piety. It is not a matter which stands apart from the spiritual life, as if the Papacy were only the politics of the Church, an institution belonging to her external life, a divinely appointed convenience of ecclesiastical government. It is a doctrine and a devotion. It is an integral part of our Blessed Lord’s own plan. He is in the Pope in a still higher way than He is in the Poor or in Children. What is done to the Pope, for him or against him, is done to Jesus Himself. All that is kingly, all that is priestly, in our dearest Lord is gathered up in the person of His Vicar, to receive our homage and our veneration. A man might as well try to be a good Christian without devotion to our Lady, as without devotion to the Pope; and for the same reason as in both cases. Both His Mother and His Vicar are parts of our Lord’s Gospel.
I would ask you to lay this very much to heart at this time. I am persuaded that great consequences would follow, for the good of religion, from a clear perception that devotion to the Pope is an essential part of Christian piety. It would correct many errors. It would clear up many misapprehensions. It would prevent many calamities. I have always said, that the one thing to make all difficulties clear is to look at things simply and exclusively from our Blessed Lord’s point of view. Let all things seem to us as they are in Him and for Him. There are many intricacies in these days, many perplexing entanglements of the Church and the world; but, if we hold fast by this principle, if with a childlike bravery we are all for Jesus, we shall thread our way safely though all labyrinths, and never have the unhappiness of finding ourselves, either through cowardice, or through the prudence of the flesh, or through the want of a spiritual discernment, on the side where Jesus is not.
If the Pope is the visible presence of Jesus, uniting in himself all such spiritual and temporal jurisdiction as belongs to the Sacred Humanity, and if devotion to the Pope is an indispensable element in all Christian holiness, so that without it no piety is solid, it very much concerns us to see how we feel towards the Vicar of Christ, and whether our habitual sentiments regarding him are adequate to what our Blessed Lord requires. I wish to speak of the matter from a devotional point of view; because I consider this a very important point of view. It belongs to my office and position, as well as to my tastes and instincts, to look at it in this way. In times of peace it is quite conceivable that Catholics may hardly realize as they ought to do the necessity of devotion to the Pope as an essential of Christian piety. They may practically come to think that their affair is to go to Church, and to frequent the Sacraments, and to perform their private spiritual exercises. It may appear to them that they are not concerned with what they may call ecclesiastical politics. This is of course a sad mistake at all times, and one from which at all times the soul must suffer, so far as regards higher graces and the advances towards perfection. In every age it has been an invariable feature of the saints that they have had a keen and sensitive devotion towards the Holy See. But, if our lot is cast in times of trouble for the Sovereign Pontiff, we shall speedily find that a decay of practical piety follows rapidly and infallibly upon any wrong views of the Papacy, or any cowardly conduct concerning the Pope. We shall be astonished at discovering how close a connection there is between high-minded allegiance towards him and all our generosity towards God, as well as God’s liberality toward ourselves. We must enter, it must be part of our private devotion to enter, warmly into the sympathies of the Church for her visible Head, or God will not enter into sympathy with us. In all ages, as well as in all vocations, grace is given on certain tacit conditions. In times, when God allows the Church to be assailed in the person of her visible Head, sensitiveness about the Holy See will be found to be an implied condition of all growth in grace.
What are the motives, then, upon which our devotion to the Pope should be based? First and foremost on the fact of his being the Vicar of our dearest Lord. His office is the chief way in which Jesus has made Himself visible on earth. In his jurisdiction he is to us as if he were our Blessed Lord Himself. Then, again, the fearfulness of the Pope’s office is another source of our devotion to him. Can anyone look over so vast a region of responsibility, and not tremble? Millions of consequences are dependent upon him. Multitudes of appeals are awaiting his decision. The interests with which he has to deal are of surpassing importance, because they bear upon the eternal interests of souls. One day’s government of the Church is pregnant with more consequences than a year’s government of the mightiest earthly empire. With what a weight of the Sovereign Pontiff must have to lean upon God all day long! What endless inspirations of the Holy Ghost must he not anxiously expect in order to distinguish truth in the clamour of contradictions or in the obscurity of distance! The Dove whispering at St. Gregory’s ear, - what is it but a symbol of the Papacy? Amidst these gigantic toils, of all earthly labours, perhaps the most thankless and the least appreciated, how touching is the helplessness of the Sovereign Pontiff, so like the helpfulness of his beloved Master. His power is patience. His majesty is endurance. He is the victim of all the petulance and gracelessness of earth in high places. He is verily the servant of the servants of God. Men may not load him with indignities, as they spat into his Master’s Face. They may set him at nought with their men of war, as Herod with his men of war set at nought the Saviour of the world. They may sacrifice his rights to the momentary exigences of their own meanness, as Pontius Pilate sacrificed Our Lord of old. There can be a meanness in governments, to the depths of which no individual meanness can come near; and it is especially from this meanness that the Vicar of Christ is made to suffer. Men with the gold crowns envy him with the crown of thorns. They grudge him the painful sovereignty, for which he must lay down his life, because it is his Master’s trust, and not his own inheritance. In every successive generation Jesus, in the person of His Vicar, is before fresh Pilates and new Herods. The Vatican is for the most part a Calvary. Who can behold all the pathetic grandeur of this helplessness, and understand it as Christian understands it, and not be moved to tears?
When we are ill, it sometimes lies like a sad thought upon our heats that our Blessed Lord never sanctified that cross by His own endurance. But then He bore and blessed every species of bodily pain in the numberless sufferings and ingenious cruelties of His Passion. But old age He never suffered. The weight of years never gathered over His beautiful features. The light of His eye never grew dim. The fresh manhood of His voice never passed away. It could not be that even the honourable decays of age should come nigh Him. But He condescends to be old in His Pontiffs. His Vicars are for the most part bowed down with years. I see in this another instance of His love, another provision for our diversity of love for Him. None in Judea could ever honour Him with that peculiar love which good men glory in paying to old age. Homage to the old is one of the most beautiful generosities of youth; but the youth in Judea could never enjoy its dear submissions in their ministries to Jesus. But now, in the person of His Vicar, whose solicitudes are rendered a thousandfold more touching and his indignities more pathetic because of his age, we may draw near to Jesus with new ministries of love. A new kind of love of Him is opened to the eagerness and keensightedness of our affection. In this fact, in the conflict of an unarmed old man with the grandeurs and diplomacies and false wisdoms of the proud young generations as they rise, there is surely another fountain for our devotion to the Pope.
To the eye of faith nothing can be more venerable than the way in which the Pope represents God. It is as if heaven were always open over his head, and the light shone down upon him, and, like Stephen, he saw Jesus standing at the Right Hand of the Father, while world is gnashing its teeth upon him with a hatred, the unearthly excess of which must often be a wonder to itself. But, to the unbelieving eye, the Papacy, like most divine things, is a pitiable and abject sight, provoking only an irritated scorn. For this scorn it is the object of our devotion to make constant reparation. We must honour the Vicar of Jesus with a loving faith, and with a trustful uncriticising reverence. We should not allow ourselves in one dishonouring thought, in one cowardly suspicion, in one fainthearted uncertainty, about anything which concerns either his spiritual or his temporal sovereignty; for even his temporal Kingship is part of our religion. We must not permit to ourselves the irreverent disloyalty of distinguishing in him and in his office what we may consider human from what we may acknowledge as divine. We must defend him with all the pertinacity, with all the vehemence, with all the completeness, with all the comprehensiveness, with which only love knows how to defend her holy things. We must minister to him in selfdenying prayer, with a thorough, inward, heartfelt, delighted subjection, and, above all, in these abominable days of rebuke and blasphemy, with a most open, chivalrous, and unashamed allegiance. The interests of Jesus are at stake. We must neither be backward in time, nor mistaken in our side.
There have been times in the experience of the Church, when the bark of Peter has seemed to be foundering in the midnight seas. There are pages of history, which makes us hold our breath as we read them, and hush the palpitations of our hearts, even though we know full well that the next page will record the fresh victory which came of the fresh abasement. We are fallen upon one of those evil epochs now. It is hard to bear. But our indignation works not the justice of God, and bitterness gives us no power with Him. But there is a mighty power in the dejection of the Faithful. It is a power the world might fear, if only it could discern it or understand it. The silence of the Church makes the very angels look on with expectation. We almost must wait in the patient tranquility of prayer. The blasphemy of the unbelieving may rouse our faith. The faltering of the children of the Fold may wring our hearts. But let our sorrow have no bitterness mingled with its sanctity. We must fix our eyes on Jesus, and do the double duty which our love of Him now lays upon us. I say, the double duty. For it is a day when God looks for open professions of our faith, for unbashful proclamations of our allegiance. It is a day also when the sense of our outward helplessness casts us more than ever upon the duty of inward prayer. This is the other duty. The open profession is of little worth without the inward prayer; but I think the inward prayer is almost of less worth without the outward profession. Many virtues grow in secret; but loyalty can only thrive in the bare sunshine and upon the open hills.
How then are we going to inaugurate our New Year? By the unspeakable permissions of His compassion, we are about to raise upon His sacramental throne the Invisible Head of the Church, that so we may come to the succour of our Visible Head, His most dear and sacred Vicar, our most dear and venerable Father. I need not tell you what to pray for, nor how to pray; but I have one thought, which I have often thought, and with that I will conclude: - I have an irrepressible instinct, that it will be especially well in heaven with those, who have especially loved on the earth the Pope who defined the Immaculate Conception.
Richardson and Son, Printers, Derby.