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St. Agnes, the Lamb’s lamb

Pardon the pun – it’s a little late and it seemed a good title at the time.  And mea culpa, I should have posted this earlier than now.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr.  In lieu of laying out her story here, I direct you to Fr. Z’s most thorough post on the subject.  As one who gave her life rather than betray her vow of virginity, her intercession is needed more than ever these days.  I thought some small quote from Dom Gueranger would not be out of place here.

Dear Child! innocent even in the capital of pagan corruption, and free of heart even amidst a slavish race, we see the image of our Emmanuel in thee.  He is the Lamb; and thou art simple, like him:  he is the Lion of the Tribe of Juda; and like him thou art invincible.  Truly these Christians, as the pagans said, are a race of beings come from heaven to people this earth!  A family that has martyrs and heroes and heroines like thee, brave Saint! that has young virgins, filled, like its venerable pontiffs and veteran soldiers, with the fire of heaven, and burning with ambition to leave a world they have edified with their virtues, is God’s own people, and it can never be extinct.  Its martyrs are to us the representation of the divine virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ.  By nature they were as weak as we; they had a disadvantage which we have not – they had to live in the very thick of paganism, and paganism had corrupted the whole earth; and notwithstanding all this, they were courageous and chaste.

Have pity on us and help us, O thou, one of the brightest of these great Saints!  The love of Jesus is weak in our hearts.  We are affected and shed tears at the recital of thy heroic conduct; but we are cowards in the battle we ourselves have to fight against the world and our passions.  Habitual seeking after ease and comfort has fastened upon us a certain effeminacy:  we are ever throwing away our interest upon trifles; how can we have earnestness and courage for our duties?  Sanctity! we cannot understand it; and when we hear or read of it, we gravely say that the Saints did very strange things and were indiscreet, and were carried away by exaggerated notions!  What must we think, on this thy feast, of thy contempt for the world and all its pleasures, of thy heavenly enthusiasm, of thy eagerness to go to Jesus by suffering?  Thou wast a Christian, Agnes!  Are we too Christians?  Oh! pray for us that we may love like Christians, that is, with a generous and active love, with a love which can feel indignant when asked to have less detachment from all that is not God.  Pray for us, that our piety may be that of the Gospel, and not the fashionable piety which pleases the world, and makes us pleased with ourselves.  There are some brave hearts who follow thy example; but they are few; increase their number by thy prayers, that so the Divine Lamb may be followed, whithersoever he goeth in heaven, by a countless number of virgins and martyrs.

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