Saint Felix of Valois, Confessor and Religious Founder: Missa “Justus ut palma florebit”
Saint Felix of Valois was born in 1127 and died at Cerfroi on November 4, 1212. He was surnamed Valois because, according to some, he was a member of the royal branch of Valois in France, according to others, because he was a native of the province of Valois.
At an early age he renounced his possessions and retired to a dense forest in the Diocese of Meaux, where he gave himself to prayer and contemplation. He was joined in his retreat by St. John of Matha, who proposed to him the project of founding an order for the redemption of captives. After fervent prayer, Felix in company with John set out for Rome and arrived there in beginning of the pontificate of Innocent III. They had letters of recommendation from the Bishop of Paris, and the new pope received them with the utmost kindness and lodged them in his palace. The project of founding the order was considered in several solemn conclaves of cardinals and prelates, and the pope after fervent prayer decided that these holy men were inspired by God, and raised up for the good of the Church. He solemnly confirmed their order, which he named the Order of the Holy Trinity for the Redemption of Captives.
The pope commissioned the Bishop of Paris and the Abbot of St. Victor to draw up for the institute a rule, which was confirmed by the pope on December 17, 1198. Felix returned to France to establish the order. He was received with great enthusiasm, and King Philip Augustus authorized the institute of France and fostered it by signal benefactions. Margaret of Blois granted the order twenty acres of the wood where Felix had built his first hermitage, and on almost the same spot he erected the famous monastery of Cerfroi, the mother – house of the institute.
Within forty years the order possessed six hundred monasteries in almost every part of the world. St. Felix and St. John of Matha were forced to part, the latter went to Rome to found a house of the order, the church of which, Santa Maria in Navicella, still stands on the Caeclian Hill. St. Felix remained in France to look after the interests of the congregation. He founded a house in Paris attached to the church of St. Maturinus, which afterwards became famous under Robert Guguin, master general of the order.
Though the Bull of the canonisation is no longer extant, it is the constant tradition of his institute that he was canonised by Pope Urban IV in 1262. Du Plessis tells us that his feast was kept in the Diocese of Meaux in 1215. In 1666 Alexander VII declared him a saint because of immemorial cult. His feast was transferred to the present date by Pope Innocent XI in 1679.
INTROIT Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Lebanon: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lod: and to sing to Thy name, O most High. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat The just shall flourish like the palm tree…
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to call out of the desert blessed Felix, Thy confessor, unto the work of redeeming captives, grant, we beseech Thee,that, being through his intercession delivered by Thy grace from the captivity of our sins, we may be brought to our heavenly country. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
EPISTLE 1 Corinthians 4: 4,19
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, we are made a spectacle to the world and to angels and men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ: we are weak, but you are strong: you are honorable, but we without honor. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode, and we labor working with our own hands. We are reviled, and we bless: we are persecuted, and we suffer it: we are blasphemed, and we entreat: we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all, even until now. I write not these things to confound you, but I admonish you as my dearest children in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just man shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow in the house of the Lord. V. To proclaim Your kindness at dawn and Your faithfulness throughout the night. Alleluia, alleluia. Osee 14:6 V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, and flourish forever before the Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 12: 32-34
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom. Sell what you possess, and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in Heaven which faileth not: where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth – for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalms 20: 2, 3
In Thy Strength, O Lord, the just shall joy, and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the offering of our lowliness may be pleasing to Thee in honor of Thy saints, and purify us in both body and mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 19: 28-29
Amen I say to you, that you, who have left all things and followed Me, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
We pray Thee, O almighty God, that, having received heavenly nourishment, we may thereby, through the intercession of blessed Felix, Thy confessor, be fortified against all harm and danger. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.