St Jerome Emiliani, Confessor; Com. S. Margaritæ Virg. et Mart: Missa “Effúsum est in terra”
Saint Jerome Emiliani, born in 1481, was a member of one of the Christian patrician families of Venice, and in early life a soldier. Showing in his youth much inclination to virtue, he studied the humanities with success until the age of fifteen, when the clash of arms interrupted his peaceful pursuits and his practice of virtue. And then, only his ambition for honours placed limits to his disorders; it was necessary to live honourably in order to receive promotions. He was appointed governor of a fortress in the mountains of Treviso, and while defending his post with outstanding bravery, was made prisoner by the enemy. In the misery of his dungeon he invoked amid tears the great Mother of God, recognizing that his chastisement was just. He promised, nonetheless, if She would set him free, to lead a new and better life, more worthy of his Christian heritage, and to make known Her benefits in every possible way. Our Lady appeared to him at once, gave him the keys he needed, and commanded him to fulfil faithfully what he had promised. She led him out through the ranks of his enemies to the gate of the city. He went to Her church at Treviso and dedicated himself to the service of the One who had delivered him, proclaiming Her mercies to all listeners. He consigned to writing, and had notarized, an account of his deliverance.
On reaching his home in Venice he undertook a life of active charity, causing admiration in all who had known him as a worldling. His special love was for the deserted orphan children whom he found wandering in the streets during a famine and an epidemic in 1528. Already he had converted his house into a hospital, selling even its furnishings to clothe and feed the poor folk who came in great numbers to him, when they heard he had procured wheat from other regions. He acquired a house for the children, and after recovering miraculously from the illness which he had contracted during the epidemic, he himself taught them the Christian truths. Soon the accounts of his pious orphanage brought visitors, and financial aid sufficient to sustain the enterprise. He was then entrusted with the Venitian Hospital for the Incurables. When he needed some particular grace, he had four orphans under eight years of age pray with him, and the grace never failed to arrive. In Venice he was aided in his Hospital by his friends, Saint Cajetan of Thienna and Saint Peter Caraffa of Naples.
He founded a hospital in Verona and an orphanage in Padua. At Bergamo, which had been struck by a pestilence and famine, he went out with the reapers he could assemble, and cut wheat in the hottest season of the Italian summer. At their head, he sang Christian hymns in his rich voice, engaging the others to follow his example. There he founded two orphanages and succeeded in closing a number of houses of ill repute; he gave their inhabitants whom he converted a rule of life and procured a residence for them. The bishop was aiding him constantly; and he sent him out to other villages and hamlets to teach the children Christian doctrine. Multiple conversions resulted in all directions. Two holy priests joined him in Bergamo, soon followed by other noble gentlemen. This was the origin of the Congregation of Regular Clerics, called the Somascans because of their residence at Somasca, situated between Milan and Bergamo. The Congregation was approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, and the Order spread in Italy. Saint Jerome died in 1537 at the age of 56, from the illness he contracted while caring for the sick during an epidemic in the region of Bergamo.
Reflection: Let us learn from Saint Jerome to exert ourselves in behalf of the many hundreds of children whose souls are perishing around us, for want of someone to show them the way to heaven.
Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol.
INTROIT Lamentations 2:11
Lam 2:11 My gall is poured out on the ground because of the downfall of the daughter of my people, as child and infant faint away in the open spaces of the town. Ps 112:1 Praise the Lord, you children, praise the name of the Lord. Glory be… My gall is poured out on the ground because of the downfall of the daughter of my people, as child and infant faint away in the open spaces of the town.
O God, the Father of mercies, by the merits and intercession of St. Jerome, whom You willed to be the helper and father of orphans, grant that we may faithfully guard the spirit of adoption which makes us Your sons both in name and reality. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Commemoration of St Margaret of Antioch
May blessed Margaret, Virgin and Martyr, who was ever pleasing to You by the merit of her chastity and by her trust in Your power, implore for us Your forgiveness, we beseech You, O Lord. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen
EPISTLE Isa 58:7-11
Lesson from the book of Isaias. Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and He will say: ‘Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like the midday; then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Proverbs 5:16
Let your water sources be dispersed abroad, and in the streets divide your waters. Ps 111:5-6. Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; he shall never be moved. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 111:9 Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 19:13-21
At that time, little children were brought to Jesus, that He might lay His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them, Let the little children be, and do not hinder them from coming to Me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And when He had laid His hands on them, He departed from that place. And behold, a certain man came to Him and said, Good Master, what good work shall I do to have eternal life? He said to him, Why do you ask Me about what is good? One there is Who is good, and He is God. But if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to Him, Which? And Jesus said, You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honour your father and mother. And, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. The young man said to Him, All these I have kept; what is yet wanting to me? Jesus said to him, If you will be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Tobit 12:12
When you prayed with tears, and buried the dead, and left your dinner, and hid the dead by day in your house, and buried them by night, I offered your prayer to the Lord.
O most merciful God, Who in blessed Jerome graciously destroyed the old to create in him a new man in Your likeness, grant by his merits, that we, in like manner reborn, may offer You this sacrifice of atonement as a most sweet fragrance. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
St. Margaret, Virg. and Mart.
Graciously accept the sacrificial gifts offered You, O Lord, through the merits of blessed Margaret, Your Virgin and Martyr, and grant that they may prove an unfailing aid for us. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
COMMUNION ANTIPHON James 1:27
Religion pure and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to give aid to orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself unspotted from this world.
Refreshed with the bread of angels, we humbly pray You, O Lord, that we who joyfully celebrate the yearly feast of blessed Jerome, Your Confessor, may follow his example and be enabled to win a most abundant reward in Your kingdom. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
St. Margaret, Virg. and Mart.
We who have been refreshed by the richness of Your divine sacrament, beseech You, O Lord, our God, that through the intercession of blessed Margaret, Your Virgin and Martyr, we may forevermore abide in its participation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoration of Saint Margaret of Antioch Virgin and Martyr († 275)
Saint Margaret was born in the third century at Antioch of Pisidia in southern Asia Minor. Her mother died while she was an infant, and she was instructed in the Christian faith by a virtuous nurse. When her father, a pagan priest named Aedesius, learned she was a Christian, he drove her out of the house. She became a shepherdess to earn her living.
When a Roman prefect arrived in the region to persecute the Christians, Margaret was imprisoned. The prefect, fascinated by her beauty, desired to save her life and add her to the already considerable number of his wives and concubines. He decided to attempt to overcome her resistance by questioning her before an assembly consisting of virtually the entire city. Her reply to his ultimatum, offering her a choice between joy and torments, was recorded and became renowned. She said: The true life and true joy, thanks be to God, I have already found, and have placed them in the stronghold of my heart that they may never be removed. I mean that I adore and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, that I venerate Him with confidence and will never cease to honour Him with my whole soul. Know that no human power, no torture will be able to extract from my heart so great a treasure. When the prefect replied that someone had certainly put such ideas into her very young and inexperienced head, a long dialogue ensued, Margaret striving to make him understand the reason for her confidence, and that God Himself gives replies to those who believe in Him when they are questioned, according to His own promise.
Hearing her say that her Lord was not merely a man, but very genuinely God and Man at one same time, whose power was far above that of emperors, he became furious and sent her to be scourged, suspended in the air by her hands. Many spectators wept and begged her to have pity on herself. She replied: Illustrious gentlemen and noble ladies, do not weaken my courage, for as the Apostle said, bad conversation corrupts good habits. But I forgive you, because you act this way out of sympathy, and do not possess the true light… Cast into prison still alive, she was visited by a demon whom she put to flight by a sign of the cross; there followed a vision of the cross of salvation, accompanied by a voice exhorting her to persevere. When on the following day she was subjected to the torment of burning torches, she felt no pain. She continued under other ineffectual torments to exhort the spectators to understand who it was she adored, and finally was beheaded with a large number of those whom her words had caused to believe as she did.
Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8