The CAPG's Blog
The Catholic Priest
It is quite generally believed that of all the mortals who journey through life’s weary pilgrimage, the Catholic priest is the most fortunate. For the priest, who is true to his exalted vocation, lives of the life of grace, has God as his portion in time and eternity, may well be envied. It is not, however, to the spiritual blessings enjoyed by the true priest men refer when calling him fortunate. “What a fine time the priest has,” says one, “plenty to eat and nothing to do.”
Such is the popular view of priestly life. The real priest is a very different sort of man. The guide and ruler of his flock, his every word and act is closely observed. His most heroic acts of self-sacrifice and virtue pass unnoticed, his
slightest imperfection is magnified and trumpeted abroad. Though he labors for years with the most disinterested zeal for the good of religion, depriving himself of the pittance to which he is entitled for his own support that the poor may be provided for and the faith preserved among the youth; though for long years he makes of himself a very martyr for the benefit of his people, if but one error of judgment be found in his life’s work, all the good effected is forgotten and his one mistake alone held in lasting remembrance. The approbation of men not being the object of the priest’s life, the world’s verdict matters little to him so long as he is conscious of having done his duty; nevertheless, men should endeavor to be just to one another, even in trivial matters.
The ideal priest has a pleasant life of it. He says his daily Mass, recites his office, amuses himself with the little children, visits his people, and lives to a ripe old age. No trouble, no labor of any kind. The real priest finds souls going to perdition for want of religious instruction. He must found and support Catholic schools. He finds the intemperate habits of the people undermining faith and proving a stumbling-block in the way of searchers after the truth. He must wage war against a powerful element among his flock. He finds family feuds of long standing to be overcome. There are perhaps several opposing factions in the congregation. The church, through some cause or other, is burdened with debt, or stands in need of repairs. The poor of the parish must be attended to. Here is work enough to do, and done it must be. Money is needed to support the schools. The expenses of the church must be met and money is required wherewith to meet them. The poor must live, and money is necessary for their support. The orphans require aid. Again money is needed. As Catholic charity knows no limit, the real priest makes known to his people these various needs of religion, confident that many will heed his words and correspond with his wishes. But how many there are who seem to think that the priest is begging for himself when he appeals for money on these different occasions! Listen to some members of the congregation leaving the church on a Sunday after a “money-sermon” has been preached. We recently heard a young man, the recipient of many favors from his pastor, pouring forth his pent-up indignation because his good pastor had asked him to contribute a few dollars toward a charitable object. The ungrateful wretch could not understand what the priest did with all the money he received, though he understood very well that the priest had never received any money from him. This young man’s parents died when he was six years old, and the writer of this article knows for a positive fact that the priest’s money was once used for paying for food and clothing for this same young man. He was educated by his pastor, and it was owing to his influence that this young ingrate now holds a splendid position.
Busy days and often sleepless nights, financial difficulties, disappointments, misrepresentation, exposure to heat and cold and contagion—these are a few of the temporal blessings enjoyed by the priest here below. Add to these the fact that after a long life of usefulness one mistake may suffice to cast him adrift upon the world without means and without friends, and the life of the average priest appears in its true colors—a life of weary anxiety and suffering; a life awaiting no human reward, but expecting the reward of the life to come.
Source: Truth, (A Monthly Magazine for the Dissemination of the Truth concerning the Doctrines, History, and Practices of
the Catholic Church.) Published by The International Catholic Truth Society. Rev. Fr. Wm. F. McGinnins, D.D. Editor-in-Chief NY Vol. XIX. April, 1915 NO.4
Thrones and Scepters
Thrones and scepters and crowns have withstood the hierarchy of the Church; but, immutable, like God, who laid its foundation, it is the firm, unshaken center round which the weal and woe of nations move - weal if they adhere to it - woe if they separate from it.
If the world takes from the Pope, the bishops, and priests of the Catholic Church, the cross of gold, they will bless the world with one of wood. If necessary, popes, bishops and priests can suffer and die for the welfare of the world, as Jesus suffered and died. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is immortal.
Source: The Catholic Priest, Rev. Michael Muller C.S.S.R
Ideals, False and True
" Unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" — Matt. v. 20.
At all times men have had ideals of goodness which they looked up to and admired, and which the best among them have had the ambition to imitate. The popular ideal of the Jews when Christ came, was represented by the Pharisees, — men orthodox in faith, correct in life, ardent in the love of country, strict in the observance of the Law. Such men could not fail to win influence and popularity; and they enjoyed both in a high degree. The people who gathered round Our Savior on the Mount did not conceive of any form of life higher or better than what they had hitherto looked up to in their accredited teachers; yet He tells them plainly that their qualities were entirely insufficient to secure admittance into His kingdom. What a shock it must have been to them to hear this for the first time! But if they will only wait, the divine Teacher will show them how incomplete, and in most cases how hollow, were the lives they so admired.
From the facts of the Gospel narrative, and still more from the unsparing denunciations of Our Lord himself (Matt, xxiii. 13, and foll., Luke xvi. 39, and foll.), we may easily gather what were the shortcomings and vices of the Pharisees. Their "formalism" first of all, their exaggerated concern for externals, for the minutiae of the law, united with a practical disregard for its fundamental principles. Next, "their pride" and self-importance, revealing itself at every step, and leading to hardness of heart, and contempt for others. Finally, " their ostentation " and constant display of whatever in their lives and actions could win them the admiration of the people.
The Gospel is the opposite of all this. It leads men back to fundamental things, to the indestructible principles of justice and of love. It teaches them to act righteously for righteousness' sake, to look to God for approval, not to man. It keeps their weaknesses before them, humbles them, and makes them think more of others than of themselves. In a word, the Christian type is the exact opposite of that of the Pharisee, and something incomparably nobler and higher, even in the most unpretending of those who follow it.
Indeed, the Pharisaic type, in its crude, unmitigated form, has become unbearable to the modern mind, fashioned by Christian traditions. But because it is, after all, true to man's natural instincts, it has not entirely disappeared from the world. Something of it may be found even in the life of a priest. He may be good, faithful, zealous ; yet, at the same time, self-important, exacting, sedulous in cultivating public opinion, eager for praise. His composed demeanor and his devotional practices may conceal even from himself much that is mean and selfish. In his concern for minor objects, he may "neglect the weightier things of the law : judgment, and mercy, and faith ; " and while " cleansing the outside of the dish" overlook the impurities it may contain.
A priest, too, may select and follow false ideals; nor is the thing at all uncommon Thus he may not fully believe in the purely Christian virtues, — such as humility, gentleness, self-denial — or in the special requirements of the priestly character. He may not even believe in the higher forms of natural virtue, all based on self-sacrifice. His ideal may be practically that of the popular priest, the successful priest ; that is, successful in doing external work, or in reaching positions of honor or emolument. His principal ambition may be to secure what will lighten, and lengthen, and sweeten existence — just like any man of the world. And yet, " unless his justice abound more than that " of those men to whom he looks up with envy, he is unfit for the work of the priesthood; and, if he has assumed its responsibilities and fails to bear them, he is unfit for the kingdom of heaven.
The truth is, the ideal of the priesthood is not an open question at all. What sort of man a priest ought to be, what is implied in his sacred character, what he is really pledged to by the reception of orders, is determined almost as precisely as the doctrines of faith, and has varied as little in the course of Christian ages. It can be gathered from the Gospel; it is found in St. Paul ; it is spread out in the pages of the Fathers, in the enactments of councils, in the teachings of the Saints ; and everywhere it is visibly and unmistakably the same.
You are not your own
The priest is a steward in charge of interests not his own. He is a servant, as servant of all work, expected to be helpful all round and all day long. He can work for nobody but his Master. His rule is that of our Lord himself.
Priests of God, you are not your own.
Source: Daily thoughts for priests by Fr. John Hogan 1899
We live in a country and in a period of restless activity, of advertising and being advertised,
of nervous anxiety for results almost at any cost. How sad to see priests caught up and carried
away by the flood, losing the merit of their lives, not to say their very souls, while saving others!
Like those of whom Our Lord speaks, they prophesy by the earnestness of their preaching; they
cast ou devils by the power of the sacraments; they work wonders of material construction and
organization; but they are sustained in it all and borne along chiefly by natural impulse, by
exuberant activity, by the spirit of pride, by the desire to be talked of by their people and by
their fellow priests, by all manner of human motives worthless in the sight of God.
Only at the judgment of God - "on that day"- will they know, will the world know,
in what depths of spiritual poverty they have lived and died.
Source: Daily Thoughts for Priests, Fr. John B. Hogan
Priests are drones in the Hive! of What use are they?
Answer: They are of use in saving souls! Certainly, here is an employment which is at least as good as many others.
The mechanic works upon matter; the priest works on the soul. As much as the soul is higher than matter, so much is the priest's work higher than all the labors of the earth.
The priest continues the great labor of the salvation of mankind. Jesus Christ, his God and his Model, began it; His priests continue through all ages.
After His example, the priest goes about doing good. He is a man who belongs to all; his heart, his time, his health, his diligence, his purse, his life, belong to all; above all, to the lowly ones of the earth, to children, to the poor, the neglected, those who weep, and who are friendless. He expects nothing in exchange for this devotedness; most frequently, indeed, he receives only insults, abominable calumnies and ill treatment. True disciple of his Divine Master, he replies only by continuing to do goo.
What a life! What superhuman abnegation!
In public calamities, civil wards, contagious diseases, in times of cholera, when the Protestants ministers and philanthropists think of personal preservation, the priest is to be seen exposing his life and health to relieve and save his brethren; such was Monseigneur Affre, Archbishop of Paris, on the barricades; such were Belzunce and St. Charles Borromeo, in the time of the plage at Marseilles and Milan; such, during the cholera in 1832 and 1849, all the clergy of Paris and so many other towns, who made themselves the public servants of the whole people.
This, then, is the use of priests! I should like to know if those who attack them are of more use.
The ungrateful wretches! They are never weary of loading with insults him whom they summon to their bedside in time of sorrow or privation, who has blessed them in their earlier years, and who never ceases to pray for them.
All the miseries of our country arise from our not practicing what the priests teach. And unfortunate France, torn with civil discords and political commotions, may apply to herself the language addressed to the chaplain of one of the Paris prisons by a poor convict, who had returned to God with all his heart. The priest had given him a little Christian's manual. "Ah Father!" he said one day, showing the little book, "If I had known the contents of this, and had practiced these maxims all my life, I should not have done what I have now done, nor should I have been where I now am!"
If France had always known, and if she now knew what priests really do teach, and if she had always practiced those doctrines, and continued doing so, she would not have been tossed about by three or four revolutions in the space of fifty years, and be reduced to ask herself in the present day, Am I about to perish entirely? Can I still hope to be saved from destruction?
She may hope to be saved, if she will again be truly Catholic! She may hope to be saved if she will but take heed to the ministers of Him who SAVES the world.
The priesthood is then the safety of France! For without religion society would be destroyed.
Her children, then, owe honor, veneration, gratitude, more than ever to the priestly character. Those who repulse the idea have not the intelligence of our age or country.
Away with these worn-out prejudices, then. Away with these coarse and injurious epithets, with which the blind impiety of Voltaire and his followers have so long assailed the Catholic Priesthood!
Let us respect our Priests. If we see imperfections, even vices occasionally, among them, let us remember that we must ascribe to the man all that belongs to frailty.
Let us endeavor, in those cases, not to look at the man, to see nothing but the priest; as a priest, he is always worthy of respect, and his ministry is always a holy one; for he is the perpetuator of the office of Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, through successive ages, and it is of him that the Savior has said, " He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Him that sent you."
Source: Short Answer to Common Objections Against Religion, by Louis Gaston Adrien de Segur
Priests make a trade of religion, they do not believe what they preach.
Answer: What do you venture to assert? The priests of Jesus Christ are impostors! Pray, how do you know that? How can you read their hearts, and pronounce whether they believe or do not believe in the sacred origin of their priesthood? It is the accuser's business to prove what he advances. I defy you to prove this accusation.
You will, perhaps, cite, by way of proof, the name of some bad priest.
I must then remind you that the exception proves the rule. A wicked, unbelieving priest would not be so much the subject of comment if the great majority were not so holy, pure and venerable.
A spot of ink is seen with extraordinary distinctness on a pure white robe; it would be hardly perceptible if the robe were black or soiled.
So it is with the Catholic priesthood, to whom impiety thus pays an involuntary homage.
That there are bad priests is not a strange thing. Remember there was a Judas among the twelve Apostle! Just as the Apostles, the first priests, the first Bishops of the Church, thrust out the traitor from among them, and were not responsible for his crime, so the Church condemns, with even more energy and horror than you yourselves express, those traitorous priests who desert their sublime duties! She first endeavors to bring them back into the right way by gentleness and pardon; priests, as well as other men, have aright to mercy; but the irreclaimable, those who persevere in the bad road, she cuts off from her communion, and strikes them with her anathemas.
Priests are impostors! And what interest have they then in hearing your confessions, reproving you for your vices, preaching to you, catechizing your children, feeding the poor, giving to this one good advice; to that one, consolation; to another, bread?
Would it be possible to curtail by a farthing their slender revenues, and the still more slender nature of their occasional fees, if they kept silence about the irregularities and excess of their parishioners, if they admitted any or every person to the sacraments, without giving themselves the trouble of examining the state of their conscience, or if they were to abridge their catechizing, etc.? What worldly interest have they then in fulfilling well their ministry?
No, no; the priest is not what the impious proclaim him to be, and it is because they are aware of this that these people detest the priest so cordially. They see in him the representative of the God Who condemns their vices, the envoy of Jesus Christ, whom they blaspheme, and Who will judge them. They see in him the personification of that law of God which they unceasingly violate; and it is because they do not wish to acknowledge the Master that they do not wish to recognize His minister.
Source: Short Answer to Common Objections Against Religion, Fr. Louis Gaston Adrien de Segur
We read in last Sunday's Gospel, (the Octave of the Epiphany), that at the age of twelve our Lord remained in the temple disputing with the doctors, and when found by Mary and Joseph, who had been sorrowfully seeking Him, He replied:" Nesciebatis quia in his quoe Patris mei sunt, oportet me esse." (St. Luke ii. 49)
Well, we also are, or ought to be, about our Father's business, the saving of the souls of our brethren. This alone is our mission. For ourselves especially, we must strive to convert the poor of St. Galla and in the country districts. This is what God asks of each one of us.
How have we responded to the call? To take one thing only, how have we taught the catechism? Parvuli petierunt panem et non erat qui frangeret eis. We go and preach in public places, but with what ardor? Are we not glad of the smallest excuse to escape it? The souls of our neighbors are in our hands, and yet how many are lost through our fault? The sick die without being properly prepared, for we have not given time or care enough to each particular case. We are easily rebuffed, and ready enough to leave them, and say to ourselves: "Well, after all, it's their own fault if they won't listen to us." Yet, with a little more patience, a little more perseverance, a little more love, in fact, we could have led those poor souls to heaven. Many among us shrink from going to the hospitals, either on account of fear of infection, or from the sights and smells that await us there. Courage!
We are not come into the world to follow our own will and pleasure, but to imitate our Lord. "No quoero voluntatem mean, sed voluntatem ejus qui mist me." (St. John v. 36) If we experience some repugnance in our work, either from its nature, or from the unwillingness of the poor to listen to us, let us think of the example of St. Francis of Sales, who shrunk from no labor, no fatigue, and was rewarded by the conversion of seventy thousand heretics, and when reproached for having shortened his life by these means, replied, " It is nor necessary that I should live, but it is necessary that souls should be saved." This should be our motto. Let us, then, learn greater perseverance in good works; do not let us get tepid and hopeless when unexpected difficulties arise, but let us strive courageously to surmount them, being thoroughly persuaded that such is the will of God.
Again, let us ask ourselves, " How did the saints act in similar circumstances?" Look at ST. Philip Neri and St. Igantius. The first was sent for to assist a lady on her death bed. Her husband imagined, in his blind fury, that she would be persuaded to make a will in the saint's favor, and maddened by cupidity, declared that if the holy man came near the house he would kill him. St. Philip, nothing daunted, went to the lady, and administered to her all the last sacraments, and by thereby fulfilling simply what he felt was the will of God escaped all injury.
In the time of St. Ignatius, a certain convent had become a subject of public scandal, from the freedom given in the parlor, where all the smartest young men of the city went to see the nuns. St. Ignatius, with enormous difficulty, induced these faithless religious to return to their duties and banish their visitors in spite of the menaces of the young men, who, finding that St. Ignatius was determined to carry out his purpose, waylaid him one night and beat him till he was nearly dead. Nevertheless, the Saint persevered because he felt he was thereby doing the will of God.
Such examples should stimulate our zeal and our constancy. But we need only imitate certain pious laics of our acquaintance, both men and women, who show themselves real apostles of charity, nursing the sick, assisting them in their last hours, hastening to procure good confessors for them, and the like. Shall we be outdone by these voluntary laborers? I do not say that there must not be prudence in our actions; and that unwise zeal sometimes does much harm; but who does not feel his heart burn with the fire of charity for the many suffering, abandoned souls in this sad world? We fancy that we have this love, but how do we prove it? To believe is not enough; we must test it by our actions, prove it by our deeds, toil for them in the sweat of our brow. Without this, how can we declare we have real charity?
Rome is full of ignorance and blindness of heart. Grievous sins are committed constantly in this city; its inhabitants will not listen to those who strive to put Christian thoughts into their minds. They only hearken to worldly advice, and turn a deaf ear to all that comes from God. In so great a peril, who is to be found who will really devote himself to find a remedy? Alas! Charity in our day has waxed cold.
Novena for Priests for Pentecost
Jesus, Good Shepherd, You sent us the Holy Spirit to guide Your Church and lead her faithful to You through the ministry of Your priests.
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, grant to Your priests wisdom in leading, faithfulness in teaching, and holiness in guarding Your sacred Mysteries.
As they cry out with all the faithful, "Abba, Father!" may Your priests be ever more closely identified with You in Your divine Sonship and offer their own lives with You, the one saving Victim. Make them helpful brothers of one another, and understanding fathers of all Your people. On this Pentecost Sunday, renew in Your priests deeper faith, greater trust in You, childlike reliance on our Mother Mary, and unwavering fidelity to the Holy Father and his bishops.
Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.
St. Joseph, protect them.
St. Michael, defend them.
St. John Vianney, pray for them.
source: Cure d'Ars Prayer Group
Our Savior ascended into Heaven in order to leave Priests upon earth as stewards and dispensers of the gifts which (as St. Thomas says) He sends from His eternal throne in Heaven, where He sits as God and Lord.
If visible miracles are less frequent in these days than they were in the first ages of Christianity, yet spiritual miracles are still of frequent occurrence; for says St. Gregory Holy Church now works in spiritual things what the Apostles did in corporal things. In truth, Her ministers cast our the devil from the souls of the Faithful; they speak with that tongue of the Apostles which is not spoken by others; they take up serpents, that is to say, those vices which creep about the world, and would induce penitents to fall again into sins; in Sacramental Confession they drink in with the ear the poison of sinful narratives, and this poison does not hurt them; they cure the sick, that is to say, those who are tormented with spiritual maladies, so says St. Bernard. And these miracles are greater than corporal miracles, inasmuch as they are concerned with men's souls, with grace, with eternity; which are more precious than the body, and nature, and time, says St. Gregory.
Therefore, let us rejoice in the Lord that we (priests) are destined to such great works!
Source: Meditations for the use of the Clergy, Fr. Angelo Scotti
Rogation Days, Prayer without Ceasing
May 18, 19, and 20 are three days of prayers and fasting that were traditionally known as Rogation Days.
Below you will find historical information I gathered from different sources:
"Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday were instituted by the Church to appease divine justice, to ask protection in calamities, and invoke Godʼs blessing on the harvest .
These Rogation Days are of French origin, coming about in the 5th c., when St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne, Dauphiné instituted them after a series of natural calamities.
Rogation is simply an English form of the Latin rogatio, which comes from the verb rogare, which means "to ask". The Rogation Days were marked by the recitation of the litany of the Saints which would normally begin in or at a church.
After Saint Mary was invoked, the congregation would proceed to walk the boundaries of the parish, while reciting the rest of the litany (and repeating it as necessary or supplementing it with some of the penitential or gradual Psalms). Thus, the entire parish would be blessed, and the boundaries of the parish would be marked. The procession would end with a Rogation Mass, in which all in the parish were expected to take part.
If your parish does not celebrate the Rogation Days, you mark the days by reciting the Litany of the saints and fasting.
One ought not to be a bigot.
Answer: Certainly one ought not to be a bigot! Who says you should? Do those who rant most about bigotry really know what bigotry is? If so, it would be well to use the knowledge for their own improvement: for generally they are the most intensely bigoted bigots. They are so deeply immersed in their own little puddle of bigotry that they cannot see a whole ocean of fairness beyond them.
Bigotry is not religion, it is the abuse of it.
The defects of persons who are guilty of that abuse, generally from ignorance, ought not to be imputed to Religion.
Religion is abused, like every good thing in the world. We must reject the abuse, and retain the use. We must be pious, but we must not be bigots. God loves one, but He does not love the other. The desires to behold in our hearts devotion, that is, devotedness to His service, devotedness to the duties which He imposes, and love of His commandments; but He does not desire to see bigotry reigning in them, that is to say, those enthusiastic, those narrow-minded or superstitiously religious practices, which often replace the chief object by the accessories, and substitute the means for the end.
Nevertheless, these abuses of religion are not so universal and so heinous as they are generally said to be.
Generally speaking, they do not injure any one, and are only hurtful to those who commit them. Those who fall into these pitiable mistakes are unenlightened persons, who surround and fatigue themselves with numerous external forms and practices of devotion, food in themselves, but carried to too great a length; who assume a certain strangeness of manner; who torment their consciences in the fear of doing wrong; and who become excited and angry, through misguided zeal, when it would be more prudent and wise to remain silent, etc.
This is bigotry. It is a great defect, but I should be glad to think there were no worse ones here on earth! Those who inveigh so loudly against bigotry, and are indignant at the absurdities it gives rise to, are too often persons who remind one of the criminal, who, sentenced to perpetual labor for a frightful murder he had committed, was indignant at having given him for his prison companion a thief!
They are often more worthy of censure than those whom they attack.
Their profligacy, bad conduct, neglect of the most sacred duties, religious ignorance, licentious conversation, evil example, etc, etc, are not these abuses? Are they not crimes?
Their whole life is an abuse; and the abuse of devotion is, I venture to say, the only one they never commit. Would it not be as well to exchange this one for the others, I ask?
Do not, then, be a bigot, but a Christian, and a good Christian. Love God, serve Him faithfully, observe all His commandments; fulfill all your duties, so as to be pleasing in the eyes of God, and listen with docility to the teaching of the ministers of Jesus Christ.
Source: Short answers to common objections against religion By Louis Segur
Leprosy of the soul
"Ignorance is the leprosy of the soul. How many such lepers exist in the Catholic Church, even in Rome, where many men do not even know what is necessary for their salvation. It must be our business to try to cure this disease. In old times conversions of whole cities and countries were not unusual, for the zeal and faith of our predecessors in the ministry worked miracles; they were filled with the Spirit of God. Are we less strong than they were, that we are so easily tired, and so slack in our labors among the poor? Spiritum nolite extinguere.
Have we, then, hopelessly degenerated? But we need not go back to past centuries for examples. Vaselli and his fellow-missionaries did wonders in the Campagna. Let us try and deserve the like graces. Besides, if we neglect to labor for the salvation of our neighbors, let us tremble for our own. The conversion of our brethren is the object of our mission, the only real reason of our existence. It is enough for a layman to keep the commandments of God, Who will not require more at his hands. But for us it is different; as faithful imitators of our Lord, we must give our lives for the brethren. Let no fatigue, then discourage or slacken our zeal; never let us mind the hardness, or the indifference, or the rudeness of the poor. Only let us persevere, and if we have the right spirit we shall triumph over all obstacles with the grace of God, and obtain our own salvation as well as theirs."
Source: The life of st. John Baptist de Rossi by E. Mougeot
Called for the Sanctification of souls
"We are called by God Himself for the sanctification of souls. How many among the common people are lost for want of instruction! if we do not do this, laymen certainly will not; and yet, if many of these laymen were in our place, what would they not do? Even as it is, do not they often shame us by their activity and their zeal? is it not disgraceful to think that very often they labor harder than ourselves, and contribute more to the sanctification of souls? Gospel adds that after the departure of St. John the Baptist's messengers our Lord said to His disciples, " Quid exiistis in desertem videre, arundinem vento agitatam?" ( Matt. xi.8.) No, the precursor was not a feeble reed driven by the wind; his strength and courage were great, and equally remarkable was his constancy. Although in prison, he did not fear to tell Herod, Non licet tibi habere eam. He neither dreaded the anger of the tyrant, not the prison, nor the death which were in store for him; and so our Saviour adds: "Non Surrexit inter natos mulierum major Joanne Baptista."
"A generous constancy, therefore, is as necessary to us as to St. John. But how often does a slight obstacle suffice to make us give up a work we have begun, or stop us as we are beginning to undertake some useful scheme to help others?
Our predecessors were far more zealous. Persecution, ridicule, cold, heat, rain, rebuffs, nothing discouraged them, however much they might have to suffer. And so their works were accomplished, and God blessed and rewarded their constancy. Remember that we are the inheritors, not only of their position, but of their labours. We are priests, chosen by God for the salvation of His people; not to seek our own ease and comfort. let us, then, be known by our works, and may men say of us as our Lord did of St. John, "Pauperes evangelizantur."
Source: The Life of St. John Baptist de Rossi by E Mougeot
Saint John Baptist de Rossi
"He spoke often with enthusiasm of the wonderful holiness which would exist in the world if all priests really followed their vocation, and gave themselves up without reserve to the good of souls. When he had to preach the clergy retreats his words mad an indelible impression on the hearts of those who heard him and the very doors of the chapel were crammed with eager listeners. Once, at Spello, he was asked to give conferences to the clergy of the town and neighborhood. His success was such that no one would miss a single one of his instructions, and the convents were closed so that all the religious, without exception, might be able to attend them. He took special pains with those who had the power of hearing confessions, for they were the most actively employed in saving souls. Such was the work done by our saint among the Roman clergy.