Tuesday, April 13, 2010

St. Hermenegild - What would we have done?

I was particularly impressed with today's saint on the traditional calendar. Here is Lesson iii from Matins this morning. I wonder, what would any of us done in this situation? Receive the Eucharist even though consecrated by an Arian? Could we even be sure of its validity? What of those in other schismatic communities? What would St. Hermenegild have to say about receiving from them?

From the book of Dialogues of St. Gregory, Pope

King Hermenegild, son of Leovigild, King of the Visigoths, was converted from the Arian heresy to the Catholic faith by the preaching of the venerable Leander, Bishop of Seville, one of my oldest and dearest friends. His father, an Arian, tried to persuade him to return to that heresy, both by gifts and by threats. And when Hermenegild repeatedly answered that he never could abandon the true faith, after having once known it, the father, in a fit of displeasure, deprived him not only of his right to the throne, but of all his property. And he had him put into close confinement, with chains on his neck and hands. Then the youthful King Hermenegild began to despise the earthly kingdom, and ardently to long for the heavenly kingdom; lying fettered, and wearing a hairshirt, he asked almighty God to strengthen him. But when the feast of Easter came, in the dead of night, his unbelieving father sent, as the price of his favor, an Arian bishop to him, to offer him reception of sacrilegiously consecrated Communion at the hands of said bishop. But this man, who had given himself to God, rebuked the Arian bishop when he came, as he deserved, and repudiated his bad faith with fitting reproaches. The bishop, therefore, returned to the Arian father who, being angry, immediately sent his officers to kill the unflinching Confesor of God in the place where he was imprisoned.

Taken from the Roman Breviary in English, 1964 Benziger Brothers Edition

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton