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Once upon a time in France lived a rooster. He was a modest rooster, gold in color, with a fine comb on his head. Known through­out the region as “Chanticleer,” he was the king and protector of his farmyard.

Every morning, Chanticleer mounted the rooftop and her­alded the morning with his clear crow.

He lived to see the sun rise. Quite naturally, he thought the sun would not rise if he were not there to call it. He had doubts at times but never failed to get up ahead of the sun and crow.

Chanticleer never told anyone about raising the sun. Patou, the old watchdog, was the only one who guessed his secret. Patou’s favorite occupation was bask­ing in the sun and watching it light up the farmyard. Because of their mutual admiration for the light, the old dog and the rooster were best friends.

One day, a frightened pheasant collapsed into the chicken coop in a heap of exhaustion. “Oh!” she cried, “please hide me from the hunters who are seeking to hunt me!” Chanticleer gal­lantly hid her in Patou’s doghouse until the hunters passed.

Chanticleer was much taken with the beautiful pheasant. She certainly was much more interest­ing than the hens that only cared about pecking at grain.

However, there were some, within the farmyard and outside, that did not like Chanticleer. The owls especially disliked him, for they disliked the light and dreaded the sun that Chanticleer raised. The cat, the ducks, the turkey and the blackbird all envied him for one reason or another.

And so one starless night, while Chanticleer, Patou, and the golden pheasant slept, a secret meeting was held. Deep in a nearby thicket, the discontented farmyard animals met, and after singly giving their reasons for hating Chanticleer, it was decided that he must die. In the darkness, they hatched a plan.

In the farm over the hill lived a man who raised exotic cocks. Among these, there was an ugly, featherless rooster who was known as the champion of the fighting ring. It was arranged that he would challenge Chanticleer to a fight. “Of course,” the animals sneered, “we know who will win.”

But, the blackbird objected, “The cock won’t come!”

“Oh, yes he will!” responded the cat. “If the pheasant comes, he will come, and she will never miss such a chance to show off her beauty.”

And so, everything was set.

As time approached for the guests to arrive, the black­bird waited at the gate, watching the horizon. Finally, a line of fancy cocks was seen approaching in the dis­tance.

The blackbird began announcing the strange cocks:

“The Cock of Braekel!”

“The Wyandotte Cock!”

“The Cock of India!”

And one after the other, they strutted into the garden with all their airs of great importance.

Finally, Chanticleer appeared.

“But how should I introduce you?” asked the bewildered blackbird.

“Simply as the ‘Cock,’” replied Chanticleer.

“The Cock!” announced the blackbird.

At this, everyone fell silent.

“So, you are the Cock,” the fighting rooster said, push­ing his way through the crowd. “I am the great champion of the fighting ring that has defeated many and all.”

“And I am the Cock, the one who protects many and all,” replied Chanticleer.

“Pfuff!!” the gamecock jeered. “I live to kill and trample on those that don’t deserve to live!”

“And I . . .,” hesitated Chanticleer for a moment. Then, in an act of faith, he continued in his clear loud voice, “I live to raise the sun so that its rays may fill the world with its glorious light!”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha!” the gamecock laughed, with every­one joining in. “You think you make the sun rise? That’s too much!”

While all the animals laughed, the gamecock suddenly lunged and struck Chanticleer. A roar went up from the crowd. Chanticleer looked around and saw all the animals gathered

with eager faces, their necks stretched out and their eyes gleaming in anticipation. They were hideous.

It was a terrible moment for poor Chanticleer. Sadly he bowed his head. He understood. For the first time, he knew all of them for what they were. He felt entirely alone and deserted.

Savagely, the gamecock struck again, throwing Chanticleer to the ground. A terrible struggle for life and death began but Chanticleer’s disappoint­ment and sadness sapped his spirit. The gamecock attacked harder, quickly drawing blood.

Chanticleer defended himself as best as he could while all around the animals screamed, “Kill him! Kill him!”

At a certain moment, Chanticleer looked up, and saw the rays of the setting sun glistening on the trumpet-like shape of the cock of France atop the cathedral spire. At this sight, his whole being rejoiced, and with renewed strength he flung himself at the gamecock.

At the tremendous impact, the gamecock was hurled into the air and fell upon his own spurs. He fell back, shook, cackled and died.

Chanticleer turned away from the fake applause and walked off. Only the pheasant followed him.

“Come with me to the woods, dear Chanticleer,” she said, “there you can forget the farmyard and we can live happily together.” Chanticleer nodded and followed the beau­tiful pheasant.

But, as time went on, Chanticleer began to feel restless. The pheasant began to worry. Was not her love enough? Could Chanticleer love the sun and his duty at the farmyard more than he loved her? She had to prove to him that the sun could rise by itself. But how?

One early morning, when the stars could still be seen in their lofty dome, Chanticleer felt especially sad. At the pheasant’s insinuations, his old doubt had returned. Was it really he who raised the sun?

Realizing his state of mind, the pheasant approached him and covered him with her wing. “Dear Chanticleer, you must not be so sad. You have me!” While speaking in these sweet tones, she watched the rising sun.

For Chanticleer, everything was still dark under her warm mantle of feathers.

Slowly the sun rose higher.

Suddenly the pheasant withdrew her wing. “See?” she cried cruelly. “The sun has risen without you!”

At that, Chanticleer started violently. “Oh, no! No! Wait! Not without me!” he cried, rushing toward the light. But the horizon grew ever more golden, and he staggered backward.

She watched him closely. “You see, Chanticleer, loving one another is more than raising a sun that can’t feel or think!”

There was a moment of ­silence. Then, raising himself, he turned to her with a distant look. “No,” he said, “love is only true love in the light of a greater Light. The sun may rise without me but it will never rise with­out being heralded by my voice. I see now. I am the servant of the light. I am the one who calls the others to see the light. I am the herald of the light and so I have become a symbol of this great valley, this great France, which has placed me at the top of her cathedrals! May I remain as simple and lofty as that cock! Goodbye, Pheasant.”

With this, he turned and made his way back to his farmyard.

To this day, following his example, every barnyard cock announces the glorious rays of the rising sun.

 


* Edmund Rostand, The Story of Chanticleer (n.p., n.d.), adapted by P. Sanders.

 

 

 

DAILY QUOTE for February 23, 2019

Prayer is the conversation of a child with its Father; of a...

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February 23

 

Prayer is the conversation
of a child with its Father; of a subject with his King;
of a servant with his Lord; of a friend with the Friend
to whom he confides
all his troubles and difficulties.

St. John Vianney

  
Tell NETFLIX to CANCEL its EVIL Teenage Witchcraft Series

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Polycarp

A spear was thrust into his side, killing him. A dove flew o...

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St. Polycarp

Polycarp, a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, was part of the group of early bishops. When heresy arose in Asia, violence toward Catholics arose with it, and Polycarp was persuaded by his friends to go into hiding.

Eventually Polycarp was found and arrested. When his persecutors arrived at his hideout, he went to them and served them a meal, asking for a short time to pray before being taken away. Polycarp was sent to trial, where his captors tempted him with freedom and tried to convince him to denounced Our Lord. “Fourscore and six years I have served Him and He hath done me no wrong,” he said, “how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

Soon after this, in the year 155, Polycarp was burnt at the stake – though there was no odor of burning flesh: instead a smell of incense was in the air. When the fire seemed to do him no harm, a spear was thrust into his side, killing him. A dove flew out of the wound, and Polycarp’s blood quenched the fire, causing part of his body to remain intact. However, his remains were later burned to ash because the heretics feared other Catholics would revere the body as a relic.

WEEKLY STORY

Cause of Our Joy

We are well aware Our Lady is constantly working and spreadi...

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Cause of Our Joy

We are well aware Our Lady is constantly working and spreading her graces as we travel to homes with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. On a recent visit in south Texas, we were surprised to see Our Lady’s visit to one household as the culmination of a beautiful story of grace, nine months in the making.  

Our hosts had gathered friends and neighbors from their small town on a sunny afternoon to welcome the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. As the program progressed, the lady of the house asked to tell a story about a certain grace she had received.

Two years ago, her daughter had suffered a miscarriage in her first pregnancy, which had a devastating effect on the family. This past year, the same daughter again became pregnant.  However, rather than being a cause for rejoicing, the family was apprehensive due to what had happened previously. Our hostess then explained how she and her husband vowed to take a dozen roses at the beginning of each month of the pregnancy to Our Lady’s shrine at the local parish, asking the Queen of Heaven for a safe delivery.

The florist of the town, upon hearing the story, took great care to make an extra-beautiful bouquet in honor of our Blessed Mother.

For nine months, the couple was faithful in bringing the flowers and asking Our Lady’s powerful help. To their great surprise, the final time coincided with our visit with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Our hostess began to cry tears of joy in telling the story, so honored was she to have such a clear sign of the intercession of the Mother of God. She then told that the doctors all gave reports of a healthy pregnancy, and the child was due any day now. The last bouquet of roses, lovingly arranged by the town’s florist, was placed at the feet of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in thanksgiving for a healthy pregnancy and their soon to be newborn grandchild.

We later learned that a healthy boy was born two days after the visit. Not only did Our Lady grant new life to a family who was so eager to welcome it, but she also restored the hope and strengthened the faith of this family and all who were gathered to share their joy. This easily brought to mind one of the beautiful titles of Our Lady from the Litany of Loreto: Causa nostrae letitiae, Cause of Our Joy. May Our Lady bring to the fullness of joy all who invoke her with confidence.

By Ben Broussard

Become a Child Of Mary

We are well aware Our Lady is constantly working and spreading her graces as we travel to homes with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. On a recent visit in south Texas, we were surprised to see Our Lady’s visit to one household as the culmination of a beautiful story of grace, nine months in the making.

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