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Leutfridus-Saint of Just and Holy Wrath Header

 

The following text is an excerpt from a lecture given by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira on June 20, 1967. It has been translated and adapted for publishing without the author’s revision. –Ed.

 

We will now read an excerpt on Saint Leutfridus, taken from the book: Physionomie de saints (1875) by Ernesto Hello which has been translated into English (1903) as Studies in Saintship.

Extraordinarily holy, but little known, Saint Leutfridus is an example for our mediocre days.

He was born of a good family in seventh century Neustria (present-day France). He left his family to become a Benedictine priest. After a great struggle, he founded the Abbey of the Holy Cross. He was gifted with prophesy and the ability to work miracles and was extremely severe.

One day a lady began to ridicule Saint Leutfridus for being bald. The saint replied: “Why do you poke fun at my natural defect? From now on, you will have no more hair on your head than I have on my forehead, and neither will your descendents.”

Coming across a man working in a field one Sunday, Saint Leutfridus raised his eyes to Heaven and prayed: “Lord, make this land eternally sterile.” From then on, neither grain nor wheat was ever seen in the field again. In its place, there were only thorns and thistles.

These are magnificent stories!  

Saint Leutfridus had an abundant zeal for justice, but was even more ardently merciful.

This principle is important: Saint Leutfridus was both just and merciful. These two virtues must go hand in hand.

Saint Leutfridus was even ardently charitable while angry and when reprimanding…these were parallel lines of his life. 

When one of his monks died, his brothers found three coins in his pocket. This showed that the deceased had violated his vow of poverty. Upon learning this, Saint Leutfridus ordered that his body be buried in profane ground.

Afterwards, he made a 40-day retreat, praying and weeping for the soul of this monk, who seemed lost.

Those whose piety is merely sentimental would not understand this. Confronted by this situation, they would pray: “Oh, poor man, grant him pardon,” and consider him saved. On the contrary, Saint Leutfridus ordered him to be buried in profane ground and then made a retreat, begging for the monk’s salvation. Our Lord, Himself, possessed this combination of sternness and mercy.

After these days of retreat, the Lord revealed to Saint Leutfridus that His mercy had saved the monk’s soul, even though His justice was prepared to condemn him.

During the interim between death and salvation, the monk was in a type of limbo. Then Saint Leutfridus made a retreat, did penance and the man was saved.

Someone could wonder how this was possible since the man was already dead and judgment takes place immediately when the soul separates from the body. It is hard to say, but we cannot put limits on God’s mercy. Perhaps He left the monk’s soul fused to his body, waiting for the sacrifice of Saint Leutfridus. In any case, this story clashes with the liberal idea that the monk would be automatically saved.

Saint Leutfridus was tremendously wrathful against the devil.

Often, people react to temptations by becoming afraid of the devil, but I have seen very few who react with holy hatred and furiously fight against him. We should all strive to attain this holy wrath.

When Satan approaches, we should be filled with anger and hatred, because the devil is the declared enemy of God and our souls. He wishes us every form of evil. Thus, when we are tempted, we should react with militant execration, like Saint Michael did.

 

Once, a friar called Saint Leutfridus from his cell to tell him that the devil was appearing in the chapel. Recognizing his old enemy, the saint ran to the Chapel and made the sign of the cross over the doors and windows, which closed, blocking all the exits.

Wisely, he captured the devil first, so that he could not get away.

Advancing towards the devil, the saint furiously beat him. The devil wanted to flee, but all the exits were blocked. Normally, he could have instantly left the body he had taken up, but apparently he had not permission to do so. God wanted to humiliate him further under Saint Leutfridus’ blows.

This is a splendid scene. The beating was physically given and spiritually felt, all under the Sign of the Cross. Just as the wicked souls are burned by Hell’s material fire, so too the devil’s soul was made to feel the saint’s blows.

Saint Leutfridus beat the body that was merely a doll of the devil.

Naturally, these blows tormented and humiliated the devil. We too can increase his torment. This is particularly excellent when Satan provokes an attack. Then, the counter-attack gives glory to Our Lady by showing that her children’s hatred of the devil is greater than his hatred of men.

God obliged the devil to flee by way of the belfry, so that he would feel his defeat more sensibly.

The devil was forced to flee by way of the tower, under the continued blows of Saint Leutfridus. We would love to have seen the saint deliver the final blow!

We can imagine the scene: Saint Leutfridus is an old man with white hair and a white beard, but still fit and possessing chestnut eyes. He is very strong and beats the devil with utter hatred, yet maintains perfect serenity. All the while, the devil’s doll, moaning and writhing, retreats from sight, by way of the belfry. 

 

Since we only fight and struggle as far as our anger propels us, just wrath is important. We should strive to develop a holy wrath against the devil that is always vigilant and never sleeps.

Just as a mother with a very sick child sleeps with a wakeful heart, we too should sleep with our hearts in a state of continual vigilance. We should be able to proclaim that even while asleep, we remain a living torch of hatred against the devil.

Thus, we will be able to say: “I sleep, but my heart looks in hope for an occasion to give greater glory the Blessed Virgin.”  

 


 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 17, 2021

People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they lo...

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January 17

 

People hate the truth
for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth.
They love truth when it shines warmly upon them
and hate it
when it rebukes them.

St. Augustine of Hippo


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony’s parents died before he was twenty leaving him in...

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St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony was born in 251 in the village of Koman, south of Memphis in Egypt. Anthony’s well-to-do parents died before he was twenty leaving him in charge of a younger sister, and the owner of a considerable estate.

In 272, wishing to leave all to follow Christ, after securing his sister’s support and upbringing, he distributed his holdings among the poor, and retired to a life of solitude. He lived a life of penance, sleeping on a rush mat on the bare floor, eating and drinking bread and water. The devil was allowed to attack him grievously, on one occasion subjecting him to a beating that left him for dead, only to be saved by friends.  Anthony emerged victorious from all these trials.

At the age of thirty-five, the holy hermit moved from his solitude in the vicinity of his native village, to a location across the eastern branch of the river Nile where he made his abode in some ruins on the summit of a mountain. There he lived for twenty years, rarely seeing any man except one who brought him bread every so often.

St. Athanasius, his friend and first biographer, speaks of Anthony as not only spending his time in prayer and meditation but also in making mats. He also gardened.

At fifty-four, being sought out by men who wanted to follow his way of life, Anthony founded his first monastery in Fayum in a series of scattered caves, which he visited occasionally.

In 311 as religious persecution again broke out under Emperor Maximinus, Anthony left his solitude to give courage to the martyrs in Alexandria. When the persecution abated, he returned to his previous solitude. He later founded another community of monks near the Nile called Pispir, though he continued to live on his mountain.

Years later, at the request of the bishops, Anthony again journeyed to Alexandria to confute the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ. All ran to hear the holy hermit, and even pagans, struck by the dignity of his character, flocked around him. Heathen teachers and philosophers often sought him out, and were astounded at his meekness and wisdom.

Anthony died at age 101 surrounded by his spiritual sons in his hermitage on Mount Kolsim. His last words were, “Farewell, my children, Anthony is departing and will no longer be with you.” Thus saying, he stretched out his feet and calmly ceased to breathe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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