[In this life,] to love God is something greater than to know Him. —St. Thomas Aquinas
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Quote Isidore, the admirable teacher, was a Spaniard by birth, being the son of Severian, governor of the Province of Carthagena. He was trained up in all godliness and learning by his holy brethren Leander, Archbishop of Seville, and Fulgentius, Bishop of Carthagena. He was well instructed in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew letters, and he came from his masters a most eminent scholar in all human knowledge, and a pattern of all Christian graces. While yet he was very young, he attacked with such firmness the Arian heresy, which had of former times polluted the Gothic nation, who then were the chief rulers of Spain, that he was near being murdered by the heretics. After that Leander was departed this life, Isidore was chosen to the See of Seville, against his own will, but at the vehement instance of King Reccared, and with the strong assent of the clergy and people. Holy Gregory the Great not only confirmed his election by his own Apostolic authority, and caused him to be adorned, as is the custom, with a Pallium sent from the body of Blessed Peter, but is also stated to have appointed him Vicar of the Apostolic See for all Spain. When he was Archbishop no tongue can tell how leal he was, how lowly, and meek, and merciful, how careful to restore the laws of Christianity and the Church, and how unwearied in establishing the same by his word and writings, yea, how brightly he shone in all graces. He was a leading promoter and spreader of monastic institutions throughout Spain. He built many monasteries. He founded colleges in which, when his duty allowed him spare time for sacred study and reading, he taught the many disciples who betook themselves to him from all quarters. Among these, two of the most distinguished were the holy Bishops Ildephonsus of Toledo, and Braulio of Saragossa. He called the Council of Seville, wherein, in a most incisive and eloquent discourse, he shattered and crushed the heresy of the Acephali, by which Spain was then threatened. So great was his fame among all men for the holiness of his life and doctrine, that scarcely sixteen years after his death the whole Council of Toledo, by the acclamation of more than fifty Bishops, among whom was the holy Ildephonsus himself, declared him to be worthy to be called the excellent Teacher, the newest ornament of the Catholic Church, one whose learning would endure to the end of the world, and of worshipful memory. It was the opinion of the holy Braulio that he was not only fit to be compared to Gregory the Great, but also that he was a gift from God to Spain instead of the Apostle James. Isidore wrote Books of Etymologies and on Church Offices, and likewise many others, so useful in the administration of Christian and Church Law, that the holy Pope Leo IV felt no scruple in writing to the Bishops of Britain, that the sayings of Isidore were worthy to be kept like those of Jerome and Augustine, whenever there is to be done some strange work, wherein the rules of the Canon Law are not enough defined. Many sentences from his writings may also be discovered embedded in the Canon Law of the Church itself. He presided over the Fourth Council of Toledo, the most celebrated that ever met in Spain. Before his death he had purged Spain of the Arian heresy, and publicly foretold his own dissolution and the wasting of the kingdom by the Saracens which was to come. He passed away to heaven, at Seville, where he had ruled his Church for forty years, (upon the 4th day of April,) in the year of our Lord 636. In accordance with his own commands, his body was first buried between his brother Leander and his sister Florentina, but Ferdinand I, King of Castille and Leon, bought it for a great price from Enet, the Saracen, who then ruled at Seville, carried it to Leon, and there built a Church in honour of him, wherein his said body lieth, illustrious through miracles, and reverenced with great worship by the people.
Quote from: Fr. Alban ButlerST ISIDORE THE HUSBANDMAN (A.D. 1130)In the United States of America this feast is celebrated on 25 October.The patron of Madrid was born in the Spanish capital of poor parents, and was christened Isidore after the celebrated archbishop of Seville. Although unable to procure educational advantages for their son, his father and mother early instilled into his mind a great horror of sin and a love of prayer. As soon as he was old enough to work, Isidore entered the service of John de Vergas) a wealthy resident of Madrid, as a farm labourer on his estate outside the city, and with that one employer he remained all his life. He married a girl as poor and as good as himself, but after the birth of one son, who died young, they agreed to serve God In perfect continence. Isidore's whole life was a model of Christian perfection lived in the world. He would rise early to go to church, and all day long, whilst his hand guided the plough, he would be communing with God, with his guardian angel or with the holy saints. Public holidays he would spend in visiting the churches of Madrid and the neighbouring districts. Kind and helpful though he always was to others, he did not escape detraction. His fellow workmen complained that his attendance at church caused him to be late in starting work. To test the truth of this accusation, de Vergas hid himself to watch. He saw that Isidore did actually arrive after his fellow labourers, and he was advancing to upbraid him for his irregularity when he was surprised, we are told, to see a second team of snow-white oxen led by unknown figures ploughing beside that driven by Isidore. As he stood watching, rooted to the ground, the strange team disappeared and he realized that supernatural help had supplied all that was lacking. Other people also reported having seen angels assisting Isidore, and John de Vergas came to revere his servant who, it is said, worked miracles for the benefit of his employer and his family.The saint's liberality to the poor was so great that he was wont to share his meals with them, often reserving for himself only the scraps they left over. On one occasion, when he had been invited to a confraternity dinner, he remained so long in church absorbed in prayer that the feast was nearly over before he made his appearance—followed by a train of beggars. His hosts expostulated, saying that they had reserved for him his portion, but that they could not possibly feed the whole crowd. St Isidore replied that there would be ample for himself and for Christ's poor. So, indeed, it happened, for when the food was produced there was enough and to spare for them all. Amongst the numerous stories told of the holy man is one which illustrates his love for animals. On a snowy winter's day, as he was carrying a sack of corn to be ground, he saw a number of birds perched disconsolately on the bare branches, obviously unable to find anything to eat. Isidore opened the sack and, in spite of the jeers of a companion, poured out half its contents upon the ground. When, however, they reached their destination the sack proved to be still full and the corn, when ground, produced double the usual amount of flour.St Isidore died on May 15, 1130. His wife survived him for several years and, like him, is honoured as a saint. In Spain she is venerated as Santa Maria de la Cabeza, because her head (Sp. cabeza) is often carried in procession in times of drought. Forty years after the death of St Isidore his body was transferred to a more honourable shrine, and a great impetus was given to his cultus by the report of many miracles worked through his intercession. In 1211 he is said to have appeared in a vision to King Alphonsus of Castile, then fighting the Moors in the pass of Navas de Tolosa, and to have shown him an unknown path by means of which he was able to surprise and defeat the enemy. More than four hundred years later, King Philip III of Spain was taken so ill at Casaribios del Monte that his life was despaired of by the physicians. Thereupon the shrine of St Isidore was carried in solemn procession from Madrid to the sick monarch's room; at the hour the relics were removed from the church of St Andrew, the fever left the king, and when they were brought into his presence he recovered completely. The Spanish royal family had long desired to have St Isidore formally enrolled amongst the saints, and in March 1622 he was duly canonized together with St Ignatius, St Francis Xavier, St Teresa and St Philip Neri. In Spain this holy quintet are commonly spoken of as "The Five Saints".The foundation document upon which our knowledge of the saint is almost entirely based is a life by "John the Deacon", probably identical with the Franciscan writer Johannes Aegidius of Zamora. It is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, May, vol. iii, but as it was compiled a century and a half after St Isidore's death it cannot be regarded as a very trustworthy record. A critical edition of this Latin text was published by Fr F. Fita, in the Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, vol. ix (1886), pp. 102-152. Lives in Spanish (including several poetical settings by Lope de Vega) and in Italian are numerous. The best biography is said to be that by Father J. BIeda (1622), and there is a more modern account in French by J. P. Toussaint (1901). But by far the most satisfactory treatment of the points of interest in the history of St Isidore is that published by Fr Garcia Villada in Razon y Fe, January to May, 1922. He in particular supplies very full details regarding the preservation of the body of the saint: it is mummified, but still entire.
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