Friday, August 28, 2009

Their life had only been preserved by God until they could receive baptism and hence be saved

St. Francis Xavier, May, 1546: "Here (Ambon Island of Indonesia) there are altogether seven towns of Christians, all of which I went through and baptized all the newborn infants and the children not yet baptized. A great many of them died soon after their baptism, so that it was clear enough that their life had only been preserved by God until the entrance to eternal life should be opened to them." Coleridge, Henry. The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier. (1872) p. 375

Fr. De Smet, Dec. 9, 1845: "I have often remarked that many of the children seem to await baptism before winging their flight to heaven, for they die almost immediately after receiving the sacrament." Laveille, Eugene. The Life of Father de Smet, S. J. (1915) p. 93 "… over a hundred children and eleven old people were baptized. Many of the latter [the old people], who were carried on buffalo hides, seemed only to await this grace before going to rest in the bosom of God." Laveille, Eugene. The Life of Father de Smet, S. J. (1915) p. 172

The Life of St. Isaac Jogues, p. 92: "The Huron sorcerers...claimed... the Blackrobes caused people to die by pouring water on their heads; practically everyone they baptized died soon after." Talbot, Francis. Saint Among Savages: The Life of Saint Isaac Jogues

" Among these people was a little child about one year old....It was happily baptized. God preserved its life only by a miracle, it would seem, so that it might be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and might bless His mercies forever." The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, p. 51Fr. Lalemant wrote: " has happened very often, and has been remarked more than a hundred times, that where we were most welcome, where we baptized most people, there it was in fact where they died the most ; and, on the contrary, in the cabins to which we were denied entrance, although they were sometimes sick to extremity, at the end of a few days one saw every person prosperously cured. We shall see in heaven the secret, but ever adorable, judgments of God therein. Meanwhile, it is one of our most usual astonishments and one of our most solid pleasures, to consider, in the midst of all those things, the gracious bounties of God in the case of those whom he wishes for himself; and to see oftener than every day his sacred and efficacious acts of providence, which so arrange matters that it comes about that not one of the elect is lost, though hell and earth oppose." The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, p. 93

St. Columba said: "My sons, today you will see an ancient Pictish chief, who has kept faithfully all his life the precepts of the natural law, arrive in this island ; he comes to be baptised and to die." Immediately after, a boat was seen to approach the shore with a feeble old man seated in the prow, who was recognized as the chief of one of the neighboring tribes. Two of his companions took him up in their arms and brought him before the missionary, to whose words, as repeated by the interpreter, he listened attentively. When the discourse was ended the old man asked to be baptised ; and immediately after breathed his last breath, and was buried in the very spot where he had just been brought to shore.

At a later date, in one of his last missions, when, himself an old man, he travelled along the banks of Loch Ness...he said to the disciples who accompanied him, " Let us make haste and meet the angels who have come down from heaven, and who wait for us beside a Pict who has done well according to the natural law during his whole life to extreme old age : we must baptise him before he dies." Then hastening his steps and outstripping his disciples, as much as was possible at his great age, he reached a retired valley, now called Glen Urquhart, where he found the old man who awaited him. Here there was no longer any need of an interpreter, which makes it probable that Columba in his old age had learned the Pictish dialect. The old Pict heard him preach, was baptised, and with joyful serenity gave up to God the soul which was awaited by those angels whom Columba saw. Montalembert, Charles. Saint Columba: Apostle of Caledonia (1868) p.63-64

St. Columba preached and worked miracles among the Picts, and, though he spoke by an interpreter, he made converts. One day on the banks of Loch Ness he cried: Let us make haste to meet the angels, who are come down from heaven and await us beside the death-bed of a Pict, who has kept the natural law, that we may baptize him before he dies." He was then aged himself, but he outstripped his companions, and reached Glen Urquhart, where the old man expected him, heard him, was baptized, and died in peace. And once, preaching in Skye, he cried out, "You will see arrive an aged chief, a Pict, who has kept faithfully the natural law; he will come here to be baptized and to die;" and so it was. New Catholic World (1867) p. 668

Within four months fifty-six had been "regenerated of water and the Holy Ghost" and become children
of God and members of His holy church. He says: "Among them were some who soon after they had received
the grace of baptism entered eternity, clothed in the white garment of baptismal innocence, with which
they were immediately admitted to the nuptial-banquet of the Lamb." Life and Labours of Rt. Reverend Frederic Baraga (1900) p. 209

In October, 1847, F. Baraga went from Copper Harbor to Fond du Lac, most probably by boat . The good people of Fond du Lac felt exceedingly happy to again meet their missionary. During his stay there many received the grace of holy Baptism. It was a particular joy to him to have admitted an entire pagan family through the door of Baptism into the fold of the Good Shepherd.

He was especially consoled by the conversion of a very old pagan woman who was perhaps ninety years of age. When he arrived at Fond du Lac he heard that this poor old woman was very weak and sick. He went, therefore, to her wigwam in which she was lying quite alone. She had been abandoned by her pagan relatives, who went far into the woods to winter there. She was alone and helpless until at last a Christian family took pity on her, cared for her. nourished her, and kept her fire burning day and night.

It is thus pagan Indians at times acted toward their aged parents or grand parents when the latter became so old and feeble that they could no longer help themselves— they simply abandoned them. Should this happen in an Indian village, there was always some one to take them and care for them until they died. This was generally done by Christian families. Baraga says that it often happened that such poor old creatures were abandoned in the midst of the forest by their own children and grand-children, in which case they would perish miserably from starvation and cold.

So, also, this poor old woman had been forsaken, but had now been taken in and cared for by a Christian family: When Baraga learned that she had been long sick, he determined to go and visit her and try to save this poor soul;After having crawled with difficulty into her very small and miserable wigwam, he saluted her. The Christian Indian woman, who had the care of her and who had accompanied the Father, told the poor old creature that the Blackrobe had come to visit her. She could not see the priest, for she wasblind, but she stretched out her hands towards him and when he reached his hand she seized it with both her hands and exclaimed: "Nosse, nosse, jawenimishin!" "My father, my father, have pity on me!" Baraga compassionated her abandoned condition and then spoke to her about religion, trying to make her understand how happy she would be in the other world, if she would but receive and believe the word of the Great Spirit and receive holy Baptism. He explained to her the principal doctrines of our holy religion and asked her from time to time whether she understood and believed what he told her. As he was satisfied from her answers that she was well disposed he intended to baptize her immediately. But then again, believing there was no immediate danger he thought it might perhaps be better to come back the next day and instruct her a little more, before administering Baptism. On leaving the wigwam, however, his first thought came again, namely, to baptize her immediately, which he did. When he came home it was late. He felt very happy and satisfied that he had baptized the poor old creature. Early the next morning the head of the Christian family, that had taken care of her, came to tell Baraga that during the night the good old woman had quietly "fallen asleep in the Lord." Only a Christian heart can imagine the unspeakable joy, which the pious missionary felt at this news. He thanked God most fervently for having inspired him with the thought not to postpone holy Baptism till next day, as he had first intended. It was a mysterious disposition of eternal love, whose weak instrument he considered himself to be, which wanted to take directly this poor soul to the eternal joys of heaven. "Parcet pauperi et inopi et animas pauperum salvas faciet." "He shall spare the poor and needy and He shall save the souls of the poor." (Ps. 71, v. 13). He also had the great joy of admitting to their first Holy Communion thirteen poor Indians, whom he had diligently prepared for that holy Sacrament. Ibid, pp. 235-6

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe