The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Commandments

The Fourth Commandment:

Honor Thy Father and Mother

  506. THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER.-----There was a rich merchant in Paris who led a very worldly life, and entirely neglected his religious duties. His wife died a few years after his marriage, leaving him two daughters. As soon as they were of age to be sent to school, he sent them to a convent to be educated by the nuns. In the convent they received an education which would fit them for the position of life they were to occupy in the world; but they also received that which is of infinitely greater importance, a thorough Christian training. When the elder daughter was sixteen years of age, her father took her home to attend to his household affairs. In this new position she remained as faithful to her religious duties as she had been when in the convent; but she had to conceal many of her practices of devotion from her father, lest he might be angry with her. One morning her father happened to go out very early, and met his daughter coming along the street. "Where have you been so early in the morning?" he said to her in a harsh tone. "My dear father, I was at Holy Mass, where prayed much for you." "Do you go often to Communion?" he said in a still more angry voice. "Yes, I go very often; for it is there that I get strength and courage to accomplish my daily duties at home, and to please you as I am endeavoring to do." At this answer her father hung down his head and said nothing. When he raised it up again there were tears in his eyes, and he said in a voice choked with emotion: "O! what a happiness it is for me ta have a daughter like you. Go to Mass and to your Communion as often as you like, my child, and continue to pray for me." That man did not at once become a fervent Christian, but the prayers of his good daughter soon accomplished the change.-----How many children might obtain the conversion of their parents if they would only pray for them!-----Hortus Pastorum

   507. HEROIC SELF-SACRIFlCE.-----The son of a rich Liverpool merchant, and student at Ushaw College, was fifteen years of age when he offered to God the sacrifice of his life for the conversion of his father. Early in Holy Week, 1861, he fell ill, and every remedy failed to effect any improvement. He received the last Sacraments on Good Friday, and died that same evening: and his father, falling on his knees by the side of his dead son, looks once more on the calm and placid countenance, and rises up fully resolved to save his sou-----the result of the prayer of his child.-----Catechisme en Exemples

The Fifth Commandment:
Thou Shalt Not Kill

  542. INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF MGR. CHEVERUS.-----This zealous missionary was once called, in the United States, to assist two young Irishmen condemned to death to prepare for their last hour. It was customary there to take the condemned men to church to hear a final exhortation before death. Mgr. Cheverus ascends the pulpit, and, casting his eyes around, sees there an immense number of women come to witness the public execution. "Orators," he began, in a loud and severe tone of voice, "are usually flattered at seeing a large audience before them. As for me, I am ashamed of the audience I see here. There are, then, men for whom the death of a fellow-being is an object of pleasure and curiosity! But you, women, what come ye here to do? Is it to wipe the sweat of death from the brows of these poor men? No. It is to witness their anguish and sufferings, and that, too, without a tear. I am ashamed of you: you are a disgrace to your sex." In this strain he continued his short address. The execution followed almost immediately, but not a single woman was present at it.-----Guillois

546. THE BOY IN THE SNOW.------Two boys were going home one winter evening, but not together. One had been working all day in the valley, and had to wade through the deep snow up the mountain-side, and he got so weak and cold that he fell down, and was soon quite benumbed. After a while the other passed by, and he called out to him to help him home. But this second lad thought to himself: "He has been thrown down and injured in some quarrel, and I might have a deal of bother in having to appear as a witness in the case!" So he left him lying there, and the following day he died. Was his companion not guilty of this death? A year afterwards, this same young man was out shooting in the same neighborhood, and was accidentally hit by a stray shot from a wood ranger; he fell down, and in a quarter of an hour he died on the very spot where his companion had died before. Does it not seem as if there was a meaning in this?-----Stolz

550. S. FRANCIS STRUCK IN THE FACE.-----One day S. Francis Regis learns that some libertines had assembled in a country inn of bad repute; that they had drunk to excess, and, in their orgies, were uttering horrible blasphemies and giving themselves up to all sorts of wickedness. Without pausing to consider the danger to which he exposed himself, the holy priest goes to the place, makes his appearance amongst these wretches, and endeavors, by words of charity and reason, to restrain the course of their scandalous conduct. His exhortations were not heeded, and one of these libertines even rose from the table, and, going up to him, gave him a blow in the face. Without manifesting the least emotion, S. Francis Regis turns the other cheek to him and mildly says: "I thank you very much, my dear friend, for the opinion you have of me: if you knew me better, you would see that I deserve still more." These words, this tone of mildness, this so truly Christian moderation, filled the profligates with salutary confusion; they asked pardon of the Saint, and immediately withdrew.-----Daubenton

553. A SOUL'S DAMNATION.-----Two gentlemen who had been for a long time on the most friendly terms had a violent quarrel, and became known in the town where they resided as declared enemies. Their hatred had lasted many years, when one of the two fell dangerously ill, and lay at the point of death. His friends earnestly entreated him to send for his confessor and settle the affairs of his soul, to which he at length consented. The priest, on his arrival, knowing well the circumstances of the case, represented to the sick man the necessity of being reconciled with his enemy before he could be admitted to the Sacraments. His penitent consented to the proposal, and the other party was sent for; meanwhile the priest proceeded to hear his confession. His enemy, having at length arrived, was introduced into the chamber of the sick man, who asked pardon for the offense he had given, and begged that they might be reconciled. The other party consented, and soon after took his leave, but, on quitting the room, was heard to exclaim to someone at the door, "The coward is afraid." At these words the dying man sat up in his bed, and cried out in a violent passion, "No, I am not afraid, and, as a proof of it, I return you all my former hatred." So saying, he fell back and expired.------Mrs. Herbert

The Sixth Commandment:
Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

-----S. Teresa was brought up by her virtuous parents in the practice of fervent piety. At a very early age she took great delight in reading the Lives of the Saints, the perusal of which strongly incited her to the imitation of their virtues, so that she grew up a perfect model of goodness and piety. At the age of twelve she lost her excellent mother, and about the same time, fell into the dangerous habit of reading love tales and romances, in which she was encouraged by a young cousin, who had come upon a visit to her father's house, and who was much addicted to such reading. Every day the young Teresa gave a greater portion of her time to the perusal of these dangerous books, and, consequently, had less to devote to study, prayer, and useful employment. The consequence was, that in a short time she became idle, worldly, and fond of dress, and would no doubt have fallen deeper, had not her father, perceiving the change which her dispositions had undergone, placed her in a convent of Augustinian nuns, where, removed from the occasion of sin, she after a time recovered her former virtue. She often thanked God in after-life for delivering her from so great a peril, and in her writings she warns all parents to guard their children carefully against such dangerous reading, which had well-nigh proved the instrument of her own ruin.-----Her Life: Oct.15

585. DANCING AND THE CAPITAL SINS.-----Dancing may lead to all the deadly sins. To pride, by the desire of excelling in beauty, appearance or elegance and skill. To covetousness, neglecting an aged and infirm parent, in order to spend all on perfumes and dress. To lust, by yielding to the impure thoughts and desires suggested in dancing. To anger, by the quarrels and enmities so often born there. To gluttony, in the banquets which accompany dancing. To envy, at seeing one's self surpassed in beauty, dress and attractions. To sloth, by the loathing and dislike of all forms of prayer and devotion.-----Cat. de Bourges

591. HUBERT AND LOUIS.-----In a small town in France lived a young man named Hubert, whose piety and good conduct were an example to all persons of his age. It happened on one occasion that a public entertainment, accompanied with fireworks, dancing, and other amusements, was given in a neighboring village, and Hubert took a walk in that direction by way of recreation. On his way he was joined by a young man named Louis, who was noted in the country for his immorality and impiety. Hubert, instead of making a civil excuse for quitting his company, weakly allowed himself to be drawn into conversation, and after they had talked for some time on indifferent subjects, Louis, following up his advantage, began to rally his friend on his piety, and to paint to him the pleasures of a care-free life, in glowing colors. Hubert at first felt some displeasure at his conversation, but began to be ashamed of what his companion called a want of knowledge of the world. Having arrived at the fair, he was introduced by Louis to several wicked associates, and after visiting together the principal objects of attraction, the whole party entered into one of the booths to refresh themselves with wine. Heated with liquor, and inflamed by the wicked conversation of his companions, Hubert yielded to the tempter, joined in their dissolute conversation, and was led on to the commission of a still more grievous sin. Scarcely had he thus offended his God, when part of the building, which had been erected for the occasion, gave way, and the unhappy youth was buried beneath the ruins. Louis, who escaped, was so touched with remorse at the untimely fate of Hubert, that he entered shortly after into a neighboring monastery, and spent the remainder of his life in the practice of the most severe penance.-----Mrs. Herbert

  592. HADDING OF DENMARK.-----King Hadding had for a long time been besieging a city without success, when at length he obtained his end by a peculiar stratagem. He seized all the pigeons that came out from the town to feed in the country around, and then tied under their wings a long ribbon, dipped in brimstone. When night came, he set fire to these and let the pigeons return to the town, where they soon set fire to it, for it was all built of wood, and thus it was easily reduced to ashes.-----The Devil acts in much the same way with us. He fills young hearts with the fire of love, at first innocent, but afterwards becoming criminal, till at length, by evil companionship, he is able to ruin many souls that otherwise he could not gain possession of.-----Catechisme en Exemples

   593. THE BLEEDING CRUCIFIX.-----It is related in the life of S. Francis Borgia, that a certain Spanish gentleman, who was addicted to the sin of impurity, was stricken in the flower of his age by a mortal distemper. S. Francis, having heard of the circumstance, was inspired by a holy zeal to make every effort to bring him to a sense of his sad condition, and move him to repentance. Before going to visit him, he first went and threw himself at the foot of the crucifix, earnestly beseeching God to bless his endeavors, and grant him the salvation of this unhappy soul. "Go," said our Blessed Lord to him interiorly, "go to the sick man and exhort him to repentance. I promise you that My grace shall not be wanting." S. Francis set out on his errand of charity, and obtained admittance to the sick man's bedside. In moving terms he represented to him the sad condition of his soul, and exhorted him to make his peace with God by a good confession; but at the mention of confession the dying man turned away, and declared that he would never consent to it. S. Francis returned home, and again throwing himself before the crucifix, earnestly implored Our Divine Lord to soften the hardened heart of the sinner. "Return to him," replied Jesus, "and take with thee the crucifix. Can he resist the sight of a God, dead on the Cross for his salvation?" The Saint immediately went back to the dying man, and showing him the crucifix, urged him in burning words to repent and confess his sins, placing all his trust in the mercy of God, Who had shed the last drop of His Blood upon the Cross, in order to save him. At the same moment, by a prodigy of grace, the sacred image appeared torn with wounds and covered with blood. Alas! the hardened sinner still remained insensible to the voice of Divine grace. Having cast one look upon the crucifix, he turned to the wall and died in despair.

  594. DEATH OF CHRYSOARIUS.-----S. Gregory, in his Dialogues, relates that there was a man in his time, named Chrysoarius, a man as full of vices as he was wealthy in riches, but, above all, extremely addicted to the sin of impurity. God willed to put a period to the sins of this man, which he daily heaped one upon another, and sent him a severe sickness, of which he died, but in a very extraordinary manner. Approaching his last end, he suddenly perceived a multitude of evil spirits, who presented themselves to him in hideous forms, and made a show as if they would immediately carry him into Hell. He began to tremble, look aghast, and mournfully cry out for help. He turns himself on every side to avoid the sight of these horrid shapes, but which way soever he moves they are continually before his eyes. After many a struggle, feeling himself surrounded and violently seized by these wicked spirits, he began horribly to cry out: Truce till morning-----truce till morning! and shrieking thus, his soul was torn from his body, and he died miserably without obtaining the truce he required.

  595. THE SIGHT OF IMPURE SIN.-----A father, seeing his son fall into impure ways, thought to cure him by taking him through the wards of a hospital destined for the shameful diseases. There he showed him the pains and sufferings which impure libertines had brought upon themselves, and the wrecks they had made of their bodies, and their careers. The sight of so many horrors had the effect of curing the young man of his evil inclinations.-----Guillois