The Sacrament of Confirmation

721. S. MARTIN AND THE ROBBER.-----S. Martin of Tours, while yet a youth, was traveling over the Alps, when he fell into the hands of robbers, one of whom drew his sword and held it suspended over his head, as if about to inflict a mortal blow. He would, indeed, have done so, had not his companion stayed his hand. The holy youth showed no symptom of fear, but recommended himself entirely to the protection and disposal of Divine Providence. The robbers, struck with astonishment at his calmness and self-possession in so imminent a danger, asked him who he was, and whether he was not filled with fear at the sight of the swords uplifted to slay him? He replied that he was a Christian, and that he had no fear, because he knew that the Divine Goodness is always most ready to protect us both in life and death, and that it is never nearer to us than when we are exposed to the greatest dangers. He added that his only subject of grief was, that they, by the lives they led, deprived themselves of the mercy of God. The robbers listened to him with astonishment, and admired the courage and confidence in God which virtue inspires. His fervent words made a deep impression upon their hearts, and he who had attempted to kill him became a Christian, and, entering into a monastery, led henceforth a life of devotion and penance.-----His Life: Nov. 11

   722. JULIAN AND HIS PAGE.-----The Roman Emperor Julian, who had been brought up a Christian, but abandoned his religion upon ascending the throne, determined to make public profession of his impiety by a solemn sacrifice to the idols. He accordingly repaired to the temple, attended by all his Court, among whom was a Christian page, who had a short time previously been admitted to the Sacrament of Confirmation. Everything being ready for the sacrifice, the Emperor ordered the priests to commence the sacred rites. They endeavored to do so, and raised their knives to strike the victims prepared for the sacrifice; but what was their astonishment when they found themselves unable to proceed! Their knives became suddenly blunted and incapable of inflicting a wound; while, to add to their consternation, the fire on the altar was suddenly extinguished. Thereupon the presiding priest exclaimed: "Some unknown power prevents our sacrifice. There must be some Christian present, who has been Baptized or Confirmed." The Emperor, on hearing these words, immediately ordered search to be made, when behold! one of his own pages stood forth and thus addressed him: "Know, O Emperor, that I am a Christian, and have been Baptized. A few days ago I was anointed with the holy oil to strengthen me for the combat. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed me by His Cross. It was I, or rather the God Whom I serve, Who prevented the impiety you were on the point of committing. I invoked the sacred Name of Jesus, and the demons had no longer any power." At these words, the Emperor. who, though an apostate through malice and self-interest, knew well the power of the Name of Jesus, was struck with terror, and, fearing the Divine vengeance, retired from the temple in confusion. The Christians, on the other hand, were filled with courage at seeing the admirable effects produced in the soul by the strengthening grace of Confirmation.-----Catholic Anecdotes

  723. THE CHINESE CHILD.-----A Chinese girl of ten met with a missionary, and entreated him to give her Confirmation. "And if the Mandarin puts you into prison for your faith, what will you say?" asked the priest. "I will say I am a Christian." "And if he bids you renounce your faith, what will you do?" "I will say, I Never!" "And if he brings the executioners to cut off your head, what will you say?" "I will say, Cut it off.'" Delighted at seeing the child so firm and resolute, the missionary acceded to her wishes, in spite of her tender years, and shortly she was confirmed.-----Annals of Prop. of Faith

  725. NEGLIGENCE OF A BISHOP.-----One day, a man, in deep affliction, went to S. Maurice, Bishop of Ghent, and earnestly besought him to come to his house, to confirm his child, who was very ill, and must soon die. It was the custom then to administer that Sacrament even to children who had not yet the use of reason. The Bishop acceded to his request, but his occupations not having permitted him to go immediately, the child died during that short interval. When the holy man learned the news, he was in such trouble that he bewailed, for several days, with copious and bitter tears, what he called his negligence. His grief at length reached such a point that he persuaded himself he was no longer worthy of being a Bishop, and fled to England, where he took service as gardener in a Prince's household, the better to conceal his former dignity. Long after, his friends succeeded in discovering the place of his retreat, and after much persuasion, prevailed upon him to return to Ghent. What a high esteem must not that holy Bishop have had for the great Sacrament of Confirmation!-----Schmid