Chapter 1. Two Kinds of Saints
Continued from yesterday...
Father [Monsignor Robert] Hugh Benson, the convert son of the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, went for a short visit to Catholic Ireland, of which he had heard so much.
At his request, a friend took him to visit some of the poor sick in their little homes.
He saw what he called "wonders." These dear sufferers amazed the young convert by their faith, patience and perfect resignation to the will of God.
One old man was suffering from an awful cancer, already in an advanced stage, which was eating away his breast.
Father Benson, full of compassion, tried to say some words of comfort to him.
"Oh my, Father, it's nothing" replied the old man. "Sure in a few days I will be with God in Heaven. Didn't He suffer much more for me?"
On his return to England, Father Benson wrote a touching article on the heroic patience and faith of these poor people. "They seem to see God," he said.
Owing to political troubles, an unfortunate man slew his enemy, a crown official.
Denounced by a perfidious friend of his own, he was arrested and condemned to death. He repented sincerely of his crime, but could not pardon his base accuser. The chaplain of the prison used his utmost efforts to induce him to go to Confession.
"This I cannot do," he said, "because, though sorry for my crime, I cannot pardon my false friend. Thus my Confession would be bad."
A good Sister of Mercy won his heart by her infinite kindness and delicacy. She too tried to induce him to confess. In vain.
On the eve of his execution, she made a last, supreme effort. "Do you know who I am?" she asked him. "Yes, Sister, you are an Angel from Heaven."
"No, I am no Angel from Heaven, but I am the sister of the man whom you killed. I have pardoned you, I have fasted and prayed and done all I could to save your soul."
Amazed, the poor man fell on his knees and, in a flood of tears, kissed her feet.
"Yes, yes, Angel of God, for you are, indeed, an Angel. I forgive with all my heart my enemy, oh forgive me you."
Hers, indeed, was heroic forgiveness.
A single act, as we have said, reveals at times heroic sanctity.
The widow's alms won Our Lord's high approbation. "She has given more," He said, "than all the rest." She had given only a mite, but she gave it with all her heart.
The Good Thief's plea for mercy on the cross obtained plenary pardon for all his crimes.
The Publican's short prayer: "O God, have mercy on me, a sinner" made his soul as white as snow.
[End of Chapter 1]
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949