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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Saint Norbert came from a noble family and came to the court of Henry V, Emperor of Germany. He lived the life of the court for some time, but one day while he was out hunting, he was surprised by a thunderstorm and lightning struck close to him. His horse reared up in fright and threw Norbert to the ground. When he regained consciousness, he was upset and trembled at the thought of what would have happened to him if he had had to appear before the tribunal of God. He thanked the Savior for giving him time to do penance. At the age of 30, he became a priest, put on a habit of bure and preached penance in various countries. He later founded the Premonstratensian Order in 1120 and died as Archbishop of Magdeburg in 1134. His body rests in the cloister of Strahov, near Prague, where it was transported during the Thirty Years’ War.
It was the action of the Holy Spirit that acted on Saint Norbert.
Saint Francis was a duke who lived at the time of Charles V. He made every effort to win the favor of the Empress Isabella, and became her favorite. Suddenly the empress fell ill and died in the prime of life. Francis Borgia received orders from the emperor to have Isabella’s body taken to Granada, where she was to be buried in the royal tomb. In Granada, the coffin was opened according to custom so that everyone could see the body of the empress. The corpse presented a terrible aspect: the face was all disfigured and a fetid smell made it almost impossible to approach it. At that moment a flash of divine grace crossed Francis Borgia’s mind and he said to himself: «How quickly beauty, power and happiness pass! What reward have I now for all my efforts? Never again do I want to serve a creature who can be snatched from me by death. From this day I want to serve God!» Then he spent the night in prayer, and later he entered the Society of Jesus and died a General of the Order (1572).
The conversion of Saint Francis Borgia is a proof of the effectiveness of divine grace.
Saint Anthony was born in Egypt and raised in the fear of God. At the age of 19 he lost his parents and came into possession of an immense fortune. But from early on, the passages of Sacred Scripture concerning evangelical poverty had made a great impression on his soul, and one day when he was meditating in church on the poverty in which Our Lord and the apostles had lived, he could not escape the thought that it was in poverty that one could best serve God. During the service, the priest read the words of the Gospel: «If you want to be perfect, go, sell everything you possess, give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. After that come and follow Me.» Anthony believed he heard the voice of God. He returned home, sold everything he owned, distributed the money to the poor and became a hermit. In the desert he lived a sober and ascetic life, and despite his extreme frugality and long fasts he reached the age of 106.
Anthony’s heroic resolve was the work of the Holy Spirit, aided by Anthony’s correspondence to His grace. – The Saints were attentive to God and faithfully followed His inspirations.