For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith!
For the Kingdom of God to come!
There is no more popular name in Ireland than that of Daniel O’Connel, to whom this nation owes its emancipation. We read in the magnificent coat of arms of the O’Connel family this beautiful exergue: “The eye of O’Connel is the salvation of Ireland.”
At the sight of O’Connel, joy broke out on every face, jubilation flooded every heart. In the presence of O’Connel, the Irish people seem to forget their miseries and anxieties; all who see him never tire of seeing him; all who hear him never tire of listening to him. – “See him, says Father Ventura, surrounded by six hundred thousand people. How they all have their eyes fixed on him! He is our father, they say, our friend, our liberator.
Who can surpass him in piety? In the midst of the multiple solicitudes of his political apostolate, under the weight of the most serious thoughts, he never failed to attend Mass every day and to approach the Holy Communion Table several times a week.”
He had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and not content with honouring it personally, he victoriously vindicated and defended it against the blasphemies of heresy in an admirable treatise he wrote on this adorable mystery.
Here is a touching story from the life of this great man, told recently by an Irishman to Monsignor Dupanloup who reported it in a very eloquent speech. We quote:
“This Irishman was a great admirer of O’Connell, and often went to hear him in the House of Commons. One evening in the winter of February, there was a great debate in Parliament, which lasted until two o’clock in the morning: O’Connell spoke last and for nearly two hours. The Irishman of whom I speak had heard that it was O’Connell’s custom to take communion every Sunday and feast day at six o’clock mass in one of the poor little Catholic chapels then to be found in London. He said to himself, ‘I have here an excellent opportunity of seeing how faithful he is to his religious habits.’ With this thought, he went, in dreadful weather, to the little chapel; but his sadness was great to discover there only a few maids and poor workmen. However, he said to himself that a day of such great fatigue ended with a long speech, at such a late hour of the night, was a sufficient excuse. Then gradually his eyes became accustomed to the darkness of the poor chapel and he saw, leaning against a pillar, a tall man wrapped in a cloak. His heart told him who this man was. At the moment of communion, O’Connell, for it was he, threw off his cloak, and went to kneel at the Holy Table, among his poor countrymen.”
To his devotion to the Son, this great man joined piety to Mary. “Who was ever, says Father Ventura, more tender than he for the Queen of Heaven, more zealous for Her worship?” Carried away by an extraordinary feeling of devotion to Mary, he once gave a magnificent eulogy of Her in the presence of more than one hundred thousand Catholics and Protestants. – After the famous speech he gave for the purpose of opening the doors of Parliament to the Catholics, and while the solemn debates were going on between the most famous speakers on this question, in that terrible moment on which depended the liberty or subjugation of Ireland, O’Connel stood withdrawn in a corner, praying the rosary in honor of the Blessed Virgin Destroyer of all heresies. He had placed the cause of emancipation under the tutelary care of this great Queen, and it was to Her protection that he attributed all the success of this cause.