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Angels and Saints . . . and the Rest of Us: St. Boniface
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Why did God Create Angels? Saints Fun Facts St. Isidore of Seville Isidore was literally born into a family of saints in sixth century Spain. Therefore without the counsel and permission of the Apostolic See and without its express command I dare not accept so exalted and sublime an office. As soon as Willibrord had learned the reason of the saint's solemn promise, he gave him his blessing and granted him permission to depart.
Thereupon the saint set out and reached the place called Amanburch, "nourished," according to the apostle, "on the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed" 1 Tim 4. We have given, step by step, proofs of this holy man's virtue and of his perseverance in the work of the Lord in order that we may recall to memory, -both in general and in detail, the subsequent examples of his good deeds. When he had converted to the Lord a vast number of people among the Frisians and many had come through his instruction to the knowledge of the truth, he then traveled, under the protection of God, to other parts of Germany to preach there and in this way came, with the help of God, to the place already mentioned, called Amanburch.
Here the rulers were two twin brothers named Detticand Devrulf, whom he converted from the sacrilegious worship of idols which was practiced under the cloak of Christianity. He turned away also from the superstitions of paganism a great multitude of people by revealing to them the path of right understanding, and induced them to forsake their horrible and erroneous beliefs. When he had gathered together a sufficient number of believers he built a small chapel. Similarly he delivered the people of Hesse, who up to that time had practiced pagan ritual, from the captivity of the devil by preaching the Gospel as far as the borders of Saxony.
Having converted many thousands of people from their long-standing pagan practices and baptized them, he sent to Rome an experienced and trustworthy messenger, Bynnan by name, with a letter in which he made known to the venerable father and bishop of the Apostolic See all the matters that by God's grace had been accomplished, and the number of people who, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, had received the sacrament of baptism.
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In addition he asked for guidance on certain questions concerning the day-to-day needs of the church and the progress of the people, for he wished to have the advice of the Apostolic See. When the aforesaid messenger had tarried in Rome for some days and the time for his return journey drew near, the bishop of the Apostolic See gave him a letter in reply to the message he had brought on his embassy. Returning immediately, he quickly brought to his master the letter dictated by the pope.
On reading the missive brought to him by the messenger, he learned that he was summoned to Rome, and with all haste he prepared to carry out this injunction in a spirit of complete obedience. Without delay he set out on his journey accompanied by a large retinue and a number of his brethren. Passing through the lands of the Franks and Burgundians, he crossed the Alps and descended through the marches of Italy and the territory held by the soldiers.
Eventually he came in sight of the walls of Rome and, giving praise and thanks to God on high, went quickly to the Church of Saint Peter, where he fortified himself in long and earnest prayer. After he had rested his weary limbs for a brief space of time a message was sent to blessed Gregory, bishop of the Apostolic See, saying that the servant of God had arrived; he was then welcomed with great kindness and conducted to the pilgrim's lodge.
A convenient day was fixed for a meeting, and at the appointed time the pontiff came down to the Basilica of Saint Peter the Apostle, and the servant of God was summoned to his presence. After they had exchanged a few words of greeting, the bishop of the Apostolic See interrogated him on his teaching, on the creed and on the tradition and beliefs of his church.
To this the man of God gave an immediate and humble reply, saying: "My Lord Pope, as a stranger I am conscious that I lack the skill in the use of the tongue with which you are familiar, but grant me leisure and time, I beseech you, to write down my confession of faith, so that my words and not my tongue may make a reasonable presentation of the truths I believe.
Within a short time he presented his written confession of faith, expressed in polished, eloquent, and learned phrases, and delivered it to the aforesaid pope. He then waited patiently for some days. At length he was invited once more and was conducted within the Lateran Palace, where he cast himself prostrate upon his face at the feet of the apostolic pontiff and begged for his blessing.
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Gregory quickly raised him from the ground, and, after giving into the hands of the servant of God the document in which the pure and uncontaminated truth of the faith was clearly expressed, he invited him to sit at his side. With wise counsel and wholesome doctrine he admonished him to preserve at all times the deposit of the faith and to the best of his ability to preach it vigorously to others,.
They discussed and debated many other matters relating to holy religion and the true faith, and in his exchange of views they spent almost the whole day. At last the pope inquired how the people who previously had been steeped in error and wickedness received his preaching of the true faith. On learning that a vast number had been converted from the sacrilegious worship of idols and admitted to the communion of the church, the pope told him that he intended to raise him to the episcopal dignity and set him over peoples who up to that time had been without a leader to guide them and who, in the words of our Lord, -languished as sheep without a shepherd.
And so the highest bishop, he of holy authority, set a day for the ordination: November When the holy day' for the sacred solemnity dawned, which was both the feast day of Saint Andrew and the day set aside for his consecration, the holy pontiff of the Apostolic See conferred upon him the dignity of the episcopate and gave him the name of Boniface. He put into his hands the book in which the most sacred laws and canons of the church and the decrees of episcopal synods have been inscribed or compiled, commanding him that henceforth this norm of church conduct and belief should be kept inviolate and that the people under his jurisdiction should be taught on these lines.
He also offered to him and to all his subjects the friendship of the holy Apostolic See thenceforth and for ever. By, means of his most sacred letters, the pope placed the holy man, now strengthened by episcopal rank, under the protection and devotion of the glorious leader Charles. After Boniface had passed by devious ways through the densely populated territories of the Franks he came at last into the presence of the aforesaid prince and was received by him with marks of reverence. He delivered to him the letters of the bishop of Rome and of the Apostolic See, and after acknowledging the prince as his lord and patron, returned with the leader's permission to the land of the Hessians in which he had previously settled.
Now many of the Hessians who at that time had acknowledged the Catholic faith were confirmed by the grace of the Holy Spirit and received the laying-on of hands. But others, not yet strong in the spirit, refused to accept the pure teachings of the church in their entirety.
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Moreover, some continued secretly, others openly, to offer sacrifices to trees and springs, to inspect the entrails of victims; some practiced divination, legerdemain, and incantations; some turned their attention to auguries, auspices, and other sacrificial rites; while others, of a more reasonable character, forsook all the profane practices of the Gentiles [i. With the counsel and advice of the latter persons, Boniface in their presence attempted to cut down, at a place called Gaesmere, a certain oak of extraordinary size called in the old tongue of the pagans the Oak of Jupiter.
Taking his courage in his hands for a great crowd of pagans stood by watching and bitterly cursing in their hearts the enemy of the gods , he cut the first notch. But when he had made a superficial cut.
enter site Suddenly, the oak's vast bulk, shaken by a mighty blast of wind from above crashed to the ground shivering its topmost branches into fragments in its fall. As if by the express will of God for the brethren present had done nothing to cause it the oak burst asunder into four parts, each part having a trunk of equal length.
At the sight of this extraordinary spectacle the heathens who had been cursing ceased to revile and began, on the contrary, to believe and bless the Lord.
Thereupon the holy bishop took counsel with the brethren, built an oratory from the timber of the oak and dedicated it to Saint Peter the Apostle. He then set out on a journey to Thuringia, having accomplished by the help of God all the things we have already mentioned.
Arrived there, he addressed the elders and the chiefs of the people, calling on them to put aside their blind ignorance and to return to the Christian religion that they had formerly embraced. For, after the authority of their kings came to an end, Theobald and Heden bad seized the reins of government. Under their disas trous sway, which was founded more upon tyranny and slaughter than upon the loyalty of the people, many of the counts had been put to death or seized and carried off into captivity, while the remainder of the population, overwhelmed by all kinds of misfortunes, bad submitted to the domination of the Saxons.
Thus when the power of the leaders, who had protected religion, was destroyed, the devotion of the people to Christianity and religion died out also, and false brethren were brought in to pervert the minds of the people and to introduce among them under the guise of religion dangerous heretical sects. Of these men the chief were Torchtwine, Zeretheve, Eaubercht, and Hunraed, men living in fornication and adultery, whom, according to the apostle, God had already judged cf.