Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Saint Ubaldus, Bishop and Confessor

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In order to honor her Eternal High Priest, the Church presents to him this day the merits of a Pontiff who, after his mortal career, was admitted into a happy Immortality. Ubaldus, here on earth, was the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like his Divine Master, he received the holy Anointing of Priesthood; he was a Mediator between God and man; he was the Shepherd of a flock; and now, he is united with our Risen Jesus—the great Anointed, the Mediator, the Shepherd. In proof of his influence in heaven, our Ubaldus has had given to him a special power against the wicked Spirits, who lay snares for our perdition. It has frequently happened that the simple invocation of his name has sufficed to foil their machinations. It is with the view of encouraging the Faithful to have recourse to his protection that the Church has fixed this day as his feast.

Let us now read the account she gives of the virtues of the saintly Bishop.

Ubaldus, Eugubii in Umbria nobili genere natus, a primis annis pietate, et litteris egregie est institutus. Jamque adolescens, ut uxorem duceret sæpe tentatus, nunquam tamen a proposito servandæ virginitatis recessit. Sacerdos effectus patrimonium suum pauperibus et Ecclesiis distribuit, et Canonicorum Regularium Ordinis sancti Augustini institutum suscipiens, illus in patriam transtulit, atque in eo aliquandiu sanctissime vixit. Cujus sanctitatis opinione evulgata, ab Honorio Secundo summo Pontifice Ecclesiæ Eugubinæ invitus præficifitur, et Episcopalis consecrationis munere decoratur.

Ubaldus was born at Gubbio in Umbria, of a noble family. He was, from childhood, formed, in the most admirable way, to piety and learning. When grown up, he was frequently urged to marry; but nothing could shake his resolution of leading a life of celibacy. On being ordained Priest, he divided his fortune between the poor and the Churches, and entered among the Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine. He established that Institute in his own country, and was for some time a most fervent observer of all its regulations. The fame of his virtue spread far and wide. Pope Honorius the Second compelled him to accept the charge of the Church of Gubbio; and, accordingly, he was consecrated Bishop.

Ad suam itaque revertens Ecclesiam, quum de consueta vivendi ratione nihil admodum immutasset, in omni tamen virtutum genere eo magis eminere cœpit, quo efficacius aliorum etiam salutem verbo et exemplo procuraret, factus forma gregis ex animo. Nam victu parco, vestitu moderato, lectulo aspero et pauperrimo, crucis mortificationem jugiter in suo corpore circumferebat, dum inexplebili orationis studio spiritum quotidie recrearet. Hinc admirabilem illam mansuetudinem est adeptus, qua gravissimas injurias et contumelias non modo æquanimiter tulit, verum etiam mirifico dilectionis affectu persecutores suos omni benignitatis testimonio complectebatur.

Having taken possession of his See, he changed little or nothing of his mode of life; but he began to apply himself more than ever to the practice of every virtue, in order that he might the more effectually, both by word and example, procure the salvation of souls, for he was a pattern of the flock in all earnestness. His food was scanty, his dress unpretending, his bed hard and most poor. While always bearing about, in his body, the mortification of the Cross, he every day refreshed his spirit with prayer, in which he seemed insatiable. The result of such life was meekness of so admirable a nature, that he not only bore the worst injuries and insults with patience, but he even treated his persecutors with surprising affection, and showed them all possible kindness.

Biennio antequam ex hac vita mirgraret, quum diutinis afflictaretur infirmitatibus, inter acedrbissimos corporis cruciatus, velut aurum in fornace purgatum, Deo gratias indesinenter agebat. Adveniente autem sacro Pentecostes die, quum multis annis Ecclesiam sibi commissam summa cum laude gubernasset, sanctiss operibus ac miraculis clarus, quievit in pace: quem Cœlestinus Papa Tertius in Sanctorum numerum retulit. Ejus virtus præcipue in effugandis spiritibus immundis elucet. Corpus vero per tot sæcula incorruptum magna fidelium veneratione in patria colitur, quam non semel a præsenti discrimine liberavit.

During the last two years of his life, he suffered much from sickness. In the midst of the most acute pains, whereby he was made pure as gold that is cleansed in the furnace, he ceased not to give thanks to God. Finally, on the holy Feast of Pentecost, after governing for many years, and in a most laudable manner, the Diocese that had been entrusted to him, he slept in peace, venerated for his holy life and miracles. He was canonized by Pope Celestine the Third. God has given him a special power for driving away unclean spirits. His body, which has remained incorrupt for several centuries, is honored with much devotion, by the Faithful of the city of Gubbio, which he has more than once rescued from the calamities that threatened it.

O blessed Pontiff! be thou our protector against the spirits of hell. They are devoured by envy at seeing how Man, that lowly and feeble creature, has become the object of God’s predilection. The Incarnation of the Son of God, his Death on the Cross, his glorious Resurrection, the Sacraments which give us the life of Grace—all these sublime means, whereby the infinite goodness of God has restored us to our lost dignity, have excited the rage of the old enemy, and he seeks revenge by insulting, in us, the Image of our Creator. At times, he attacks man with all the frenzy of angry jealousy. To mimic the operations of Sanctifying Grace—which, so to speak, makes us the instruments of God’s good pleasure—Satan sometimes takes possession of our fellow creatures, and makes them his slaves. Thy power, O Ubaldus, has often manifested itself by rescuing these unhappy victims of the devil’s jealousy; and holy Church, on this day, celebrates the special prerogative conferred on thee by our Heavenly Father. Relent not in the exercise of thy charitable office. And yet, O holy Pontiff, thou knowest that the snares of the wicked spirits are more injurious to the souls than to the bodies of men. Have pity, then, on the unhappy slaves of sin, who, though the divine Sun of the Pasch has risen upon them, are still in the darkness of guilt. Pray for them, that they may become, once more, Children of the Light, and share in the Easter Resurrection which Jesus offers to all.

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